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Black Skin Privilege and the American Dream
When a Neighborhood Watch guard shot Trayvon Martin in February 2012, a chorus of civil rights activists concluded that he had been killed because of his race. Michael Skolnick, the political director for hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, spoke for the consensus in an article he titled, “White People You Will Never Look Suspicious.”
I will never look suspicious to you. Even if I have a black hoodie, a pair of jeans and white sneakers on … I will never watch a taxicab pass me by to pick someone else up. I will never witness someone clutch their purse tightly against their body as they walk by me. I won’t have to worry about a police car following me for two miles, so they can ‘“run my plates.”’ I will never have to pay before I eat. And I certainly will never get “‘stopped and frisked.”’ I will never look suspicious to you, because of one thing and one thing only. The color of my skin. I am white….
Skolnick spoke for those who rushed to condemn the Watch Guard, George Zimmerman, calling him a racist and killer in advance of the evidence, and demanding his arrest. It was the pervasive theme of the outrage even though Zimmerman was of Peruvian descent and not “white.” To make the racial case, Zimmerman’s accusers labeled him a “white Hispanic,” and disregarded the fact that he was Latino with a great-grandfather who was black. Speaking for the many, Congressional Black Caucus member Hank Johnson claimed that Martin was “executed for WWB in a GC—Walking While Black in a Gated Community.” It was the unmistakable implication of President Obama’s own statement on the case: “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.” For the already convinced, Trayvon Martin was killed not because of anything he had done, but because he was a black man in a racist culture, and therefore racial prey.
As it happens, the term “white skin privilege” was first popularized in the 1970s by the SDS radicals of “Weatherman,” who were carrying on a terrorist war against “Amerikkka,” a spelling designed to stigmatize the United States as a nation of Klansmen. Led by presidential friends, Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn, the Weather terrorists called on other whites to renounce their privilege and join a global race war already in progress.
Although their methods and style kept the Weather radicals on the political fringe, their views on race reflected those held by the broad ranks of the political left. In the following years, the concept of “white skin privilege” continued to spread until it became an article of faith among all progressives, a concept that accounted for everything that was racially wrong in America beginning with its constitutional founding. As Pax Christi USA, a Catholic organization, explained: “Law in the U.S. protects white skin privilege because white male landowners created the laws to protect their rights, their culture and their wealth.” This was the theme of A People’s History of the United States, the most popular book ever written on the subject, of university curricula across the nation.
Eventually, the concept of white skin privilege was embraced even by liberals who had initially resisted it as slander against a nation that had just concluded a historically unprecedented civil rights revolution. This was because the concept of white skin privilege provided an explanation for the fact that the recent Civil Rights Acts had not led to an equality of results, and that racial disparities persisted even as overt racists and institutional barriers were vanishing from public life.
The inconvenient triumph of American tolerance presented an existential problem for civil rights activists, whom it threatened to put out of work. “White skin privilege” offered a solution. As the Southern Poverty Law Center explained: “white skin privilege is not something that white people necessarily do, create or enjoy on purpose,” but is rather an unavoidable consequence of the “transparent preference for whiteness that saturates our society.” In other words, even if white Americans were no longer racists, they were.
A parallel concept favored by progressives was ‘institutional racism.” This was the idea that even in the absence of actual racists, the values and standards of American institutions by their very nature discriminated against non-whites. These two sophistries made possible new battles and continued the life of campaigns that annually lured millions of dollars into the deep pockets of “anti-racist” organizations and movements, even as racists were no longer detectable in the institutions themselves.
What reality is there to the claim that white skin is privileged and black is not? Is it really the case that non-whites are the exclusive targets of racial vendettas, while whites enjoy protection from racial prejudice and collective suspicion? No sober individual could possibly think so.
In fact, for decades, at the hands of progressives white males have been the prime villains in the nation’s classrooms, and the principal targets of disapprobation and presumptive guilt in the general political culture as well. Not that long ago the nation witnessed a public scandal as racially charged as the Trayvon Martin case in the public lynching of three white male students at Duke University. Like other institutions of higher learning, Duke prides itself on its racial tolerance. There are no more sacred principles on campuses generally than racial tolerance, diversity and inclusion. As everyone knows, however, but few will take the risk to observe, these principles extend to every race but whites.
When an anonymous individual drew a noose on the office door of an African American faculty member at Columbia University the entire university community concluded that it was an act of racism, and the institution was virtually shut down to express collective horror that such an event might occur. This all took place before there was any indication that its message was racial or that its perpetrator was not the faculty member herself – which has been a not infrequent occurrence on campuses before.
When three white members of the Duke lacrosse team were accused of rape by a black prostitute, on no evidence whatsoever, the campus not only did not defend the presumption of their innocence, but rushed with intemperate haste to punish them as though they already been tried and convicted. The university expelled them, the Lacrosse coach was fired, the Lacrosse season terminated, their names were published and 88 members of the Duke faculty signed an open letter condemning their racist deed.
The cloud of suspicion and presumption of guilt that engulfed the students, ruined their reputations and put their lives and careers on halt. It lasted for more than a year with no challenge university officials or public authorities or the mainstream media. Yet it was entirely based on the false and malicious and false accusations of a local prostitute and drug addict, whose record of criminal behavior and absence of credibility were eagerly overlooked because she was black. While the faces of the innocent accused were plastered across the national media where they were portrayed as racists and rapists, the accuser herself was protected, and her name withheld throughout the case—even after her criminal libels were exposed.
The nameless accuser was a professional stripper who had been hired to entertain a fraternity party. A fellow stripper, who was also black and present at the event denied the rape had ever taken place. One of the accused rapists proved that he was not even present when the attack was alleged to have taken place. Yet he was judged guilty all the same by the civil rights crusaders. Guilty because he was white. White skin was enough evidence to get all three students indicted by the local district attorney who was seeking votes in an election year among a constituency that was largely black and now racially inflamed (although the national press averted its eyes from this aspect of the case as well).
Leading the calls for punishment before trial were racial agitators Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Jackson was first out, attempting to secure a conviction by decrying the long “history of white men and black women and rape and assault,” as though the criminal actions of a minority implicated every person of the same gender and color. Jackson also proposed to have his organization pay all tuition costs for the faceless criminal accuser should she want to attend college. The clear implication was that unlike her rapists whose parents (being white) could afford a Duke education, the benighted woman was denied such an opportunity by a racist society. Not to be out mau-maued, Sharpton claimed, “this case parallels Abner Louima, who was raped and sodomized in a bathroom [by a New York City police officer] like this girl has alleged she was.” The fantasizer of this ludicrous connection was a man practiced in the art of racial libels, including the infamous (and almost identical) accusations made by his infamous client Tawana Brawley who ruined the lives of six innocent white males by making false accusations of rape against them. After six years of inflicting hell on his victims, Sharpton eventually lost a libel suit brought by one of his victims. But even being a convicted liar failed to disqualify Sharpton as a civil rights “leader” since his victim were only white.
A professor of English named Houston Baker emerged as Duke’s homegrown racial arsonist, leading a posse of Duke faculty members in a public condemnation of the accused students in an ad that appeared in the Duke Chronicle. Baker charged that “white male privilege” had permitted the alleged perpetrators of “this horrific, racist incident” to remain “safe under the cover of silent whiteness.” Whiteness had given them “license to rape, maraud, deploy hate speech and feel proud of themselves in the bargain.”
A year later, the three lacrosse players were exonerated, and the district attorney was sacked as conclusive evidence showed that there had been no rape and they were innocent of any crime. But the mob leaders Jackson, Sharpton and Baker, never had to face consequences for their maliciously racially motivated deeds, never were made to apologize for their racism, or concede that that’s what it was. Call that immunity black skin privilege.
The Duke travesty has left the front pages and faded in memory, along with the many other episodes of racial injustice to whites, that were never openly acknowledged as such. Not only have we have reached a national moment when innocent whites are presumed guilty on the basis of their skin color, but blacks are often presumed innocent when the evidence points to their guilt. This is true whether the crime they commit is false witness, as at Duke, or a double homicide, as in O.J. Simpson’s murder of his wife and a stranger. Simpson was defended by a “dream team” of the nation’s best lawyers and the televised trial was closely watched by the entire nation. When a mostly black jury acquitted the murderer, the overwhelming majority of Americans who had watched the trial viewed the verdict with horror. But not black America, which cheered and celebrated this miscarriage of justice as a racial “payback.” No one called that racism. That’s another black skin privilege.
In America today, blacks generally can conduct racist assaults on whites and count on “civil rights” activists and the media not to notice. In the two months following Trayvon Martin’s death, black assailants carried out at least 14 fourteen known attacks against white victims with the idea of “avenging” the fallen youth. In East Toledo, six juveniles beat a 78-year-old white man, shouting: “This is for Trayvon … Trayvon lives, white [man]. Kill that white [man]!” In Gainesville, five blacks shouting “Trayvon!” beat a 27-year-old white man, leaving his face permanently disfigured. In another Gainesville incident, a black crowd shouting “Trayvon!” assaulted and stomped on a white man who was trying to recover his female companion’s purse from the hands of a black thief. In Chicago, two black teenagers beat and robbed a 19-year-old white man because, as one of the attackers explained, they were angry about Trayvon Martin. In Baltimore, a group of blacks beat and robbed a white man, stripping him naked, then posted a video of the assault online with the caption: “me an my boys helped get justice fore trayvon.” In Mobile, a white man named Matthew Owens was brutalized by twenty African Americans armed with brass knuckles, bricks, chairs, bats and steel pipes after he asked them to stop playing basketball in the street directly in front of his home. As the assailants left the scene, one of them looked back at the victim, who was bleeding profusely, and shouted,: “Now that’s justice for Trayvon!” It is unlikely that many Americans have heard of these racial attacks, because the perpetrators are protected by a media that does not want to notice that the racists are black, and their victims are white.
Within weeks of the Trayvon Martin shooting, a parallel killing occurred with the skin colors reversed at a Taco Bell restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona. A 22-year-old black motorist got into an altercation with Daniel Adkins, a 29-year-old, mentally disabled “white Hispanic” who was walking by. When the argument grew heated, the motorist drew a gun and killed Adkins. When police arrived at the scene, the black shooter claimed that Adkins had swung a bat or metal pipe at him, although no such items were found at the scene. Arizona, like Florida, has a “Stand Your Ground” law that allows a person to use deadly force to protect himself when faced with a life-or-death confrontation. A protective media withheld the shooter’s name, and there was no racial mob calling for his head. Unlike George Zimmerman, the gunman was not arrested nor charged with a crime. Call that black skin privilege.
If you’re black and possibly guilty but a white person is involved, the media will actively volunteer to be your advocate. This was true in the Duke case, where the New York Times and other papers convicted the accused in advance of any legal proceeding. In the Trayvon Martin case, the media withheld details of the crime that were damaging to Trayvon in order to protect him and indict Zimmerman — that the mainly white community he had entered at night had been the target of a rash of recent break-ins and burglaries by young African -American men; that the hoodie Trayvon was wore was a uniform for burglars; and that Trayvon had been suspended from school after burglary tools were discovered on his person along with unaccounted-for jewelry. At the same time, the press flooded the airwaves and front pages with sentimental photos of Trayvon as an innocent adolescent, while withholding others of the six-foot-two, 17-year-old who beat the smaller Zimmerman to the ground, smashing his head on the concrete and causing him to scream repeatedly for his life before he fired his gun in self-defense.
Looking at the Martin case, black skin privilege means you can form a lynch mob if the target is a “white” man and the press will overlook it; you can demand a judgment in advance of the facts, and can conclude his guilt in advance of a trial. You can even take “justice” into your own hands by threatening his life as the Black Panthers did, or twittering his home address like vigilante filmmaker Spike Lee and comedienne Roseanne Barr did in the hope that someone might go after him. If this isn’t a rebirth of the cracker mentality of the segregated South, it is hard to know what would be.
But it is events under the national radar that take the biggest toll. Black skin privilege means the national media will fail to report an epidemic of black race riots that have targeted whites for beatings, shootings, stabbings and rapes in major American cities recently. A determined reporter, Colin Flaherty, broke ranks to document these rampages in a book titled, White Girl Bleed A Lot, after a statement made by one of the rioters. As reported in Flaherty’s book, there have been hundreds of black race riots in more than fifty American cities in the last few years, including more than a dozen each in Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, New York, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Kansas City and Denver. In July 2011, to cite an illustrative example, a mob of African Americans created what the local NBC affiliate called an “astonishing” amount of violence at downtown Philadelphia restaurants, hotels and bars. Afterwards, the politically correct police chief said he feared for the safety of the rioters. But after surveying the mayhem, the city’s black mayor made an unprecedented public statement. “You have damaged your own race,” he said to the culprits, and in a pointed reference to the Martin case, he added, “Take those God darn hoodies down.”
In the liberal culture, black skin privilege has created an optical illusion, persuading progressives that white-on-black attacks are commonplace events, rather than the other way around. In fact, there are five times as many black attacks on whites as the reverse. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which relies on crime victims to identify their assailants, 320,082 whites were victims of black violence in 2010, the latest year for which statistics are available, while 62,593 blacks were victims of white violence. But these raw statistics understate the pattern. In 2010, the white and black populations in the United States were 197 million and 38 million, respectively. In other words, blacks committed acts of interracial violence at a rate 25 times higher than whites (849 per 100,000 versus 32 per 100,000).
This pattern has been among the most consistent findings of criminal-justice research for many years and for a wide variety of crimes. Nationwide there were an estimated 67,755 black-on-white aggravated assaults in 2010, as compared to with just 1,748 white-on-black crimes of the same description. In other words, blacks committed acts of interracial aggravated assault at a rate 200 times higher than whites (181 per 100,000 population versus 0.9 per 100,000).
The physical threat to African Americans from whites is actually minimal compared to the epidemic of black violence against whites. The National Crime Victimization Survey reported approximately 13,000 black-on-white rapes in the United States in 2010, and 39,000 black-on-white robberies, both violent crimes against persons. By contrast, the numbers of white-on-black rapes and robberies reported in the same surveys were so infinitesimal that whites were estimated to have accounted for 0% of all rapes and robberies committed against black victims in the United States.
To stoke the fires of racial grievance in the face of these contrary facts, civil rights advocates pretend that the statistics lie or that merely mentioning them is an act of racism. They tell us that black criminals aren’t actually criminals; the true culprit is the white “unjust justice system” that “profiles” blacks, that and creates this racist illusion. “Unjust justice system” is the term favored by Los Angeles congresswoman Maxine Waters, who explains, “the color of your skin dictates whether you will be arrested or not, prosecuted harshly or less harshly, receive a stiff sentence or gain probation or entry into treatment.” Bill Quigley, legal director of the left-wing Center for Constitutional Rights, agrees with her conclusion: “The U.S. criminal-justice system is … a race-based institution where African-Americans are directly targeted and punished in a much more aggressive way than white people.”
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also agree. At a debate during the Democratic Party primaries in 2008, Obama ignored the facts and charged that blacks and whites “are arrested at very different rates, are convicted at very different rates, [and] receive very different sentences” for “the same crime.” Not to be outdone, Clinton denounced the “disgrace of a criminal-justice system that incarcerates so many more African Americans proportionately than whites.” No member of the press disturbed their duet by pointing out that African Americans commit many more crimes proportionally than whites. This is black skin privilege at work, and illustrates how prevalent anti-white racist attitudes have become in the political culture.
Through sheer repetition and lack of corrective information, the myths of white skin privilege have made a deep imprint on the culture generally and the culture of black Americans in particular. According to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, 84% of black Americans feel that the justice system treats them unfairly. But while it is true that blacks are arrested in numbers greater than their representation in the population, it is it is also true that they commit crimes in far greater numbers than their representation would warrant. African Americans are 12.6% of the U.S. population, but they account for 38.9% of all violent crime arrests—including 32.5% of all rapes, 55.5% of all robberies, and 33.9% of all aggravated assaults. Is this because they are arrested for crimes they didn’t commit? Are they only “guilty of being black”? In fact, the statistics are compiled by interviewing the victims of these violent crimes, which in the case of crimes committed by blacks are mostly black themselves. In 2010, black perpetrators were responsible for 80% of all violence against blacks (including 94% of homicides), while white perpetrators accounted for just 9% of all violence against blacks.
Another inconvenient fact for the promoters of the racial “injustice system” myth is that numerous high-crime cities with majority-black populations and high black arrest rates are run by African American mayors and African American police chiefs. Among them are Detroit, Jackson, Birmingham, Memphis, Flint, Savannah, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. Cognizant of the methods that police use to fight crime and the disproportionate contribution of blacks to crime rates, the former black police chief of Los Angeles, Bernard Parks said: “It’s not the fault of the police when they stop minority males or put them in jail. It’s the fault of the minority males for committing the crime. In my mind, it is not a great revelation that if officers are looking for criminal activity, they’re going to look at the kind of people who are listed on crime reports.” But this sensible attitude has not penetrated the leadership of the Democratic Party nor the nation’s morally degraded civil rights movement.
Crime is only one of the areas where black skin privilege fogs the nation’s brain on racial matters. Under the banner of “leveling the playing field,” the rules of the game have been systematically rigged—against whites and in favor of blacks. Speaking for the dominant culture in our universities, and for the U.S. Supreme Court’s majority, Columbia University law professor Patricia Williams, who is black, explains: “If the modern white man, innocently or not, is the inheritor of another’s due, then it must be returned.” (Innocent or not!) Attorney General Eric Holder is of a similar mind. In February 2012, he expressed amazement over the fact that anyone could seriously think that racial preferences might be bad social policy: “The question is not when does [affirmative action] end, but when does it begin … When do people of color truly get the benefits to which they are entitled?” Or, as the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall put it more candidly put it to his fellow justice William O. Douglas: “You [white] guys have been practicing discrimination for years. Now it’s our turn.” The current Supreme Court majority is sympathetic to this view.
This collectivist view of guilt and debts that erases individuals and their accountability is now entrenched in America’s institutional framework. In the 1970s, affirmative action was successfully redefined to mean racial preferences for non-whites, and a new standard was set for admissions policies at universities across the United States. Though black students’ median SAT scores in any given year were at least 200 points lower than the median for white students,’ blacks were admitted to virtually all academically competitive schools at much higher rates. The pattern of racial privilege for blacks persists to this day, not only in undergraduate colleges and universities, but also in professional training schools for aspiring doctors and lawyers. At the University of Michigan Medical School, for instance, the odds favoring the admission of black over white applicants with the same background and academic credentials have ranged between 21-to-1 and 38-to-1.At the University of Nebraska College of Law in recent years, the black-over-white admission ratio was 442-to-1; and at Arizona State University Law School, 1,115-to-1.
Inevitably the racial bias does not stop with the admissions process. Once a university accepts black students, under-qualified for that school though they may be, it is imperative that they remain in school and eventually graduate, poor performance notwithstanding. This is because high minority dropout rates jeopardize not only a university’s reputation among advocates of racial preferences but also its formal accreditation. To reduce minority attrition and “level the playing field,” many professors evaluate the work of black students using a lower standard than they use for their white and Asian peers, a practice which the late sociologist David Riesman labeled “affirmative grading.” A blunter characterization was made by a professor at one of California’s state universities, who observed: “We are just lying to these black students when we give them degrees.” By lowering the standards for black students—without admitting that they are doing so—universities are also lying to their graduates’ future patients and clients, many of whom are likely to include large numbers of blacks themselves.
Because maintaining racially “diverse” student bodies is now a legal obligation, some schools have taken to providing monetary incentives to black students who meet normal standards, a privilege not offered to their white and Asian peers. At Penn State, beginning in the early 1990s, blacks were paid $580 if they were able to maintain a C average, while those with a B average or better were given twice that amount. In 2011, Yale University announced that it would provide free tuition to black public high school graduates with a GPA of at least 3.0 and a good attendance record. No white student with a 3.0 GPA need even apply to Yale. Monetary incentives have been implemented with younger students as well. In 2008, Harvard professor Roland Fryer spearheaded an initiative to pay underachieving black fourth-graders in New York up to $250 for improving their grades, and as much as $500 for seventh-graders. The ugly racial condescension that goes with these reward systems (not to mention the incentives such advantages provide to students to be content with underperforming) attracts little or no notice. There are also thousands of college scholarships and fellowships earmarked exclusively for nonwhite students. These are made available by private organizations, individual schools, publicly and privately held corporations, the federal government, and state governments.
These scholarships, grants and rewards are not made to students who first demonstrate that they are actually disadvantaged by race or any other factor. Many of the recipients come from quite privileged backgrounds. The benefits are granted to these students because of their race. No one would think of providing such scholarships to white students while excluding others. That would be racist. No one pays much attention to the gross injustices done to white students from all economic backgrounds, who are denied places because they “inherited” unspecified and undocumented advantages by virtue of their skin color.
Nor are racial privileges for blacks limited to educational institutions. Since the 1970s, most major corporations (and a host of smaller ones) have implemented wide-ranging race-specific strategies for recruiting minorities, sponsored scholarships for minority recipients, funded internship programs earmarked exclusively for nonwhite high school and college students, paid current and former employees a “reward” merely for identifying the names of potential “diversity candidates,” and given financial bonuses to managers for successfully recruiting and/or promoting a significant number of black employees. In an effort to maintain their diversity profiles and to keep their coveted black workers from seeking greener career pastures, many companies have established minority employee organizations that sponsor mentorship and self-help programs, produce newsletters, organize fundraising activities, and provide forums in which nonwhites in the labor force can air their grievances. And of course, all of these measures also serve to separate their workers on the basis of race.
Needless to say, since government is the real source of these segregated arrangements, racial privileges are ubiquitous in government hiring practices. Police and fire departments nationwide go to great lengths to recruit black applicants. Where those applicants have failed the qualifying examinations in disproportionately high numbers, departments have simply thrown out the results, lowered the standards, or created new definitions of what constitutes a passing grade. One of the most blatant manifestations of the obsession with diversity involved the Boston Fire Department. A pair of white identical twins, Philip and Paul Malone, both failed the Ddepartment’s qualification test and consequently were dropped from the applicant pool. Two years later they took the test again, at a time when the Ddepartment was under pressure from a court-ordered affirmative action plan to hire more minorities. In an attempt to exploit the judicial mandate, the Malones re-classified themselves as black, —claiming to have recently discovered that their long-deceased great-grandmother was of African ancestry. Their exam scores this time around were 57% and 69%, respectively—far below the 82% cutoff point for white applicants, but more than sufficient for black applicants. The
Boston Fire Department hired the “black” Malone twins.
Like the racial injustice against blacks that preceded it, the racial injustice enforced in behalf of blacks has damaged them as well as whites. It has empowered incompetence and sown resentment, and ensured that racial tensions persist nearly half a century after the Civil Rights Acts outlawed racial barriers. A 2009 Quinnipiac University poll asked respondents, “Do you think affirmative action programs that give preferences to blacks and other minorities in hiring, promotions and college admissions should be continued or … abolished?” Discriminated-against whites favored “abolished” by a margin of 64% to 27% margin, while the black beneficiaries, not surprisingly, favored “continued” by 78% to 14%.
Racial bias is now such an integral part of America’s political culture that in 2008 black skin privilege elected a president of the United States in 2008. Absent this privilege, is the career of our 44th president conceivable? What political novice, lacking notable legislative or professional achievements, having spent his entire career on the radical fringes of American politics, and having encumbered himself with an unrepentant terrorist and a racial bigot as his close political collaborators, could even think about winning a major party presidential nomination, let alone being elected? Absent black skin privilege, what candidate with such a checkered past could go virtually un-vetted by the national press, or receive a pass from his political opponent on matters that would sink the fortunes of a candidate of any other race?
Black skin privilege guarantees not only exemptions from intellectual and political standards that others are required to meet, but and from moral standards as well. What white celebrity, having shot his brother as a juvenile, dealt cocaine as an adult, and stabbed a rival business executive with a five-inch blade could count an American president among his friends and be invited to host his political fund-raisers? But rapper Jay‑Z did exactly that during Obama’s 2012 re-election run, and both he and the president could remain confident that no one would suggest it was a problem.
Black skin privilege is a license not only to commit no-fault crimes, but to be openly racist without adverse consequences. White celebrity bigots, like Mel Gibson, are routinely condemned and shunned as pariahs, as they should be. It would be hard to imagine a white counterpart boasting that he had voted on the basis of skin color, characterizing non-whites as racists, and repeatedly using the word “nigger” to salt his wisdom. When the outrage was committed by black actor Samuel L. Jackson, however, nobody gave his racism a second thought. In February 2012, Jackson told Ebony magazine, “I voted for Barack because he was black. ’Cuz that’s why other folks vote for other people—because they look like them…. That’s American politics, pure and simple. [Obama’s] message didn’t mean [bleep] to me. When it comes down to it, [whites] wouldn’t have elected a nigger. Because, what’s a nigger? A nigger is scary. Obama ain’t scary at all…. I hope Obama gets scary in the next four years, ’cuz he ain’t gotta worry about getting re-elected.” This ignorant and repellent outburst (whites do vote for blacks) resuted in no consequences for Jackson; he didn’t even lose his job as spokesman for Apple’s popular iPhone.
Racist behavior isn’t even a disqualifier for civil rights leaders if they are black. Leader of a “civil rights movement” is how the media characterized Louis Farrakhan during his Million Man March, and Wikipedia still does today. What white racist could hold a march to protest black supremacy and air the grievances of white males, and expect to receive respectable press coverage let alone attract nearly a million whites to follow him? But Louis Farrakhan did just that with blacks. A white racist of Farrakhan’s ilk couldn’t get 5,000 sympathizers to march on Washington, let alone 500,000. That’s a black skin privilege.
What white spiritual leader could support the torture-murders of South African blacks, compare Israel to Nazi Germany, and still be regarded as a moral icon? A black cleric like Bishop Desmond Tutu can. What racial arsonist and convicted liar, whose incitements led directly to the incineration of seven individuals, could be regarded by the national media as a civil rights spokesman, and then hired as a TV anchor by NBC? Only a black demagogue like Al Sharpton. Only a black racist like Sharpton could find himself lauded by an American president (as it happens, Barack Obama) as “a voice for the voiceless and … dispossessed.”
Nor have bigoted advocacies and anti-Semitic slurs cut short the career of America’s other celebrated race hustler. On the contrary, Jesse Jackson’s inflammatory rhetoric and racially motivated campaigns have endeared him to Democratic presidents and made him a millionaire many times over. Despite his success as a black man in America, he lectures Americans on how white racism is “the rot of our national character.” That defamatory charge is the source of his impressive income. By threatening major corporations with racial boycotts that he alone can prevent, Jackson has been able to extort lucrative ransoms not only for the organizations he runs but for himself and his immediate family. In one celebrated case, he called off his threatened boycott of Anheuser-Busch after the company agreed to sell his sons one of its beer distributorships at a specially reduced price, making them millionaires in the bargain.
Despite the baggage he carries, Jackson has been able to make two high-profile runs for the presidency and remain a national civil rights figure. During his first presidential outing, he referred to Jews as “Hymies” and New York as “Hymietown,” indiscretions that would have ruined other politicians but only caused a hiccup in his campaign. He received 3.5 million votes during the primaries—enough to earn him a keynote speech at the 1984 Democratic convention. His anti-Semitism resurfaced in October 2008, when he predicted that an Obama presidency would provide a welcome counterbalance to the “Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades.”
Black skin privilege has enabled Jackson to enjoy a career that would be denied to any non-black politician, while accumulating high-level honors along the way. He has been awarded more than forty honorary doctorates by American universities. He was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton, the highest award a civilian can receive, while the U.S. Post Office put his likeness on a pictorial postal cancellation, making him only the second living person to receive such recognition. He has used this undeserved respect, in conjunction with other black demagogues, to transform a civil rights movement that once stood for race-neutrality in the law, into a vigilante posse seeking one law for “people of color” and another for the rest of America.
Destroying the Diverse Union
Those who attempt to rationalize racial bigotry when it is bigotry in behalf of blacks usually claim that this injustice is designed to redress a historic one, correcting the results of previous discrimination. There is certainly a truth here. Even as black skin privilege has meant widespread injustice to others, it has also brought benefits to a historically discriminated-against group, although individual blacks today would be hard put to claim that racism has been an impediment to their own achievements and successes. Many beneficiaries of racial preferences may also have put the unfair advantages they received through racial preferences to good use. But perpetuating unfairness and inflicting injustice on others because of their skin color is a dangerous proposition, whatever the benefits that may accrue to some.
Racial privilege does more than merely damage the unlucky individuals who are its victims. When enforced by government and backed by law, it tears at the very fabric of the social order, regardless of whom it benefits. The wounds that the principle of separate-and-unequal inflicts on the community are incomparably greater than the damages incurred by individuals or the benefits that accrue to them. Building racial bias into the framework of the nation compromises the neutrality of the law that governs us all. It corrupts the standards that make a diverse community possible, and creates a racial spoils system that is the antithesis of the American dream, which was Martin Luther King’s dream as well. By corrupting the principle of neutrality, racial privilege breaks the common bond between America’s diverse communities and undermines the trust that makes the nation whole.
“All men are created equal” is the creed that makes a diverse nation possible. But a flaw was built into the original construction, which is open to multiple interpretations, including destructive ones. The most destructive of these is the idea that government can and should “level the playing field.” It is this idea that has given birth to the new racism. Obviously, all people are not created equal but are born with disparate abilities and characteristics. People are clearly unequal in beauty, intelligence, character, upbringing, and other vital aspects of personhood that lead directly to inequalities of celebrity, power, wealth and social standing. Because these inequalities are rooted in human nature, there can never be a level playing field. Moreover, the efforts to produce one must lead (and historically have led) led to the loss of individual freedom. This is because the field can only be made equal—and then only superficially—by governmental force as an all-powerful state takes the earned fruits of one person’s labor, intelligence and talent and distributes it to those it prefers, and does so in the name of “social justice.”
The American Founders understood that there is an irreconcilable conflict between freedom and equality, between individual liberty and equal results. They understood that “social justice” in practice is just a rationale for the taking of one person’s achievements, and giving them to others who are favored by the party in power. What is justice to some is necessarily theft to others. It is an “injustice justice” system.” In order to block such the levelers, the founders created a Constitution that guaranteed property rights and instituted a system of checks and balances to frustrate their designs. The purpose of these constitutional checks, as their chief author James Madison wrote, was to thwart the “rage … for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project.” History has proven the wisdom of the Founders’ concern.
In a free society composed of unequal individuals, the drive to level the playing field is a totalitarian desire and a threat to freedom because it empowers government to confiscate the talents and earnings of some for the benefits of those it favors. The expansion of governmental power into every individual sphere whatever its justification entails a loss of freedom for all. Since the targets of the levelers are the creators of society’s wealth, an inevitable result of social justice is generalized poverty and economic decline.
In a free society, composed of individuals who are unequal by nature, the highest government good is neutrality in the treatment of its citizens before the law. One standard and one justie for all. This is the only equality that not at odds with individual freedom. It is the only equality that can make a diverse community one. A nation that respects individual rights and protects individual freedom cannot be sustained if there is one standard for black and another for white; one for rich and another for poor. It can only be sustained by a single standard — one law and one justice for all.
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