Over at a place called Diversity, Inc., founder and CEO Luke Visconti runs a regular column titled “Ask the White Guy.” Recent advice columns have concerned “Why is Trayvon a White-on-Black Crime?” “Can a White Man Speak with Authority on Diversity?” and “Do Blacks Need to Relax Their Natural Hair to Get Promoted?”
No kidding. There is also another white guy who profits from his presumed sensitivity to racism as he makes the rounds on college campuses, coming next to Princeton. His name is Tim Wise and he has written a book titled, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son.
Diversity, Inc., as to be expected, weighed in on Seattle Seahawks football player Richard Sherman’s claims that accusations that he displayed thug-like behavior in an interview immediately after he made a game-saving deflection is evidence of racism. But Sherman’s statement to a FOX reporter, “I’m the best corner in the game! When you try me with a sorry receiver like [San Francisco 49er Michael] Crabtree, that’s the result you gonna get! Don’t you ever talk about me! … Don’t you open your mouth about the best or I’m gonna shut it for you real quick!” is hardly sportsmanlike behavior.
But as usual, Diversity, Inc., seeks out racism. In this article they allow Sherman’s quotes about online comments to end the article: “mind-boggling the way the world reacted,” Sherman said. “I can’t say the world, I don’t want to generalize people like that because there are a lot of great people who didn’t react that way. But for the people who did react that way and throw the racial slurs and things like that out there, it was really sad. Especially that close to Martin Luther King Day.”
(Democrats are now studying ways to monitor “hate speech,” including online comments to which Sherman referred; this bone-headed idea came from a project for a geography class at Humboldt State University.)
Even after his team won, USA Today referred to this incident in the headline, “Seahawks’ Richard Sherman is full of smiles, not quotes, after Super Bowl win.”
Companies like Diversity Inc. who capitalize on the fear of discrimination lawsuits continue to exploit minority communities, as such white guys like Norman Mailer and Howard Zinn did in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
In his 1957 essay, “The White Negro,” Norman Mailer advanced the idea of “Hip,” “the sophistication of the wise primitive in a giant jungle.” According to Mailer’s hipster theology, God is “located in the senses of his body, that trapped, mutilated, and nonetheless megalomaniacal God who is It. . . . not the God of the churches but the unachievable whisper of the mystery within the sex, the paradise of limitless energy and perception just beyond the next wave of the next orgasm.”
Mailer rationalized the behavior of the psychopath: “The psychopath murders—if he has the courage—out of the necessity to purge his violence, for if he cannot empty his hatred then he cannot love, his being is frozen with implacable self-hatred for his cowardice.” Mailer presented the case of two eighteen-year-old thugs beating up a candy-store keeper. Such murder is not therapeutic because it’s not murder of an equal. Still, wrote Mailer, “courage of a sort is necessary, for one murders not only a weak fifty-year-old man but an institution as well.”
Howard Zinn, the late communist history professor too saw the “Negro,” specifically, the “ghetto Negro,” as someone who could fulfill his aims of tearing down capitalist institutions. In a 1969 essay titled “Marxism and the New Left,” Mailer wrote, “Marx envisioned the industrial proletariat as the revolutionary agent because it was in need, exploited and brought together in the factory. The Negro is in need, exploited and brought together in the ghetto.” The New Left, the “loose amalgam of civil rights activists, Black Power advocates, ghetto organizers, student rebels, Vietnam protestors” would then recruit the ghetto “Negroes” to revolutionize “cities, universities, corporations.”
The respectable middle class was seen as the biggest obstacle to a communist revolution. The 1960s was the time when the black community was making its biggest inroads into the middle class and into higher education. Radicals like Zinn did not want blacks to acquire middle class status and values. Some professors argued for admission of low-achieving black students to their campuses over high-achievers. The New Left’s promotion of “smashing monogamy” and welfare dependence encouraged the decline of the black family.
Mailer gained notoriety and rationalization for his own thuggishness that included stabbing one of his wives and championing killer Jack Abbott, who would go on to murder again. That led to sales of his books. Zinn enjoyed the benefits of a tenured position in academe and sales of his books. Visconti and Price today rake in consulting and speaking fees for hammering on the distorted and depressing charges of never-ending and ever-present racism.
There were some black leaders during the Civil Rights era who objected to such stereotyping and presumptuousness.
In his speech before the 84th Annual Session of the National Baptist Convention, in 1964, Reverend Joseph H. Jackson, President of the National Baptist Convention, indirectly criticized such agitators. He advised that “Negroes must still make their own leaders.” The leaders should come from the fields of politics, civil rights, religion, and business:
“We have athletes and comedians. Let us still applaud our athletes when they achieve on the field of competition, and let us join with others and freely laugh at the jokes that our comedians give. But we must not confuse these various fields. There must not develop any dictatorship of any one field, and athletes and comedians must not make the mistake of assuming the role of political, religious, and cultural leaders. We as a race must see to it that each man serves in his field, and we must not allow the white community to pick our leaders or to tell us what Negro we should follow.”
Jackson advanced a more measured approach to ending racial injustice and cautioned against a “spirit of revenge, blind emotions, and uncontrolled temper.” Reminding his audience about how direct action led to “mob violence and vandalism,” he suggested instead using the vote and respectful debate.
Like Frederick Douglass, Jackson expressed hope that the American founders’ ideals would be fulfilled:
“America was born in a struggle and as a struggle for freedom, and for the opportunity to develop the highest resources of mankind. The Declaration of Independence and the Federal Constitution were the results of our fathers’ attempts to put on paper the ideals that inspired the birth of the nation, and those principles by which and on which the nation was erected and sustained. There have been errors, mistakes, and gross sins committed against this American venture, but this high venture has not been repudiated or negated.”
You will not see mention of Jackson in Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, widely used in high school and college classrooms. You will not likely hear mention of him at the Diversity, Inc., workshops and conferences. Students on college campuses are not likely to hear a respectful reference to him from speakers like Tim Wise. Conservative black leaders like Allen West are not treated respectfully by liberal white journalists. It seems that such “white guys” still have an agenda.
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