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Published on: June 22, 2011
Racial Sunset

Don’t anybody tell Louis Farrakhan, whose video calling President Obama a murderer is oozing through the web this week, but race is slowly and surely fading away.

The problem of the twentieth century may have been, as W. E. B. Du Bois put it so eloquently, the color line; the twenty-first century is on course to witness the death of race as a significant political and cultural concept.

Whether one looks at the United States or at the wider world, the diminishing salience of race – in politics, culture and economics – is one of the most important though little remarked on facts of our time.

The death of race would be good news for the United States.  Race has always (and appropriately) been the skunk at the American picnic.  The long reign of slavery followed by 80 years of Jim Crow is a horror and a shame in American history that undermines some of our favorite ideas about ourselves.  The existence of a largely Black urban underclass is one of America’s most serious problems and the roots of so much urban and rural poverty and human suffering in that painful history poses policy problems the American mind has trouble addressing.

Martin Luther King and Malcolm X on March 26, 1964 (Wikimedia)

All this remains true, but as time goes by people everywhere seem to care less and less about skin color.  Malcolm X’s call for a union of non-white people against the white oppressors does not resonate like it used to.  Former Brazilian President Lula cast responsibility for the 2008 financial crisis on ‘blond haired people with blue eyes'; that was neither accurate in terms of the demographics of Wall Street nor useful as a political rallying cry.

Internationally, race has already largely disappeared as a viable political idea.  Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese and Koreans are more conscious than ever of what divides them than of some common ‘racial’ destiny; the Vietnamese want to strengthen their ties with the US to help keep China at bay.  Indians and Pakistanis are more interested in religion than in skin color.  The steadfast commitment of the ANC’s leadership to a multiracial vision for South Africa’s future has weakened the importance of racial identity politics throughout Africa, especially given the moral, economic and political bankruptcy of the grandiose socialist/Black Power ideology embraced by early post-colonial regimes.  In any case, sub-Saharan politics today revolves around questions of religion, language and tribe; race can still be a potent political mobilizer but it is much less important to Africans today than it was fifty years ago.

When DuBois wrote, the color line was a real economic and political division.  Only one ‘non-white’ country had modernized its economy; other than Japan all the world’s non-white countries had either been carved up into European or American colonies or (like China, Ethiopia and the Ottoman Empire) struggled to cope with richer and more technologically advanced rivals.  Pre-industrial and pre-modern societies were helpless before the economic and military might of the industrial giants.  A tiny British garrison and an industrious civil service could secure the British Empire in India.  Even a tin-pot monarch like Belgium’s notorious King Leopold could rule an African empire.  As the British poet Hillaire Belloc put it, “Whatever happens, we have got/The Maxim gun, and they have not.”

The sharp divergence in the fortunes of white and non-white peoples meshed with poorly understood Darwinian ideas to lead many to believe that races were engaged in a great competition to shape the future of the world.  The ‘weaker’ races, like the original natives of the Americas and Australia, would be pushed to the wall by the ‘stronger’ ones.  The “yellow” and the “white” races were doomed at some future date to a contest for global supremacy.

Outside Minister Farrakhan’s social circle, people don’t think like this anymore.  The collapse of European colonialism in the twenty years after World War Two removed the sense of a common, white enemy that united independence activists across the non-white world.  Over the next thirty years, the success of “capitalist road” developing economies in East Asia and elsewhere combined with the failures of socialism to weaken the belief that the real struggle of world politics was a struggle of the mostly non-white South against the largely white North.

The Third World split up as the twentieth century expired.  Brazil, India, China and South Africa don’t have as much in common with each other much less with Sudan, Somalia, Myanmar and Bolivia as they once did.  Struggles in Africa like the Rwandan genocide, the Nigerian civil war and the Sudanese wars eroded any idea that racial solidarity could organize African politics even as the generation of post-colonial Black Power Pan-Africanists (Nkrumah, Kenyatta, Mugabe) failed their countries and disappointed their supporters.  As the human race develops, loosey-goosey categories like “race” matter much less; economics, religion and culture matter more.

Both abroad and in the US, the key factor weakening race and racism has been the success of non-whites.  China, Korea, India, Brazil and Japan are the biggest success stories but there are many others.  Non-white success is both eroding the sense of a global pecking order with white countries at the top, and undermining the belief that whites have created an economic system which depends on the exploitation of everyone else.  Non-white success refutes theories of white supremacy and defuses anti-white bitterness.  In addition to these macro-stories of Asian, Latin and South African success, countless micro-stories of non-white individuals who flourish and succeed in a liberal, competitive environment have helped free the non-white world from any lingering inferiority complex and pulled the rug from under the feet of white supremacists.

The United States has also been transformed by non-white success.  As African Americans became increasingly successful and prominent across the professions, more and more whites found arguments about racial inferiority less compelling.  More, the African American middle class, so painstakingly educated against the odds by courageous leaders like Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver and inspired by the ideas of thinkers like Dubois and Gandhi, was large enough and able enough to provide the leadership that enabled American Blacks to win the civil rights struggle.

Booker T. Washington

Elijah Mohammad and the Nation of Islam used to argue that white hatred of Blacks was so intense and profound that Blacks could never achieve true equality in a white-dominated US.  That argument seemed much stronger in 1960 than in 2010; that Farrakhan is now denouncing an American Black president as a murderer and idolizing the Great Loon of Libya shows us all what happens when an ideology hits the end of the road.

The Normalization of Race?

As the external barriers to Black success in the US gradually diminished, the meaning of ‘blackness’ began a complex and still continuing metamorphosis.  America has always been a nation of shifting boundaries and definitions.  In the nineteenth century the term “race” was often applied to different nationalities in Europe; people spoke of the deep differences between the Anglo-Saxon and the Latin, Celtic, Slavic and Jewish “races”.  Ethnic groups often had to fight decades of prejudice before being considered truly “white”; as  recently as the 1920s, the Ku Kluxers and other white power groups lumped African-Americans, Italian-Americans and Jewish Americans together on its hate list.

More recently, Asian Americans have largely made the shift from being an intimidating and alien racial “other” to being just another ethnic flavor in the great American melting pot.  As intermarriage levels rise and Asian immigrants continue to embrace Christianity (at many elite colleges the children of Asian immigrants are among the most active members of evangelical campus groups), we are already approaching the day when being Asian American is more like being Irish American than anything else — an identity that you choose and define for yourself rather than a collection of stereotypes imposed on you by the wider community.

The American response to ethnic and cultural diversity has been simultaneously to celebrate and to trivialize ethnic roots.  We dye the Chicago River green on St. Patrick’s Day, but to be Irish American rather than German American or even Waspo American means less and less.  For most Euro Americans, their ethnic heritage is a suit of clothes they wear when they want and leave at home when they want — you are no more and no less Irish or Italian or Swedish than you want to be.  Americans can be intensely involved with their ethnic group — belonging to the Dutch Reformed Church or the Italian-Americans War Veterans — or they can ignore their heritage completely.  We celebrate diversity so thoroughly because it means so little; ethnic festivals and roots have become part of the common American identity.

A bright green Chicago River on St. Patrick’s Day, 2009 (Wikimedia)

Race had been the great exception to this process, but that is beginning to change.  What has been happening in modern America is that the concept of Black is slowly following the path that concepts like Italian, Irish and Jewish took in the last century.  “Negro” or “colored” was once an all-embracing, all-defining involuntary identity that both public opinion and the state imposed on individuals regardless of their preferences or wishes.  When I was born, the law in South Carolina mandated that a racial classification appear on my birth certificate; that classification determined where I would go to school, what hotels and restaurants I could legally patronize and who I could marry.

Those who broke the written and unwritten laws of race — by dating the wrong person, moving into the wrong neighborhood, sitting at the wrong lunch counter or attempting to enroll in the wrong school – were subject to legal penalties; worse, they were often the targets of mob violence that sometimes climaxed with grisly and sadistic lynching.  For decades government was impotent to protect the victims of these outrageous attacks; race based hatred and fear were stronger forces in much of America than the Constitution and orthodox Christianity combined.  Neither the pulpit nor the judicial bench could tame the demon of racial hatred in this otherwise blessed land.

Things have changed in the last ninety years.  The distinction between racial and ethnic categories is blurring; to be African American in the US today is more like being Italian American or Jewish American in 1920 than it is like being a Negro in that year.  Rates of intermarriage are increasing; racial background is becoming a less accurate predictor of social and economic status and while many Blacks remain both marginalized and poor, the United States now boasts a large and prosperous Black middle class.

Black poverty remains an important social problem in the United States — in many ways the most serious and tragic social problem we have.  It is one of the Obama administration’s greatest failings that the President has not yet found a way to address the needs of the inner city and, as I’ve written in earlier posts, all Americans should be concerned by the many ways in which the ongoing disintegration of the blue social model will affect African Americans and especially the poor.

Intellectuals in America tend to lag behind society in understanding the changes taking place around us; race is no exception.  When race was the great problem and source of evil in American society sixty and seventy years ago, the academy was largely segregated and most academics tended to give the subject a wide berth.  As race has become less important and the risks associated with an anti-racist position declined, academia has jumped all over the issue and for some the question of race has become the central organizing focus for scholarly inquiry and social thought.

The decline of the salience of race has another consequence in American life: the decline in the quality of the leadership of traditional Black organizations.  One hundred years ago, to be a Black doctor, Black lawyer, Black undertaker or Black teacher, you had to work in “colored” institutions and practices.  Black musicians and entertainers were once confined to the “race” market, just as Black athletes had to play in Negro leagues.

Under these conditions the best and the brightest in Black America focused their talents and attention largely on race issues.  Morally, the injustice was so stark and the threat of racial violence was so great, that conscience demanded a race-centric career.  Economically, there was no alternative to a career based on service to the African-American community.  The invisible walls forced all African Americans into a racial ghetto.

Little by little those walls came down.  Athletes and entertainers were among the first to escape.  Professionals soon followed.  Howard loomed less large in the Black mind as Black teachers got tenure at Harvard and as the best African-American students gained access to every college in the country.  The best Black professionals could earn more money, have more power and achieve more by working on Wall Street than by working for historically Black financial institutions; lawyers made more from general practice than from pure civil rights or community focused work.  While some first-rate people continue to choose to work in the world of historically Black institutions or to serve race-focused causes, inevitably the opening of other doors has had its effect.  (In the same way, the end of housing segregation allowed the growing Black middle class to leave inner city ghettos for the suburbs.  The quality of community leadership in the inner city declined even as Blacks generally became more successful.)

This experience is one of the ways in which Black America is becoming more like other ethnic groups and less like a unique outlier.  Early generation immigrant communities from other groups also once stuck together in the way that Blacks did.  Irish and Italian lawyers got jobs working for Irish and Italian clients; Irish and Italian schoolteachers had better luck getting jobs teaching “their own” while discrimination against Catholics and immigrants held them down.  Tightly focused immigrant neighborhoods clustered around Catholic churches and operated a series of parallel institutions (like parochial schools) that offered both education and employment within the ethnic cocoon.  Anti-immigrant feeling in the wider community kept immigrants in the cocoon: Protestant school boards insisted on using the King James Bible in school, meaning that many Catholic parents and teachers could not conscientiously participate.  Many colleges and private firms had barriers (No Irish Need Apply) or quotas to keep “pushy” newcomers out of good jobs.  Over time, the walls of these ethnic ghettos also came down, and the best and the brightest left the ethnic community behind to engage in the larger society around them.

An 1854 New York Times advertisement that reads “No Irish need apply” (Wikimedia)

Both among Blacks and white ethnic groups like the Irish and the Italians, elected local politicians and the clergy seem to be the last professions for whom ethnicity is the focus of professional activity — and in many cases the quality of the people filling these roles has declined as more opportunities appear for young people to build different kinds of careers.

The Black identity has a much longer history in the US than the immigrant identities and its hold is still strong.  Because racism generally is declining but has not yet disappeared, and because the forces that once pushed Blacks together and the pull of communal history and loyalty are so strong, the shift from a racial to a post-racial identity for Black America will be wrenching and slow.

The forces propping up the invisible walls around the race ghetto, paradoxically enough, include the various policies developed over the last fifty years to overcome the legacy of past discrimination.  Affirmative action, minority set-asides, racial gerrymanders, ethnic study departments in universities and other programs and policies encourage and subsidize the existence of a race-focused leadership group.  The African American experience is deep enough, and the consequences of past racism deep enough, that some forms of special social focus on the problems of this group are still needed.  But sooner rather than later the question of reforming these programs to make them both more effective at solving real problems and less costly and intrusive is going to have to be faced.  

Today we face a paradox that is going to demand new ways of thinking.  To help poor African Americans we may have to think less about race.  The social problems of the inner city are increasingly human, urban and political problems, and race-based solutions may not help as much as they once did.  Affirmative action can help qualified African Americans compete for jobs in the marketplace; it cannot help a ninth-grade dropout with a drug problem earn a middle class standard of living. We are coming to the point where the well-qualified African American needs affirmative action less and less, while the inner city kid who needs all the help he or she can get doesn’t benefit from it at all.

As race declines in significance globally and nationally, the relationship between race and poverty also changes.  Racial discrimination must be taken into account, historically speaking, for understanding why so much of the American underclass is non-white.  But racial discrimination today (which has by no means vanished and still needs to be fought) is ever less important in explaining the economic and social difficulties of children growing up fatherless in gang-infested, drug-dependent neighborhoods.  That your grandparents’ skin color was black helps provide a historical explanation for why you are stuck in a bombed-out inner city landscape of social devastation; that historical fact may provide an extra reason why society should interest itself in helping you (though there are plenty of other, more immediate ones).  But that history is of very limited use in helping you think about improving your situation — or to society as it tries to think of ways of doing something useful about the problems you face.

Two boys playing in a West Baltimore housing project (Andre Lambertson)

To be morally decent people and to build a stronger society, Americans of all colors cannot forget about our history of racial oppression.  But to continue liquidating the bitter legacy of race, America must move on.

Whatever one thinks about President Obama’s performance in office, his election — and Louis Farrakhan’s bitter reaction to an America changed beyond his imagination — still demonstrates that the United States has turned an important corner.  The color line is now just one of many questions we face, and race is losing its power to warp and diminish American life.

show comments
  • ksdhyg9ptfgvw

    “the twenty-first century is on course to witness the death of race as a significant political and cultural concept.”

    I disagree with this statement.
    Racism is disappearing, except against whites and Jews.

    For example, anyone who opposes Obama is called a racist:

    “She saw me in an elevator in the Superior court and started making comments, that my cases against Obama make me look racist. I told her, that it had nothing to do with his race, it had everything to do with the fact, that he is a complete fraud and that he is using a forged BC and invalid SSN ID. She kept calling me names, she kept calling me crazy, and she was really inciting people in the elevator to say something pro Obama and against me. There were 10 people cramped in the elevator. One guy started yelling at me and telling me, that I need to get the hell out of the country. I thought, that this guy might hit me.”

    There’s also this:

    Delta adopts Saudi
    ‘no-Jew’ fly policy

    “Delta Air Lines’ plan to add Saudi Arabian Airlines to its SkyTeam Alliance of partnering companies would require the American carrier to ban Jews and holders of Israeli passports from boarding flights from New York or Washington bound for Jeddah, prompting outraged accusations of illegal religious discrimination.”

  • Nobody

    I must say, it is the articulate insight of posts like this that make me a devoted reader (even in spite of missteps like the “Atheism kills” post that even still disgusts me to no end).

  • Anthony

    “America has always been a nation of shifting boundaries and definitions….” Unique outlier vis-a-vis American caste structure contexually within racial parameters ends. The Unites States has turned an important corner vis-a-vis its historical black problem. The aforementioned is correct and factual. Equally, “the color line is now just one of many questions we face” as we grapple honestly with incorporating black Americans into our American vision going forward rings true. Yet, America has many parts and many of these parts are mutually and irrationally antagonistic on grounds irrelevant to the welfare of each. Indulging these predilections (cultural, religious, regional, ethnic, etc.) have often been used to rationalize black exclusion from American identity. WRM suggest we continue liquidating the bitter legacy and move on; move on we must as we honestly acknowledge the role color plays and we determine that American life will no longer be diminished because of it.

  • bob sykes

    This might be the most ignorant and delusional blog I have ever read. The tide is running strongly in the opposite direction. You do realize that there is a low-level Hispanic/Black race war, complete with violent ethnic cleansing, underway in Los Angeles and other cities in the US, don’t you? You do realize that Black gangs hunt Whites in many cities?

    Race relations in the US today are the worst I have ever seen. While affirmative action has benefited middle class and upper class Blacks (what few there are), the Black underclass is in the most desperate condition in its history. Crime, drugs, illiteracy, illegitimacy are far worse today that in 1960.

  • Anthony

    “There is not a country in world history in which racism has been more important, for so long a time, as the United States.” How does it start? How does it end? Cui Bono! bob sykes @4 illustrates difficult terrain to cross as U.S. social order transforms. The intelligent person is prone to make significant distinctions, to analyze, compare, reflect and seek out ‘difficulties’ in proffered propositions, whether flattering or promising to himself or not. However, if insecurities pervade critical/skeptical U.S. analysis vis-a-vis racial conditions/propositions is avoided and trite cliches, sterotypes, predilections, etc. are immediately psychologically reassuring thus avoidance of cognitive dissonance.

    WRM, I have always asked CUI BONO regarding maintaining societal division/competion/distaste/combat/enmity between black Americans and others who have entered these welcoming shores; how psychologically ingenious as well as socially controlling using blacks to mis-focus discontent.

  • Otis McWrong

    This blog is very good news indeed. However, before we declare race irrelevant, somebody should alert La Raza (literally, “The Race), the NAACP, Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, etc. Unfortunately, I have to agree with Bob Sykes – white intellectuals wanting race to be unimportant doesn’t make it so.

    Regarding violence: It is open season on whites in many cities – google “Polar Bear Hunting” if you’re curious. Black (err, race neutral) flash mobs destroying businesses and violently assaulting white men and women are increasingly frequent. WRM citing now non-existent lynchings as proof of declining racial violence is silly – blacks murder more people every single year in the US than were lynched in the history of the United States.

    The “black middle class” is almost exclusively government employees. The almost exclusively black underclass is further from earning a middle class standard of living than they’ve ever been. Racial violence – primarily against whites or if you’d refer, Americans Descended from Europeans is at an all time high. Institutionalized racism in the form of quotas, affirmative action, “hate crimes” being something only whites can commit, and our Attorney General openly talking about “my people” is as present as its ever been.

    I suppose wanting race to be irrelevant is easier than contemplating the alternative: it is relevant and there is very little that can be done about it. For me, having recently had a large rock thrown at my car (fortunately it missed) accompanied by a “f**k you white mother f**&*er” shouted by a member of the African-American non-race – for the crime of driving down a Miami street at 3pm – I’ve found applying for and receiving a concealed firearm permit and carrying a loaded handgun anywhere I’m likely to encounter my fellow citizens to be the more prudent choice.

    That said, I have zero doubt than as instances of whites defending themselves become more frequent, we’ll have the usual suspects whining about racism and black victimology.

  • Anthony

    Some clarification, I don’t sense white intellectuals (whatever is inferred by that) want “race” to be unimportant nor do I think they condone violent/urban disorder caused in some U.S. cities via so-called flash mobs!

    Regrettably in a country of over 300 million people and a long history of real and imagined antagonisms, anecdotal examples supporting tendentious conculsions can be cited to justify inclinations mollifying growing alienation.

    Otis McWrong’s sentiment @6 reveals how living in a system that turns one citizen against another and facilitates group resentments as a result of economic distribution arrangements can allow for the justification/rationalization of defense by which he speaks; all the while blaming blaming white intellectuals, black ‘victimology’ panderers, government policy, etc. for his free choices in a system that offers wide though not unlimited free choice.

    Otis McWrong is correct, the most common and most publicized crimes have been the violent crimes of the young, the poor – a virtual terrorization in big cities. A society so stratified by wealth and education lends itself to envy and class anger (please don’t read into last sentence criminal coddling). Perhaps properly understanding thrust of WRM’s exposition would force critical question: How has discontent and disillusionment with system among Americans in 2011 created such estrangement and hostility among its citizenry?

    I dare say our own inability to successfully guage our institutional arrangements has allowed for distorting influences to despoil the adequacy bemoaned by Otis McWrong.

  • Otis McWrong

    While wading through the above in search of a point, one thing stood out.

    Asserting that African-Americans commit the majority of violent crime is not “anecdotal” nor “tendentious”. Facts are stubborn things – about 65% of violent crime is committed by 13% of the population, and is even more concentrated when isolated to African-American males (approximately 6.5% of the population.

    Race exists, whether we like it or not. Whether it remains relevant in the future is an open question, but it is certainly relevant today and likely to become more so as we worship at the altar of multiculturalism. Further, the US complaining industry needs race – it is too hard to segment people into neat little piles of victims without it.

    I fully agree with WRM that those thinking about how to help the underclass should think beyond race – specifically focus on a destructive culture.

    Blaming “institutional arrangements”, “stratified” society, “discontent and disillusionment” and “group resentments” is unproductive. Such terms are infinitely malleable and can (and will) be constantly redefined to ensure they always exist and are in need of govt funding.

  • bob sykes

    I want to apologize to WRM for the intemperate and insulting opening to my comment. It was not only inappropriate, I also failed to properly recognize Prof. Mead’s distinguished academic career.

    I believe Prof Mead is thinking of his own professorial colleagues. But, this genteel and elite group does not represent the attitudes and practices of the rest of society.

  • Derick Schilling

    It’s W.E.B. Du Bois, not Dubois.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      Thanks. The intern responsible is being keelhauled to impress the importance of accuracy. The senior staff have been issued stock options to incentivize them to be more vigilant in future.

  • Bruce B

    Can you separate race from culture? The problems in the inner city are not problems of race, but problems created by the culture of fatherless families. As we know, this was perpetuated by “compassionate” liberals bestowing welfare money on “disadvantaged” people.

    Mainstream America has moved past race, other than when they have it shoved down their throats by race pimps, who still exist and still prosper.

    It is disappointing that Dr. Mead feels that discrimination against whites in hiring and school admissions is still acceptable. Who is to decide when we are a society that has atoned for past racial sins to the point where this is form of preference is no longer necessary? If minorities want equality, don’t they need to compete on an equal basis? They would be able to compete if elites didn’t feel they were apparently inferior and couldn’t do it on their own. W did a lot of things wrong, but his speechwriter’s phrase, “The soft bigotry of low expectations” was profound. Liberals are still OK with that kind of bigotry. Bigotry is only acceptable if a liberal deems it so because it is disguised by their good intentions.

  • Andrea D. Merciless

    “The death of race would be good news for the United States. Race has always (and appropriately) been the skunk at the American picnic. The long reign of slavery followed by 80 years of Jim Crow is a horror and a shame in American history that undermines some of our favorite ideas about ourselves. The existence of a largely Black urban underclass is one of America’s most serious problems and the roots of so much urban and rural poverty and human suffering in that painful history poses policy problems the American mind has trouble addressing.”

    I don’t buy this. Even if blacks had arrived in huge numbers as free people than as slaves and even if there had been no racial discrimination against them, much of our racial problems would exist just the same. Indeed, things might be even worse–if what happened to Zimbabwe and what is happening to South Africa are any indication.
    And take a look at Western Europe where blacks have been arriving only recently and as free people(and bestowed with full equal rights). Despite European generosity, entire areas of London and Paris suburbs are turning into Euro-Detroits or Eurotroits.
    Race will not and cannot go away because races exist, racial differences are real, and racial issues will dog us for those reasons.

    Blacks will continue to underperform academically and professionally due to lower IQ. Blacks will continue to be a social menace because they are, by nature, more aggressive and physically stronger. Lower intelligence, tougher physique, and greater aggression make many blacks difficult to get along with, which is why even white and Jewish liberals push blacks out of certain haute-areas through gentric cleansing.

    The kind of black nationalism as espoused by Malcolm X is less relevant, but this isn’t because race is no longer an issue, but because many blacks figured they could gain more power and advantages via afro-motive action(aka discrimination against white middle class and poor class), collaborate with liberal Jews to undermine white power and interests. Also, Mexican-Americans support illegal immigration because most illegals are Mexicans. It’s all about Greater Mexican Nationalism. SW territories are undergoing profound and shocking cultural changes. Also, Jews–2% of US population but owners of 40% of all the wealth, controllers of most of the media, owners of Wall Street, etc–are very ethnocentric and have been using America for Jewish interests and Zionism. Jews seek to diversify US demographics so they can play divide-and-rule among the various goyim. When Jews say ‘diversity is our strength’, they really mean ‘diviing and ruling over a diverse/divided goy population is OUR Jewish strength.’ A small number of British were able to rule India for so long because of the diversity. Brits played Hindu vs Muslim, regiion against region. Had India been homogeneous, no way could the Brits have ruled for over 2 centuries.

    Also, growing interracism is bad for white race, especially white male pride. As increasing numbers of white women go with black males(because black males are seen as racially-sexually-physically superior to dweeby, soft, and flabby ‘white boys’), whites males will be reduced to ‘white uncle tom’ status ho-de-doing before the black man and the Supremacist Jew. Also, if the pathological genes of blacks prone to crime, aggression, funky behavior, and uninhibited lunacy spread far and wide throughout the population, it will be bad for America as a whole. Race will continue to matter, and Mead’s pontifications are just wishful thinking.

    Though slavery was wrong and Jim Crow was unpleasant, US remained ahead of nations such as Brazil because American whites were more mindful of preserving their racial heritage, talents, identity, pride, and greatness. But as the American white race becomes mulatto-ized and mestizo-ized, US will just become a big version of Brazil-Mexico with ever bigger slums, growing dependency, crime, and degeneracy.

  • Anthony

    Permit me to be perfectly clear, I am not pettifogging statistical data nor seeking an argument. Facts are relevant and timely when appropriate (liars figure and figures lie). Further, extrapolating black concerns from America’s concerns require disaggregation of theme and thus creating new topic and in my opinion skewing exposition’s purpose. Moreover, concise usage of terms to minimize response to premise is done not for malleability but for precision of idea. Concepts like victim, multiculturalism, government funding, etc. are extraneous to WRM’s original premise and come into discussion by way of commentary. Otis McWrong may disagree with premise of Racial Sunset and he may dislike blacks but because a syllogism does not fit your construct, attacking its terms does not invalidate its soundness; and the fallacy of appealing to data sans context to undergird special pleading only reinforces tendentiousness.

    “How skillful to tax the middle class to pay for the relief of the poor, building resentment on top of humilation! How adroit to bus poor black youngster into poor white neifhborhoods, in a violent exchange of impoverished schools, while the schools of the rich remain untouched and the wealth of the nation, doled out carefully where children need free milk, is drained for billion-dollar aircraft carriers. How ingenious to meet demands of blacks and women for equality by giving them small benefits, and setting them in competition with everyone else for jobs made scarce by an irrational, wasteful system. How wise to turn the fear and anger of the majority toward a class of criminals bred – by economic inequity – faster than they can be put away, deflecting attention from the huge thefts of national resources carried out within the law by men in excutive offices.” Institutional arrangements are what they are. I have made no assessments only observations… Otis McWrong. Terms have meaning; humans make them malleable thus unproductive.

    Finally, blacks have serious problems but isolating black problems from America’s problems maintains factious not national interest.

  • Luke Lea

    It is my opinion that racial animosities will continue as long as the half of the population that ends up in the bottom half of the income distribution find it hard to lead materially productive, meaningful, and fulfilling lives. But if we could somehow solve that problem of class the problem of race would take care of itself.

  • Anthony

    @12, this happened in America: “During World War II the goverment administered what was known as the General Education Test to nearly ten million men. A score of 100 represented the average. Approximately 50 percent of all who took the test scored from 86 to 114; 25 percent were below 86; and 25 percent above 114. The method of grading was based on earlier inquiries of psychologists into national distribution of intelligence…. An IQ of 110 is the minimum required for admission to standard colleges and universities today, excluding at a stroke 75 percent. It is this utterly pathetic low state of IQness in much of the population that points up the observation made some years ago by an acute American observer that actually the great bulk of citizens are….” This @12 was written about Americans and their living descendants by psychological specialists testing for uniformity in intelligence as well as children in same family. So, who is to say.

  • Otis McWrong

    Anthony – nice try with “Otis may dislike blacks”. I predicted in my first comment that eventually the racist card would get played and it did. To be precise, I dislike violent criminals. To the extent you equate that with blacks, that is your issue. That said, the fact that violent crime correlates quite highly with race means that race is not irrelevant and is unlikely to become so.

    The rest of your post in 14 seems to be of the “blame the system” variety. We buy aircraft carriers which causes blacks to misbehave, blah blah. Blaming vast impersonal forces or a failure to properly implement government policies while simultaneously implying that if we just tweaked a bit here and did a better job of telling people what to do over there, our problems would solved is just standard leftist nonsense and not worth addressing.

    One of the bigger threats facing African-Americans today is what happens if whites simply tire of making vast transfer payments to people that seem to make no progress, while also violently attacking those paying for their daily existence. I’m not sure what would happen then but am afraid to find out.

  • Mike D’Virgilio

    “Black poverty remains an important social problem in the United States — in many ways the most serious and tragic social problem we have. It is one of the Obama administration’s greatest failings that the President has not yet found a way to address the needs of the inner city and, as I’ve written in earlier posts, all Americans should be concerned by the many ways in which the ongoing disintegration of the blue social model will affect African Americans and especially the poor.”

    This is WRM’s inner post liberal speaking, not quite able to admit or realize that a president of the United States can do absolutely nothing about such intractable cultural problems as black inner city disfuntion. For well over 100 years the secular elitist left claimed that the traditional, two parent family was repressive, that traditional sexual morality based on Judeo-Christian values was not conducive to true human flourishing. This of course come to flower in the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 70s. Add to this the growth of the welfare state that destroyed incentives to build middle class values, and we have inner city problems that may never change. If they do, certainly government will have nothing to do with it, except to make it worse.

  • J. Ram Ray

    Dr. Mead is an enormously informed scholar but his perspective is limited simply because he a privileged White man working in a field dominated by the privileged class.

    The boards and top managements of the Wall Street firms that caused the coollapse were and are indeed dominated by persons who are of European (and Jewish) origin, often with ivy leage social connections, with token representation for non-Whites.

    Two, Pakistanis may be preoccupied with religion but Indians are not, as Hinduism is not a religion, but a culture a way of life -Hinduism has no founder, no official priests and no formal rulebooks.
    Lastly, true America today is less racist but race remains the primary driver in economic, social and health disparities.

  • Anthony

    Otis McWrong, I play no mass cultural card (too much indoctrination). I think culturally you obviate (misinterpret reply) response to avoid cognitive dissonance (its not all white and black and its not defending or excusing any group). Labeling, name calling, and ad hominem usage shifts the emphasis from the question to emotional signals. Fortunately, we in America and on WRM’s blog can seek the American interest with differing views!

    As an addendum Otis McWrong to a previous comment, I modify that human life, in truth, is less an affair of institutions and systems than of people and an interplay of “motivations” and “abilities” in which life is wrapped up.

  • Treshall

    I share Dr. Mead’s opinion that Mr. Obama has been woefully ineffective on the issue of race. His is the politics of envy, division, resentment and payback. Eric Holder’s so-called Dept. of “Justice” is but another of this administration’s sham fronts, a failure on every level. It seems to me that the black population who supported and elected Obama, based on what they thought he would do for them, must now be bitterly disappointed to see him at best, use and demagogue their issues, when he deigns to address them at all, and, at worst, ignore both people and their specific concerns until such time as they can be useful to him, once again, as a convenient political tool. Such usury of individuals adds insult to the their already considerable injury.

  • kjnwifgfiqlgffvfj

    You should get out of your ivory tower and look at the real world.

    Black Youths March in Peoria Screaming, “We Need to Kill All White People!”

  • Atrebatus

    Big problem here in Australia are islamists who ignore the main polity and insist on marrying their 1st cousins and producing what would have been non-viable babies. Today they survive and become a burden on the state fore 25 years or so. Needless to say, ordinary islamist children are signal under-perforners.

  • Anonymous Illegitimate

    Although I am white, I know firsthand what my black countrypeople have gone through to some extent, because I have experienced a very cruel and exploitative set of misfortunes caused by what they call my illegitimacy. Hidden discrimination against illegitimates, even murder, is still common. It goes back far longer than racial discrimination. Many state laws prevent illegitimates from inheriting, as well as from receiving Social Security survivors benefits. Illegitimacy – maps more closely than race does to poverty. The more discrimination against illegitimates in areas like inheritance is practiced, the more illegitimacy there is, because education costs money that illegitimates have no hope of getting, and jobs are vanishing for the unschooled. Intermediate scrutiny in law requires that laws that discriminate serve some purpose, but in this cse, its all backwards. Discrimination via law causes more, not less illegitimacy. As the proportion of wealth that is inherited increases – as good jobs vanish for good the gap grows. Someday, soon, almost everyone in America will be illegitimate. And poor.
    We are all in this together.

  • Anonymous Illegitimate

    The poster who said that Obama has been destructive to the real life hopes of black Americans neglects the very important mental health aspect of seeing a black person, finally, in the White House. Unfortunately, that huge benefit also comes with a price, Americans desperately needed action on healthcare and jobs and we gave those two up for this important, but still, unfortunately, too cosmetic a benefit. And we probably wont see change for a long time because even if Obama wins in 2012, he has put off dealing with the health insurers and drug companies and instead, let them write the bill. That means that each and every American will spend from a quarter to half a million dollars unnecessesarily, compared to a Canadian. That represents the difference between having children, or buying a house, and not. Thats the cost of Obama, the cool looking candidate. And that cost weighs especially hard on black people. They will be forced to pay for [bad] health insurance that only pays 65% of their bills. So they will forgo care and die unnesessarily.

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