Obamageddon Coming to a City Near You?
Published on: July 12, 2011
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  • Notable points: Black leadership includes a lot of sleaze and Blacks are about six times over-represented on government-type payrolls. One point that could be added is a collapse in net worth of Black households, a collapse far exceeding that of White households, if the Economic Policy Institute’s analysis of Federal Reserve stats is to be trusted. Blog link with numbers: http://metanoodle.blogspot.com/2011/07/net-worth-drops-in-black-and-white.html

  • Anthony

    WRM, you paint a very bleak picture! “Whose politics were the most shortsighted, opportunistic, and irresponsible? Was it the civil rights groups? Or was it the convenyional two-party practitioners? Or was it the radical Left? What about the nationalist? Separately, none of these factions are responsible; together, they all are.” Therein, WRM lies are 21st century American historic black problem. Blacks entered American capitalism as commodities and the legacy of that fact remains and every immigrant to enter Ameica since 1619 has been allowed to economically contest with black labor under those ground rules.

    Granted, 2011 is not 1619 nor for that matter 1964. Yet, for all intents and purposes, the “United States is racially, ethnically, and culturally a plural society. The legal and judicial problem is that the American Constitution was never conceived, written, amended, or otherwise interpreted either to reflect, accomodate, or otherwise acknowledge the pluralistic composition of American society.” Where do blacks go from here – both the affuent new class and the vast economically poor majority? Is it to laissez-faire principles of American open society or, as it always has been for Americam blacks, historically conditioned American status with all other immigrants permitted to disinherit blacks?

    The sheer size and complexity of black America today as well as America’s transitioning economics warrant both scrutiny and policies centered on economics; equally, understanding the capitalist dynamic and where blacks fit must be incorporated into dialog discussing black Americans in a changing country. “Blacks must shape their polcies and build their lives not on myths and slogans published by the powerful, but on truth and experience abouth themselves and how the world around them actually distributes its economic rewards and penalties.”

    Finally, I trust the rootless force and violence WRM intimated that comes from desperation and alienation (a poisonous brew of hate, hopelessness, envy, class inferiority, etc.) does not become the worst case reflecting both defeat and symbolic destruction – benefitting compradors.

  • Anthony

    Edit @2 should read: … Or was it the conventional two-party practioners?…. Therein, WRM lies our 21st century American historic black problem – a problem that has been going on in no other country as long.

  • Even more telling than the black unemployment figures is the labor participation rate. I haven’t looked it up but for our society as a whole it is sixty something percent. For blacks it must be much higher and for young males in their teens and twenties it must be astronomical. No wonder they are flash-mobbing, what else is a poor boy to do?

    And into this society we are letting approximately 150,000 immigrants enter the country monthly, most of them presumably in need of jobs, and most of them uneducated and unskilled, but docile, and inured to third world poverty and grind.

    Seriously, it’s time for serious leaders to call for an immigration moratorium. Forget legal vs. illegal immigration and don’t even talk about “guest worker” programs.. We need an across-the-board time-out, a pause in new people coming into the country, to give us a chance to take care of our own.

  • Anthony

    An additional thought WRM: your quintile labeled successful are proportionately employees drawing salaries in a capitalistic commercial world premised on large capital movements and ownership. The quintile referenced whether in government, private enterprise, academia, GSE’s, etc. are producers of great wealth nor capitalist employing people. Consequently, their successes are systemic and individualistic. Certainly to be noted but soberly appraised vis-a-vis remainding 80%. In my estimation, “failure by early twentieth-century reform (and also labor) leaders, both black and white, to cultivate and encourage the principles of cooperative economics among blacks is a serious sin of omission (acknowledging both semi feudal character of southern agriculture and white supremacy traditions as intransigent obstacles; where majority of black population resided until to end of 1930s where they ranked at bottom of labor scale). Concomitantly, the harsh economic ineqities imposed by system of free enterprise via discriminatory practices leave legacy identified in “Obamageddon Coming to a City Near You;” a legacy that reveals important but rarely discussed U.S. social and economic power relationships domestically.

    WRM’s quintile and the above background highlights unforgiveable sin of ignoring the economic and political interest of poorer blacks while gaining wealth (black achievers defaulting on leadership). Standards have fallen short, individualism is the American way but unrestrained individualism has led in many respects to a floundering black citizenry – “The majority group does not have to and will not – in fact, cannot – effectively ally itself with a minority group (for the latter’s benefit) if the minority group itself fails to organize its own economic, political, and cultural potential….”

    Finally, upon closer inspection American history reveals a specfic relationship to the constitutional history of United States and blacks in that defining blacks as another immigrant group with classic immigrant history is a misnomer. That is, as inhabitants representing the country’s founding – along Anglo-saxons and Native Americans – black Americans are here at beginning. Perhaps, such reordering can initiate fresh look at need to institutionally reorganize present day black life in 21st century America.

  • Toni in Texas

    I really don’t get it. Mr. Mead is clearly agonized about the fate of poor blacks. He wrote on June 22 about decreasing racism; he might have added that the remaining white racists are both morally and economically marginalized. He also wrote on June 22 about how the Irish, Italians, Jews, and other historically despised ethnic groups became integrated into the American economy.

    I really don’t get why he thinks poor blacks can’t make it up the same ladders, the same way, the Irish, etc., did in the past.

    I caught up with WRM’s last two essays in the order in which they were written. I just posted about the July 10 essay:


    Now that blacks of both genders are successful at the highest levels of government and business, what prevents poor young blacks of both genders from getting on the bottom rungs of the socioeconomic ladder? So they can work their way up the way Irish, Italians, etc., did in the past?

    I suggest that the poor young blacks’ greatest impediment is the low expectations of both black and white leaders — not all of them, but enough to make the young people believe that they really are victims, and they really can’t make it even if they try.

    As for Obama’s nonexistent solutions, well, the man spent 20 years listening to the racist rants of Rev. Wright, and when his black buddy was arrested by Cambridge policemen, Obama’s knee-jerk reaction was to say they “acted stupidly.” Obama, never among the urban poor, but beneficiary of affirmative action all his formative years, also doesn’t believe ordinary black people can make it if they try. His solution has been the stale old blue solution: throw money at it — in this case, stimulus funds fed to state and local governments, so they wouldn’t have to lay people off, which only managed to postpone the layoffs.

    Anthony above encapsulates the traditional liberal response: “The sheer size and complexity of black America today as well as America’s transitioning economics warrant both scrutiny and policies centered on economics; equally, understanding the capitalist dynamic and where blacks fit must be incorporated into dialog discussing black Americans in a changing country.”

    In other words, blacks are different. Blacks can’t make it the way the Irish, etc., did. — Now, what does that attitude do but convince some blacks that they really *can’t* make it, because society is racist, or they’re inadequate, or both?

    In truth, “blacks are equal” and “blacks need special help” are mutually exclusive claims. For heaven’s sake, let black people be just plain people, and stop acting like they can’t make it! Please.

  • Gerrymandering is another destructive force. Congressional seats are drawn to contain blocks of minorities. These districts are sending incumbents back to Washington who are sustained through destructive, racial politics. We must reform the way Congressional districts are drawn if we are to move beyond race based policies to effective governance.

  • John Barker

    The problem with our schools transcends race.Typical school/state academic standards are college prep in essence. Many of our students as they approach mid adolescence would benefit from an education in an applied setting. The vocabulary from from Tuesday’s reading lesson should be used in the workplace on Wednesday. As far as I know, no one has been able been able,in a mass educational program,to attain the threshold achievement levels that make college success highly probable for students with average or below intellectual ability. After twenty years of raising standards, the college completion rate is still about 30%. But vocational training programs that mix the abstract with the concrete have worked for years in the armed forces and elsewhere. But given the anti-business climate in many cities, students would need to be taken to where the jobs are and I don’t know how this could be done. Perhaps, job corps programs could be located in Houston and other growing cities. Such programs could be industry specific and managed by the businesses involved.

  • NanGee

    There was a story recently in either the LA Times or the LA Business Journal quoting a Beverly Hills business person who was propounding AGAINST having the LA subway system expanded to Beverly Hills. He said it was alright to build a train system over to the ocean in Santa Monica or Venice, but to just skip right on by Beverly Hills on the way because they don’t want to have cater to “subway riders”.

    I wonder if he’s been reading the stories of flash mobs from the ghetto riding public transit in Chicago and other places to get to the areas where the richer sheep flocks reside, and then being able to easily escape back home on their local trains and subways.

    I’m told that during the Watts / South LA riots, the crowds did self-edit and voluntarily stopped their rampages at Beverly Hills, possibly because Beverly Hills has a separate and distinct (and well-armed) police force of their own. I wonder if they’ll be so polite in future up-risings, once the black and brown citizens of LA have stolen everything from each other there is to steal and need to branch out where there are still some pickings to be harvested.

  • CatoRenasci

    Ultimately, the Obama Depression and his Radical Reconstruction-like government of leftwing carpetbaggers, scalawags and the black Democrat political ‘establishment’ will set race relations in this country back fifty years, or perhaps more.

    Black voters are Obama’s true believers. The rest of America will ultimately not forgive 90+% support in the face of his war on America.

  • Yahzooman

    Very courageous, Dr. Mead.

    You are the Howard Cosell of the blogosphere:

    “Telling … it … like … it … is.”

    For decades, Blacks (former commodities in our economy, as you say) have been told by liberals that they are victims. They have been told they are owed reparations. They have been told they are deficient by nature and need an artificial boost (affirmative action).

    Now that one of their own has reached the top (Mr. Obama) all these victim-hood excuses are vanishing just as the economy is ravaging everyone. Whites, at the moment, are not in a mood for reparations, set-aside programs and racial preferences.

    A century and a half after the Civil War, Blacks may agree with that great social critic, Janis Joplin that …

    “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”

  • DeeDee

    Why do you capitalize “black” but not “white?”

    And as long as anyone or any race or creed relies on local and national “savior” politicians to give them an almighty helping hand, rather than take advantage of blatant affirmative-action favoritism that is right there waiting for anyone who will take it, they will continue to wallow in poverty. There is no free lunch.

  • lhgf75e76seujkjb

    “The administration-produced Department of Labor report does its best to accentuate the positive, but it is clear that when it comes to employment, the Obama administration has been a total bust for Blacks.”

    This is why they can’t decriminalize drugs. If there weren’t so many people in prison the unemployment rate would be astronomical.

  • JKB

    So when the cities burn, why on earth would we rebuild them? Sure some aging hippies who bought lofts will be inconvenienced but they long to relive their wasted youth of racial turmoil and riots. But cities, especially the urban core aren’t conducive to dynamic entrepreneurial enterprises. The riots would push the last of the hopeful out. So why not plow them under and make an urban desert or just let the kudzu have it?

  • Doug

    Anthony apparently does not understand the Constitution. The Constitution, for isntance, recognized the humanity of blacks. The whole 2/3 thing is the fixation of Lefists who are ignorant. The Constitution never mentioned race, and free blacks, even in the SOuth, counted the same as a white person under the constitution. The problem for today’s blacks is that they have bought into the Left’s worldview of violence, resentment, and class and race fixation. When your popular culture devalues studying hard as not being ethnically “authentic,” encourages screwing around and creating legions of single parent families, and disparages work if the job yields only “chump wages” you create a recipe for failure.

  • Mad Max

    I care about the economic well-being of blacks as much as they care about mine.

    Which is to say, not at all.

    95% of blacks enthusiastically elected a straight-up racist who they thought would steal my wealth and give it to them.

    Well, he has done that. But he’s destroyed so much of the economy that it’s still a net loss for the black community.

    Oh, well. Tough [stuff]. You made your bed. Enjoy lying in it.

  • Jeff

    The Constitution was certainly drafted and amended with an eye to governing a pluralistic society – the colonies were beset by ethnic and religious differences, and did not trust each other. Hence, their compact included both (1) general structural provisions guaranteeing a relatively weak federal system and (2) specific innovations like the Establishment Clause that ensured minority rights. The Constitution was further expressly amended to ensure equal protection under law for racial minorities and other groups. These elements work to protect both individuals and minority factions of all types from arbitrary government interference.

  • MWR

    Mr. Mead, I think you forgot one key aspect of the “Obamageddon” that is disproportionately affecting blacks, and that is the explosion of single parent — predominantly single mother – homes and the lack of quality black male rolemodels to fill the void left by an absent father. The family is the most basic building block of a healthy society, and the loss of that building block puts the entire foundation on shaky ground. Single parenthood is an issue across the racial, age, and income spectrum, but its devastating effects on urban, inner city families and the children born there are truly painful to behold.

  • DaveC

    When black tribes go to war with each other, you get Rwanda. When white tribes do it, you get Bosnia. But when a white tribe fights a black tribe, the blacks always get massacred, even when they all have guns. This happened hundreds of times in the American South from 1877 to 1979.

    Whatever you think of the morals of rural whites, they do know how to shoot.

    So how did whites lose Zimbabwe and South Africa? They gave up without a fight after black leaders promised to respect their civil rights.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      And exactly how often did the “black tribes” in the US have “all the guns” after 1877? White mobs killed a lot of unarmed people; it’s neither a pretty nor a heroic story.

  • Pashley1411

    “I suggest that the poor young blacks’ greatest impediment is the low expectations of both black and white leaders>”

    Actually, Mead has written in the past, quite effectively, that the greatest impediment is that elite society has pulled up the drawbridge on poor and lower class citizens.

    Our elite institutions, government especially, respond to bigger organizations; banks, unions, the elderly, liberal advocacy groups, much more than making sure dirtier industries have a place to do business, labor competition from emigrants doesn’t swamp our poorer citizens, and that government and legal institutions don’t feed unreasonably on the lower classes.

  • Bohemond


    You mention “1619” as if it represents the beginning of slavery in English America – but that’s Narrative history and a distortion. The Africans who arrived in Jamestown in 1619, albeit not as voluntary immigrants, were not slaves, since English law didn’t recognize the status. They were indentured servants, bound for seven years just like Englishmen of the same condition, at the end of which term they were freed and given land. Slavery didn’t come into being until 1656- and, ironically, the master whose lawsuit established slavery in Virginia was himself black and a former indentured servant.

  • Wat is striking to me is the absence of black entrepreneurship in black neighborhoods. I read an article in City Journal, Winter Edition, about Korean immigrants who opened small neighborhood stores in New York poor neighborhoods. Most of you have read stories about the anger toward such small scale entrepreneurs stimulated by black activists. Many of the Korean store owners have moved on but they have not been replaced by black store owners.

    Why ?

    The City Journal article pointed out that very little money was needed to get started in such a venture. Certainly that amount is available to black workers who would like to own a store and run their own business. Are there such people in the black neighborhoods ? Why has free enterprise and capitalism not taken with this subset of Americans ?

  • Bohemond

    Gee, it’s not like anybody could have seen this coming back when LBJ launched his “war on poverty”….except for the frickin’ Assistant Secretary of Labor!
    Pat Moynihan, whose 1965 report predicted precisely this outcome.

  • Casper

    “proof that ordinary politics cannot change their lives”

    The fallacy of getting a better life via politics has wasted many people’s time for nearly five decades now. Politics mattered that way in the days when government actively held people down, but once those impediments were removed in the 60s, the way to a better life was through hard work, discipline, education, thrift, family, good old-fashioned middle-class values that had nothing to do with color.

  • Race War is coming. In fact the opening stages have already begun. Whenever you see or hear about the latest outbreak of black on white crime(flash mobs,robberies of white businesses by waves of blacks,rapes and murders of white women perpetrated by blacks all over the country, know that the race war has already started. And as the economic situation gets worse, these incidents will spread and escalate. Whites are not allowed to point out ,comment or even contemplate what is going on becair they know that to do so would risk their employment and their phyisical safety

  • JLK

    Dr Mead

    People like Anthony need to buy a passport and use it to expand their worldview. No matter where you go outside of Sub Saharan Africa, blacks are on the bottom of the social ladder.

    In the mythical Europe, beloved of the Left, all workers are living in peace and harmony with 6 week vacations lifetime (non-work) jobs and luxury retirement benefits including top of the line medical care.

    As a Euro vet of many years I am here to tell you that perception is not even close. Europe has financial problems that dwarf ours. Instead of Government Motors they have whole countries (PIIGS) on the dole while cooking their books hoping for fiscal miracles down the road.

    And…thes countries only pay 1-2% of GDP to their pipsqeak militaries. In Germany, Turks have been living in their own neighborhoods, speaking their own language, going to lousy schools and dealing with low wage-high unemployment conditions for many years. The “Gastarbeiter”(guest worker program) started in the SIXTIES and there has been near zero progress on integration into mainstream society. Same goes for Holland, UK, Austria, Italy, Spain etc etc.

    And if this is true for Turks it is much worse for blacks. Finland has 50k Somalians living there through a short-lived amnesty program and all I hear from my frinds there are complaints that would make a 21st Cent American harken back to the Jim Crow south.

    Anyone who is not blinded by ideology can see that the “Ultra Blue” model of these countries does NOT work. So what is left? Communism? Facism?

  • Race War is coming. In fact the opening stages have already begun. Whenever you see or hear about the latest outbreak of black on white crime(flash mobs,robberies of white businesses by waves of blacks,rapes and murders of white women perpetrated by blacks all over the country, know that the race war has already started. And as the economic situation gets worse, these incidents will spread and escalate. Whites are not allowed to point out ,comment or even contemplate what is going on becair they know that to do so would risk their employment, their physical safety and/or that of their loved ones. The whites still infected by the liberal disease of white guilt unwittingly or even deliberately,despite all the evidence around them, do not realize that they are just as much a target to for this escalating campaign of black racial hatred and violence as the whites who know without illusion what is happening and is taking the appropriate and nessesary measures to defend themselves.”The two main motivations in the black attitude towards the white are:HATRED and REVENGE-Mr. Happy

    • Walter Russell Mead

      I’m not sure what planet Mr. Happy lives on, but it’s a much more interesting place than Planet Earth. One of the most amazing and wonderful things about this country, a great unmerited blessing I can only call a gift of grace, is that despite all our racial problems and tensions, people in this country want to get along and grow together. There are nasty crazy people in all our communities and paranoids and psychopaths come in all the beautiful colors of the rainbow, but the rest of us are committed to marginalizing the creeps. Part of this, I believe, comes from the influence of Christianity in American life. We are a people who have been taught that it is better to sacrifice than to take, better to forgive than to hate — and that God loves every human being and shows no partiality in judgment. The reason that more people don’t spout garbage like yours, “Mr. Happy”, isn’t that they are too afraid. It is that they are too smart. Have a nice day.

  • Corlyss

    Why wait for the future to judge the impact of this misbegotten administration, largely the construct of Boomer liberals and street-fighter Democratic ops, on race relations in this country?

    The Obama administration has set back race relations in this country for 40 years.

  • GA Dean

    It is interesting to reflect on how the election of Barack Obama was once seen as “a giant step forward for American racial politics” as you say. Looking back, that election now seems a stark demonstration of America’s on-going racial obsession. Can we really imagine that this feckless fellow would have been a serious candidate, less alone a successful one, had his father not been African?

    Even three years hence, how many Americans, especially in the press and political circles, can look at Barack Obama without first seeing his race? Will we ever be able to just see the man? He lacks even a family connection to the long and sad history of African-Americans, so it’s really just the most trivial aspects of racial identity at work here.

    He was elected as, and remains (in some circles) an avatar for an entire race. If America were indeed “moving beyond race”, we would treat him as a man, like any other, and be comfortable with the rough treatment and criticism handed to any President. Clearly some, perhaps many, are not comfortable, suspecting “racism” behind policy disputes. They give away their own racial obsessions.

    The plight of American cities is itself not really a racial issue, but an economic issue, and this president is clearly weak on economic policy. Expecting a black president to necessarily benefit blacks is itself a bit of race-minded foolishness. Racial amity will not bring jobs to the inner cities. Race remains an irrelevant distraction in American politics, important only because we make it so. Perhaps this president will help, in the end, to prove that, and thus move us beyond our race-based views.

  • David N. Narr

    Respect me; pay me. . .or I’ll make you do so. Is that where we’re heading?

    Barack Obama’s election as President will turn out to be the worst thing that ever happened to black people. His personality, his means of ascent and half-baked Marxist policies have heightened the contradictions between the illusion of moral superiority derived from the struggle for equal civil rights, and the reality of a culture and politics of victimization, entitlement and various social pathologies.

    Perhaps we’d have gotten to this point sooner or later without the financial crisis and his consequent election. To paraphrase Samuel Johnson: Nothing clarifies a people’s mind so well as the certain knowledge they will be bankrupt in the morning.

  • Jeff York

    “Before you can drain a swamp you first have to build a dam.” Before you can solve a problem you first have to identify the source(s) of the problem and “cut if off.”

    It’s my understanding that blacks & hispanics have signifcantly higher birth-rates than whites to include higher rates of teen-pregnancies. If they would delay having children until after they had completed their education and become established in some kind of career that would go a long way towards reducing poverty.

    I read in the _Economist_ that some years ago a British think-tank came to America to study poverty. They concluded that, in America, an individual’s chances of escaping poverty were virtually gauranteed if they’d do three things: complete high school; have no children out-of-wedlock; not fall into the welfare-trap, work at *something* no matter how little it paid in the beginning. Granted, finding work now isn’t as easy as when the study was done twenty-odd years ago but the principles remain sound. –Jeff York in Houston, Texas

  • Patrick Carroll

    I recently spent some time in hospital, and was struck by the large number of black and hispanic nurses. Has it occurred to anyone that these people will bear the brunt of Obamacare’s cuts?

    Obamacare won’t just destroy American medicine, it’ll also wipe out a whole segment of the black and hispanic middle class.

  • M. report

    Check all your razors and your guns,
    ‘Cause there’ll be a shim sham shimmy
    when the wagon comes.

    Or, perhaps, when the police wagon stops
    coming into the neighborhood, there will
    be ‘civic unrest’ followed by a the rise
    of a self-organizing society which has a
    short way of dealing with Rude Boys.

  • Anthony

    Bohemond @22, 1619 used as reference point of arrival on established English colony in North America. Further, some historians think those first blacks in Virginia were considered as servants, like the white indentured servants brought from Europe. But the strong probability is that, even if they were listed as servants (a more familiar category to the English), they were viewed as being different from white servants, were treated differently, and in fact were slaves (cf. A PEOPLE’S HISTORY of the UNITED STATES).

  • Anthony

    I’ve traveled the world JLK; My world/global experience is not at issue. If you dislike my point of view that’s your American right; moreover, comparative geography and ethnography are nowhere inferred in exposition. Sometimes unexamined predilections takeover to ease cognitive dissonance and attacking the person precludes examining the veracity of proposition.

  • obama-mecca-me-sick

    Great article. We will see riots in most blue-state, large cities sooner than later. When the federal dollars(from China)dry up, inner city youths will try to take what they want by force. Average citizens need to be prepared to defend themselves fron this coming chaos. I suggest getting a 9mm Glock and pump 12 guage shotgun for protection.

  • Tom Kinney

    Hey, Mr. Mead, you swiped Obamageddon from me after posting it here many times. But that’s okay. You actually put it into context, and a context that you’ve been exploring for months, starting with the blue state series where you offered up the revelatory fact that public sector workers–i.e., the highest employed sector in terms of percent of affirmative action hires–are disproportionately black and therefore disproportionately impacted. As one would expect in a domain where Big Government has total sway.

    But as P.J. O’Rourke has wisely and humorously said in mocking an NPR “breaking news” story: “WORLD TO END; WOMEN AND MINORITIES TO BE HARDEST HIT!!!”

    Funny because it is clever, but also spot on as a punk on the impossibly self-righteous NPR. Sadly, it’s also true, because during economic hard times, the poorest are always hit the hardest.

    If there’s a lesson in the disconnect between Obama the half-black president and the black community’s current plight, it has little to do with race. Rather it tells us that an ideology-heavy curricula is not a good fit for a common sense-driven problem; that of a struggling economy. Like FDR, Obama’s economic solution has been to fix the economy to death. And fix it he has; night and day and Sunday evenings he can’t let it rest. Well, Mr. Obamageddon, you can now consider the job to have been very well done, as dead the economy surely is now.

    A word about the moniker Obamageddon. Obama is cursed with a Swahili name that is typically vowel heavy, leaving him with a finishing “a” vowel that invites attachments: Obamanation, Obamageddon, etc.

  • EJM

    Only a few people like Dr. Mead are even mentioning the negative effect of Obama’s policies on low income people of all races, but particularly blacks. You know that if this were a Republican administration we would be hearing morning noon and night about the “devastating” effects of the President’s policies and poor economy on blacks. The Democrats and the media pounded on this theme during Reagan’s and both Bush’s presidencies. Now of course they are nearly totally silent.

    The Republicans need to reach over the chasm of distrust–and racism–fanned up by Democrats to those seeking the first rung of the ladder up out of poverty and the middle class. If you want school choice, clean streets and public safety rather then you should vote for conservatives, not the “liberals” and race hustlers. Only growth based conservative policies of lower taxes, reduced regulations on small businesses, and smaller government will lead to more jobs for everyone, and especially inner city blacks.

  • BaronMatrix

    You’re all crazy or something. I live in Inglewood CA and 90% of black men dress like they don’t want a job.
    Yes, there is a separation in our community, and most of us picked Lil Wayne as our spokesperson so those are the ones who are broke and crying racism. I’ve worked at Microsoft and Accenture for a total of almost 9 years.
    I got the job, it wasn’t AA. I worked harder and studied harder than the other guy. That’s the key to success.
    If you are dressed like the guy who just got out of jail, you’re NOT BEING RACIALLY PROFILED, you FIT THE DESCRIPTION, dumbass.
    If your tatted up and riding around with 5 other tatted up (creatively misspelled expletive deleted – ed) and get pulled over, you’re not being racially profiled, you FIT THE DESCRIPTION.

    I can remember people saying “that’s nerdy, I ain’t doing that.” I probably paid your salary in taxes last year.

  • Toni in Texas

    The late, great sociologist and Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan also wrote a very perceptive 1993 analysis called Defining Deviancy Down. http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/formans/DefiningDeviancy.htm

    In it he explored the causes of the exploding crime rate. Here is a pertinent section:

    “Our second, or opportunistic mode of redefinition, reveals at most a nominal intent to do good. The true object is to do well, a long-established motivation among mortals. In this pattern, a growth in
    deviancy makes possible a transfer of resources, including prestige, to those who control the deviant population. This control would be jeopardized if any serious effort were made to reduce the deviancy in question. This leads to assorted strategies for re-defining the behavior in question as not all that deviant, really.

    In the years from 1963 to 1965, the Policy Planning Staff of the U.S. Department of Labor picked up the first tremors of what Samuel H. Preston, in the 1984 Presidential Address to the Population Association of America, would call “the earthquake that shuddered through the American family in the past twenty years.” The New York Times recently provided a succinct accounting of Preston’s point:

    Thirty years ago, 1 in every 40 white children was born to an unmarried mother; today it is 1 in 5, according to Federal data. Among blacks, 2 of 3 children are born to an unmarried mother; 30 years ago the figure was 1 in 5.

    In 1991, Paul Offner and I published longitudinal data showing that, of children born in the years 1967-69, some 22.1 percent were dependent on welfare – that is to say, Aid to Families with Dependent Children – before reaching age 18. This broke down as 15.7 percent for white children, 72.3 percent for black children. Projections for children born in 1980 gave rates of 22.2 percent and 82.9 percent respectively. A year later, a New York Times series on welfare and poverty called this a “startling finding … symptom of vast social calamity.”

    And yet there is little evidence that these facts are regarded as a calamity in municipal government.


    Prof. Mead, for what it’s worth, I believe you share one of the character traits that made the late Sen. Moynihan great, one that is quite literally priceless: intellectual honesty. You want to know what the truth is, even if it might contradict what you previously thought the truth was.

    I believe Winston Churchill had something like this in mind when he said, trenchantly, “Show me a young Conservative and I’ll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I’ll show you someone with no brains.” Though harshly put, his opinion contains more than a grain of truth. (Been there, done that myself.)

  • don

    Good article. Mr. Happy seems to be lost in the identity politics zone of Mr. Manson and family. I don’t think we’re in for some long hot summers, a sort of rerun of the sixties burn baby burn through some sort of recycled updated “promised land” lost affect. If anything, Mr. Obama represents the fulfillment of those proverbial great expectations for getting into the promised land, even should his presidency turns out to be a failure. Presidents have failed before, and they were not black, and one is still living in denial.

  • Greybeard3

    Sorry, Anthony. Quoting Zinn as a legitimate source of historical information is like offering up Lindsay Lohan as an authority on sobriety. Aren’t you missing a meeting of the Peoples’ Progressive Resistance Collective at the faculty lounge? Don’t forget to put on a clean Che t-shirt, comrade!

  • teapartydoc

    In one respect I think we could (I won’t say “should”) be thankful that Obama is where he is today.If McCain had been president, there would not have been the “stimulus” and the recovery would have been more in line with prior recoveries. Yes, we would all have been better off, but we would not have had our faces pushed into the mess of reality regarding profligate government spending the way they have been by our president at this moment, when the stars are aligned so perfectly, given events around the globe and example after example of the failure of the progressive model day after day after day. God is giving us an object lesson, a chance at redemption before we totally go totalitarian. And we had better listen, because there won’t be a next time.

  • JLK


    Not sure what world you traveled but you sure have a great dictionary. Haven’t seen that many $25 words in one paragraph since Grad school.

    You remember the type…. the guy (nasty aside deleted — ed) )who tries to impress their specious and half- baked ideas on unwilling audiences by using a pastiche of 10 or more letter words. (We used to refer to those guys as “pseudo-intellectuals”) In sum, just like 30 years ago, I am not sure what what you said but it sounded great.

    Unfortunately people on your side are given to moral solipsism and legerdemain which shines through no matter how many big words are used. My preference goes to people like Dr Mead who understand there are a lot of grays in the world but there are also Universal Truths. Blue ideology eschews those truths so they are unable to square the circle and end up forever chasing their own tail.

    Our culture has many systemic and protracted problems. But the solutions keep eluding our grasp for the very reasons mentioned. P.C. makes thought crime of traditional values and therefore we are unable to have a real conversation on race, gender and many other issues. Without said realistic conversation the real solutions that should be obvious to anyone with an IQ over 100 can never be implemented.

    Fear of offending all those tender sensibilities has frozen the evolution of new ideas. I find it quite ironic that we are now faced with a return to the 1960’s-style race relations because leadership and the media are terrified of being called “Racist”.

  • Toni in Texas

    The very well-researched books of Thomas Sowell, such as Black Rednecks and White Liberals, are especially illuminating on the topic of black America. He holds degrees in economics from Harvard (magna cum laude), Columbia, and U of Chicago.

    Like Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell, Sowell is called an Uncle Tom by blacks with more liberal/orthodox views of race. Naturally, the Ivies and other Progressive faculties want nothing to do with him.

  • Marty

    I live in a stable integrated urban neighborhood near a large lower-class black population, and my wife and I expect riots if Obama loses in 2012. Which the Obama campaign will have stoked by race-mongering during the campaign.

    He’s just been acting like the community organizer he is, I don’t understamnd why people are surprised or disappointed, he’s been exactly what we all knew he was when they voted fro him in 2008. He will continue to use Alinsky’s polarizing strategies throughout the campaign, and regardless of the outcome there will be [colloquial expression for large bill] to pay as he tears the politico-social fabric of this country apart–not because he particularly wants to, but because it’s all he knows how to do.

  • nadine

    One quibble on the caption for your happy chorus: that should read “The Media Reports on Obama 2007 – 2011”. They are STILL covering for him and accepting every framework he puts forth as if it made sense. All you can say is that a FEW doubters have appeared in the MSM, a handful of heretics from the worship of The One.

    Now Obama is painting himself as a centrist while he demands tax hikes and but no spending cuts, blaming only the Republicans for the debt crisis created by his own spending spree. And the media presents this as a perfectly reasonable perspective. No, the chorus is still singing from Obama’s score.

  • Toni Mack

    We know that unwed motherhood especially afflicts the black and Hispanic communities. I have a policy proposal I believe would make quite a difference. In this age of DNA testing, there’s no reason why every male can’t be made legally financially responsible for every child he creates, SS# linked to SS#. No exceptions, no excuses.

    Men (and boys) might cry, “She deceived me! She said she was on birth control!” Well, welcome to the situation women have been in for all but the last fraction of history. It would surely create mammoth demand for effective male contraception. It might even encourage male sexual restraint. Back to the good old days of courtship.

    There may be downsides to this I don’t know. Maybe to be fair to men, mothers would have to allow fathers who want to to see their children. Would creating an equally mammoth federal bureaucracy to ensure coast-to-coast enforcement be worth the benefits?

    History shows how much easier it is to start a government program than to stop one. That’s why, 80 years after the Depression, we’re paying farmers to grow corn AND subsidizing the ethanol made from some of it.

    But I’d sure like to

  • Frank

    Democrats rationalize away the horror of abortion.
    Democrats rationalized away Bill Clinton’s indiscretions and perjury.
    Democrats support economic sabotage by unions.
    Democrats believe in taking from the rich.
    I believe each of the above to be an immoral act.
    If I were an employer who was hiring, and I wanted honest employees, I would not hire a Democrat, since they seem capable of rationalizing stealing from their employer.
    It is difficult to tell when someone walks in the door whether they are a Democrat or a Republican.
    It is easy to guess whether a black is a Democrat, isn’t it?

    • Walter Russell Mead

      Someone needs to take a refresher course in basic logic.

  • RationalandLogical

    Discussions and statistics relating to the status of minorities in the USA are complex. However, I encourage the author and readers of this article to consider another set of facts and statistics relating to a segment of the minority population. I am referring to the socio-economic demographics of this country’s oriental population. Clearly in the minority in every community that they live in yet interestingly they are consistently in the upper tiers of household income and educational attainment. Correspondingly, crime and arrest rates are in the lower tiers. Why do you suspect that is the case? I would assert that there is an inherent cultural work ethic and family structure that has a high level of integrity. This segment of the minority population rarely seeks assistance from government programs. They better themselves through hard work and looking inwardly to their family structures for support. Much can be learned from their approach and their culture as we look to address the needs of our minority populations in genuine and authentic ways.

  • RationalandLogical

    Please explain the cryptic comment relating a refresher course in basic logic…

  • Paul

    Sorry, even if I accept every argument in this piece I still won’t buy into the basic the tone. I did my best to warn everyone I could about the consequence of electing Barack ObamaSoros and a Democrat Congress… the reality there are consequences to every action and the very cities suffering the most are the ones who turned out in huge numbers to put this man into office. There should be no weeping and sadness for their plight, only regret and reflection. As the saying goes you have to break some eggs to make an omlet so let’s hope there something good to come of this mess. Maybe, just maybe, the black community and the urban centers will get it through their thick heads that the Democrat Party and nanny state socialism are not their friends and rethink their 90% plus supports for the party election after election. Probably not as the political left has shown an amazing tolerance for pain and suffering as well as a willingness to lie in blaming others in steadfastly refusing to admit the short comings of their delusional philosophies but one can always hope! Here’s hoping there a great deal more misery and these people get every tiny bit of what they deserve for what they’ve done to this once great country!

  • As conservatives we need to be reaching out to the black community. Republicans are the party of abolition after all! I am already seeing signs of black Americans who are starting to realize that the left does not reflect their values or support their interests. School choice for example. Most inner city families understand that more freedom and choice of schools would increase their children’s chances for success.
    While they may have believed in the power of government in the past, they are starting to see firsthand how quickly it leads to corruption.
    The best thing for the black community and the country at large would be to have them support freedom and opportunity agendas, rather than big government agendas – they’ve tried that route and can see it doesn’t work.
    We should all be working to bring our brothers and sisters into the fold.

  • jtom

    What the Anthonys of the world refuse to acknowledge, because it totally devastates their arguments, is that not all black groups suffer the same negative outcomes supposedly perpetuated by American culture.

    It has long been recongized, studied, and verified that first generation blacks born of immigrants to the US, do as well as any group of Americans. Colin Powell once was used as an example, but now we have our…illustrious President…(ok, his father never became a US citizen, but was educated at U of Hawaii and Harvard). Some do exceptionally well, such as first generation Americans whose parents immigrated from Jamaica.

    Is there some unwritten code among Americans and employers to exempt these blacks from “institutionalized discrimination”? Is there some special marking on them so they are easily recognizable for better treatment? Or could it be that they are coming from cultures that promote education,self-respect,and self-reliance, and the concepts of being a victim, not capable of equally competing, and are only commodities in America, are not instilled in them at an early age?

    Also important, is that these other cultures have intact families, believe in marriage, disdain drug use, and actively seek to better their lives and the lives of their children.

    Moreover, these same values were typical in the US black culture up until the 1950s. Once can argue what the genesis of the break-down of that culture was (drugs, welfare, indoctrination of vitimization, etc), but one can not lay the blame for it on slavery or other historical events. Before the 1960s, most black problems could be traced to segregation and discrimination. Now their problems stem for the collapse of black culture which only came about in the last fifty years.

  • Douglas W Roberts

    This is a cohesive summary of factors affecting blacks in America today. Some of the historical notes inform the gist.

    The title of the article is unnecessarily polemic, especially given the objective nature of the article.

    I’d have appreciated some connection of the current black family structure to that of the black family structure that existed prior to the civil rights era, when black families were more cohesive.

  • John D. Froelich

    No mention that there are emerging Black conservative leaders. The imbalances will cotinue unless the Blacks develop a two-party politics.

  • Nightelf

    It’s about time we got beyond “black” and a category with any real meaning. Yes, you can talk about what’s going on using race as one element among many, but by now with the success of the civil rights movement, we have to accept that the idea of skin color as having any actual meaning, an idea promoted by liberals, has outlived its usefulness. Blacks in the inner city are not there because they’re black, but because of economic and social factors which are not exclusive to blacks but are shared by all races and ethnicities. One of the most important of those factors is the indoctrination of blacks in the liberal meme that they’re ‘different’ and subjected to intolerable discrimination. This attitude has a strong negative effect on their prospects for the future. The large number of successful blacks belies this notion, but liberals won’t give it up.

    We have large numbers of whites who are in the same boat, but instead of calling them the ‘victims of racism’ we just call them ‘white trash’, because it’s more obvious that their personal dysfunctionaity is the cause of their failure. As long as liberals continue to classify ‘blacks’ as a separate, victimized group they’ll continue to be caught in this trap.

  • rpm

    I think there is a very fundamental problem working against the Blacks, and it isn’t going away anytime soon.

    I use my own attitudes as an example. I am old enough to remember legal segregation, although where I lived it was pretty mild. When dealing with a Black person, we had the attitude that they had been unfairly treated, we cut them a break when we could. The unfair treatment was a fact. Not everyone tried to compensate, some took advantage, but people of good will were sympathetic and helpful.

    Now, when I see a young Black, with the carefully cultured ghetto stare, I know I am dealing with someone that has been indoctrinated into victimhood and anger towards whites. “Soft racism of lower expectations”. They have had the field tilted in their favor; they will get into the best colleges with objective scores (like the SAT) that my equally dark skinned grandchildren wouldn’t even bother to apply with. Etc., etc.

    The get enough breaks from the government and mandated by the government, they don’t need any from me.

    Bad attitude on my part, I know. Once past the ghetto stare phase, I have found some nice young people. Usually dismally educated, if I can even use the word. But nice young people, with good minds that have been, up to now, wasted.

  • Mark

    Wow, you just wrote the story of Detroit. I live here and I am both disgusted and marveled at how all the above mentioned factors (schools, jobs, corruption)have taken this once great city to its knees. Detroit (and many other democrat run cities)need to have their collective houses cleaned and started a new.

  • rickl

    Out of frustration and economic need, Black politics will shift away from establishment liberalism toward more left wing or Black nationalist options even as whites continue moving toward the right.

    I suspect that this is a feature, not a bug, to Obama and the Left.

  • Anthony

    WRM, your American Interest articles are designed to promote public engagement. Although there exist a low-grade friction against vying points of view, for most part readers are prone to make distinctions between analysis and respondent. Yes it would be advisable in responding to your expositions to “say the neutral” and avoid epithets born of anquished subjectivity; but I can not. Intelligence requires me to seek out difficulties in proffered propositions whether in accordance or discordance with by point of view. American Interest serves intelligent self analysis and I refuse to live blindly in a world where objective analysis is abandoned for analysis that harmonizes to preconcieved (delusions) distortions – tales, half truths, lies, misrepresentations, etc.

    The United States more so than ever before needs serious thinkers/citizens. Serious problems cannot be solved on the basis of a consensus of value-disoriented commentators – American Interest contributes to the facilitation of serious thinking and I will respond in similar vien in interest of my country.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      Thanks. I am grateful for your interest, and for the other regular readers and writers who have made the comment threads on Via Meadia something rare on the web: a place for serious and (usually) courteous debate.

  • tomw

    The operative word that applies, white, black, yellow or polka-dot: education

    Without that, success is moved a step further from ones’ grasp.

    There are contributors to the lack of successful education that can be laid at the feet of certain groups. Doesn’t matter.

    Unless and until education is regarded as the prime imperative, failure will be a commonplace occurrence. It is sad that the educational system of so many cities contorts to pay the ‘educators’ so well, while denying the opportunity of success to so many.
    I’ll be rude. I blame the Democratic Party regimes or party machines that run so many cities. They sentence their children to failure while reaping the rewards of machine politics.
    I !hope! their retirement systems all go bankrupt. All the un-educated that cannot get a job cannot contribute tax dollars to their retirement fund. They deserve what they have sown.

  • Anthony

    [email protected], not quoting Zinn for any personal effect; providing information to query: could have used Blassinggame, Genovese, Litwack, Quarles, Myrdal, etc. Zinn’s reprint (2010) most current text to suggest since both timeliness and availability are 21st century factors.

  • ErisGuy

    Bad times for blacks? I don’t care.

    Need help from them racist whites?

    Tough: shouldn’t spent the last fifty years writing books about raping white women (Cleaver), killing whites (Zebra Murders and racist flash mobs), honoring ‘Black Muslims’ (who think of whites slightly better than Palestinians think of Jews), calling police officers ‘racist pigs,’ ruined Detroit, committed fraud in Atlanta schools, supported lying thugs like Sharpton and Wright, etc.

    Blacks had their opportunity and turn of the wheel and wasted it terribly.

    Now it’s some else’s turn to eat. The future will decide whose.

  • Robert

    Walter Russel Meade, like most of the Main Stream media, both Written & Media, are far left Marxist / Socialist.

    There was a reason why both the original Articles of Confederation & Constitution had included a healthy fear of the Federal Government.

    Over the past 235 years, that fear has become realized over and over again with each passing of Generations, especially since Roosevelt.

    Today both Social Security & Medicare/Medicaid are bankrupt and the yearly Federal Debt has climbed from 400 Billion a year to an untenable 1.5 Billion in just 3 years.

    Yet Walter, the beloved Marxist/Socialist Democrats wants more taxes! Since the Democrat/Socialist took over both the House & Senate six years ago, ( which Walter will support till his dying breath – which I hope will be ended be sooner rather then later), the country has dissolved into the worst recession since the Great Depression.

    A month after the ‘ Great Hussein Obama’ took office I was laid off. A Combination of Social Engineering in which Race base outcomes for people of color & Gender had taken its full effect by – making hiring a professional White man nearly impossible.
    One’s Education, experience, skill & character over 30 years was no longer relevant in this Country, only ones color of skin and gender!

    Hiring women over men, (who have voted a majority for these Liberal/Socialist/Democrats), has become “defector” law in most States, even though the Constitution does not allow so?

    These women have now thrown their lot in with the Unions, 20 million illegal aliens w/ false documents and anchor babies, the environmental movement and girly men liberals like Walter and of course blacks who vote 99% for Democrats, who combined together, have destroyed our country and given us “obama” and 16 million unempl0yed!

    I suspect most of the men who where with these [misogynist epithets indicative of great personal unhappiness] are now unemployed. And have been for many years, are now in divorce court, unaware their blight has been spurred on by their own so called beloved wives, whether black or white, whom they slept with every night for so many nights, only to be discard like so much trash, now that they have the Federal Government & the Democrats giving them subsidies!

    These women, these [graceless misogyny omitted again] have chosen Big Government Liberals/Marxist Socialist, over their own men, and never looked back! The black men who where Hoping for Obama to redistributethe wealth, (take the white man’s money), where also hoping for the same result, but now must be some what disappointed?

    Close to 1.4 Trillion dollars, (that’s 800 Billion), went to the Banks & Wall Street that created the fiscal depression in the first place. The rest, (600 Billion), went to the workers Union bosses and States, which absorbed this largess like a sponge to cover their Losses.
    No Jobs where ever created!!!

    This unholy alliance has changed the face of Democracy in this country, and this movement has turned this once Great Country into a bankrupt nation, both financially and spiritually.

    If we can start with = One Division of fighting man, maybe it could grow to Two, then Five then Ten Divisions. If Possible, these 10 Divisions, placed in the right position could hunt down [call for murder and mass violence deleted — ed]

  • Westie

    Professor Mead and many others are barking mad…there will be no black renaissance. These fools will never see what that we are approaching a situation where the white population will be in the same situation as those in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Our Disingenuous White Leftist elite would rather march over the cliff than disturb their precious PC mentality.
    For a view into the future, read Ilana Mercer’s “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa”.

  • #69 Robert: What planet do you come from? Mr. Mead’s article, if anything, was downright conservative, and a refreshing change from the usual Leftist whitey hating [stuff].

  • MW

    Pinning the debt & deficit on Obama is dishonest. He’s just trying to get Congress to pay the credit card bill they ran up on Iraq & Halliburton with Bush & Cheney


  • Alice in DC

    Most notable is that the public sector is the leading employer of African Americans. As a native Washingtonian, I noticed that a lot of my friends were encouraged to get “a good government job” when I was growing up. My parents made me take the private sector route, which used to be viewed as shaky, but has been rewarding. Perhaps we shouldn’t have been so quick to push our children into working for the employer of last resort.

  • Pam

    The election of a half-black president has created a backlash against anyone in this country who “looks” black and needs a job. We’re back to the “no Injuns need apply” days only now the official, legal methods of discrimination are credit and reference checks, refusal to hire anyone fresh out of college due to the lack of value of a college degree these days after “affirmative action” has led to less-than-qualified minorities getting into the best colleges. I went to college back in the 90s and to this day people look at me as some kind of “affirmative action baby.” I went to a college-prep high school in the racially-mixed suburbs, the best public elite high school in California at the time, got ACT scores that were in the 97th percentile of college-bound students at the time, and got into any college of my choice based on THAT, not because I’m Choctaw Indian. But unfortunately when I show up places job-related, I “show up Black” as black people would say. They hem, haw, make excuses, ask me the same question over and over again trying to catch me in a lie, and ultimately I can’t get any job I’m remotely qualified for just for showing up with the wrong color skin everywhere I go. The aforementioned “white trash” high school dropout drug addict criminal would stand a better chance of getting most jobs that supposedly require a college degree, than I do, WITH a college degree.

    It’s anti-“black” because that’s what people think I am when they see me. It’s unfair for people of other races to have to live down what the world thinks of black people and all their stereotypes and liabilities. I get people telling me as an excuse “well there aren’t a lot of Black science majors” and wonder why they’re telling this to a Choctaw Indian? Why should I have to care? Because the world treats me like the race they apparently WANT to see and with Obama as president, there’s been a backlash against achievement by actually qualified “blacks” which the world wants to lump ME in with. People are always surprised and tend not to believe me when they find out I don’t smoke, drink, do illegal drugs and have no criminal record or out-of-wedlock babies, too. More insult. I feel like the only solution is to find some kind of online job and hole up at the North Pole where no one can see me and discriminate against who is doing the job.

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