Newsworthy

A cartoon by Mike Luckovich. It seems to me absolutely inappropriate for people who have done nothing at all to try to change a status quo resulting from years of slavery, segregation, and discrimination (much less anything committed on principle to non-violent means), to criticize others when frustration with the status quo bursts forth in rioting.

When I see riots, I do not feel it appropriate to offer blame, except above all against myself, for not having found a way thus far to change the system sufficiently so that people are not living in destitution, hunted by those whose job is supposed to be to protect them, feeling despair and hopelessness.

Those actually engaged in rioting are certainly to blame for what has been happening in Baltimore.

But so am I.

 

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  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Slavery and segregation and imperialism are gone, James. They have been since the time you were born. The Chinese in California were subject to segregation, too (up until the 1970s), and are still subject to discrimination from major universities, private as well as public. And the “Help Us” sign clearly alludes to the fact that actual attempts at Black self-government have been mixed successes at best (Botswana, Atlanta, Barbados, Cabo Verde), disasters at worst (Zimbabwe, Detroit, Madagascar, Burundi, Comoros, Liberia, etc.). Hundreds of illegal Comoran migrants fled to French-ruled Reunion island after independence.

    Look at the Chinese in comparison. Hong Kong is first-world, and became so under imperial rule. Macau is first-world, and became so under imperial rule. Singapore is first-world, and became so under a semi-oligarchical political system. Taiwan is first-world, and became so under a democracy. China, perhaps the poorest large country in the world in the early 1960s, is rapidly getting rich under an entrenched and undemocratic oligarchy. Recent poor Chinese arrivals’ children have taken over the best New York high schools. There are zero first-world Black-majority countries, out of over fifty. Out of Chinese-majority countries, only one remains not in the first world.

    If Black lives actually mattered, as the good Scott Alexander pointed out, curbing malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa would rank much higher on your list of priorities.

    James, why are you so willing to overlook actual attempts at Black self-government and go all in on the Blame Whitey meme? And why the self-flagellation? You live in Indianapolis, not Baltimore. Is Whitey to blame for Chinese poverty in the 1950s and Chinese success today?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I think you are misunderstanding me. This is not about “blaming whites” as though pale skin pigmentation conveyed hereditary guilt or an inherent tendency towards injustice. The point is to not ignore the ways in which past injustices impact the present, and to move towards a future in which skin pigmentation is like eye pigmentation – a descriptor, not a pigeonhole or a basis for discrimination.

      • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

        Injustices definitely impact the present, James; I don’t deny that. Had the cruel injustice of Black slavery in the U.S. never occurred, the descendants of those 18th century African slaves brought to America would have only a tenth of the per capita income they do today.* :-)

        *Yes, this is a joke. Yes, it’s still a good counterpoint to James’s point.
        “The point is to not ignore the ways in which past injustices impact the
        present, and to move towards a future in which skin pigmentation is
        like eye pigmentation – a descriptor, not a pigeonhole or a basis for
        discrimination.”
        -I’ve seen nothing in your actual recent posts on the subject that suggest these views.