Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tired of the Guilt

In the news recently, the latest case for the 24-hour news media has been the case of the so-called "Jena Six." Since I listen to the radio and watch tv, I feel that I am at least moderately (if not severely) informed about the case. As if this weren't enough, we have Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton and a number of other "civil rights" leaders stirring the pot on the issue and milking the situation for all it's worth.

See, that's what bothers me about cases like this. And I don't think I'm the only one. I believe that so many Americans, and especially young white Americans are tired of the load of guilt that Jackson, Sharpton, and others attempt to foist upon us every time there's an issue to which they devote themselves as they make it a "race issue." To tell the truth, the more I learn about Jena, the less it all makes sense to me.

Recently I read a great book written by Shelby Steele entitled
White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era
. I must say it was a fascinating and truly enlightening read. I highly recommend the book. In it Professor Steele discusses the history of the Civil Rights movement and deals with where he believes it all went off course.

He discusses the issue of moral authority as a central theme of the book. He discusses how prior to the 1960's in America, white supremacy was seen as a legitimate source of moral authority, along with the other "traditional" values of American society. Steele explains that when white supremacy was recognized as evil, Americans threw the baby out with the bathwater--that is, our society delegitimized other traditional values of which white supremacy had been one. In this process, he explains, moral authority was transferred to the unjustly oppressed minority (Black Americans). However, social power remained in the hands of wealthy white men.

In America today, Professor Steele says, the white elites still have the power, but they still lack the moral authority to wield it. This authority is something that Black "civil rights leaders" have made a business of trading to these white elites. You see, Steele's point is that these leaders, like Jackson and Sharpton, profit nothing from Black Americans achieving a higher status or becoming powerful. Rather, they benefit in using their inherited moral authority to leverage those in power to do their will. This works because the authority figures live in fear of being called racist. Of course we know that today there are few things worse than being called racist. Read the book, it's very enlightening.

Today so many of us are tired of being held hostage by those like Sharpton, Jackson, and others who are constantly trying to leverage their authority for more power. The plight of minorities in America is not as they would have us believe. Our society does care about people, regardless of their color or background. There are opportunities for anyone who is willing to look for them and work for them. So often I hear more and more young whites (usually men) complain that they are often denied opportunities because of their race or made to feel guilty because of the sins of previous generations. It's time to move on. I'm tired of the guilt, and I'm over it.

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