What can a white guy talk about?
While sitting in for Dan Caplis on 630 KHOW's Caplis & Silverman show on Friday, we got on to the issue of drug legalization. (Podcast here.)
I made an argument that went more or less like this:
There have been two government policies which I think have been primarily responsible for the decimation of black society in America: The development of the Welfare State and the War on Drugs. By increasing the profits in the drug trade, the war on drugs has made people living in ghettos believe they can make a living without going to school, creating a large part of a generation of black kids who have doomed themselves to poverty once their drug-selling days are over...and who won't be particularly capable of helping the next generation escape that poverty.
Two of the next three callers to the show were black women, both of whom called to "pick a bone" with me. (Start around 12:30 in the podcast for the first caller and around 17:30 for the next.)
The first tried to make the point that lots of people other than blacks were on welfare.
The second tried to make the point that people other than blacks live in ghettos.
If I remember correctly, one of the callers agreed with me on legalization and the other either didn't agree or didn't say.
They both complained that I was making policy suggestions for the black community without ever having been black. To that I plead no contest. I have never been black.
But what does it say about the future of black America if whites who truly want to make a positive impact can't even talk about policy without blacks looking to nitpick very small and essentially irrelevant parts of the discussion?
Would those women suggest leaving all progress in policy which impacts black communities (and ghettos) to black leaders? How's that working out for them so far?
More broadly, and I'm not saying I expect many or most blacks to see this intuitively, the policies which have kept black people poor for decades (incentives to have kids out of wedlock, the War on Drugs, and the Social Security system) are all supported by politicians and bureaucrats who have, in the case of welfare and entitlements, incentive to keep people dependent on government. The failed War on Drugs is mostly a creation of Republicans, but Democrats are now complicit in not trying to stop it.
I don't think we've had a black Republican in Congress between when J.C. Watts retired in 2003 and when Alan West (FL) and Tim Scott (SC) got elected last year. The Congressional Black Caucus is made up entirely of Democrats.
Again, these people (Democrats, not just black Democrats) have a vested interest in keeping people dependent. They also usually have a very narrow view of what's even possible in economic and social policy since their world view revolves around government being the solution to all problems.
But as Ronald Reagan pointed out, government is the problem.
And now that we have the first (or perhaps second, after Bill Clinton) black president, does anybody think that race relations have improved, or that President Obama has done anything to improve the situation for American blacks? Anything? Is education better? No, Obama killed the DC voucher program that had multiples of applicants for each slot since black parents want the best for their kids just the way any other parent does. Has the War on Drugs been diminished? No, despite promises by Barack Obama early in his administration that they would stop raids on users or growers of marijuana who were in compliance with the relevant state laws.
No, Democrats never do anything that actually helps black America. The best they can do is to stop doing what they've been doing. Since Obama is our Campaigner-in-Chief but not a leader, at least he hasn't done much more harm to blacks.
But am I even allowed to talk about that as a white guy?
If you listen to the first caller mentioned above (Deborah), she calls in to yell at me for not being black and then, nearly yelling, says that the War on Drugs was racist at its beginning...which I thought was one of the points I was making!
Let me make an analogy: Benjamin Netanyahu said that there cannot be peace between Palestinians and Israelis until the Palestinians stop teaching their children to hate Jews. Was it not stunning, for those who didn't ignore it out of their blind rush to support Barack Obama, to hear the rhetoric of Chicago's own hate-preacher, Jeremiah Wright, in whose pews our now-president sat for years?
With that sort of "leadership" in black churches -- and I am not implying that most black churches are full of such hate mongers, but how many do there need to be to have a big impact? -- how are whites and blacks supposed to have an open, forthright discussion?
Those were some extremely frustrating, even if entertaining, moments of radio because the nitpicky negative reaction to my making a point specifically about how public policy can and should be changed for the betterment of black society show a long, rough road ahead for a big segment of our nation's population. Until blacks realize that I don't have to have been black to want better things for them -- just because they're people and Americans -- and until black leaders themselves stop being Jackson- and Sharpton-style race hustlers, it's hard to be optimistic about American blacks achieving the kinds of gains that all Americans are entitled to strive for.
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