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On the John Gambling talk radio show on ABC, it was reported that, in the days following the disaster, a rumor circulated the Astrodome that the levees had been intentionally blown up so that Louisiana could engage in a bit of “ethnic cleansing.” Hot 97’s “Ms. Jones in the Morning” show bought into this theory, suggesting that the inadequate relief effort was the product of a plot by rich white businessmen to purge the area’s impoverished blacks so that the city could be more profitably redeveloped.
In the bleak days of yore, such paranoia could be justified. Today, it is ridiculous. There has yet to be a report of a single newscaster using racial considerations when making “looters” versus “looking for food” rhetorical decisions — yet the rumor has, to a large degree, been unquestionably accepted. Likewise, the Hot 97 morning show hosts were seemingly unconcerned that they had zero evidence to back up their claim that this was all part of some racially sinister, capitalist plot. However, in the real world, the outpouring of relief and the offering of homes have been unprecedented only in its magnanimity.
This recent outbreak of unfounded suspicion is just the latest in a long line of popular black skepticism of whites and the government. Earlier this year a study was jointly published by the Rand Corp. and Oregon State University that found that almost half of all black Americans believe the AIDS virus is man-made; 12% believe it was created and spread by the CIA; and a majority believes a cure is being withheld from the public. Fifteen percent said AIDS is a form of genocide against black people.
In the early 1990s, San Jose’s Mercury News printed a series of articles that speculated there might be some relationship between Sandinista drug dealers, the CIA, and the spreading crack endemic in California cities. While the connection was never proven to be anything greater than a bout of conspiracy and irresponsible journalism, many blacks — led, in part, by Jesse Jackson and Rep. Maxine Waters — nonetheless bought into the theory that the CIA was selling crack to inner-city blacks to both ruin their communities as well as to raise money to fight communists in South America.
To understand where such fanciful paranoia originates is to appreciate the true effects of the victimist ideology these proselytizers peddle. Na’im Akbar, a Florida State University professor of psychology who specializes in “African American behavior,” said in response to the AIDS study, “This is not a bunch of crazy people running around saying they’re out to get us. [The belief] comes from the reality of 300 years of slavery and 100 years of post-slavery exploitation.”
Jamal Watson, executive editor of the New York Amsterdam News, a black newspaper, asked (somewhat incorrectly): “Why are all of the poor people living in the city of New Orleans black?” Instead of looking for cultural indicators within the black community, Mr. Watson immediately pronounces “slavery” as the culprit. “The legal and social tradition of mistreating blacks started with American slavery and has continued uninterrupted ever since.” Uninterrupted? Like far too many, Mr. Watson can’t see a difference between America in 1860 and 2005.
If the best these professional race activists can muster to justify this ingrained skepticism is a tired yet sanctimonious invocation of slavery, it shows just how detached they’ve become. Resultantly, black Americans’ worst fears are being taken advantage of and a healthier American society falls by the wayside. By indulging in conspiracy theories and blame-anyone-but-yourself psychotherapy, the emphasis on personal responsibility that can make social equality possible is injuriously neglected.
While Hurricane Katrina has unearthed many previously underappreciated American deficiencies, racial intolerance was not one of them. Instead, we’ve learned that many prominent black activists are no more reliable as leaders than the levees were as protectors for New Orleans’s impoverished blacks.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online