Dennis Prager recently wrote an article asking, "If America is racist, why have millions of blacks emigrated here?" You can find his essay on dennisprager.com and other places.
He compares the situation of black people around the world today to that of Jews in the 1930s. Unquestionably Nazi Germany was a systemically racist nation, and the targets of that racism knew better than to force themselves into a society that hated them. This makes sense. So why do blacks from around the world now stream into America?
It must be either that (a) blacks don't know their own best interests – the type of claim often made by the condescending Left toward anyone who doesn't buy their nonsense – or that (b) America is a better place for blacks than just about anywhere else, including majority black societies. This could not be true if the US were systemically racist.
We could use the same argument for brown people, and ask why Leftists are beckoning Hispanics and others into a country sure to oppress them with its bigotry and xenophobia. That doesn't sound very "compassionate." The other explanation is that even Leftists don't really believe that America is racist.
Bravo to Mr. Prager for the argument, but I believe there are even stronger common-sense cases to be made against the accusation that America is systemically racist. We'll call Prager's thesis Argument #1.
Argument #2: The charge is unsupported
There's an old schoolyard retort that we need to bring back into fashion: "Prove it!" The burden of proof is always on the accuser. When someone says, "America is systemically racist" (or that "all whites are racists," etc.) he has a moral duty to back up his allegation. But he can't. He's counting on you not to demand any evidence.
If you do demand evidence, what you may hear back is that various ethnic groups are represented disproportionately in various outcomes. We're required to believe that this difference in outcomes can only be caused by racism.
But, as Thomas Sowell and others have pointed out, no two groups have ever had proportional results in anything, anywhere, at any time in human history. There are lots of reasons that different groups perform differently in any given endeavor. Racial oppression is one possible reason, but given that it isn't the only possible explanation, proof must be offered and examined when a charge of racism is made.
If all disproportional representation must be the product of racism, then the NFL and the NBA are the most racist organizations on earth.
But the term "systemic racism" is hoist on its own petard. A system is made up of individual components. Proof of systemic racism would require the same kind of evidence needed to prove individual racism: we would need to find tangible evidence of the bad behavior of specific people within the system. And the lack of such evidence is what the term "systemic racism" is supposed to hide.
Argument #3: The election of Barack Obama
Some of us are old enough to remember the Golden Age when the USA finally put racial strife behind us and installed a black man in the Oval Office. If America is systemically racist, how did the "system" fail so catastrophically?
And to bolster this argument, we could add all the failures of the "system" that allowed other blacks to rise to public office – even high office. And African Americans like poor little Oprah and thousands of others who have achieved far more than most of their supposed oppressors. It doesn't seem like a very effective system of racial subjugation if it can't actually, you know, keep black people down.
Argument #4: The re-election of Barack Obama
It wasn't Obama's fault that the bill for Washington's hubris came due just before he was elected in 2008. But his use of the "Great Recession" to help his ideological friends and hurt his enemies was his fault. Ramming through an unpopular and unconstitutional health care takeover was his fault. He had been exposed as a liar (turns out, if you like your doctor you cannot keep your doctor, and your insurance premiums are going way up, not down, etc.). And America was still mired in economic misery – largely because of Obama's mindless and lawless governance – when it came time to vote again.
If all the white supremacists had only wanted to cleanse themselves of the appearance of racism by voting for BHO in 2008, they had done that. Four very lean years later they couldn't be justly criticized for dumping the President who had made Jimmy Carter look competent. Their point had been made, history had been made, and any racist who didn't want to be called "racist" had plenty of cover in 2012 to change his vote. But you know the outcome. Barack Obama, a two-time miraculous survivor of systemic racism.
Argument #5: Constant use of the "Wayback Machine"
If racial incidents were commonplace now, race racketeers wouldn't have to dredge up tragedies that happened a hundred years ago ("Tulsa!"). Or longer. These reminders of what other people did a long time ago may or may not pertain to us, now. But the fact that older and more obscure examples keep being trotted out means that there are not enough fresh ones to keep peoples' blood boiling.
Ditto the phony hate crimes now (see "Jussie Smollett" et al). When reality keeps refusing to oblige your fake narrative, you resort to fakery. And again disprove your point.
Argument #6: With heroes like this....
If you were going to build a movement, you'd want to point to men like George Washington, not men like George Floyd. Go through the litany of the Saints of Social Justice and you'll find, mostly, violent criminals who died fighting against justice. You won't see any who were singing a hymn while painting an orphanage when they were gunned down by sadistic cops; you'll find druggies, thieves, robbers, rapists, would-be murderers, and a few who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Almost all foolishly chose to escalate a routine encounter with police into a life-threatening battle.
The race racketeers would offer us better heroes if they could. The truth must be that, if you do the opposite of their role models, you'll probably be fine in this country.
Argument #7: Minorities are good business
We don't buy things from people we hate. Look at all the "People of Color" selling products on TV. And mixed-race people. And mixed-race couples. I love it; I think it's great, and it's absolute proof that America is not a racist country.
Someone might assert that the prevalence of minorities on TV ads is because enterprises are pushing their woke agenda on an unwilling viewership. "We'll stick it to the Archie Bunkers out there in the red states!" croak the old, fat, white men in the boardroom. But that could only last so long. If racism were as widespread as we're told it is, the racist viewers would turn off those commercials. They would stop buying the products of companies force-feeding them a vision of humanity that repulses them.
The economic fallout would be too great. White faces would reappear on the screen to sell products to mostly white people. But no. I see dark-skinned people talking to me about the benefits of some drug I can't pronounce. Mixed race couples testifying about their exercise equipment, or enjoying their breakfast cereal. The melting pot is real, it's in your face, and you're paying for it. And, guess what? Nothing. The backlash against all the POCs on TV is (as far as I can tell) nonexistent. As rational people might have expected.
You can rant about rampant racism all you want when you're in the classroom, or maybe even the conference room. But where real dollars are at stake, in the marketplace, advertisers rely on the presumption that most viewers just don't care about a person's skin color.
That should tell us all we need to know about "systemic racism."© Dan Popp
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