Choosing Evil in Ferguson – and Elsewhere

fergusonriots1During the Civil Rights Movement, there were essentially two messages (or paradigms) being offered to black Americans. One was that of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which demanded social equality for blacks and envisioned an America in which ethnicity was a non-issue with regard to opportunity, social interaction and human relationships. The path was nonviolent civil disobedience.

The other message was that of militancy, if not the outright militancy advocated by radical organizations such as the Black Panther Party, a militancy wherein peaceful resistance and civil disobedience were viewed as weak, ineffectual paths to equality. Perpetual mistrust of whites (despite the millions of those who were advocating for blacks’ civil rights) was encouraged, as well as cynicism, bitterness and anger over the past mistreatment of blacks.

This line of thinking was most famously advocated by Malcolm X, the black activist who was slain in 1964. Prior to his pilgrimage to Mecca, his stock in trade consisted of such phrases as “The common enemy is the white man,” to whom he often referred as a “blue-eyed devil.” He apparently met white, blue-eyed Muslims when he went to Mecca, so he began to moderate his Anglophobic rhetoric a bit.

After Malcolm’s death, some black nationalist organizations such as the Black Panther Party made good on the violence, however. While they claimed to want equal rights, their actions made it clear that they were far more interested in seeing “white America” burn.

Since most Americans at the time still adhered to Judeo-Christian, Western concepts of human decency, they embraced the tenets of Dr. King’s message over the idea that militant blacks had a right to murder and mayhem as reparation for blacks’ collective suffering.

There is an exception to this, a very important one that explains why the state of race relations is as it is today in America.

As I have discussed before, there were those who had certain motivations for advancing the idea that despite all of the changes that have taken place regarding worldviews and institutions in America with regard to race relations, America remained an institutionally racist nation. For some it has been a monetary issue; for others it has been one of political power, whether we’re talking about Marxists or less radical statist elites.

In any case, this idea was successfully advanced and inculcated into the worldview of many black Americans in the years since the Civil Rights Movement. Thus, there are millions of blacks in America who, even if they purport to be adherents to Dr. King’s message, cling to the cynicism, mistrust and, yes, even the hatred in which the 1960s black nationalists simmered. They have been taught to believe that blacks will never be able to trust whites on any meaningful level, because (as those in the Nation of Islam actually teach) whites are genetically predisposed to oppress other ethnic groups. Never mind that Africans, Arabs and Asians have historically oppressed and enslaved far more individuals than Europeans have – in fact, they’re still at it.

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