Well? This is it. This is what the celebration of diversity looks like.
This is what happens when we all go out and show off everything we don’t agree on. This is what it looks like when we focus on everything that divides us.
This is what happens when you tell people that what makes us different is our skin color, which, ironically, is an inherently racist premise.
You can’t have a functioning set of friends, school classroom, workplace, community, city, state, or country if no one has any idea what unites them. You can’t look past your differences if you don’t see the similarities. If there’s no shared purpose or set of principles, everything falls apart pretty quickly.
Like any country with any hope of remaining united, America cannot survive with multiple cultures. As with any population of people, there are always disagreements and factions. And everyone can maintain family traditions and personal cultural celebrations and expressions. But what brought the majority of American immigrants to this land was the idea of freedom and three God-given (not government-given) rights: the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
People could come here with literally a couple bucks to their name and make a life here, without government persecution, because of the system. Anyone. There was no guarantee you wouldn’t encounter people with prejudices or that there wouldn’t be challenges. There was also no guarantee you would enjoy great wealth and success.
There was, and is, the guarantee that you can work as hard you want and go as far as you can, without the government blocking you.
However, too many people, with the megaphone of a sympathetic (or just pathetic) media focused on our differences. In fact, they didn’t just focus on our differences, but they amplified the grievances and injustices. And they were powerful enough to make it the story and drown out the voices of optimism, hope, and prosperity for all.
The desire for people to reach their potential and be successful has always been one of the many defining cultural traits of America. It was with this in mind that we were able to overcome the stain of slavery and, slowly (too slowly), throughout the years, move beyond inequality and racism.
But we went through a strange transition from segregation and racism with few speaking out for blacks to a country that’s never had less racism and opportunity for black people since the Civil War, but an entire political party, Democrats, telling us that everything conservatives do is racist. Everything.
If anything speaks to the power of the narrative versus the facts on the ground, it’s the story of the party who cried racism.
Amplified by a liberal media, the Democrat Party has spent the last 50 years screaming racism at everything that Republicans did. In fact, they created a new narrative that this entire country was founded on racism and exists solely because of racism. Ironically, the cries of racism have only gotten louder and more common, as the amount of racism has arguably only diminished.
They said it about President Reagan as they do about President Trump. Either one could give an inspirational speech about the greatness of this country and the opportunity we all have to be great, and Democrats would cry racism. They would go into the black community and tell them they have no hope because evil white male Republicans are keeping you down.
And then, ironically, they’d tell the black community the only solution is to vote for their old, white, male Democrats. This all has gotten particularly bad in the past 12 years. Since conservatives started criticizing Obama for the same policy positions that they criticized every other Democrat for having, Democrats have responded with cries of racism.
Nevermind we had just elected our first black president. This country was racist and there was no way a black person could succeed. The forces of hate were too powerfully aligned against them.
Nevermind the 2.6 million black-owned businesses. Nevermind the love and admiration for cultural stars like Bill Cosby, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James. Forget the rise of self-made successes like Clarence Thomas, Ben Carson, Oprah Winfrey, and Robert F. Smith. Despite the success those people symbolize, blacks are told they don’t stand a chance.
We had a chance to spread hope, optimism, and happiness to a community that had risen from America’s greatest sin, and instead, we rubbed their faces in it and held blacks down by reinforcing the notion that they’re not good or smart enough to be successful on their own. They needed Democrats to shield them from all the mean Republicans.
If you grew up in an environment in which you had been told, since you were born, that there’s this whole group of people who hate everything about you, you’d grow up resenting them. Everything they did or said would be a sign of their hatred for you. Soon, you hated whites as much as they supposedly hated you. Democrats were building racism to fight racism. The only problem was, the new racism was rising while the other racism was slowly waning. (Again, too slowly, but the point is, white racism has only been going away.)
The supposed solution to this was then to “celebrate diversity.” Whatever animosity there may have been between whites and blacks? Let’s call attention to it and rub it in everyone’s faces. But wrapped in a velvet glove.
If you’ve ever been a teacher or a coach, you know that the way to take a random gathering of individuals and make them a team is to unite them around a set of shared goals and let them work together to achieve them.
Democrats, pessimistic and terminally angry by their very nature, were never inclined to highlight the possibilities. Instead of lifting the black community up, they were only qualified and able to drag them down into the same pit of anger and resentment they occupied.
And so it went until finally a breaking point.
A white officer jams his knee into the back of the neck of a subdued black man, George Floyd. And everyone who sees this is outraged. Everyone. You cannot find someone who isn’t. People wanted to protests, and I kept wondering who we were protesting. But the Democrats answered.
We were protesting because this sort of thing happens every day in cities all over America. Only it’s not true. Only eight unarmed black men were killed by police last year. Statistically, this is an extremely rare event. Plus, more white men have died needlessly at the hands of police officers than black men.
What we should really be protesting is the bad, careless, or crooked police officers guilty of police brutality. We should be united in this cause. Because we are. But instead, an event that could have united people was exploited. Blacks were again told that this is systemic white racism, and it all blew up.
When everything falls apart, it looks a lot like this.
Today, I spent a lot of time thinking about how we got here and what are the solutions. This is an amazingly complex and dynamic problem that isn’t easily resolved. This post only serves to highlight some of what I think are the root causes.
Tomorrow, I’ll address the solutions.