In 1964, the United States Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, ending the ability to discriminate and the basis of race.
Obviously, this didn’t end racism, but it did make it much harder to be overtly racist. Since then, as more and more racists die and are replaced by kids who didn’t grow up learning to hate others for characteristics like skin color, racism slowly dies out.
It would be great to magic wand it away, but unfortunately, humans are not that easily programmed or reprogrammed. I’m sure some people grew or learned their way out of racist behavior, but our best chance will be those who simply grow up in an integrated society in which no one ever mentions race. (Because, if we’re all equal, what’s the point in talking about race at all?)
When overt racism was legislated away, the black community was essentially free to pursue their happiness, as guaranteed by the Constitution. However, it wasn’t that simple. While their freedom was finally recognized, they’re starting point was woefully behind whites and other minorities who didn’t suffer the same arcane rules.
This was a critical point. Speaking in generalizations, the black community was either going to recognize that point in history as the starting point to pave their own road to success, or they would cede their plight to whites and hand them responsibility for fixing it.
Unfortunately, while some took the former route, too many took the latter. And whites, who were guilty of putting blacks in this position to start with, seized this moment to assuage their own guilt by essentially saying, “leave it to us to fix it.” And so many blacks did.
And look where this has gotten us. Instead of believing in the ability of the black community to rise up, start families, get serious about education, and take jobs and achieve promotions, whites perpetuated their racism through low expectations.
Whites didn’t think the black community could do it without their help, the black community didn’t entirely seize the opportunity to prove whites wrong.
To this day, look at the number of white people who think blacks can’t get their own personal ID, complete a college application, pass an SAT or ACT test, get a job, or do essentially anything of consequence without white help. This is largely the domain of white leftists. You’re seeing some of it now in the black lives matter movement.
I don’t buy it, and I think it’s harmful and destructive. Forget believe. I know blacks have just as much ability as whites to succeed. They’re just as capable of passing tests and taking care of their business as white people are. No more. No less.
And like in the white community, some will succeed and some will fail. Unfortunately, the proportions are all off right now, largely because of two big obstacles.
The school options for poor families simply aren’t as good, in general terms, as those available to more affluent communities. Also, black families are far more likely to have a single mother as head of the household as white families.
It’s not hard to find a wealth of statistics illustrating the major disadvantage this creates for black kids – especially boys.
This isn’t to suggest whites should walk away and leave blacks to figure it out. Not entirely. However, there has to be a shared commitment.
We can’t go back and change the past, so it’s not productive to do so (unless we’re making sure we learn it not to repeat it). At some point, a new starting line has to be drawn, and the portioning of responsibility has to be redone.
The black community has to take responsibility for their community as individuals have to take their own responsibility. But at the same time, whites have to understand that the black community is behind and must work together with black communities to do what can be done to accelerate growth and education.
Obviously, it’s not as simple as this, but the first step has to be drawing a new starting line, defining the goals, determining a roadmap to achieve them, and then getting started.
We’re not helping the black community by thinking their not capable of doing things white people have been doing for years (as have many black people, by the way).
As a country, we’ve always had high standards and expectations, and there have usually been ample rewards for those who achieved them. It’s time we held everyone to the same high standards and worked through the lens of hope and possibility instead of pessimism and depression.