We have had a week to stare at the mayhem going on in Missouri. Everyone including me has gas-bagged about it at one time or another. Most everyone has found themselves eating some words, including me. So it goes with the news these days. By the time you have a good bead on things and you have a well formed opinion, no one cares. Everyone is onto the next big deal that will not be remembered in a week. Given this is an election year, some women somewhere will have to buy her own rubbers and that will be the next reason for a riot.
Anyway, here a few lessons I think we can take from this story.
Black people don’t like white people. There are some black people who are comfortable around white people, but those are exceptions. Generally speaking, blacks don’t like whites. The news has brought a parade of black people telling us in one fashioned or another that they think all whites are suspect and probably guilty of doing some harm to blacks. It’s a fact white people never consider. It’s only when something like this happens that they recoil in horror at the realization.
I grew up around black people and they were always quite blunt about not liking white people very much. I live on the edge of the ghetto now and the local black people make it very clear they are not fond of the blue-eyed devil. Here’s a Rasmussen poll that makes it clear. Blacks assume the worst of whites and they are probably not unreasonable in thinking it. If you grew up being told by your mother that white people want to own you like a dog, you’re going to have a dim view of whitey.
White people don’t know anything about black people. I grew up in what used to be called a mixed neighborhood. In the South, whites and blacks have been rubbing shoulders since Anthony Johnson sued Robert Parker in the Northampton Court in 1654. When I moved north as a young man, one of the first astonishing things I discovered is just how little white people in the north knew about black people. In my lifetime that ignorance has spread everywhere, it seems. Unfamiliarity breeds boundless ignorance.
The thing is, whites want to know about black people. They just don’t want to live near them. They used to say that the whites in the north would treat blacks as equals as long as they did not have to live near them. Whites in the south were fine living around blacks as long as they did not have to treat them as equals. As has been the case for 150 years, the culture of the north dominates on this issue. Now, whites only know black people on TV. If you learn anything from Ferguson, it should be that black people are nothing like Beyonce and Jay-Z.
There’s no fixing the race problem. White people try hard to help black people. In fact, some white people are helping black people to death. The trouble is they don’t know anything about black people and wind up wasting time and resources on things that just make things worse. Nowhere on earth have blacks and non-blacks been able to live side-by-side in peace. In post-colonial Africa, the first thing the blacks did was attack the non-blacks. First it was the Europeans, naturally. Then it was the Indians, Arabs and Chinese.
In America, the story has been far better, but that’s because blacks are 13% of the population. Small minority groups tend to get along well with the majority. That does not change the fact that America is an anomaly in the race game. We probably had the golden age of race relations in the 80’s and 90’s and now it is heading back to something like the 70’s. That’s not awful, but it is never going to be the dreamy, weepy-eyed fantasy many white people imagine is just over the next hill. Race relations are going to be a tense stand-off for as long as any of us are alive. If anything, they will get worse.
We have a cop problem. The warrior cop business is getting a lot of play, but it is a symptom of a bigger problem. Liberals have decided to herd non-docile blacks into urban reservations. Conservatives decided to turn the cops into game keepers. Both sides then raced to see who could load the game keepers up with the most authority and weaponry. Now we have an army of pudgy robo-cops guarding a bunch of angry black people. The results are inevitable.
I’m sympathetic to the cops working the ghetto. They are given a job that is impossible. These are not men with the capacity to be philosophical about it. They want to get satisfaction from their work. Arresting the same guy over and over until he finally kills some other guy, who you have arrested over and over is not very satisfying. It does not take long for the cops to view the people they police as zoo animals. The ghetto is no place for people with a desire for accomplishment.
My sympathy for the cops does not change the fact we have a cop problem. We’re asking them to do things they are incapable of doing. Arming them to the teeth is not helping either. The fact is, the people of Ferguson don’t want the white cops from the suburbs policing their streets. Policing has to be local and personal. The cops in the black area should be from the black area. Let the brothas police themselves. It is not a perfect solution; it is just a better solution.