Fifty years ago today, Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. For fifty years since, America has been having a nightmare.
On the surface, it was supposed to be a simple bargain. Blacks would have unrestricted access to the legal and political systems. They would not be refused employment or housing based on their blackness. In return, the whites who assented to this bargain assumed, that blacks would join American society as responsible citizens.
But almost instantly– in the space of a year or two, which in political and social life is the blink of an eye- the status of blacks went from a matter of equalitarian democracy, argued on terms people had argued on and agreed on for centuries, to a war against white civilization itself. Blacks would be empowered legal actors with no restrictions, but they would not be responsible citizens. To deny the right of blacks to use violence, physical and rhetorical, to increase and expand the power that they had gained by non-violence, physical and rhetorical, was just anti-black and evil. Blacks had earned the right through suffering servitude and restriction to use violence and intimidation against anyone they didn’t like or wanted to displace, and they did, and do.
Blacks had already proven themselves to be bad neighbors in the North, but the fundamental aspect of a peace treaty is that both sides stop fighting, not just one. Yes, blacks had been behaving badly, but that was only in response to the maltreatment they received. Blacks got full legal rights in 1964 and 1965, but instead of backing off, black predatory violence exploded, after having increased in the decade previously.
You thought you had a deal? Oh, no, that’s not what the contract said. Or if it said it, you can’t expect blacks to comply, can you? This is all the result of hundreds of years of slavery, and your concessions are only just starting. You’ll know you are done making concessions when blacks decide it is time to stop attacking you. In the mean time, keep paying, cowering and running.
Non-elite whites were frightened and bewildered, but most of their leaders were going along with this, so there was little alternative. There was always the suburbs, and the suburban lifestyle, and whites who hadn’t left in the 60’s left in the 70’s when busing brought hostile, aggressive black to their children’s schools in places that blacks hadn’t yet taken over.
Rich whites were unaffected by this. Moderate Republicans continued the concessions, and conservative Republicans resisted later, but not effectively, since effective resistance would be racist. Legal and political concessions plateaued in the early 70’s. Some ground was regained in the criminal justice system, since even liberals couldn’t tolerate the chaos they had created. A new phase of the war began. Images of well-behaved, kind, wise blacks were beamed into American homes on TV. Some of these blacks were poor, others were middle-class, and with the “Cosby Show” even upper middle-class, but they were all wonderful people you would love to have as friends and neighbors.
For some reason, the image changed again. The 60’s image of blacks as frightening and violent- but only because of the evil white people!- came back with “gangsta” rap. The idea of the black criminal subculture as not something to be left behind and overcome in a new and better world, but something to be admired for its Nietzschean rejection of bourgeois norms, had come into the culture briefly with the “Blaxploitation” films of the early 70’s, but came into strong commercial presence with rap.
The cultural aggression has been extremely strong and effective. With the Bush II era, Hispanics became the new favorite minority, and with the Bush counterreaction, gays have. But with Obama progressives found their black Jesus, and blacks have a new sense of power. The election of Obama can’t be separated from the new wave of “senseless”, “random” black attacks on whites, which is to say attacks that can’t be at least partially explained by the motivation of robbery or rape.
In any case, you all know the sordid history of the last fifty years well. I will finish by addressing blacks and progressive whites, the mortal enemies of my people, some portion of non-elite whites.
My people- specifically working-class and lower middle-class northern whites- made a treaty with you fifty years ago. The agreement was that in return for concessions from us, people who had done blacks no meaningful harm, blacks would accept a new role as American citizens, just as my people had done after arriving from Europe. Like the Moslems and American Indians had before, you made a treaty under false circumstances, with the intent to deceive, and with the intention of attacking again as soon as the opportunity presented itself. If you date the treaty from the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the truce lasted only about a year, to the riots of 1965. Your saint- Martin Luther King Jr.- never had any intention of pursuing his own “dream” of equal citizenship, but only of pursuing black power. Your aggression has been continuing and unabated, on the basis of simple criminal violence, and on the political, legal, social and cultural fronts. You brazenly continue with no end acceptable to you but our total destruction.
We are honorable people, and honor bound. But we are not honor bound by falsehoods, and on behalf of my people I declare this treaty to be null and void. Furthermore, your treachery and falsehood makes you ineligible for any further treaty or truce. You consider yourselves at war with us, but us at peace with you. You should end this consideration. We end any concessions or peace with you, and any hope or prospect of peace. Don’t think the power and control now will last forever.