What Is Racist?

While nonstop sermons aimed at whites to wash away their original sin of racism are on full throttle, spare a thought for poor old Jesse Jackson. The black activist who was running for president at the time called New York City “Hymietown” but later apologized and was forgiven by the media. Worse, he later told a reporter that if he spotted a black man walking behind him he would take defensive measures. Yet again Jesse was forgiven, as well he should have been, having told an awful truth: Blacks are far more likely to shoot, mug, and rob another black, than whites to shoot, mug, and rob another white.

But imagine what would happen today if a white man dared say what Jesse did say not so long ago. Out-of-control black-on-black crime is a truth universally acknowledged except for the usual suspects like The New York TimesThe Washington Post, CNN, and the rest of the liberal bleeding hearts that pollute our airwaves. Black-on-black crime, however, has become a nonissue because it does not involve racism. And racism is systemic among us whites, or so we’re told by lefty profs, Hollywood types, and those in the above-mentioned media. The latest pearl of wisdom from the left is that a racism-free upbringing is not possible because racism is a social system embedded in the culture and its institutions.

Now take my case, for example. The first black person I ever saw was when I was 8 years old, and it was in Athens. It was early 1945; he must have been attached to the British army that had landed in Greece a couple of months earlier when the Communist rebels tried to take over the capital by force, and he was in civilian clothes. He was having a coffee in a popular square and I was there with a couple of my schoolmates who had never seen a black person either. My German fräulein escorting me home told us not to look, a rather racist thing to say nowadays. But we did look and the black man suddenly stuck his tongue out at us, scaring us half to death. He then let out a roar and we ran away as fast as we could. I never saw another black person until I arrived in New York a few years later. Two years after that, on the wrestling team of my all-white prep school, I went against a black wrestler who happened to be blind. I was winning easily when my coach told me that unless I tried for the pin (one could win on points or a pin) I would be off the team. I pinned him and it has haunted me ever since.

So, is a racism-free upbringing impossible, as we are now told, and was my feeling sorry for a young black wrestler racist? (What about our fear of a black man sticking out his tongue at us and letting out a roar? That surely is racist in extremis.) Actually neither has anything remotely to do with racism, but with the unknown and the unfamiliar. In the recent past many blacks felt white America considered them inelegant or unintellectual. Many working-class whites felt and feel the same about themselves. This is how society has been structured throughout the ages. At present, middle-class, educated, white liberals are inventing new prejudices against lower-class whites. As Rod Dreher wrote, “It is now almost mandatory to hate deplorables.”

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