America’s Racial Conflict
Racial issues are now paramount in the mind of practically every American, but people are confused about what the problem is, what the causes are, or how it could be resolved. The vast majority of Americans are good, compassionate people who respect others and wish for health and happiness for all humanity. Unfortunately, the current hyper-focus on racial conflict often impedes our ability to address the real issues that could improve the quality of life for all. So, what is real and what is imagined? In the 21st century, is it really an issue about race?
Some say that only people of color have credibility when discussing racism. Yet, each of us has a vested interest in solving the problem. We have studied what great authors have written and said about the subject. And the more we learn, the more we realize it is less an issue of race and more of a philosophical conflict between left vs. right. It’s an issue of how people interpret history and human nature. It’s an issue of whom we’ve chosen as role models and whether our understanding has been drawn from indoctrination or critical thinking.
A Brief History – Finding a Balance between Liberty and Equality
The U.S. Constitution provided American colonists with the foundation for a democratic form of government. But our laws, consciousness, and culture needed two centuries to reflect our most universal founding ideal: “All men are created equal”. It wasn’t until the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Legislation in the 1960s that America truly began living up to the full letter and spirit of that ideal.
Although slavery had been prevalent throughout the history of mankind, it violated the principles of Natural Law, which were the foundation of the U.S. Constitution. On September 22, 1862, Abraham Lincoln’s Executive Order, the Emancipation Proclamation, lead to the abolishment of slavery and the end of a dark chapter in American History. The southern states, however, resisted abolition with a series of Jim Crow laws, beginning a period of segregation and discrimination. In the mid 1960s, Civil Rights legislation was effective in overcoming the history of segregation and nullifying the discredited principle of ‘separate but equal.
As America began living up to the “Equality” principle of the U.S. Constitution, we also began overreaching and drifting away from the equally important “Liberty” principle of the same Constitution. Since the 1960s, Progressive ideology emphasizing collectivist principles, has gained increasing influence in America’s culture and consciousness. But this fixation on equality has disrupted the ideal balance between the two great constitutional principles.
Is Racism a Black vs. White Problem?
An excellent way to answer this question is by comparing the opinions of black authors and celebrities. If it is a black vs. white problem, why do great black authors reach differing conclusions about the same problem in the same way the rest of society does? And why are so many protesters, rioters and looters young white men and women? Today’s battle lines are not drawn between races but between theories about America’s history and core values.
The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative developed by Nikole Hannah-Jones and published in The New York Times Magazine in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe American history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our country’s narrative. Despite the fact that the first slaves landed on American soil in 1619, long before those who would ultimately write the U.S. Constitution had even been born, the 1619 Project describes America and its Constitution as irredeemable, blames white supremacy and privilege for every perceived injustice, and promotes restitution and special treatment for identity groups.
The 1776 Commission was established to support traditional education about American history with all its flaws and greatness. It promotes the U.S. Constitution, color blindness, fair and equal treatment under the law, personal autonomy and responsibility, and meritocracy.
From the Left, there are best-selling titles like White Fragility, White Rage, How to Argue with a Racist, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race, The History of White People, and more. The book In Defense of Looting actually argues against the American Justice system. In How to Fight White Supremacy, the author admits he purposely excluded Black Conservatives. How can you comprehensively address the problem without including both sides, unless you are not interested in solving the issue and are more motivated to keep the conflict going?
From the Right, there are books by extremely articulate, intellectual and inspiring black Americans. These include We Can Overcome by Lt. Col Allen West, Discrimination and Disparities by Thomas Sowell, White Guilt by Shelby Steele, and Winning the Race by John McWhorter, and many more.
Could It Be a Left vs. Right problem?
If Black Conservatives are discounted, their principles must be dangerous to the Progressive cause? In his book The Breakdown of Higher Education, John M. Ellis describes how the Civil Rights Legislation of the 1960s had a negative impact on our colleges and universities by initiating affirmative action and diversity programs. Schools were inspired to expand diversity programs and staffing them with activists. As time went by, the predominance of Progressive over Conservative professors and administrators grew. Eventually, these schools were more interested in promoting a cause than encouraging academic excellence and intellectual rigor.
In On Liberty, John Stuart Mill stated, “He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that.” This is what is happening in our higher education system. The focus is more on indoctrination than critical thinking skills. This is why Conservative thought is suppressed on virtually every college campus. And in order to succeed in advancing toward a leftist world view, Progressives must tarnish the values and achievements of the American way of life. This is why the history of America is distorted in the 1619 Project and why traditional civics classes are deemphasized or eliminated. And it is why minorities are defined as victims and successful people are defined as oppressors.
Is It a Blame vs. Responsibility problem?
Americans are by nature the most loving and compassionate people on earth. They are instinctively eager and willing to help anyone who is willing to help themselves, regardless of race, sex, national origin, color, creed, educational background, or status in life. But they generally avoid and resist being threatened, conned, or shamed.
All humans have experienced challenging times which required fortitude, a strong work ethic, and a willingness to learn and grow. While it is true that some people are born into better family and life situations, that circumstance doesn’t guarantee success, and there aren’t shortcuts in life.
Most of the conflicts in the world are between the so called “Haves” and “Have Nots.” And instead of working to improve their own situations, the “Have Nots” generally blame the “Haves” for their challenges, which does little to solve anything on a country-to-country basis or on a person-to-person basis.
As Charles Swindoll suggests, we all possess God-given skills and talents, and success and happiness come from developing these traits and making a real contribution to humanity.
Is Racism a Cultural Issue?
‘Culture’ is a term that refers to a large and diverse set of mostly intangible aspects of social life. According to sociologists, culture consists of the values, beliefs, systems of language, communication, and practices that people share in common and that can be used to define them as a collective. Culture also includes the material objects that are common to that group or society.
The people that are leading movements such as Black Lives Matter are not interested in prospering and assimilating in the American society with its Constitution and laws that have evolved over centuries. They view American society as unfair and irredeemably flawed. Instead, they want to create a different society with a living constitution modeled upon progressive principles of collectivism.
Revolution seems to be a constant in the history of mankind. America’s current racial conflict is no exception. America’s youth have been indoctrinated with an extremely fuzzy vision of a progressive utopia. For them, it is easier for the world to adapt to their view of an ideal culture, than for them adapt into the existing American culture. But these types of revolutions are unproductive, harmful and dangerous. They almost always lead to a dystopia not utopia.
Is It a Good vs. Evil Problem?
This question requires much contemplation and examination. Racism and slavery existed in the 13 original colonies at the time of America’s founding, but our founding fathers created a forward-looking Constitution based on the principle that all men and women are created equal. It took a long time and numerous amendments for our culture to catch up to the principles of the U.S. Constitution.
With over 330 million Americans, there are definitely racists in America, but America is not systemically racist. Many Americans have beliefs that America is an unjust country and are committed to taking actions that are unconstitutional, unlawful, and unprincipled in order to advance their beliefs and convictions. But their attitudes and actions are not making America a fairer country where all people are treated equally. While these actions may have admirably intentions, they are causing unwarranted harm and violating others guaranteed rights and protections. Whether these actions originate from left or right ideologies they are unjust, evil, and contribute to America’s racial conflict.
In our White Paper, “How the System Destroys Its Enemies,” we described the tactics used throughout history by evil people to overthrow valid governments. One of the most common tactics is generating dissension, envy and resentment within the general population in order to encourage revolt. These tactics have been successfully deployed in the 1917 Russian Revolution, Nazi Germany, Cuba, Argentina, Venezuela, and many other countries. Evil forces in America have been promoting victimization since the Civil Rights Legislation and are active today with Identity Politics and organizations like Antifa.
America has made significant progress in achieving Martin Luther King’s vision of a color-blind society. We advanced beyond the abhorrent eras of slavery and segregation into a modern era where all Americans can achieve their potential and realize their dreams. Many of the things we’ve done have been highly successful, but a large number have been destructive and dangerous. As a country, we have not reached our potential and have a lot of work left to do. Achieving the vision and promise of America will require us to work together and make wiser decisions.
America is still the greatest country in the history of the world, and the reason for our success is the United States Constitution. It provides us with a model and structure for ideal governance if we adhere to it. It provides the optimal balance between individual freedom and autonomy weighed against the safety and prosperity of our collective society. It encourages a proper balance between individual rights and responsibilities. It is consistent with natural law and human nature, with a focus on helping people to reach their God-given potential (teaching people to fish instead of giving them a fish). To achieve that ideal society, we must carefully choose the people and ideologies we follow.
If you believe racism exists, you will see it everywhere you look. But is it really there? Or is it simply asserted without much basis, more a matter of faith than of evidence and reason? Leo Tolstoy, in his philosophical treatise The Kingdom of God Is Within You, observed the following:
“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.”
Learning Circle Discussion
Racial discrimination goes against America’s core values and is unconstitutional. While there may be people who are racists, America is not a racist country. There are however, people who benefit from racial conflict. Armed with this knowledge, how can we diminish our racial conflicts and create the country we want to live in?
- Is America a racist country?
- Are there racists that call America their home?
- Is Racism currently a cultural issue in America?
- Is there systemic Racism?
- What is Identity Politics and how does it relate to racism?
- Is it the role of government to shape and influence culture?
- What can be done to make America a fairer and more inclusive country?
- Is it evil when people do what they believe is worthy and true, but infringe upon other’s liberty?
- If people perceive themselves as revolutionaries against a greater evil, is it okay to harm others?
- If people are committed to achieving a perceived greater good, is it okay to break laws? Should government handouts or corporate donations be used to favor one group over another?
- Should election fraud be ignored if it helps politicians you support?