Zimmerman, Martin and Racism in America: Who’s Really Promoting Prejudice?

Campaigners chose to make Trayvon Martin the focus for a national discussion of race in America. But it was never going to lead to an enlightened and rational debate. In seeking to personalise the issue and create an emotional tie through Martin’s case, campaigners dodged the significant structural and institutional barriers that give rise to racial inequality. And by portraying racism as something that comes from deep within the hearts of white people (so deep that whites often don’t even realise they’re racist), today’s elitist ‘anti-racist’ outlook makes racial divisions appear hopelessly insurmountable.

This comes from Spiked, an online British publication (h/t Mark Brady). Read the whole thing.

I am a little disappointed in myself for not paying closer attention to this trial. Its importance for understanding American society has just become evident to me over the past few days. For what it’s worth, I think the US is still a deeply racist society. I think there are structural and institutional barriers in place today that prohibit most blacks from having the same support networks as other ethnic groups.

I think that the government is responsible for these structural and institutional imbalances, but also that black leaders are responsible for failing to consider (consider) anything other than statist solutions to the problems that afflict American society. I also think that religion is partly to blame. Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams may go to church on Sundays, but you’d never know it based solely on their arguments.

I’ve got a post on peace coming up shortly. Hopefully it’ll be much clearer than this.

3 thoughts on “Zimmerman, Martin and Racism in America: Who’s Really Promoting Prejudice?

    • And what about the institutionalized racism in America?

      I note here that the US government once had a nasty habit of killing black leaders who were also anti-state.

  1. Maybe I’m misinterpreting your comment regarding Drs. Sowell and Williams, but both have spoken directly to the black community and the community at large regarding personal responsibility and the benefits of working to avoid the handouts of big government. Here is a small [30 minute] sample from Dr. Williams. Similar conversations have been had by Dr. Sowell as well.

    Documentaries such as this one using Williams have proven to be of little importance in changing mindsets and culture because most have bought into the welfare or nanny state alternative.

    Racism has been institutionalized, but I’m not sure it was intended as a consequence of good intentions or a more insidious plan. I think it is fair to argue that it is just as much accidental [speaking only in economic terms] insofar as programs intended as a hand up turned out to be a poverty trap as well as an incentive for harmful changes in social and cultural norms. But watch the video and judge for yourself.

    For the record, I agree that most racism exists because of hateful attitudes and fear of competition for scarce resources such as jobs, benefits and difficult access to opportunity. Much is also related directly to xenophobic sentiments and bigoted beliefs as we are seeing with our policy of an open border to the North and a closed border to the South where people look, think and act much more differently than our more pale neighbors to the North. [Imagine how an average Canadian would be greeted at the border in comparison to a native Canadian Inuit family].

    We need more black leaders like Drs. Sowell and Williams speaking out, writing columns and interacting with political and social leaders of all spectrums of our national identity. I applaud their efforts and support them in every way imaginable because if we are ever going to lift our minority community of black Americans to being on par or better, it will be more through the inspirational truth offered by these men than the myths and self-serving race baiting served up the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton [both reverends] and others of their ilk who feed off wild emotion as opposed to the logic, reason and truth spoken by men such as Sowell and Williams

    Religion is a factor that hurts closing the racial divide because it prefers and advocated for larger government [acting, of course, on its religious advice or conscience], but these two men argue for the opposite in spite of their religious affiliations. To my mind, their affiliation with religion may not make them perfect Objectivist, but they are good enough partners to work with if the objective is to truly shape a small government meritocracy that supports and defends private property rights and the other unalienable rights of man – including the right to fall by the wayside due to laziness, criminal activity, or corruption in the way one lives ones life.

    Respectfully,

    –Rick

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