Blacks Remain Oppressed, But Not By White Americans

When my grandfather grew up, white people told him he wasn’t good enough, but black people said he was. When my father grew up, white people told him he couldn’t compete, but black people said he could. So imagine my confusion when I saw blacks celebrating the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision affirming that blacks are indeed not good enough to get into the University of Michigan Law School.

It’s ironic. Forty years after the Civil Rights Act was proposed in Congress, liberals insist blacks are incapable of meeting the same standards as whites. It’s conservatives who believe in the limitless potential of blacks.

Today, blacks are the CEOs of American Express, AOL/Time Warner and Merrill Lynch. Oprah Winfrey is a billionaire and Colin Powell is Secretary of State. This is not my grandfather’s America.

Too many blacks do remain oppressed, but not by white Americans. Rather, it is by blacks who relish a perverse sub-culture of low standards and perpetual victimization. No longer do white racists tell black children books are for white people. Today, black people do this. Every day, black children suffer ridicule and disgrace for doing their homework, behaving in class, striving for excellence — in short, “acting white.”

And within the perimeters of this black sub-culture, success is exalted only when it is earned in sports, music, dance, and in the Democratic Party. Should a black person succeed in other arenas, for example becoming secretary of state, Supreme Court justice or national security advisor, he or she is exiled from the race, his or her racial identity revoked.

Within this sub-culture, blacks have narrowly defined the path to success and equate “black” with “victim.” Condoleezza Rice? Not a victim, ergo not black. President Bill Clinton played the victim and was declared “the first black president.”

Other communities suffer systematic discrimination: Koreans, Chinese, Latinos and Jews, to name a few. But within these communities people encourage each other to go to school, get good grades and go to college. In some communities not earning a graduate degree is shameful. Only within the black community is academic or entrepreneurial success openly chastised.

Liberal black elites should stop preaching the rhetoric of perpetual oppression and encouraging all black people to be victims. Black leaders have done in 40 years what white people could not do in 400; they’ve made us accept inferior status.

It is time they told the truth about which blacks affirmative action helps. Affirmative action helps the children and the grandchildren of Jesse Jackson, John Conyers and Al Sharpton who have the money for the SAT prep courses, private schools and the clout to call the deans of admission should something go awry. Moreover, they all have the alumni status to get their children into their colleges and universities. Ironically, they all are able to do for their children what they complain that many white Americans have done routinely and systemically for generations.

It is time for liberal black leaders to stop hiding behind racism and admit that our priorities as a community have become our greatest hurdle to achieving long-term success. They must stop dismissing successful blacks, regardless of party affiliation, as exceptions in an otherwise victim-rich race. They must stop blaming white Americans for the sins of the past and set goals for the future. Most white Americans live in the 21st century; it is time more black Americans joined them.

Distributed nationally on the Knight-Ridder Tribune wire.

  • Alexandra Craw

    I don’t bellieve any black person would stop another black person from being the best they can. The system has an obsession with higher ranked jobs being more important. As far as I am concerned, all jobs should be equally important but obviously some jobs would have more responsibility and so therefore higher wages would be given for those jobs. It’s not logically possible for everyone to have the higher jobs and some, if not most, people have to do the lower-ranked jobs.However, whites create lower-ranking jobs that are subservient to their jobs whereby they are controlling the person’s every move and getting the credit for it because their attitude is “Without me they wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything”. I don’t believe the system has to be like this. Everyone no matter what their rank COULD have a job where they are given full responsibility within their job title. but whites create it like this to elevate themselves and take the credit. And as I said, lower-class whites also fall into the subservient category because it’s not possible for everyone to have the higher-ranked jobs. It should be about treating everyone with dignity and respect. Most people aren’t too fussed about the money so much as feeling they have control and are given creativity and credit for what they are doing. Wages should obviously reflect different levels of responsility, so higher-rank jobs would still generate more wages. The way it would play out is like this: take a cleaner, in today’s world the cleaner if controlled by supervisors and managers controlling their every move and telling them what to do at every moment. However, the cleaner should be given the responsibility to carry out the job as they see fit and if they don’t do it properly then they would get sacked but I suspect that if most people were treated with dignity and given more responsibility this would not happen. As I said it’s the current STRUCTURE that is the problem not whether one person is more educated than another person.


    This article is bullshit! Here is the deal:
    “White People as a group have done terrible things to Blacks in this country – and just because they are black (not to mention Asians, Latinos and American Indians). This is a fact. You may not be personally responsible but you benefit from this fact and therefore have some responsibility. No: you never enslaved anybody, neither did your mother or I, but lots of White people did. Once slavery was over, White people spent about 100 years mistreating Blacks because they couldn’t figure out how to send them all home after that whole nation-building thing. This means that Black people used to get killed just for trying to vote, weren’t allowed to live where they wanted to, and even today some White people refuse to hire Blacks just because they are black. And while those types of things are illegal, people still do it. You benefit from this. So before you ever judge a Black person remember that other White people worked for centuries to make sure you’d be okay and Black people would stay poor.” – Dr. Jason Johnson

  • writeby

    By the latter half of the 19th Century, there was an establish black middle class. Indeed, this middle class, in Manhattan, relocated to Harlem from the lower east side to flee from the incoming “drunken rabble rousing Irish” then immigrating to America.

    Moreover, those who dealt in slavery in the antebellum period saw their ill gotten wealth wiped out by war’s end.

    In fact, that wealth was not equal to the wealth of many blacks in the north. From _The Life & Times of Frederick Douglass: His Early Life as a Slave; His Escape From Bondage and His History Complete_:

    “I found that even the laboring classes lived in better houses … than … many who owned slaves on the Eastern Shore (208).
    “This was true not only of the white
    people … but of my [black] friend … [who also owned] … more books … [read] … more news-papers, was more conversant with the moral, social, and political
    conditions of the country and the
    world than nine-tenths of the slave-holders of Talbot county (Ibid).
    “I saw in New Bedford the nearest approach to freedom and equality
    that I had ever seen (Ibid).


    “nothing in the laws … would
    prevent a colored man from being governor … black … children attended the
    same public schools with the white man’s

    Finally, black colleges spread throughout the nation by the middle 20th Century, creating a large pool of well educated black individuals.

    The oversimplifications and erroneous generalizations in the above post, however, go hand-in-glove with the collectivist perspective of the author. It calls to mind the concept of Original Sin. Some whites enslaved blacks; therefore, all whites must bear the burden of this Sin.

    In closing, the idea that not being able to vote denied blacks of economic prosperity is an argument *for* lassez faire capitalism and a republic in which the government meddles not in the economy. It was laws–not economic self-interest–that barred blacks from lunch counters and from jobs. To now initiate racist laws favoring blacks can do nothing to change the racism of the past; but such laws can perpetuate racism.

  • writeby

    I think Marxism has pretty much been proven to be the mysticism of the Left. Thus, the notion that collecting garbage (at which I once worked) is equal to–produces the same wealth (not money; wealth) as does–structural engineering has the same validity as inanimate machines conditioning human beings.

    Envy knows no color; if you wish to actually see black peer pressure leveled against other black, achieving students, come to the classroom with me, as I teach day-to-day in schools where that phenomena is crystal clear.

  • Jason

    This article is spot on.

  • Missy

    This is so atrociously racist and promotes a destructive myth that black people just need to “work harder” to achieve the same status as whites. This is just so dangerously not true. Your article totally ignores the systemic oppression people of color face in the criminal justice system and mass incarceration… Not to mention discrimination in employment and housing.

    Please stop spreading this lie. People are having their rights taken away from them.

  • Missy

    But then again… What did I expect from a magazine about capitalism?? Absolutely disgusting. Total bullshit.

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