One of my New Year’s resolutions might be to stop reading newspaper articles. I canceled my newspaper subscription some time ago because of the political agendas it promoted with its coverage, as well as the columnists it featured. That greatly improved my mental and physical health. However, I still come across newspaper articles at coffee shops, the library and the Internet. And it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to control my emotions when I read about the absurd foolishness taking place in our country.
Even more aggravating is the fact that if I decide to write a letter to the editor with an opposing point of view, it is rarely printed. If it is, the editors usually sanitize what I have written by editing to the point of censorship. This raises my ire even further.
For example, as I recently read an article in the Savannah Morning News, I found myself grinding my teeth. The article concerned one of Governor Perdue’s "racial reconciliation" meetings being held throughout the state of Georgia. At this particular meeting, the Governor was joined on stage by five panelists: three African Americans, one Hispanic and one Vietnamese.
What first set my pulse racing was this comment by one of the panelists: "Racism does exist. It is something that we do not talk about." Do not talk about?? Racism is practically the only thing we talk about. I can’t recall a single day without a reference to some form of racism in the media. I have seen articles about racism in housing; schools and colleges, government agencies, business organizations, sports, entertainment, the healthcare system, the justice system, lending practices and so on.
Over the years the definition of racism has become so flexible that it now means anything a member of a grievance group says it means. As an illustration, consider these two examples of racism voiced by members of the audience at the racial reconciliation meeting: 1. The disproportionate ratio of black prisoners to white ones in the state’s penal system; and 2. The bad treatment of Muslims in Georgia.
Each of these examples is based on a pre-conceived supposition; i.e., the justice system in Georgia is prejudiced against minorities, and Muslims are subjected to discrimination and harassment throughout the state. Whether or not these suppositions are true is beside the point. If members of minority groups claim they are true, that ends the discussion.
To those of us old enough to remember the initial goals of the civil rights movement — (to end segregation and remove legal impediments to minority advancement) — the concerns voiced at the recent racial reconciliation meeting are amazing. Can you imagine what the reaction would have been if these demands had been part of the original goals of the civil rights movement?
Civil rights activists have wisely targeted one goal at a time, even though they know they have Congress under their thumbs. After each goal was substantially achieved, a new goal was established, and, as I stated, racism was redefined to include opposition to the new goal. And a gullible and guilt-obsessed public meekly accepted each new definition.
I can’t recall any Lowcountry newspaper raising a single objection to any claim of racism no matter how far-fetched. Furthermore, even though it is an insult to blacks, area newspaper editors assume that all blacks think alike. You will search in vain for columns by black journalists such as Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams and Larry Elder. And I would doubt that local journalists ever consult the website of that astute black lady, Elizabeth Wright — Issues & Views.
Obviously, we know that the ultimate result of these racial reconciliation meetings will be a demand for more government regulations at the state level. That is a given. But we have already had 50 years of government mandated racial preferences. And most Americans would agree that the government’s role in racial reconciliation long ago passed its "sell by" date. Any future improvement in race relations will have to be made by individuals themselves.
So, in my opinion, Governor Perdue has made a serious misjudgment by holding these sessions. Like many others, Governor Perdue possesses the navet to think that talking about problems alleviates them. Sometimes it does, but it can also exacerbate them. I maintain that these meetings will aggravate race relations. I make that claim because the advertised agenda of the meetings primarily attracts those who already have an inflated sense of injustice. And I know from personal experience with meetings like this that difference of opinion is not only frowned on but often shouted down.
Quite frankly, our racial dilemma has now reached the point where, as the old saying goes, the best way to solve the problem is to lose interest in it.
Gail Jarvis [send him mail], a CPA living in Beaufort, SC, is an advocate of the voluntary union of states established by the founders.