Watching the Zimmerman trial, I wonder whether we may not be in for big trouble. Racial hostility is much higher in the United States than it is allowed to appear. In the Twittersphere there is much traffic from blacks, saying that if Zimmerman walks, they will kill him themselves, riot, or kill random whites. On many sites around the web, whites of a sort not found on NPR are saying, “Bring it on.” This is not your granny’s recipe for domestic tranquility.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Race underlies almost everything in this country that spends half its time denouncing racism. This is true of trials, and particularly true of show trials. When the police who beat Rodney King, were acquitted by a white jury, the cops being clearly guilty, blacks burned Los Angeles. When OJ Simpson, clearly guilty, was acquitted by a black jury, whites didn’t burn anything, but were angry and perfectly aware that the verdict was political.
The prosecution’s case against Zimmerman is so weak that unless the fix is in, he will walk. Katie, bar the door.
How did we get here? It’s a long story.
An important part of the world view of blacks is the belief that whites enslaved them. This makes sense if you believe a race is a coherent being with a life stretching over the centuries, as a man’s life stretches over decades. (Compare The Jews Killed Christ. “Gosh, Rachel. You don’t look old enough. You sure you did it?”)
It makes no sense to whites who reflect that no white in America has ever owned a slave, and no black has ever been one. Blacks know this, but it is hard to focus anger on things done by dead whites long before you were born.
Blacks know, correctly if in most cases vaguely, that Negroes, as they were then known, were indeed brought in chains to America. Whites today weary of hearing about slavery since they had nothing to do with it, but it happened and it was ugly. The ensuing slavery was no better. Slaves were in fact whipped, raped, tortured, and kept illiterate, as anyone knows who has actually investigated. (If you want an introduction to slavery as it actually was, read Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation – 1838-1839.
) Lynchings occurred, many, many of them, and they were hideous. Blacks know this. Further, Jim Crow abides held in living memory. So blacks have a case.
So do whites (which will make no difference if Zimmerman walks). After all, they ended slavery, passed the Civil War amendments, abolished segregation, passed and enforced the civil rights laws, and instituted lifelong charity for blacks in the form of welfare and affirmative action. They didn’t have to do any of these things.
But onward. It is an automatic belief among blacks that any black shot by a white was innocent, and shot because he was black. This is seldom true today, if ever it is, not because white policemen like blacks – they do not – but because every cop knows that he would be crucified in the press and probably in the courts, lose his job and pension, and become unemployable. However, white cops (and black ones, but that is another story) do abuse ghetto blacks, sometimes in front of a police reporter (me). Blacks know, and remember.
Memories are selective. People readily remember evil inflicted on them by others while forgetting their own sins. Blacks do not tolerate mention of their high rates of crime and the common – increasingly common – racial gang attacks on whites in which the victims frequently, and intentionally, end up with brain damage. These are hidden by the media, but a primer is White Girl Bleed a Lot.
All of this makes for an angry black population, and they are watching the Zimmerman affair intently.
If riots come, they will come in the sprawling, entirely black ghettoes of cities like Trenton, Cameron, Detroit, Atlanta, Birmingham, Gary, Chicago, and so on. Few whites see these dismal wastes. I have, extensively, through the windows of police cruisers. Outside of a squad car, I wouldn’t have lasted an hour without being beaten crippled. It is that bad.
In eight hours in these places you never see a white face. People are not poor, not in the sense that anyone in India would recognize. Rather they are isolated, hopeless, their only contact with the outside world being television. The schools are terrible. Fully half of Detroit is illiterate, meaning that many of the rest of the city almost is. They blame all of this, they blame everything, on whites. While in the past they were right, their problem is no longer whitey, and neither is the cure, if there is one. This is why the endless racial programs do not work.
In a technological society, those who can’t read have no chance. Whites no longer prevent blacks from learning to read, or have any desire to do so. If blacks in Detroit took to the streets demanding thicker books with bigger words and smaller pictures, if they fired incompetent teachers to hire better ones, if black parents taught their kids to read even if they had to learn alongside them, most whites would cheer. I would. Whites can’t do these things for blacks. Yet even to suggest that blacks need to solve their own problems brings cries of racism.
And so things are explosive. On the one hand, whites have given up on blacks. Ritualistic talk continues about poverty and closing the academic gap, and affirmative action is accepted as another entitlement, but no one does anything or knows what to do or has much interest. Many whites are quietly angry about the Knockout Game and mob attacks. Others revel in flagellating themselves over White Privilege, but chiefly for the joy of narcissistic self-abasement. It has little to do with blacks.
On the other hand, in the black sections hatred of whites is strong. It is not resentment or mere anger. It is hatred. Things are lousy, and it is Whitey who did it. Life is going nowhere in the ‘hood, people live meaninglessly and don’t know what to do about it. There are no jobs. On various occasions I have gone into a home in the ghetto in response to a police call, and found five grown men watching television all day.
They are doing nothing because there is nothing for them to do. The economy doesn’t need them. They do not know why they are in the mess they are in, as, really, neither do I. But they blame whitey. They, especially the young, are ready to do something about it.
Many whites of my acquaintance in Washington do not grasp any of this. They are lawyers, journalists, academics, people who live in a bubble of political correctness and see only the well-dressed blacks who work in offices on Connecticut Avenue. To them racial tension is what rednecks and Southerners do.
They don’t really grasp that the human animal is savage, cruel, vindictive, and murderous. This diagnosis may seem excessive if you are well-fed, content, and more or less in control of your life. It is not excessive. History and for that matter the present are full of groups butchering each other for reasons of race, ethnicity, and nationality. Irish Prots and Catholics killing each other, the IRA planting bombs in London, white Southerners lynching blacks in the South, the slow genocide of whites by blacks in South Africa, Sunnis and Shi’ites killing each other, Turks butchering Armenians, black tribes in Burundi hacking each other into pieces by thousands, white Americans exterminating the Indians.
It can happen. Maybe it won’t.