Saturday, August 13, 2011

Deteriorating Race Relations

Something is going seriously wrong with race relations in this country. Over the last half century we've made immense progress in demonstrating to the world how people of different ethnicities and races could amicably coexist even if they didn't quite trust, or even like, each other. All of that progress now seems to be unraveling as roving gangs of young blacks in dozens of localities across the U.S. have terrorized, beaten, and murdered whites simply because they're white.

The horrors that occurred at the Wisconsin State Fair were but one instance of what seems to be an accelerating trend of racial hatred and violence perpetrated by blacks against whites.

Robin, a psychologist and former liberal who writes at American Thinker, gives voice to what a lot of white Americans are thinking, and it doesn't augur well for the future. Robin blames Obama for the increasing violence, and although I think that's a bit of a stretch (though not entirely so, given the insouciant attitude of the Department of Justice toward black on white crime), it's not a stretch to point out that something is going very much awry.

Notwithstanding media reluctance to mention it, interracial violence has always been disproportionately, indeed, overwhelmingly, black on white, but whites have been conditioned to think that this was "understandable" given our nation's racial history and the terrible poverty and lack of opportunity blacks have endured. White guilt has abetted a reluctance to entertain the thought that there was something deeply, virulently wrong in the black community.

Many bought into the black liberal propaganda that racism was a taint that afflicts only whites. Criticism of black shortcomings was inhibited by a fear of being labeled a racist. Blacks and whites could both criticize whites, but only blacks were allowed to comment on black dysfunction, and even then they were often criticized for providing ammunition to white racists if they did so.

All this is changing. Whites are becoming deeply resentful of the frequent reports of terrible beatings and other crimes perpetrated by blacks against whites, often simply because they're white. Many hard-working whites are embittered by the injustice of being required to pull the wagon in which a large portion of the black population rides only to have the free-riders now and then jump out of the wagon to kick them in the head and then jump back in and demand that the whites pull harder.

Growing numbers of whites are arriving at the point where they no longer preface their comments about race by declaring "I'm not a racist, but..." More people are likely to be heard saying "I don't care if you call me a racist." The charge of racism has largely lost its former sting.

People can only read so many stories like the one that came out of the Wisconsin State Fair last week before they stop looking for euphemisms and excuses for black violence and start thinking that there's something amiss in the psyche of people who feel the need to form roaming packs of predators who just want to hurt others for no reason other than that they're white and easy targets.

If President Obama wants to use his bully pulpit to do something truly beneficial for the country he should give not one but a dozen speeches like the one given last week by Mayor Nutter of Philadelphia. Too many blacks hear messages like this all too infrequently. Our national life together will only deteriorate into mutual animus and overt hostility unless more people, especially black men, start pounding home the message that barbaric behavior is unacceptable among civilized people.

Carter on Journalistic Integrity

Joe Carter at First Things administers a much-deserved spanking to Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker for a hit piece he did in that magazine on Michele Bachmann. As Carter points out, Lizza's attempts to demean Bachmann were ludicrous and reflect more poorly on the writer's professionalism and character than they do on the intended target, but defending Bachmann wasn't Carter's real purpose in writing.

In his attempt to smear Bachmann Lizza also slandered a man, the late Francis Schaeffer, who has had enormous influence among Christian evangelicals, including Carter (and including me), and this was more than Carter could abide.

Carter offers Mr. Lizza four pieces of good advice, in the course of which he pretty much holds Lizza's sloppy journalism up as an example of the sort of thing that young journalists, who wish not to embarrass themselves, should avoid.

Here's his second "Lesson":
Lesson #2: Ensure that you use reliable sources — As I mentioned, Schaeffer has been the subject of numerous studies. There are dozens of qualified and reputable scholars who would be willing to explain his thought and influence. Unfortunately, while Lizza did find a PhD to provide a quote, he chose one that is known for being an unreliable source. Lizza writes,

[Schaeffer] was a major contributor to the school of thought now known as Dominionism, which relies on Genesis 1:26, where man is urged to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Sara Diamond, who has written several books about evangelical movements in America, has succinctly defined the philosophy that resulted from Schaeffer’s interpretation: “Christians, and Christians alone, are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns.”
First, there is no “school of thought” known as “dominionism.” The term was coined in the 1980s by Diamond and is never used outside liberal blogs and websites. No reputable scholars use the term for it is a meaningless neologism that Diamond concocted for her dissertation.

If Lizza had done his homework he would have found that Diamond’s mid-1980s “scholarship” is neither timely nor credible. For example, Diamond bases her contention that Schaeffer is a “dominionist” on his book A Christian Manifesto. The problem is that rather than claiming that “Christians alone are Biblically mandated to occupy all secular institutions until Christ returns”—Schaeffer says exactly the opposite:
[W]e must make definite that we are in no way talking about any kind of theocracy. Let me say that with great emphasis. Witherspoon, Jefferson, the American Founders had no idea of a theocracy. That is made plain by the First Amendment, and we must continually emphasize the fact that we are not talking about some kind, or any kind, of a theocracy....
By the way, the first paragraph of this quote can be found on the Wikipedia page for Schaeffer. Had Lizza merely been as diligent as a college freshman plagiarizing a term paper he would have discovered his error.
Read the whole thing. It's a good dissection of the sort half-truths, innuendo, and misrepresentation that we're likely to see a lot more of as the campaign season unfolds. Thanks to Byron for the tip.

Update: Another individual strongly influenced by Schaeffer and also a victim of Mr. Lizza's journalistic shoddiness is Nancy Pearcey, the author of the book Total Truth. Pearcey responds to Lizza's New Yorker piece here.