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America is No Worse Than Countries with Real Race Hatred

While many of my African-American friends cringe at my stories about being black in Eastern Europe, I reflect on my time there fondly. That’s not to say that race relations in Europe are better than in the United States. As far as I am concerned, they are just as bad, if not worse, on average.
Read the article from which that quote was extracted.‎ Note the kinds of discrimination he experienced in Ukraine, and then consider the quote again.

How are we supposed to deal with a person like him?

He thinks that perceived racial discrimination in the United States -- attributed by him to subconscious attitudes, requiring studies to even detect them (assuming the studies validly identify what he thinks they do) -- ‎is "just as bad," or maybe a little better, on average, than people openly refusing to rent to him, making Nazi salutes at him, and harassing him under the assumption that he's smuggling drugs. By any objective measure, his treatment in the United States is orders ‎of magnitude better, yet he appears to be blind to that fact.

It's enough to make one want to give up on ever having a serious discussion with people like him. ("Like him" meaning irrational people, not black people. There are whites who would think like him, and blacks who would not.)

Comments (17)

It's about like trying to convince a typical feminist that there is no such thing as a "rape culture" in mainstream Western society. Victimhood is central to their worldview. Most of these leftists are sad, pathetic people who need external causes for their bitterness and failures in life.

That's a bizarre article. It's funny that he no doubt thinks of himself as an intellectual and a cosmopolitan, and yet he is unaware of one of the most basic principles taught to people who plan to travel--namely, that you will be inclined to romanticize the country you have traveled to just because of your fascination with "the other." This is what creates the well-known phenomenon of reverse culture shock--that is, the phenomenon of hating your own country when you return. Anyone who has done a missions trip even for a few weeks knows what this is like. You work yourself up. This guy is grooving to things that he *knows darned well* would cause everybody to freak out, perhaps even riots, in America. Would he really like it better if American police stopped people openly because they are black? Of course he wouldn't. And notice how he's willing to be nice to the girl student who argues that blacks use the n-word but would be (he more or less admits it) angry and impatient with any American who made the same argument. But this is all kind of different and novel to him, so he says nonsense about how it "allows open discussion," but if he met Americans doing the same thing, he would, of course, never actually say, "Oh, good, now we can have an open discussion."

Even a moderate book like _The Bell Curve_ in the U.S. was treated as if it were the equivalent of Nazism, and yet that book was very much having an open discussion in scholarly terms. Would this author like to have a chat with someone who appreciated that book and was interested in its arguments? Would he appreciate that openness and honesty? In a pig's eye.

The other factor, besides sheer, romantic love of the Ukraine because it's a different country, is the Original Sin of America factor. Americans *could not* win his praise, however innocent they looked (notice his reference to his student's innocence), because in the narrative he obviously follows, Americans are all tainted with the Original Sin of belonging to a country in which there was ante-bellum slavery. That is why he will never be satisfied with America. America cannot rid itself of this original sin. There is no baptism that will do it, so he has to dig ever-deeper for the residue of racism and then blame Americans for denying its existence.

While I understand where you're going Lydia, I think you're dismissing one of the key things he said he liked... namely that Ukrainians and Georgians are not chicken$%^& about discussing prejudice and racism with black people. It infuriates a lot of black people that they perceive prejudice directed at them and people will strenuously deny what is going on. It's the common white behavior in America that denies the discomfort with certain black demographics (or outright preferring a homogenous white group) while quite visibly showing through body language. The Ukrainians were forthright: you're the other and we frankly don't trust or like you very much.

I think a lot of problems between blacks and whites comes down to the cowardice of white Americans and their status whoring via various degrees of white guilt. There is not just dishonesty there, but condescension toward black folks. White Americans simply by and large do not honestly discuss race except in hushed tones among each other. Funny thing though is that a growing number of blacks are starting to realize that certain issues like immigration cannot even be sensibly discussed without taking a "blood and soil" view of the nation over the proposition nation approach.

Mike, I'm going to make a bet: There is no way in Hades that that author would actually prefer Americans to say to him even a _mild_ version of what he heard in Ukraine. No way in Hades that he would prefer it as "more honest" or what-not.

Suppose that he wanted to date some American girl and were told by her and/or her family, "You know, we're somewhat uneasy about your dating our daughter because of your race and some of the possible cultural baggage that could come with that." Even something that mild would really tick him off. Or suppose that an American employer hiring for some job said forthrightly, "Look, I've had trouble in the past with black employees who have a chip on their shoulder and are always looking around for opportunities to cry 'racism'. This has made me reluctant to hire blacks. Can you address that concern for me in this interview?" The probability that he would consider the employer a racist himself and would even probably bring a complaint for discrimination seems to me extremely high.

I'm betting this guy could not handle even the mildest type of honesty about race from fellow Americans, even though he thinks its hip-sounding to welcome outright racial hatred from Ukrainians.

Based on what he wrote, I would already write him off as more or less the sort of guy who thinks the average white American harbors the same feelings as the average Ukrainian toward him. So from his perspective, it would probably refreshing to hear that because he already assumes it's true, he's just being lied to.

a) I doubt that you're right that he'd find either of the examples I gave refreshing rather than a cause of enormous grievance.

b) That isn't an honest conversation either, because instead of actually understanding that, say, the employer has an understandable concern about which he is being honest, he's considering the employer in my example to be some kind of crypto-fascist who hates him for his race. Which the employer isn't admitting anyway.

Which means that, with someone like him, an _actual_ honest conversation is impossible.

I can imagine contexts in which I would really believe that someone wanted to have an honest conversation about these matters, but that would involve his _first_ saying things himself about, e.g., dysfunctional black culture, the rationality of some "profiling," and the like. If he didn't spontaneously say those types of things himself, then I would assume that, "Hey, why can't we all just be honest with one another about our racial feelings" was a lot of hooey or, at most, some kind of taunting request for the other person to come out admit his deep and horrible racism.

Even middle-ground, mainstream conservatives have _for decades_ been trying to say moderate things about dysfunctional behavior and how disparate impact in outcomes is a result of disparate behavioral patterns, and that type of honesty has been demonized rather than valued.

But what I did enjoy about Eastern Europe, especially Ukraine, was that I was able to make many breakthroughs on race with locals that I have yet to experience in the United States. Instead of entrenching in their racial ignorance, Ukrainians were honest about their naiveté and open to learning about a different culture.

I have had lots of professional interaction with blacks, and more limited non-professional interaction. In the workplace, I see blacks being respected for their capacity to contribute to the goal, the bottom line, for professionalism, etc. And I have seen _some_ blacks have to work harder than white people for the same degree of respect. I have seen out-and-out racial hatred for blacks - there are white (and other race) bigots who aren't afraid to say what they think. And I have seen out and out black racial hatred for whites.

I have seen the "average white guy" bend over backwards to be as sure as he can be that he is not doing, thinking, or assuming things that are racially prejudicial. I have seen the "average black guy" bend over backwards to fit into a white group. I have seen white families invite black neighbors to play with their children, and vice versa. And white teens take black girls on dates, where the notable "big to-do" was simply "he's going on a date", not "going on a date with a girl of another race." I have seen white women greet a black female friend with a heart-felt hug and kiss that looks - to me, anyway - the very same greeting they give to a white female friend.

Most whites, by far the preponderance, are in the bending over backwards to avoid bigotry category. They don't think they are better than blacks, they don't think they are entitled to status or perks before blacks are, they don't think the blacks they know are stupid (any more than the whites they know are stupid), they don't think whites should be treated differently before the law than blacks should be treated, etc. They can't understand, for example, the mind-set of a police officer pulling over a black man in a 860 BMW merely based on the skin color and the big-ticket nature of the car. It would never even occur to them, seeing a black man driving such a car, to think "he's probably stolen it or has drugs".

In my opinion, the 10% or whatever true bigots out there are helping to continue to poison the well for the more-than 80% of whites who simply are not bigoted in any grave way. They make it easy for blacks with even a moderate degree of doubt about whites just assume that whites who are not expressing bigotry are just keeping it inside - or pretending it is something else. I have seen blacks lash out at treatment they don't like as being "racially motivated" just because it is unpleasant (a boss pointing out failures to perform tasks is named "racial prejudice").

Another well-poisoner is surely the create and maintain victim status system of professional carpet-baggers who feed blacks such stories as "micro-aggressions" as a continuing source of racial prejudice, when it is obvious to anyone with fair eyes that true racial discrimination has waned incredibly in the last 2 generations. I would LOVE to have an honest and open discussion with a black about racial discrimination, in which he openly permitted simple doubt that many so-called micro-aggressions really are nothing of the sort, merely was open to discussing them as requiring the same substantiation as any other behavioral characterization. But I have seen little evidence of that willingness on the part of blacks. A good share of blacks that I know simply show no interest whatsoever to open a discussion with whites on any related subject (they are probably tired beyond belief of the issue), and some others (the ones who are intent on raising the issues) seem to be well along toward entrenchment in assuming there is hidden prejudice that isn't really there.

Mike T,

I'm with Lydia on this one -- mainly because I think her last comment is spot on. Just think of the vitriol that Charles Murray still generates thanks to The Bell Curve or the way Steve Sailer is treated by the mainstream. Heck, compare those two reasonable, sane, and thoughtful conservatives with the lavish praise someone like Ta-Nehisi Coates receives (I can't believe anyone takes him seriously given his name) -- he is a fool who couldn't reason his way out of a paper bag and liberals fall all over themselves to glorify his work and say how wonderful he is.

The whole spectacle makes me gloomy about race relations outside of conservative Christian circles -- the one place I think you will find honest discussions because they start at the cross, where our common humanity is acknowledged and celebrated/challenged, whatever our differences.

I don't know though Jeff. Define "conservative Christian circles." I have seen otherwise conservative Christian pastors say the most outrageously unhelpful things about race. These include Al Mohler, John Piper, Matt Chandler, and many others. Many of them are Southern Baptist and hence feel a need to expiate their white guilt. In fact, I sometimes find that such Christians are MORE irrational than areligious far-right pundits on this issue.

If you want to read some examples, go look up Thabiti Anyabwile's articles at the Gospel Coalition on the Trayvon Martin case and the Ferguson case. Extremely unhelpful, lending aid to the victim-creation culture, and very few people have publicly disagreed with him. Voddie Baucham is the only other person I can think of who has written something like an official response to this attitude from within the Gospel Coalition, which is considered to be one of the most conservative para-church organizations out there.

I know that this is an old thread but I guess I feel like I want to throw my two cents in. I am a Christian, but when it comes to blacks, I am simply done. I suppose I am more like those areligious far-rightists that Elephant mentioned. I feel that they are at best a nuisance and at worse a burden and maybe even a danger.

I feel no need to pander or appeal to them unlike liberals or Christians who are otherwise conservative.

I'd like to short-sell your two cents.

Well, that's ridiculous, because we're talking about human beings here, so you can't just "be done" with an entire racial group of human beings. It's possible to make interesting generalizations in this area concerning inner-city culture and what-not, and I'm not even going to oppose some types of "profiling" or "discrimination" for prudential reasons, but it's absurd, and wrong, to say that any racial group en toto and as such as "at best a nuisance and at worst a burden." A Christian has even less excuse, because a Christian believes that each man is an immortal being for whom Christ died.

I also doubt very much that your view was what the Elephant was referring to approvingly.

Hey Elephant,

I just noticed your response to me (given the...unfortunate...comment from Svar) and so I figure I owe you a response. I was thinking in particular of Doug Wilson and some stuff I read on the Pyros' blog (I start hanging around you and the next thing you know I'm reading anti-Catholic Calvinist blogs -- go figure!)

Anyway, that's who I had in mind :-)

@ Paul J Cella

Why? You don't have to agree with me, but I would appreciate it if you were to give me a reason.

@ Lydia

"Well, that's ridiculous, because we're talking about human beings here, so you can't just "be done" with an entire racial group of human beings."

Wait, I think I know what the deal is. Is it that you all think I am advocating a final solution? I'm not. I just ignore them and treat their needs and problems as a group with complete indifference. They are the boy who cried wolf too many times to me.

"It's possible to make interesting generalizations in this area concerning inner-city culture and what-not, and I'm not even going to oppose some types of "profiling" or "discrimination" for prudential reasons, but it's absurd, and wrong, to say that any racial group en toto and as such as "at best a nuisance and at worst a burden." A Christian has even less excuse, because a Christian believes that each man is an immortal being for whom Christ died."

Well, as a group, I feel they are. To be honest, I feel that the Jews, as a group, are an extremely vile and disgusting race. But there is a difference between a group and individuals within that group. There are Thomas Sowells and Paul Gottfrieds out there in seas of Trayvons', Jesse Jacksons', Al Sharptons', Rahm Emanuels', Trotskys', Krauthammers', and Madoffs'. Each group has it's share of good and bad people but they don't all have the same ratios of each like all liberals and most Christians want to believe.

"I also doubt very much that your view was what the Elephant was referring to approvingly."

Oh no, I didn't think he was approving of areligious far-rightists.

I did not think that Svar was advocating a final solution, but in fact we don't tolerate referring to Jews, blacks, or any other such group as "an extremely vile and disgusting race" and the like even with a few caveats (how kind!) about exceptional individuals.

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