How Blacks Stopped Caring about Respectability and Acceptability
One of the more peculiar, if often ignored, feature of recent popular protests that have followed many of the seemingly routine extrajudicial executions of black men by cops and white vigilantes in the USA has been the profile of those killed. To put it another way, the majority of black protesters are no longer restrained by CONservative and LIEbral whites talking about the so-called “criminal histories” of those that were murdered. While some white readers of this post might believe that this was always the norm- even a little honest historical research will clearly show otherwise.
What changed? Why have so many blacks (especially those born after 1980) stopped caring about appearing respectable and acceptable to whites? Why haven’t the supposed “criminal histories” and “public personas” of Trayvon Martin, Micheal Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurle and Freddie Gray NOT put a damper on demands for justice for their executions? And perhaps more interestingly, why did so many blacks from previous eras and generations strive for white respectability and acceptability? As I will show you in the rest of this post- all those questions are closely linked to each other.
If you have ever read about the peaceful black civil rights movement from the 1950s and 1960s, it is hard to miss that many leaders of that movement went to great lengths to ensure that plaintiffs in cases of racial discrimination had a “socially acceptable”, “respectable” and “gentle” demeanor. This desire by blacks for “respectability” and “acceptability” by whites intensified after the 1960s and went on well into the late 1990s and early 2000s, when for some inexplicable reason, it started to quickly fade away.
You might have noticed that a lot of popular (and rich) black entertainers from the now-disgraced Bill Cosby, Eddy Murphy, Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Chris Rock, Tyler Perry and Dave Chappelle made a lot of money by either playing “respectable” black men or by criticizing “all those other” black men. Similarly a lot of political figures from Barack Obama and Colin Powell to almost every black cop they interview on TV after some black guy was murdered by cops try to avoid the central issue by talking about education, respectability, acceptability and other assorted bullshit.
So, what is going on? Why did most blacks initially embrace the idea that respectability and acceptability would somehow result in “true” equality with whites? Why did this quest for respectability and acceptability strengthen after the civil rights movement only to collapse in the last decade? And why did it collapse?
The genesis of the idea that respectability and acceptability would somehow result in “true” equality with whites is probably the easiest to understand. It probably came about due to a peculiar side-effect of post-1865 american apartheid. Basically, most white people who interacted with blacks (especially in northern states) came in two flavors- a minority who treated black people well and the majority who treated blacks as subhuman but did not have the balls to be honest about it. Consequently many blacks, who had limited exposure to white hypocrisy, wanted to believe that the racist majority of whites might ultimately them as equals like the non-racist minority did if only they could somehow show themselves to be respectable and acceptable. It goes without saying the racist white majority fed that lie by pretending to believe in it and treating supplicant blacks a bit better than those with self-respect.
Ironically, the aftermath of the civil rights movement as the numerous anti-discrimination legislations passed in that era in combination with the growing economy did actually increase the quality of life for a substantial percentage of the black population in USA. This trend maintained momentum through the 1980s and even the 1990s until it hit a series of not-so-unexpected roadblocks.
The first and most obvious roadblock was the massive increase in incarceration, socially sanctioned extrajudicial executions and legalized discrimination that followed the “war on drugs”. It is now no secret the so-called “war on drugs” was about reestablishing the ‘Jim Crow’ quo. However many blacks who had benefited from the civil rights movement were initially unwilling to see the “war on drugs” for what it really was. They thought that acting respectable and gaining more social acceptability would somehow insulate them from the abuse of ‘Jim Crow 2.0’.
Well.. it sorta did that for a time, especially during the 1980s. However the “war on drugs” kept on growing in scope and soon expanded into increasingly aggressive, violent and militarized policing of black-majority neighborhoods. Of course.. this was to justified under the guise of protecting “good and respectable” blacks from drug crazed and violent “n***ers”. By the later half of the 1990s, the children of “respectable” blacks found out that the police were incapable and not really interested in distinguishing between them and their “drug-dealing” poor counterparts.
However the biggest and most important blow to the idea that most whites are decent human beings came from a completely different source- namely, an increase in real life interactions with whites. You see, the most far-reaching effect of the civil rights movement was that it resulted in a vast and almost unprecedented increase in daily interactions between whites and blacks. Prior to the late 1960s, whites were able to exclude blacks from most of their lives and could therefore pretend to be more honest and nicer than they were. The ability to exclude blacks fell rapidly after 1965 and in the next two decades many got a chance to find out what white people really were like. The growth and spread of the internet after 1995 allowed blacks to appreciate the extent and depth of white racism.
Consequently the vast majority of black people born in the last 30 odd years have a very good and accurate understanding of what white people actually think about them. They understand that white racism is not driven by anything beyond the sadistic desire to hurt and kill more vulnerable people. They understand that whites hate blacks because they are alive. They understand that all that talk about education, respectability and social acceptability is just a smoke screen that whites use to justify racial discrimination. They also understand that whites are a rapidly aging and declining part of the population whose glory days are now just a memory. It is now a waiting game or failing that one of attrition- something that the rest of humanity is now as good at as whites used to be.
What do you think? Comments?