≡ Menu

Essay of the Week: The High Price of Stale Grievances by Coleman Hughes

They tried to get me to hate white people, but someone would always come along & spoil it. ~ Thelonious Monk (Monk’s Advice, 1960)

As against our gauzy national hopes, I will teach my boys to have profound doubts that friendship with white people is possible. ~ Ekow N. Yankah (New York Times, 2017)

Though the question seems naïve to some, it is in fact perfectly valid to ask why black people can get away with behavior that white people can’t. The progressive response to this question invariably contains some reference to history: blacks were taken from their homeland in chains, forced to work as chattel for 250 years, and then subjected to redlining, segregation, and lynchings for another century. In the face of such a brutal past, many would argue, it is simply ignorant to complain about what modern-day blacks can get away with.

Yet there we were—young black men born decades after anything that could rightly be called ‘oppression’ had ended—benefitting from a social license bequeathed to us by a history that we have only experienced through textbooks and folklore. And my white Hispanic friend (who could have had a tougher life than all of us, for all I know) paid the price. The underlying logic of using the past to justify racial double-standards in the present is rarely interrogated. What do slavery and Jim Crow have to do with modern-day blacks, who experienced neither? Do all black people have P.T.S.D from racism, as the Grammy and Emmy award-winning artist Donald Glover recently claimed? Is ancestral suffering actually transmitted to descendants? If so, how? What exactly are historical ‘ties’ made of?

We often speak and think in metaphors. For instance, life can have ups and downs and highs and lows, despite the fact that our joys and sorrows do not literally pull our bodies along a vertical axis. Similarly, modern-day black intellectuals often say things like, “We were brought here against our will,” despite the fact that they have never seen a slave ship in their lives, let alone been on one. When metaphors are made explicit—i.e., emotions are vertical, groups are individuals—it’s easy to see that they are just metaphors. Yet many black intellectuals carry on as if they were literal truths.

One such intellectual is Michael Eric Dyson, who recently shared the stage with Michelle Goldberg in a debate against Jordan Peterson and Stephen Fry. Though the debate was ostensibly about political correctness, it ranged everywhere from Marxism to ‘white privilege.’ Around halfway through the debate, Dyson said:

If you have benefitted from 300 years of holding people in servitude, thinking that you did it all on your own…”Why can’t these people work harder?” Let me see…for 300 years you ain’t had no job! So the reality is for 300 years you hold people in the bands…you refuse to give them rights. Then all of a sudden, you ‘free’ them and say, “You’re now individuals.”

Taken literally, Dyson’s claims make no sense. No person has ever suffered 300 years of joblessness because no person has ever lived for 300 years. Of course, Dyson wasn’t speaking literally. His ‘you’ refers not to identifiable, living humans, but to groups of long-deceased individuals with whom he shares nothing in common except a location on the color wheel. But by appropriating a grievance whose rightful owners died long ago, and by slipping between the metaphorical and the literal, Dyson was able to portray himself as a member of an abstract oppressed class and Peterson as a member of an abstract oppressor class.

In his reply, barely audible over Dyson’s sanctimonious harangue, Peterson put his finger on this rhetorical sleight-of-hand: “Who is this ‘you’ that you’re referring to?”

Many black progressives use the myth of collective, intergenerational transfers of suffering to exempt themselves from the rules of civil discourse. Dyson, for instance, responded to Peterson’s criticism of the concept of ‘white privilege’ with the finger-wagging rebuke: “You’re a mean, mad white man!” Despite hurling this racialized insult, Dyson will likely face no consequences. The question naturally arises—what would have happened to Peterson if he had called Dyson a “mean, mad black man”? I think it’s fair to say that Peterson would have received something less pleasant than the round of applause with which Dyson was rewarded.

The celebrated journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates provides another example of the lower ethical standard to which black writers are held. In his #1 New York Times bestseller, Between the World and Me, Coates explained that the policemen and firemen who died on 9/11 “were not human to me,” but “menaces of nature.”1 This, it turned out, was because a friend of Coates had been killed by a black cop a few months earlier. In his recent essay collection, he doubled down on this pitiless sentiment: “When 9/11 happened, I wanted nothing to do with any kind of patriotism, with the broad national ceremony of mourning. I had no sympathy for the firefighters, and something bordering on hatred for the police officers who had died.”2 Meanwhile, New York Times columnist Bari Weiss—a young Jewish woman—was recently raked over the coals for tweeting, “Immigrants: They get the job done,” in praise of the Olympic ice-skater Mirai Nagasu, a second-generation Japanese-American. Accused of ‘othering’ an American citizen, Weiss came under so much fire that The Atlantic ran two separate pieces defending her. That The Atlantic saw it necessary to vigorously defend Weiss, but hasn’t had to lift a finger to defend Coates, whom they employ, evidences the racial double-standard at play. From a white writer, an innocuous tweet provokes histrionic invective. From a black writer, repeated expressions of unapologetic contempt for public servants who died trying to save the lives of others on September 11 are met with fawning praise from leftwing periodicals, plus a National Book Award and a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant.

The Rihanna incident; the Dyson-Peterson debate; the Coates comment—the thread running through all three examples is that modern-day blacks are permitted to employ language and behavior for which whites would be condemned. And wherever these racial double-standards show themselves, appeals to historical oppression, and to a metaphorical ‘we,’ follow close behind. After all, it is argued, how can Dyson and Coates be expected to abide by a so-called ‘politics of respectability’ in a country that routinely humiliates and subjugates them. Indeed, all demands to uphold colorblind standards ring hollow in view of America’s foundational plunder of ‘the black body,’ we are told. The ‘black body’? Such abstract claims are rarely met with the concrete question: to whose black body are you referring?

RTWT @ The High Price of Stale Grievances – Quillette   Published on June 5, 2018  comments 252

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • MMinLamesa June 10, 2018, 3:20 AM

    There was a time when I lived in inner city Denver, actually had bought my first home in the black part of town, 5 Points, that I probably had more black “friends” then any white person you’ll meet.

    The stories I could tell of the utter bullshit I would face as every last one, male or female, lied, stole or cheated me out of something. And not to get too racial here but looking back, these were not just things I experienced as a white man but this is the way they treated everyone, black, white or green. They could rationalize anything, believe me. They looked at EVERYTHING though skin color goggles.

    I know there are millions of fine, decent black folks in this country that are honest, hardworking and want little more than to live in peace, raise their children and enjoy the fruits of their labors. I know, I’ve met many. Some are even conservative.

    But that leaves 38 million n—–s who would just as soon spit on you if you were burning. My solution is self-segregation. I simply will not have anything to do with them. I’ve lived in small towns or outside of them for going 40 years that are bereft of anything more than, at most, an occasional sighting. I’d like to say that when I walk into a black-owned small business, I turn around and leave but you just don’t see much of those in the real world.

    Before I moved to w Texas, the last small town in CO where I lived was Canon City, an old KKK hub and believe me, the word was out that if you’re black, pass on through. I could walk the streets at any hour, as I can here, no graffiti, no home invasions, low or no crime, a very pleasant place.

    They’ve bought into the lies, fine, stew in it bitches. They, of course, aren’t the only ones as REgressives, in general, can’t bring themselves to admit they’ve won the birthplace lottery. Much easier to wear the mantle of a victim then get out in the world & get people on your side of the fence. My Tired Of Knee-Grow Bullshit Meter is pegged and has been for decades.

    And I’d be hard-pressed not to get physical with Michael Dyson if he were to try his fast-talking, finger-wagging crap to my face. I’ve met many a n—– who thinks the more words they can cram into a minute, the smarter they think they are.

    • Yankee Tango July 22, 2022, 2:54 PM

      I not only know where Lamesa is, I know how to pronounce it ! Not too many kneegrows there but you’re overrun with illegals, who aren’t much better, if any.

      • MMinWA July 24, 2022, 5:04 PM

        I’ve been out of La-MISA for years now with a great year+ long stop in the Ozarks in n central AR which was heaven on earth.

        I had few problems with the hispanics both in Denver and w Texas. For the most part, they want to work. yeah there are shitheads and they drink too much and the illegals shouldn’t be here in the first place…got it.

        In 5 years there, I had not one problem in a town 70%+ latino. Imagine if you can living in an area with a 70%+ black populace…oh wait I did. It was a fookin’ bad scene. And that was in the 70s, I wouldn’t even drive through 5 Points now.

  • walt reed June 10, 2018, 4:11 AM

    As a practical matter: If no Sub Saharan Black tribal people had been kidnapped and sold into slavery, by Arabs and other dominant Black Tribes, what would have been the result? How many Black ancestors would have died in Sub Saharan Africa of tribal warfare, disease, malnutrition, animal attacks, etc. How many US Blacks would not exist because previous generations did not survive?

    • Arty July 22, 2022, 4:34 PM

      It’s just a shame we’re stuck with them. They’re literally barnacles on our hull. My apologies to the good ones, both of them.

  • MOTUS June 10, 2018, 5:50 AM

    Progressive Response “Blacks were taken from their homeland in chains, forced to work as chattel for 250 years, and then subjected to redlining, segregation, and lynchings for another century. In the face of such a brutal past, many would argue, it is simply ignorant to complain about what modern-day blacks can get away with.”

    Translation from Progbonics “Turnabout is fair play”

    • Dirk July 22, 2022, 10:44 AM

      Only one groups more dangerous then the inner city negro, that’s the cultured left leaning communist American.

      Men like me, will evenly be coming for men like you!

      • John Venlet July 22, 2022, 11:00 AM

        Dirk, I think you have it backwards. The cultured left leaning communist American is the most dangerous, and the inner city negro comes in second due to the left leaning communist Americans are the inner city negro enablers.

        • Dirk July 22, 2022, 1:19 PM

          John, after further thought, 20 seconds, you are absolutely correct.

        • jiminalaska July 22, 2022, 2:16 PM

          I’d say enabled and consciously, with malice and forethought, created; LBJ’s “I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years”, welfare, family breakdowns, Soro’s get out of jail free cards, etc.

          Why I’m so old I can remember when most black households contained a momma AND a pappa.

      • ThisIsNotNutella July 22, 2022, 3:22 PM

        “Cultured left-leaning communist Americans”

        Also known as the Kosher Nostra.

        Blacks Dysfunction (to put it politely) and White Emasculating Guilt Tripping are the clubs with which they beat you.

        Standard disclaimers about NAXALT (Not all X are like that) but what ultimately matters in politics and quality of life questions are Group Behavioural Traits. In any competition between groups, the ones which exhibit strong in-group preference will dominate those who do not. White In-group Preference is presently labeled ‘Racism’ and ‘White Supremacy’… so you can see how that is going and where it’s going.

      • Arty July 22, 2022, 4:38 PM

        I’ve been saying for years that compared to the leftist filth among our own people, dealing with a troublesome minority is child’s play.

  • Old Codger June 10, 2018, 7:42 AM

    What has killed American black culture is NOT 300 years of slavery, but rather 70 years (5 generations in Knee-grow time) of Uncle Sugar handing out the freebies and creating double standards, which destroyed the black family and reducing it to a “victim class” for benefit and power of their natural enemies, the Democrat Party (history of which is too sordid and lengthy to recount here). Read generally economist Thomas Sowell’s comments on this phenomena.

    Destroyed their culture and innate human morality, but they got the “right to vote” for the worst political class and Party ever, right?

    • ThisIsNotNutella July 22, 2022, 3:26 PM

      They never had an innate human morality in any way similar to yours or mine. What they had were strict boundaries which have been removed and now they have free range to go all Lord of the Flies on the rest of you.

      As tutelary wards of a once self-respecting White Society which kept them on a tight leash, many of them could function quite well and a vanishingly small number could even excel. Given free reign to Be Themselves… Welcome to Africa.

      Race is All. Anything extra is second- or third-order terms… flourishes.. curlicues.

      The root cause is not ‘Culture’. Culture is a cop out euphemism. Fair enough when you live in a society which can destroy you for speaking simple observable truths (all of the West today) but as matter of mental hygiene should never use this kind of terminology in the privacy of one’s head.

  • Ray Van Dune June 10, 2018, 7:50 AM

    At least 30 if not 40 years ago, a New Yorker cartoon featured two young men chatting at a cocktail party. One was black and as I recall drawn in a stylized fashion that said “black power radical” back then. The other, white, was drawn in another style that said “yuppie” or perhaps “earnest liberal” if the former term did not yet exist. The caption had the white guy saying “But surely, you must be mistaken… anyone who had been oppressing you for 200 years would have to be a lot older than me.”

    It struck me at the time as a tiny hopeful indication that we as a nation were on a course toward a healthy sanity. In retrospect I was incredibly foolish, and did not anticipate how so many others would see the need to adjust any course away from sanity. In the unlikely event that a similar cartoon got into the New Yorker today, it would certainly be a firing offense for someone, and cause outrage throughout the mainstream media.

  • Snakepit Kansas June 10, 2018, 4:35 PM

    The current black culture keeps them right where they are. They won the lottery by being born in the US, but cannot or will not exploit what is in front of them. Government is not going to ever save them and certainly not Democrats. Give them $100K in reparations each and see how much money any of them have a year later. Their leaders are con men like Jessie Jackson and Maxine Waters. They would shun anything in writing by Thomas Sowell, who is pure genius and has outlined how ANYONE can shed poverty through hard work, family values and delayed gratification. I had read much from Sowell long before even knowing he was black.

    I have not figured out why almost the entire continent of Africa has languished behind the rest of the world and has no hint of logical efforts to improve their situation. It appears a small portion of the population takes advantage of the rest, and they are stuck with it. Even in South Africa the blacks are wanting to evict the whites and take their land. Sure, give it to them and see what it turns into within a decade.

  • ghostsniper July 22, 2022, 10:49 AM

    In the absence of gov’t stolen money almost the entire negro race in the US will die out in a year or so. Those that do not die out will be fit to live amongst.
    In all things, whatever this rotten assed gov’t touches turns to shit.

  • Jake July 22, 2022, 11:01 AM

    What Lamesa said times 1000

  • Callmelennie July 22, 2022, 3:46 PM

    Lets test the notion that America “lived off” the labors of the Negro slave.

    If this is true, that would mean that the American South, after the war that freed the slaves, would be wealthier than the North. Is that true? Of course, the exact opposite is true; the South was FAR more poverty stricken than the North. And this continued to be the case for the next 100 years, even as the South exploited the labors of the second class Negro citizens

    That actually is slightly counter intuitive. First of all, the fruits of the slave labors, income from selling bales of cotton went mostly to fund the plantations and mansions of the Southern cotton aristocrats. The only benefit to the nation as a whole were minimal tariffs on cotton exports

    Secondly, the controversy over slavery eventually erupted into an immensely destructive Civil War. Multiply the minimim death toll of 600K by 11 to get the impact on the nation as a whole. The South suffered some 250K deaths, 5% of the white population. Some more recent studies, attempting to account for civilian deaths caused by disease and starvation up the toll to 700K. And numerous wealthy plantations as well as great swaths of farmland were completely laid to waste.

    Moreover, creating an economy based on subjugation of other men retards innovation and sound economic and social habits. Chronichles of the time compared the north shore of the Ohio and the South and stated that the difference was so stark, it was like looking at two countries from different continents

    So when you take this angle, you are forced to conclude that America did not benefit at all economically from slavery .. especially when you factor in the war

  • High Cost of Faculty Lounge July 22, 2022, 4:24 PM

    But, but, but, in muh democracy all comrades are in the unity hive collective together?
    We’re all one big happy borg with Jo Jo Brandon to lead us to 1000 years of glorious victories.
    Don’t bogart the bong dude, uhh huh huh, let’s burn something down and build the CCCP better.
    Yes we can!

  • Dirk July 22, 2022, 4:44 PM

    After reading all the above I’m pleased to learn I’m not the only Racist! Thank god!

    Frankly I see all you folks above as Realists, Facts Matter! Truth Matters.

  • anonymous July 22, 2022, 8:46 PM

    My DH is a much-loved professor of philosophy. One who the extreme left adored, even though they refused to follow his own ways of being–good, sound rational inquiry. For 12 years he (we) worked and sacrificed to build a program in a very liberal private university. His program became well recognized and later imitated by schools such as Stanford. When a new academic dean came on she asked my DH to leave his work, and his department chair and move on to another school. “I want your seat for a black woman. I can get you a post in any university you want.” This meant giving 12 years of his work, his papers, his ideas, and his accomplishments to “A Black Woman”. My DH refused and the next seven years were a living hell. I never heard him complain–being an old Navy guy of the officer and a gentleman type he just dug in, worked harder, achieved more recognition and greater enrollment for his program. He never said a bad word about her. She is a white woman married to a Black Panther–the group that has had Seattle white male leadership by the balls for 50 years. Several years later we went to her husband’s retirement party. The Black Panther had become the academic dean at a state university. Well known and adored for his Black Panther/liberal ways. At the party I was last in line to step up to him and wish him good luck. As was/is the Liberal tradition I reached up to give him a hug. He bent me over backward and stuck his tongue down my throat. When he pulled me up from the tango like position he just laughed pushed me away and said, “you don’t even know what’s just been done to you–do you?” I said nothing because I did not want to jeopardize my DH’s career. I was trained to try to live with grace no matter what color you are, or what your politics.

    Dear Gentlemen, if you think white males are victims–you need to think about their white women, those who refuse to follow the National Feminists Strategy. Refuse to follow the dictates of those all-powerful women of Seattle’s old families– those Seattle women of great wealth, who control the legal system and the university system, also control who wins or loses an election. These Seattle women of such half-assed ideology and all-powerful control that they would put this mixed marriage couple into major university positions at two different universities simply because they need to prove they are not racist. Seattle’s women of great wealth have no-NONE–understanding of self discipline, of a moral code that you and I could agree with–these women can’t wait to please those big black guys–if only in the back rooms of their depraved minds! They did go on to destroy my DH’s career, but I am so grateful we finally stood up to them. We walked away with our integrity in place. If any black man ever does that to me again, or anyone I know, I will protest loudly and immediately!

    • ghostsniper July 23, 2022, 7:45 AM

      It raped your face and you have the temerity to throw up a wall of text to brag about it?

      • anonymous July 23, 2022, 8:07 AM

        Only way to help others understand who the real leaders are in this country. The white women of great wealth who put people like these into top jobs in order to make themselves feel good!!

        Putting an African/American into a job they have not yet earned is one thing–putting a Black Panther into a leadership position at a university is something very different.

      • Rust July 23, 2022, 8:15 AM

        The term “dancing with the devil” comes to mind.

        • anonymous July 23, 2022, 8:59 AM

          “Dancing with the devil”–perfect!!

          Like a young Gerard my DH is also a graduate of UCB, we too had dreams of creating a better world. We are first-hand witnesses to how that has been destroyed using our universities!

          Actually, I was never really a part of the intelligentsia–too Episcopalian to ever do drugs, or free sex, etc. Just minded my own business and support my beloved. What I would love to see happen is that the Republican party gets a full understanding of women like me. Neither Catholic nor Baptist, not attending church anymore (the libs destroyed my church).

          There are millions of women like me who voted for Trump–will do so again if given the chance, but we need a party that acknowledges our existence. That we do not wish to follow the NOW, nor the Pope, nor Nanci Pelosi, nor . . . we truly do wish for the country we had before. A country where merit in our schools was essential to the well-being of our country.

        • anonymous July 23, 2022, 9:03 AM

          Yes that is the perfect term! Yet so many of us good little Episcopalians just thought we were going to make the world a better place. Some of us never smoked a joint, or laid around. We are the ones that the NOW hates the most!

          • Speller July 24, 2022, 7:09 AM

            Rush Limbaugh used to refer to NOW as the National Association of Gals, or NAG.

  • Hoss July 22, 2022, 10:05 PM

    Damn proud to be white and I have no guilt whatsoever.

  • Steve (retired/recovering lawyer) July 23, 2022, 6:51 AM

    I long ago learned this truth: The slave never wishes mere equality with his master; he wishes to become the master. Understanding that makes everything else understandable. It is also important to keep in mind that everything in life is distributed in a fashion that lends itself to plotting along a Bell Curve. Thus, it can be true that most Negroes are less intelligent and more prone to violence than other ethnicities while a small percentage can be more intelligent and less prone to violence. The Bell Curve distribution, however, makes it clear that avoiding them as far as is possible is a wise decision. That blacks as a group are being used as the shock troops of the left emerges from observation and analysis of current affairs, as witness the abortive ANTIFA demonstrations organized after the shooting of Tekle Sundberg up in Minneapolis. That scenario unfolded as usual with ANTIFA (mostly white) demonstrators coming out to agitate against the police until the shooter’s alleged target, a female Negro, came out to chastise them. You don’t hear anything about that shooting any more. Once the narrative was disrupted, the leftists decided to move on and wait for a more opportune event to resume their assault on traditional America. It won’t be long until one arises, given the propensities of most Negroes.

  • Dirk July 23, 2022, 10:26 PM

    I have dreams of machine gunning those mother fuckers, by the hundreds,,,,,then rolling into Subway for a Tuna foot long with Dill Pickles. Is that even normal?