The High Price of Stale Grievances

The High Price of Stale Grievances, by Coleman Hughes (who is a black undergraduate).

In the fall of 2016, I was hired to play in Rihanna’s back-up band at the MTV Video Music Awards. … To my pleasant surprise, several of my friends had also gotten the call. But as the date approached, I learned that one of my friends had been fired and replaced. The reason? He was a white Hispanic, and Rihanna’s artistic team had decided to go for an all-black aesthetic — aside from Rihanna’s steady guitarist, there would be no non-blacks on stage. …

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? …

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.

Convenient “truths” worth real money and status points.

When called upon to justify the fact that we make Asians work harder than whites and blacks to get into college, progressives appeal to principles like diversity and inclusion — goals which may indeed be defensible in some form. But there are good reasons to believe that these lofty principles are in fact anchored to an unthinking, reflexive bias towards blacks.

In one study, participants were asked to decide between two similarly qualified hypothetical college applicants — a black student with a higher GPA, and a white student with a tougher course load. Participants chose the black applicant, citing the importance of GPA. But when researchers switched the resumes so that the white student had the higher GPA and the black student had the tougher course load, participants still chose the black applicant, this time citing the importance of taking tougher classes. In both cases, participants denied that race had anything to do with their decision. …

The white criminal is no more deeply responsible for the mixture of causes that led him to offend than his black counterpart. Why is it, then, that historical forces are only ever invoked to explain the behavior of blacks? …

Only a black intellectual, for instance, could write an op-ed arguing that black children should not befriend white children because “[h]istory has provided little reason for people of color to trust white people,” and get it published in the New York Times in 2017. An identical piece with the races reversed would rightly be relegated to fringe white supremacist forums. In defense of such racist drivel, it won’t suffice to repeat the platitude that ‘black people can’t be racist,’ as if redefining a word changes the ethical status of the thing that the word signifies.

Progressives ought not dodge the question: Why are blacks the only ethnic group routinely and openly encouraged to nurse stale grievances back to life? …

It’s pretty simple. Black votes left and the left looks after blacks. The left owns the culture at present. The result is a ridiculously strong pro-black bias running through US culture at present — which other western countries mindlessly import and tailor to their local situation.

So what next?

Whites are noticing that black leaders still use historical grievances to justify special dispensations for blacks who were born decades after the end of Jim Crow—and many whites understandably resent this.

Asian students are noticing that applying to elite colleges is an uphill battle for them, and are understandably fighting for basic fairness in admissions standards.

The majority of blacks themselves are noticing that bias is not the main issue they face anymore, even as blacks who dare express this view are called race traitors. …

As these cracks widen, the far-Left responds by doubling down on the radical strain of black identity politics that caused these problems to begin with, and the far-Right responds with its own toxic strain of white identity politics. Stale grievances are dredged up from history and used to justify double-standards that create fresh grievances in turn.

And beneath all of this lies the tacit claim that blacks are uniquely constrained by history in a way that Jewish-Americans, East Asian-Americans, Indian-Americans, and countless other historically marginalized ethnic groups are not.

How is the left going to come to grips with the blasphemous truth that not all races are statistically identical? Everyone is locked in a non-productive and ugly rut until the PC left bows to this reality, and learns to deal with it.