There is a problem with black culture.
You probably instantly assumed that I am racist because I said that – a white dude making a blanket statement that there is a problem with black culture. Here, one sentence in, is where we need to make our first differentiation.
If I say that there is a problem with black people, then that is a racist statement. It makes an assumption based on race. If I say that there is a problem with black culture, then I am condemning an idea, a viewpoint, and a mindset. There is literally nothing racist about that – it defies the very definition.
There is a problem with black culture for several reasons; however, the core problem can be boiled down to a single issue: it assumes that blacks are treated unequally if they are not treated with privilege. It denies the existence of a universal, blind standard by which everyone deserves to be treated, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, or creed. That standard is the foundation of justice and of equality. Whenever one people group demands that they be treated as above the standard, or outright denies that that standard exists, there is a significant problem which cannot be overcome as long as that viewpoint is held.
A few weeks ago I was part of a discussion on a forum at a university where I used to teach. The subject of the discussion was people of color (POC) and white privilege. The viewpoint that was almost universally held by those representing the POC stance was comprised of two positions:
- That people of color were institutionally repressed, and that white people couldn’t possibly tell them they weren’t because white people didn’t know what it was like to be a POC.
- That white privilege exists universally for all white people, and that no matter how many exceptions that were pointed out (e.g., all of the white people on the discussion board talking about how they were paying for college themselves, how they had worked since they were 13, came from poor backgrounds, et cetera), the POC were able to see white privilege in everything white people had and did, even if the white people didn’t see it themselves.
The level of intellectual dishonesty here is astounding. Here was a group of people simultaneously claiming that POC knew exactly what it was like to be white, even to the point of claiming that the white people themselves didn’t understand it, while simultaneously invalidating any white opinion because they didn’t know what it was like to be a POC. When I pointed this out, you can probably guess what the response was: I was labeled a racist.
When I inquired into the justification of how people actually came to believe this double standard, the answer was a reference to what was currently being taught on the university in social science classes. Apparently it was being taught that white people couldn’t possibly experience racism because racism, at a definitional level, could only be experienced by those who had traditionally been oppressed. The fact that all people groups have been oppressed by those of other races at some point in their history aside, this is mind-blowing. The concept of racism had been removed as an objective standard (i.e., racism is when discrimination occurs based on race) and been replaced by an entirely subjective standard (i.e., racism can only be experienced by POC at the hands of white people). One may be tempted to laugh at the sheer absurdity of this viewpoint, but you would quickly be sobered when you see tweets like this:
The worst part is that none of these tweets fit the current definition of racism as it is currently taught in America, even in institutions of (supposed) higher learning.
The Black Lives Matter movement has given these people a voice, and it is within this movement that we find some of the starkest examples of what is wrong with black culture. For example, watch what happens when someone proposes that Black Lives Matter in a white neighborhood, and contrast that to what happens when he holds an All Lives Matter sign in a black neighborhood.
The worst reaction he got was a dismissive, perhaps even disrespectful, laugh when he held the BLM sign in a white neighborhood. The typical reaction he got in a black neighborhood by even proposing that all lives were equal was repeatedly being physically attacked. This double standard, this denial of an objective reality, is at the heart of the problem.
Blacks have been oppressed. So have whites. So have Native Americans, and every single other race in the history of the world. To assume that systemic racism must exist because it once existed is the epitome of ignorance, and no conversation about social justice can progress until an objective standard with equal and universal standards is acknowledged.