America’s growing racial divide

Race Issues | And there’s plenty of blame to go around for causing it
by Cal Thomas
Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2016, at 3:53 pm

The shootings of black men by white police officers in Minnesota and Louisiana and the murder of five white Dallas police officers by a black man have widened the gap in our racially divided country. The stereotypes each race holds of the other hardened.

Don’t we already have enough to fear from radical Islamic terrorists? Must we add fear of a race war? We seem to be heading back to the 1960s and are again hearing police officers, who defend black neighborhoods against black predators, called “pigs,” with some shouting they should be dead.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch touched on part of the problem in her remarks about the Dallas shootings. She said we must not turn against each other but toward each other.

But we don’t really know each other. Labels and images have replaced human contact. Social media tends to make the problem worse, because information is shared that is often half-true or completely inaccurate. The “hands-up, don’t shoot” narrative that followed the Ferguson, Mo., shooting of Michael Brown is just one example. Despite a thorough investigation that proved Brown did not have his hands up in an act of surrender to a police officer, the false narrative continues.

If you are white and reading this, how many African-Americans do you know? If any, do you know the names of their family members? Have you ever had a meal with them in their home or invited them to your home? Have your children played together? Do you attend church together? As Martin Luther King Jr. observed, “It is appalling that the most segregated hour in Christian America is 11 o’clock on Sunday morning.” Why is this? A church setting should model equality and a common worship experience of the God who made us all and to whom racism is a sin.

If you are white and reading this, how many African-Americans do you know?

I was born in Washington, D.C., which at the time was a segregated city. The only black people I knew growing up were our two maids. I never knew their last names, which I later learned was a practice leftover from slavery.

Later, when I began playing basketball, I met, traveled, showered, and ate with African-American teammates. Sports are a great equalizer. It was once said that the late congressman and football player Jack Kemp had showered with more African-Americans than attend Republican political conventions. He showed up in poor neighborhoods and spoke up for the poor and disenfranchised to the embarrassment of many white Republicans. Kemp inspired others. Isn’t inspiration, not accusation, what we need now?

Failed liberal policies have more to do with the condition of those African­-Americans who are poor than racism. Welfare dependency and the narrative that because one is black one will always be discriminated against keeps many discouraged and defeated.

There are more African-American politicians today than ever before—in Congress, as mayors of our big cities, even in the White House. Why isn’t their narrative inspiring a new generation of African-Americans? I think it’s because if the poor were to become self-sustaining they might not feel the need of the liberal politicians. These are a core liberal voting bloc, despite the ones they vote for having done little or nothing to improve the lives of blacks.

That politicians can deliver economic and social salvation is the biggest lie and worst narrative of all. Hating the police will improve no one’s circumstances.

© 2016 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Listen to Cal Thomas’ commentary on the July 12 edition of The World and Everything in It.

Cal Thomas

Cal contributes weekly commentary to WORLD Radio. Over the last five decades, he worked for NBC News, FOX News, and USA Today and began his syndicated news column in 1984. Cal is the author of 10 books, including What Works: Commonsense Solutions to the Nation's Problems. Follow him on Twitter @CalThomas.

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  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Tue, 07/12/2016 10:07 pm

    Great column.  If there is one thing good that is coming out of the recent race-related violence, it is that people are coming to recognize the need for developing relationships with everyone around us.

  • TxAgEngr
    Posted: Thu, 07/14/2016 01:07 pm

    First thought: I have neither caused an auto accident nor been cited for a moving violation, yet when I was between 16 and 25 years of age, I paid the highest auto insurance premiums.  Regardless of my spotless record, I was in a "group" that caused the most financial damage on the road and no insurance uderwriter would offer me any relief. Being included in a bad group can have negative consequences, especially if the group refuses to do anything to improve their behavior.  Second thought:  Last week I realized that the disgust and disappointment and anger I felt when Comey and Lynch refused to prosecute Hillary Clinton might be similar to the feelings that many in the black community have regularly about the unfairness of life in America.