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.
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 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.