I’m not an authority on race relations, but I have a knack for knowing what’s not working and why. My area of “why” is in human behavior — not the answers to how all these things can be fixed.
There are people who have the answers (or ideas that could get us there with the cooperation and courage to foster them).
The same can be said for most issues in America. So my aim is to clear the clutter for honest debate — especially for people who really know their stuff.
Like this guy, Glenn Loury . . .
“It was time to take stock”
We stood there in the summer of 1984. . . . Two decades had passed since the heyday of the civil rights achievements of the 1960s. It was time to take stock. Where have we blacks gotten ourselves to? I asked . . .
High up in the speech throwing down the gauntlet came my signature declaration, the Civil Rights Movement is over, I asserted.
I claimed that the problems of the lower classes of African American society plagued by poverty and joblessness were, at the end of the day, not remediable by the means which had been so effective in the 1960s of protest and petitioning for fair treatment.
What we now faced, I suggested, was a new American dilemma. The formulation I ultimately settled on contrasted an enemy without, that would be white racism, with an enemy within — black society.
“The Civil Rights Movement is over” — in 1984!
That — takes guts!
Alas, that it was 37 years ago bolters my case about the forces of folly that smother such bold thinking. If you support truth-to-power people like Loury — think of my words as a way to help them.
Loury, McWhorter & Crew are doing their part — you’re not.
Cheerleading on YouTube doesn’t get it done.
Speaking of not helping . . .
My Cousin Vinny is maybe the most hilariously educational movie ever, and this scene is at the core of our culture’s communication divide.
Don’t shake your head. I’m not done yet. Wait till you hear the whole thing so you can . . . understand this now . . .
He’s gonna show you the bricks. He’ll show you they got straight sides. He’ll show you how they got the right shape. He’ll show them to you in a very special way, so that they appear to have everything a brick should have . . .
But there’s one thing he’s not gonna show you.
When you look at the bricks from the right angle, they’re as thin as this playing card. His whole case is an illusion, a magic trick.
We must be clear-sighted in beginnings, for, as in their budding we discern not the danger, so in their full growth we perceive not the remedy — Montaigne, Essays
Take note of the timestamps below. This shitkicker shows more intellectual honesty in 2 seconds — than most of America has the guts to give on matters that shape our society and sometimes the world.
Cal Naughton Jr.: Got a new nickname, “The Magic Man” — Now you see me, now you don’t
Ricky Bobby: That is stupidest nickname I’ve ever heard
Cal Naughton Jr: Is it, Ricky? Cuz I think you wish you thought of it
Ricky Bobby: All right, you got me — that’s an awesome nickname
It might sound kinda corny, but “Help [Them] Help You” perfectly portrays how you can play your part to better serve your purpose.
Half the country wants Glenn & the Gang to succeed, and maybe the other would too someday — if only you’d show them the way.
You think you are — but your approach doesn’t have a prayer in the polluted world you helped create — Right alongside the Left.
Don’t believe me? Take down the date and return in 10 or 20 years, and . . .
All we had to do was shoot down the helicopters . . .
And for the Black Lives Matter believers — your outfit is one of the worst possible things you could do to make black lives matter.
So yeah, the blowback principle applies to you too. I was keenly aware of this all along — and you didn’t listen.
“And now, even now” — you’ll pull the same stunt in your contempt for correction.
“The cat . . . TOTALLY OUT OF THE BAG!”
Since the labyrinth that lies below isn’t really working out for anyone, seems like it’d be worth a shot to try something else.
But that’s me
Whatever your political persuasion, Ray Liotta’s philosophy from Copland would accomplish more than your way ever will:
“You don’t drive down Broadway to get to Broadway. You move diagonal . . . you jag“
BLM is a blunt instrument at the other end of the spectrum of this principle.
The first black president in the White House was a tectonic shift in the times. To capitalize on that, you best be smart in every move you make.
You weren’t — in any
True folly, Tuchman found, is generally recognized as counterproductive in its own time, and not merely in hindsight. In Tuchman’s template, true folly only ensues when a clear alternative path of action was available and ruled out.
The goal is perpetual motion. You want greens, but how do you ensure the greens? You can’t — as in life, in traffic. So what you do is you leave yourself an out. At every corner you leave yourself an alternative. You move diagonal — you turn the wheel when you hit a red light.
You don’t drive down Broadway to get to Broadway. You move diagonal, you’re gonna get perpetual motion, and that’s what you want . . .
To be sure, the Diagonal Rule involves risk that might not pay off in the short-term — but those losses will produce gains of other kinds.
That frees up time, energy, and mountains of otherwise wasted money — allowing you to focus on other things (including trying to get back what you lost).
You’re already in a perpetual fight from one election cycle to the next — but you’re carrying over the same set of problems, and making them worse while you’re at it.
That — is not how problem solving works.
You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem . . . then you solve the next one . . . and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home
Then there’s the fact that with this approach — you could take pride in pursuing your interests with integrity.
Just a thought
We don’t solve problems in America — we perpetuate them by ceaselessly jockeying for the upper hand.
How did we get to a place where regurgitating garbage gets people to “Like” you — celebrating “victory” by clicking “bravo” to bad manners and bunk?
The most costly entitlement of our times is the unyielding devotion to your own opinion . . . unburdened by whether it’s informed or not.
Anything Goes on Safe-Space Central — where you can hide amongst friends in fellowship of fury.
The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion . . . draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects or despises . . . in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former conclusions may remain inviolate.
Early on in COVID, I was ridiculed for refusing to take a position on something I knew nothing about.
I’m old-fashioned that way
A lot of things are old-fashioned on here — and my willingness to admit mistakes is one of ’em. With the right spirit, you can even have fun with it — as I did in Elephant in the Room Award.
Acknowledging error is liberating and leads to enlightenment.
The Last Battle tells of a snail-mail letter of apology I wrote to someone unworthy of it. It was the right thing to do regardless. On my Precision Matters profile site, I See You Fell on Your Sword is about taking responsibility — even though my manager had already covered me on my mistake.
Houston, We Have a Problem is about the February freeze — and the importance of looking out for others.
We lose sight of that sometimes, and it’s good to be reminded — as I was.
And I made a mistake in my video montage that captures the essence of my documentary.
Years later, I was looking around and discovered that the picture on the right is a different Trayvon Martin.
At the time, I just grabbed the graphic without giving it much thought (which is precisely the problem). From Snopes.com:
That slip-up is nowhere near my standards. That bugs the hell out of me and always will.
But it’s an opportunity to show how this can happen — even to those with the most unwavering commitment to truth.
And that when you make a mistake — you say so.
All that aside — to this day, I doubt that most people know what Trayvon actually looked like.
And that — is by design:
Zimmerman’s brother was right when he said, “He had the greater hand in his own demise.”
That’s an assertion — not an argument.
It’s high time we appreciate the difference — perfectly defined on a blog I stumbled across years ago:
An assertion is just a point of view, an opinion. An argument goes further. An argument is a point of view supported by reasons that demonstrate the view is a good one.
I can make the case on the “greater hand,” but that’s not my aim.
I’m more interested in the certitude that swiftly cements your perception —on this topic or any other.
Trayvon apologists are dead certain about what happened that night . . .
Most of America seemingly lives to fume over one topic to the next.
We have no chance of solving problems that way.
An unarmed teen in Florida was shot and killed today — he was black and the guy with the gun wasn’t
At that moment — that’s all I know
Race relations, gun control, stand-your-ground laws, black, white, whatever — none of that even enters my mind.
It instantly enters yours — because you got into the habit of letting people put it there.
Even if you got the entire world to become card-carrying members of Black Lives Matter — this key ingredient in the recipe for reason would accomplish more than BLM ever will:
It’s hard enough making change even with fairly reasonable people in any environment — let alone politics.
And if the indiscriminate approach of Black Lives Matter pisses me off — what the hell do you think it was gonna do for people gunning to bring Obama down?
You overplayed your hand.
When you start acting your age (and try living up to the values you wear on your sleeve) — maybe we can actually solve some problems.
Man is at least as much a problem-creating as a problem-solving animal. Better a crisis than the permanent boredom of meaninglessness.
Or as I’ve put it before: The ever-rising ocean of partisan pettiness is gluttony under the guise of concern.