Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's the culture of grievance, stupid

** By Lilac Sunday

Some members of the Racial Grievance-Industrial Complex are crying raaacism and suggesting that the ethics probes of Congressmen Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters are racially motivated. It's an astonishing allegation; the offenses alleged against Waters and Rangel, if proven true, are serious breaches of the public trust, and there must be a full accounting.

However, my back-of-the-envelope calculations indicate that Black elected officials are running afoul of the law in numbers disproportionate to their representation in Congress. Waters, Rangel, Senator Burris, and of course William "Cold Hard Cash" Jefferson; what's going on? Racism? A statistical fluke? Or could the fall of Maxine Waters and Charlie Rangel be a natural consequence of the Culture of Grievance?

Does anyone remember Eddie Murphy's classic SNL sketch, White Like Me? I can't find it on YouTube, but it's available here, on Hulu. Murphy begins by observing that there are two Americas, one Black and one White; with the aid of whiteface makeup, and after studiously preparing by watching Dynasty and reading Hallmark cards (!), he sets out to experience America as a White Man. As a White man, Eddie quickly discovers that when White people are alone, they give each other things. Merchants refuse his money; there's liquor and music on city buses after the Black passengers disembark; and bank managers hand out bundles of cash to White loan applicants.

It is said that all comedy contains a grain of truth; the truth in White Like Me is that some Black people believe that being born White is the equivalent of hitting the lottery, and that the deck is irreversibly stacked against Black folks. People raised in a Culture of Grievance to believe that society is engaged in an economic Cold War against them because of the color of their skin might be tempted to engage in some economic guerilla warfare of their own, and what better place to steal money from other people than the United States Congress?

Is this what's happening to a disproportionate number of our Black elected officials? Elected on a platform of grievance, have they so internalized grievance's lessons that they regard the public trust as just another racist institution to be plundered? Is the Racial Grievance-Industrial Complex beginning to eat its own?

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