Saturday, July 1, 2006

Shelby Steele on C-SPAN

Here's a 3-hour Book TV "In Depth" episode on C-SPAN featuring Shelby Steele, author of "White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era", an indictment of the subversion of civil rights that has brought us from the individualism of a Martin Luther King and equal protection under the law, to the tribalism of an Al Sharpton and racist Human Rights legislation.

...We entered an era of bad faith where we began to look to our identity to get us ahead... You notice that blackness, the black identity never came about until we were free... then all of a sudden Stokely Carmichael used that phrase "Black Power", and then all of a sudden there was a focus on black-ness, we were going to get together as a group, we were going to move ahead that way out of our identity.

Well, now I've come to realize that almost every oppressed group that comes into freedom does this, they're shocked, humiliated by it, they then form an identity that is much more intense, that is in fact totalitarian, that demands that you not only be black but that you be black in a certain way, that you make your bond with the group and that you put that identity abouve your individuality. But, we'd just got free!

The purpose of freedom is that it allows you to be an individual, enables you explore all your talents, to pursue dreams you could not have had when you were oppressed. But we were afraid of freedom, and humiliated by freedom, and so right away, we began to define an identity that protected us from the very freedom we'd just won, and we cling to this even to this day. Blackness, the black identity, basically is an identity devoted in the form of true belief to the idea that we are still the victims of racism and cannot be expected to compete in the way that others can be expected to compete...
And unfortunately for all concerned, there is no shortage of "whites" ready to indulge this delusion out of misguided charity, or much worse, out of selfish desire to stay employed in the anti-racism industry.