From Saint Rosa to Katrina

From Saint Rosa to Katrina

The Beginning and End of Civil Rights as We Know It

by Lucy Riley


Well, we have buried Rosa Parks, the saint of the civil rights movement. When Ms. Parks refused to move to the back of the bus, what was a small protest became the beginning of civil rights as we know it today.

Personal protest became Federal policy when Lyndon Johnson spoke of the “Great Society” at Howard University in 1965. He only spoke of white responsibility in ending the injustice of racism and raising the living standards of blacks. The phrase, “black responsibility” was never once uttered.

At the time that seemed fair since whites had bought the black slaves from the Muslim traders in Africa and set them to work in America. So it was up to whites to change things. So the fundamental premise of civil rights was that slavery had created all the problems and since whites started it, it was up to whites to end the vestiges of slavery. And so the vast social re-engineering started. We changed the laws, the schools, the language (political correctness) and turned our society upside down.

Racism became the greatest crime. In my town, Nashville, the odds are that a young black male will shoot some other young black male this week. The crime will be reported in the back of the B section of the newspaper. But if a white man shoots the black man, it will be in the A section. And if the white man yells, “You, nigger” before he shoots him, the crime will be on the front page. If it is a white cop, then we have coverage for a week, and maybe a riot. And this is how society today measures crime. For instance there is a local minister who “found Jesus” while in prison for murder. As a killer turned minister, he has a certain cachet. But if he had ever committed a racist act, he would be condemned in perpetuity and have no congregation to speak of. Racism is never forgotten, but hard crime is ok. See rappers for further evidence of how hard crime has no shame.

Racism being such a large crime is very important. Racism has many definitions, but one of the most important definitions of a racist is anyone who disagrees with the media, government, elites’ official race policies that began with Lyndon Johnson’s response to civil rights protests. The original meaning of racism was a white person who hated blacks. But now racism is the charge leveled against those who think that the current civil rights laws and policies (for example: quotas in hiring) are wrong. And since being a racist is worse than murder it is very difficult to criticize the current bankrupt civil rights movement. (Under current meaning of racism, this is a racist article.)

I took part in civil rights work in the 60’s. Then in the 90’s I taught in a black university, Tennessee State University, and got to see the fruit on the civil rights tree that I had helped to plant. The fruit was bitter in my mouth. After eight years of teaching I began to see that something was dreadfully wrong with the social responsibility only being laid at white folks’ door. No matter how responsible I was, it made no difference. No amount of caring would cause the students to turn from rap and TV to books. They knew how the system worked. Only a few would fail and the rest would get a “college degree”. The average graduate from my school, TSU, was substandard, but they would get a job and if they did not get the promotion, they knew why. Whitey was responsible.

Then came Katrina and the news spectacle. The media was clear. New Orleans suffered because of white irresponsibility. The black mayor was and is radically incompetent but that is not the problem. A thousand municipal vehicles flooded because Mayor Nagen did not realize that if you go uphill in a flood you can escape. But the blame is on a racist white America.

But the best of the black leaders, Jesse Jackson, showed up in New Orleans and told the real truth. He said that those in the Superdome were in the hull of a slave ship. Yes, that was true and made true by the slaves gathered inside. But these were a different type of slave—an inner-slave. An inner-slave has no responsibility for himself. An inner-slave is composed of victimology, separateness and anti-intellectualism. See McWhorter’s wonderful book Losing the Race for details.

Who is a greater victim than a slave? Who is more separate than a slave? They even have their own quarters. And the black slave may have known everything about his white master, but he did not know what was in the books or how the business of the plantation worked. The slave was all muscle and no brain.

The real truth of slavery is that it did far more than make white folks racists. No, it has made black folks inner-slaves. So the fundamental premise of civil rights was flawed. Slavery affected blacks as well. Unfortunately, no amount of white guilt and white responsibility can solve the inner-slave problem.

Whites have guilt and responsibility, but blacks have no shame or responsibility. This would not be a problem, except for one thing—it doesn’t work. New Orleans is two thirds black and has a black government. But the black is not the problem, it is the inner-slave who is the problem. Slaves have no responsibility. Mayor Nagen of New Orleans has no responsibility or shame. Inner-slaves have blame, but no shame.

No amount of white guilt and responsibility can overcome the inner-slave’s lack of shame and lack of responsibility. It just won’t work. And the Rosa Parks’ inspired civil rights won’t work. Hasn’t worked. Can’t work. The current civil rights results can be seen written large in New Orleans and Katrina.

No amount of white responsibility and guilt will cause a single black male to work and support the children his “baby momma” has. No amount of white guilt can cause blacks to stop thinking that being smart is “acting white”. No amount of white guilt can stop the black community from supporting a crime culture. Only black responsibility and shame can make the next improvement in race relations.

Katrina was a big test for all of the Gulf. And if a test is given and it does not involve sports or entertainment, blacks will finish last. The black culture of New Orleans failed badly and finished last. Why don’t blacks feel any shame? Because they feel no responsibility. Inner-slaves have only blame, no shame.

Good lord! If the illegal immigrants could get out of New Orleans (you did not see them at the Superdome) then why not everyone else? Those black fathers got out town but left the babies and momma behind. Why is there no shame in the black community about finishing behind the illegal immigrants? No shame, just blame. Just like a slave, an inner-slave.

There is another aspect of the white responsibility and black irresponsibility that shows it won’t work. Stop and think about it for a moment. If whites are always guilty and to blame and blacks are just the victims with no shame, then who is really on top and who is on bottom? Duh, if everything is white guilt, then whites are superior and blacks are inferior. The current civil rights mode of white guilt and no black shame is the purest form of racism-white superiority. Under the current civil rights model, whites are the responsible adults and blacks are the irresponsible children.

I remember the black-power movement in the sixties. Its symbol was black pride and a black fist thrust into the air. Well, in a black New Orleans we see black-power under the current civil rights program. The symbol of black-power now is a black hand held out palm up and a black finger pointed towards whitey. All blame and no shame.

So how can whites help? Drop the guilt thing. But even if you can’t stop being guilty, at least, tell a black person, “You can do better than that. You should be ashamed.”

So I say, “Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Mayor Nagen, you can do better than that. You should be ashamed. Stop blaming and start being ashamed.”


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