Joe Biden’s racialist comment on black voters just before George Floyd took centre stage may have escaped the attention it deserved, but the attitude of the Democrats and the liberal left towards the black community has come under renewed focus.
An email sent by a black member of the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, has caused a stir. Initially, doubts were cast on its authenticity but at least one of the recipients, Wilfred Reilly of Kansas State University, has confirmed that it is genuine.
Reilly published a book in 2019 entitled Hate Crime Hoax in which he produces evidence that high profile instances of racially motivated violence and bullying were fabricated as part of the left’s attempt to foment racial tension to advance its campaign to defeat President Trump.
The Berkeley email was mainly targeted at members of the university’s history department and makes some telling points. It cites black conservative Thomas Sowell in support and other commentators including Candace Owens, but also ordinary victims of the looting and murders unleashed by Black Lives Matter and Antifa.
More pertinently he claims that the BLM movement is directly connected to the Democratic Party even to the extent that its official website contains a link to another site where people can contribute to Democrat election candidates, to the benefit of Biden obviously.
The email slams what is termed the “patronizing and condescending attitudes of Democrat leaders towards the black community,” and claims that black electoral support for the Democrats ” all but “guarantee a perpetual state of misery, resentment, poverty ..”
Furthermore, black Americans have become the “useful idiots of the wealthiest classes, carrying water for Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon) and other actual, real, modern-day slavers” such as those who partly supply the woke Starbucks with coffee. Another BLM supporter Sony uses cobalt mined by black African children.
The author makes it clear why he chose anonymity: “I personally don’t dare speak out against the BLM narrative … the punishment for dissent is a clear danger at a time of widespread economic vulnerability. I am certain that if my name were attached to this email I would lose my job and all future jobs.”
In his 1965 book Repressive Tolerance, one of the gurus of the post modern identitarian left, Herbert Marcuse, provided the intellectual justification for the suppression of views which liberals do not like: “Freedom of thought” might require “rigid restrictions on teachings and practises in the educational institutions,” and that meant “intolerance against movements of the Right and tolerance of movements of the Left.”
Black suspicion of white liberals and lefties is not a new phenomenon, but is rarely voiced now among a community that is as much dominated by the Democrats as the urban Irish and Italians used to be. Nor have the far left been any less exploitative of black grievances. In his 1952 novel, Invisible Man, set in Harlem in the 1930s Ralph Ellison depicted the cynical manipulation of the local community by the Communist Party, thinly disguised as The Brotherhood.
Malcolm X who spent the last years of his life in Harlem disliked the communists and the Democrats to whom “…the American Negro is nothing but a political football and the white liberals control this mentally dead ball through tricks of tokenism.”
Larry Elder, the black author and talk show host, in pondering what Malcolm might have to say in 2020, reflected on the experience of the black community under generational Democratic control in places like south Los Angeles where Elder was born:
“The black community, over the last 50 years, has suffered an unparalleled breakdown in family unity. Even during slavery when marriage was illegal, a black child was more likely than today to be raised under a roof with his or her biological mother and father.” Elder pointed out that, even including the Democrats ‘War on Poverty,’ that no improvement in the rate of poverty among black Americans had occurred since 1965.
The Berkeley email refers extensively to the issue of crime within black communities that is either ignored or excused by the liberal left. Malcolm would not have been any more impressed than the author by the veneration of criminals. He, who had himself been in prison, declared: “To have once been a criminal is no disgrace. To remain a criminal is the disgrace.”
Malcolm, in common with other black activists in Harlem, fought against local drug dealers and pimps. One black writer, it might have been Le Roi Jones, made disparaging reference to Allen Ginsberg’s line in Howl about white beatniks “Dragging themselves through the Negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix.”
James Forman Junior, son of one of the leaders of the Students Nonviolent Coordinating Committee accused those who claimed that black prison numbers represented a “New Jim Crow” of racist targeting. Forman said that this ignores both the crimes of those locked up and their predominantly black victims. He reminded them that it was the people of Harlem who demanded harsher treatment of criminals in the 1960s as liberal judicial and penal policies devastated black communities, and that the Amsterdam News of Harlem which published Malcolm supported life sentences for drug dealers.
Forman noted that in a 1982 referendum the voters of Washington DC, then 70% black, vote by three to one for mandatory drug sentences. He quotes Kate Stith who pointed out that where black people have a college education and/or a job, their criminal offending rate is small. Stith accused the, overwhelmingly Democrat run, urban authorities of denying black communities their constitutional liberties by failing to adequately tackle crime. As evidenced by Chicago and other cities the Democrats care no more now than they did 30 years ago.
Harold Cruse, in his 1969 book The Crisis of the Negro Intellectuals, echoed the tenor of the Berkely email half a century later: “Negro intellectuals have been sold a bill of goods on interracialism by white communists and white liberals.” He contrasted that with ethnic groups like the Irish who celebrated their separateness and used the Democratic Party to advance their concerns, rather than the boot being on the other foot.
The bottom line for BLM and the white liberal left with the support of charlatans like Jesse Jackson despite all the rhetoric and kneeling, is to ensure that black voters are herded into the polling booths for Biden in November as the black inner cities sink further into crime and degradation presided over by the Democrats.
Cruse and Malcolm were perhaps the black American equivalent of earlier Irish nationalists who championed our claim to self rule and cultural autonomy; free from the inanties and amorality of much of mass culture. Cruse like Malcolm saw the way forward as lying in “economic and self help organisation,” and rejected the violence of the ghetto uprisings “which lead nowhere.”
Such voices are seldom heard now and almost exclusively among the minority of black conservatives. To take a stance against the liberal left’s pigeon holing of black Americans is to invite accusations of self hatred and Uncle Tomism if you are black. And, according to Joe Biden, you can only be black if you vote the Democrat ticket.