This is the fourth in a series of postings concerning cultural Marxism.
- The first is a brief overview of the ideology and its influence on the West.
- The second looks at the goals and objectives of cultural Marxism.
- The third considers the interplay between political correctness and cultural Marxism’s root level goals and objectives.
As emphasized in the previous post, the root of the ideology – which entails the destruction of Judeo-Christian thought upon the West – is clinically hidden from the masses, and to a great deal even from many political and ideological elites. Perhaps it could be compared to the spread of an odorless, colorless but nevertheless toxic gas, as many gifted and respected cultural icons and “leaders” are unaware of both the nature and pervasiveness of the ideology, and yet, cannot avoid being affected by it.
Cultural Marxism and Race
This posting will take a close look at an important sub-discipline within cultural Marxism that deals with racial/ethnic minorities.
If the two largest ethnic minority groups – African-Americans and Hispanics – are more strongly associated with Christianity than the rest of the country (see the Pew Reports for African-Americans and Hispanics), then how does that relate to political beliefs and actions within those groups? The answer is that at least in the past 40-50 years, both groups in the US have strongly supported the Democrat party at all levels: local, state and Federal. However, since the ideological basis of the left is cultural Marxism, a fundamental objective of which is to nullify the influence of Christianity in our nation, then there would seem to be a disconnect.
Fundamental Antipathy of Cultural Marxism to Christianity
One might say, “There can’t be that much connection between a group of Marxist thinkers nearly 100 years ago and what’s happening now.” Consider a few examples: Bible reading and prayer have been banned in public schools, as well as references to Jesus in prayers at commencements. Ten Commandments signs and related monuments have been removed from public places. The 2012 Democratic convention removed all references to God in their platform. The leftist ACLU has undertaken countless anti-Christian initiatives. The current animus of the LGBT community and the left relative to gay marriage. But these examples are only the tip of the tip of the iceberg in terms of the animus of the left against Christianity.
Civil Rights Movement Leaves Christ for Marx
It is instructive to review the change that took place in the American civil rights movement from predominately Christian and church-based in the 1950s to one that two decades later was largely Marxist/leftist-based, with elements of Black Power and Islam mixed in.
By 1970, the leftist protest focus was much more widespread: not just civil rights, but the full cultural Marxism array of targets: pro-sexual license, anti-capitalism, anti-war, anti-military, anti-white, anti-American. And while the leadership of the civil rights movement in the 50s sprung predominantly from black churches and championed by Dr. Martin Luther King, by 1960 other voices with different ideological worldviews were coming into play. During the 60s, these other voices struggled with the traditional, church-based movements for ascendency.
In an eyewitness report from a white college student/activist in New York City, the writer recounts an unforgettable exchange at a demonstration-planning meeting with Henry Belafonte and other prominent black leaders shortly after the first Greensboro sit-ins. While Belafonte and others present spent much time detailing in anger the injustices perpetrated against blacks, some black students from North Carolina suddenly arrived, visibly intimidated by the luminaries present. As Belafonte caught the latecomers up on what had been discussed to that point, the level of ire in the room continued to rise. In response, at an opportune time, one of the young men from North Carolina shyly suggested that everyone kneel and pray. As the group of students led the way, everyone in the room got down on their knees while one of the young men from North Carolina invoked God to grant grace and peace on every aspect of the nonviolent demonstrations, concluding the prayer “in Jesus’ Name.” There was hardly a dry eye in the assembly; the atmosphere in the room had completely shifted.
This anecdote describes one of undoubtedly many such interfaces between the church and secular-based components of the civil rights movement which took place in the early 60s as the New Left was entering into the movement. However, this increased involvement had its own disparities. The New Left wanted the Blacks to “join the revolution” against traditional America, but most Blacks at that point wanted to become middle-class within traditional America.
Two other important threads also entered the picture in the 60s: the Black Muslims, especially the offshoots energized by Malcolm-X, and Liberation Theology, a Marxist/Christianity hybrid which was flourishing among some Catholic sects in Central and South America.
A synthesis of these three movements was realized in the writings of James Cone, founder of Black Liberation Theology. What all these threads had in common was anti-white animus, stated explicitly in Cone’s books “Black Theology and Black Power” (1969) and “A Black Theology of Liberation” (1970).
In addition to that animus in all of the above was the Marxist concept of victimhood, which forty-five years later is still a central tenet in American black experience. However, black theologian Anthony Bradley dissects Cone’s theology in his 2010 book, “Liberating Black Theology”; consider the following description:
“He [Bradley] starts with James Cone’s proposition that the “victim” mindset is inherent within black consciousness. Bradley then explores how such biblical misinterpretation has historically hindered black churches in addressing the diverse issues of their communities and prevented adherents from experiencing the freedoms of the gospel. Yet [Liberating Black Theology] does more than consider the ramifications of this belief system; it suggests an alternate approach to the black experience that can truly liberate all Christ-followers.”
The point is that by the beginning of the 1970s, the principal political orientation in America’s black community combined the victimology of Marxism with the anti-white animus of the Malcolm-X ideology to produce both the Black Power movement and the re-envisioning of “civil rights” away from Martin Luther King’s vision of a post-racial, content-of-character, just society, to a separatist, victim-based, revenge-tinged hybrid movement, with the development of a professional set of “Black Leaders” whose orientation was very much informed by Marxist, statist solutions. Unfortunately, largely left out of the ideological mix was the influence of traditional Christianity in the emerging black culture, and the corresponding lessening of the ability to deal with the disintegration of the urban black family. The Christian-based culture brought north in 1960 by the God-fearing, brave young men from North Carolina was tragically impacted by a 1968 assassin’s bullet and totally lost by the time we reached the 1970s. The primary winner was Marxism, the secondary was Islam, to the great loss of the Black community.
Black Community Negatively Impacted by the Left
The question might be asked: how has the black community suffered loss? The answer is that the policies implemented by the Marxist left have served to weaken minority families, promote a victim mentality, uncritically endorse negative cultural traits, and in the process, lessen the influence of the church. Consider a recent book by Wall Street Journal reporter Jason Riley, entitled “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed”. Here is a description:
In Please Stop Helping Us, Jason L. Riley examines how well-intentioned welfare programs are in fact holding black Americans back. Minimum-wage laws may lift earnings for people who are already employed, but they price a disproportionate number of blacks out of the labor force. Affirmative action in higher education is intended to address past discrimination, but the result is fewer black college graduates than would otherwise exist. And so it goes with everything from soft-on-crime laws, which make black neighborhoods more dangerous, to policies that limit school choice out of a mistaken belief that charter schools and voucher programs harm the traditional public schools that most low-income students attend.
Black economist Thomas Sowell expresses similar concerns in his book “Intellectuals and Race”, as well as in this interview.
In the 2005 Discover the Networks essay, “Victims of the Left – Black Americans”, section headings show similar concerns:
- How the Left Created Black Victimology and Black Rejection of American Values
- Affirmative Action: How the Left Has Harmed Blacks through the Bigotry of Low Expectations
- How the Left Consigns Blacks to Substandard Education
- How the War on Poverty Devastated the Black Community
- How the Failed Crusade of “Sex Education” Harmed the Black Community
- The Crime Wave that Has Decimated Black America
- How Blacks Have Been Victimized by Leftist Policies Concerning AIDS
- How the Left Demands Black Conformity of Thought
Further, the spiritual and intellectual vacuum that the left filled in the 1970s is fundamental to the loss that that black community has undergone in the decades since MLK’s death. Consider the words of Project 21 black conservative Derryck Green in his post, “The Absence of the Black Church”:
Because of the postmodern trappings of “tolerance,” “diversity,” and relativism, blacks have willingly relinquished the painful process of self-critiquing their own community. The moral and spiritual deficiency has led black culture to define “authenticity” as comporting oneself with behaviors and stereotypes that the generations of many black grandparents and great grandparents sought to avoid and overcome.
Added to the above is the view by some black conservatives of the left-directed governmental role in controlling the black community as a “plantation”. See the following book titles:
- Center for Urban Research and Education (CURE) founder Star Parker: Uncle Sam’s Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America’s Poor and What We Can Do About It
- Project 21 member Deneen Borelli: Blacklash: How Obama and the Left Are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation
- Motivational speaker and radio talk host Mason Weaver: It’s OK to Leave the Plantation : The New Underground Railroad
Clearly these black conservative writers view the left-based government dealings with the black community in terms of enslavement.
An important aspect of the left’s contemporary treatment of race is their mindset of what black conservative writer Shelby Steele calls “poetic truth”. His recent book, “Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country” examines how the left creates false narratives to achieve (in their minds) moral superiority, and in so doing closes the door to rational discourse on the real issues impacting race. According to the left, conservatives are not just wrong, they are evil. Yet the current false narrative of “Hands up, don’t shoot” demonstrates how far from objective realty the left will go to retain their own sense of superiority, while jealously guarding and fostering the victim mentality in the black community. And in the meantime, their policies based upon poetic truth have crippled much of the black community, rather than helped them.
Perhaps the most prominent concept introduced by the left into the evolution of the civil rights movement was that of multiculturalism. In brief, it purports that all cultures are equally valid and to be venerated, except with a bias against white European Christianity. Hence for example in the case of American slavery, the European and American white populations are rightly blamed for this evil practice – both the slave trade and the conduct of slavery – but mention is rarely made of the Muslim and indigenous black tribes that sold these slaves to the whites in the first place, and who profited greatly from the exchange; protected cultures such as Muslims and black Africans are considered innocent, or at the very least, not culpable. (As an aside, in the Marxist-inspired reparation movements, why have there been no demands for compensation from the black African people who started this heinous process in the first place? Answer: it doesn’t fit the cultural Marxist narrative to demonize the white West.)
Multiculturalism often asserts that the lack of accomplishment of a particular culture can be blamed on oppressor classes, sometimes identified by terms such as “racist”, “Islamophobic”, etc. However, a culture itself cannot be deemed to be deficient; at least not by whites. An example from August 2014 is the Johnathan Gentry rant concerning the rioting in Ferguson, MO, whereby Rev. Gentry pleads with African-Americans to “change” their own culture. He cites the hypocrisy of black leadership in focusing on the relatively rare occurrence of white violence against blacks, while ignoring the epidemic of black against black crime. He asks,
“Where are the protests and demonstrations concerning black on black violence in Chicago, and where is the so-called black leadership?”
As on-target a message as he delivered, multiculturalism would certainly never tolerate such criticism from a white person, and paints people such as Gentry as “Oreos” or “sellouts”. Thus black culture remains insulated from constructive criticism, whether external or internal.
Note incidentally that there is more than one black culture: there is the black underclass, found mostly in urban settings, and there is also a thriving black middle class. It is clear that there is a great deal of dysfunctionality in the black underclass, and much work is needed to effect positive change.
Hiding Anti-Christian Roots from Minorities
The real question is: how has the left managed to conceal their hostility to Christianity from highly-Christianized African-Americans and Hispanics: a hostility completely in accord with cultural Marxism? The answer is skillful marketing; knowing the cultural and psychological profile of these target constituencies, and developing policy and narrative to seal the deal. Note part of that narrative is to marginalize the opposition. For example, with no evidence or proof, the Tea Party (co-founded by black conservative David Webb) is deemed to be racist. Conservative blacks and Hispanics are essentially invisible in most minority communities; and those with national platforms such as Thomas Sowell, Star Parker, Allen West? “Never heard of them!” is the usual response. One would be hard-pressed to find anti-Christian animus from either black conservatives or Tea Party participants, regardless of race or ethnicity; most identify strongly with Christianity.
The Left’s Key to Retaining Minority Support
One aspect of the support of the left by African-Americans is the perception that government intervention paved the way for the elimination of Jim Crow and the passage of the Civil Rights Acts in the 1960s. Note incidentally that those legislative initiatives were sponsored and supported more by Republicans than Democrats. Nevertheless, government intervention purportedly on behalf of African-Americans has increasingly progressed under control of the left in the past 50 years, with policies such as affirmative action, school desegregation and welfare entitlements that are based on a cultural Marxist model, corresponding to the increased penetration of cultural Marxism into the academic sphere as well as into government bureaucracy. The point being that the government is believed to be the “friend” of the minorities.
However, there is another part of the black community’s political orientation that remains elusive. As one of my African-American friends often says to me during discussions of these matters, “But Richard, you’ve got to understand….”. And he’s right, I don’t understand, at least not fully. For example, an objective view of history – both recent and longer term – shows that it has been the Democrats that historically have been the active racists. Prior to the 1960s, the KKK, Jim Crow, opposition to civil rights legislation and considering blacks as inferior were part of the left’s DNA: see for example Democrat Woodrow Wilson and Socialist Margaret Sanger. In more recent times, the left has seen minority groups as electoral pawns to be captured by narrative and entitlements.
An egregious example of this was the rejection in 1965 and the decades following of the Moynihan Report which had linked urban poverty to the breakdown of the family. However, the multiculturalist left characterized the report as “blaming the victim”, and instead, they put laws in place to encourage the break-up of families through entitlements to single-parent households. As Democrat President Lyndon Johnson infamously said (touting his underlying intentions for the “Great Society” programs, LBJ confided with two like-minded governors on Air Force One):
“I’ll have those [African-Americans] voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”
Johnson may have been crude, but his policies were cruel in terms of outcome, with the left inventing slogans such as, “female-led families are authentically African”, etc. Truth be told, the lack of two-parent families is a major source of poverty, independent of race or ethnicity, and the left has been at the forefront in incentivizing single-parent households for years. This kind of policy is entirely self-serving, because the more government dependency, the more solidified is the voting bloc for the left among the entitled.
However, if the left has no reason to eliminate poverty among the already-entitled, and has a terrible track record in cities that they have controlled for decades – see Detroit or Washington DC, for example — why the continued universal support from these minority communities? It’s rather baffling, but perhaps it has to do with the rhetoric the left uses: “white racism”, “white privilege,” etc. — whatever will maintain the victim-consciousness to a sufficient level seems to be an effective strategy. Sadly, this kind of rhetoric has a tendency to produce a sense of hopelessness among the minority underclass, as well as a rejection of supposedly “white” pursuits such as education and personal responsibility, causing many youth to become “Oreophobic.”
Thus it seems clear that political correctness maintains a comprehensive anti-white narrative to ensure a permanent dependent victim class. Paradoxically, even though the left invented and perpetuated this narrative, they heap the blame for the lack of progress in these communities on whites and conservative blacks (who actually have solutions to these problems) labeling them as sellouts, oreos, and worse.
Historically, American society functioned in a mode that discriminated against blacks on the basis of race, and in those times, there certainly existed a “White Privilege” phenomena whereby whites had a much easier existence than blacks in many aspects of the culture. However, as we move forward through the Civil Rights movement after WWII and on to the present, certainly institutional “privilege” of whites over blacks has essentially been eliminated, and in large measure via affirmative action kinds of programs – both in government and business – there today is a degree of “Minority Privilege” in some respects in our culture.
However, the left’s continued use of the pejorative term “White Privilege” is a control technique to maintain victim consciousness among minorities, and guilt among whites. Often what is labeled “White Privilege” is simply “Meritocratic Privilege”. For example, if there are more whites than blacks in a particular profession — taking into account demographics — then “White Privilege” is often cited, whereas “merit” is downplayed. Note that a truly merit-based culture will always produce unequal outcomes, based on a constellation of factors, with race essentially absent, which was the vision of MLK. But certainly not the vision of the left.
It IS true that even today there remain residual effects within the black community that place people at a disadvantage in a way that other non-white groups such as Asians are not affected. However, these residual effects must to a large degree be credited to the ruinous policies implemented by the left, starting with their successful rejection of the Moynihan Report in 1965, with incentives for single-parent families and government dependency, and implementing the cultural Marxist war on the family, which continues to this day.
Some thoughts on racism. In the Marxist model, only whites can be racist; minorities are always innocent victims. However, in real life, all humans have the potential to be racist (Romans 3:23). In the case of black/white interaction, it seems reasonable to assert that there has been a steady trend towards less racism. Has it vanished? No, of course not. But discriminatory laws against blacks were eliminated years ago, and as the black middle class has grown, there have developed many more black-white peer relationships, not to mention black public icons in sports, media, entertainment and governmental arenas, and all areas of society. And with this increasing contact, both sides have come to realize that the others are just people like themselves with the same hopes and fears.
Additionally, it is important to separate the term “racism” from the word “discrimination”, as pointed out in great detail in Dinesh D’Souza’s 1995 book, “The End of Racism”. For example, he discusses a scenario where a black taxicab driver refuses to pick up two black youths dressed in typical urban attire. He does not know whether or not these youth are crime-prone, but he’s making a rational judgment that there might be a problem based upon the youths’ appearance and knowledge of crime statistics in that neighborhood. The behavior is discriminatory – they might be two Christian youth late for a Bible study – but it can’t be termed “racist”. Yet if the cab driver was white, it most surely would be labeled racist, but it is actually not racist but discriminatory, and not irrational. To be clear, “racism” is an ideology where people of one race judge those of another to be inferior, which was undoubtedly the case for many American Whites in the past – including the above-mentioned luminaries Woodrow Wilson and Margaret Sanger in the 1920s. But today, only a very small percentage of whites hold onto true racist views of blacks. But everybody discriminates in all areas of life.
Negative attitudes by whites towards blacks these days, when they are found, arise mostly from fear (such as flash mobs and knockout games, and other negative black underclass cultural manifestations such as the Ferguson- and Baltimore-related riots) and some residual ignorance, plus possibly some anger at reverse discrimination. Negative black attitudes towards whites comes mostly in the form of anger at past and in some case contemporary mistreatment, but this anger has been and continues to be greatly inflamed by the left’s narrative that white racism is largely the cause of black underachievement, leading to a deeply held sense among most Blacks that they continue to be victims of that racism.
One observation about black conservatives across the board: they have transcended that sense of victimhood, and thus can clearly see and speak out against the left’s false narrative, which is why the left marginalizes and undoubtedy fears them.
To conclude, consider this summary by black intellectual John McWhorter (not a conservative), quoted in “Victims of the Left – Black Americans”:
“Victimology, separatism, and anti-intellectualism underlie the general black community’s response to all race-related issues.… Today, these three thought patterns impede black advancement much more than racism; and dysfunctional inner cities, corporate glass ceilings, and black educational underachievement will persist until such thinking disappears. In my experience, trying to show many African-Americans how mistaken and counterproductive these ideas are is like trying to convince a religious person that God does not exist: the sentiments are beyond the reach of rational, civil discourse.”
It would seem the left is doing everything in its power to ensure that these sentiments never reach the realm of rational, civil discourse.
Blacks in America have suffered much, at the hands of many. The first perpetrators were the Muslim and black African warlords who captured and sold them into slavery to White Europeans (who transported them in chains across the Atlantic), and to middle-east Muslims (where upwards of 90% died on the trek across the Sahara).
The horror of slavery in America of course caused generations of blacks to suffer as victims for many years. It is important to note that the overthrow of slavery in America had at least two parts: (1) the end of slave trade which was primarily a white Christian movement, led by William Wilberforce in England, and (2) the abolition of slavery itself, also a movement with significant white Christian leadership, and at the cost of the lives of hundreds of thousands of mostly white Union soldiers.
But the suffering did not end there, for American blacks were subjected to nearly 90 years of Jim Crow segregation laws, mostly in areas where slavery had been abolished by the Civil War. However, this de jure victimization was ultimately ended by federal, state and local governments, in response to the civil rights movement which originated in the black Christian church, and which gained much momentum following World War II.
However, even after the civil rights laws were passed in the 1960s (with more Republican than Democrat support), there continued to be racial prejudice on the part of white America toward blacks, but over a period of time that has greatly diminished, as discussed above. However, over the same decades (1970 to the present) that actual racial prejudice and discrimination have lessened, the Marxist-based “race industry” has developed and flourished. Black studies departments have been created at most colleges and universities, replacing the older institutional white racism with the new and perpetual Marxist-based “Grievance and Victimology” racism of the left.
Black Conservatives as the Solution
Is the playing field level for American blacks in 2015? Not perfectly so, but level enough that there is no longer a need to carry the badge declaring “victim”. Level enough for black people to become essentially anything they desire and are gifted for, just as for whites, Asians, Hispanics and all other racial/ethnic classes. The biggest enemy for the black community is the Marxist-oriented left, who is determined to keep blacks as victims and if possible further yoked with entitlements. The left cannot afford to lose the nearly 100% support of the black community, and has the infrastructure and methodology to not lose that grip. Their biggest fear is that the message from black conservatives will begin to erode the left’s iron hold.
And as black conservative policies (capitalism, self-reliance, school choice, freedom – including freedom from victimology) begin to be applied to real-life situations, positive change will be the result, so that even the professional “Black Leadership” and their media enablers will not be able to hide the progress.
An excellent video that deals with many of the above issues is the speech that C.U.R.E. founder Star Parker gave at the 2013 Black Conservative Summit.
And two excellent books: Thomas Sowell: Black Rednecks and White Liberals and Dinesh D’Souza: The End of Racism
For a detailed comparison of Marxism vs. Christianity, see Marxism-Leninism Compared to the Bible, consider what is likely to befall minority communities for continued collaboration with cultural Marxism.