As of July 4, 2018, the American public favors individual effort to move African-Americans up the economic scale. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, 60 percent believe that Blacks should follow the example of other immigrants and work their way up the economic ladder, with no special help.
The “special help” Blacks have been getting traps us. Isn’t it time Blacks get beyond our peculiar predicament. African Americans’ focus on “being in the mainstream.” Blacks under the age of 50 who don’t know segregation and Jim Crow display naive ignorance of America’s system and tradition of institutionalized bigotry. The Western World is dominated by Whites and it’s time contemporary Blacks thought about getting their “just due” here.
It’s a history of misery, yet today’s Blacks and their “leaders” are complacent regarding their status and just due. On this Independence Day, most Blacks were busy jockeying for “mainstream political participation,” collectively defending being disproportionately dependent on government.
America’s Independence Day Holiday has always had a different meaning for Black people, those who were held in bondage, as well as their descendants. In actuality, America’s “independence” was simply one group of barons declaring “independence” from another group of barons over slaves and issues of their control.
“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? It’s a day that reveals to him, more than all other days the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim,” said Frederick Douglass in his 1852 speech “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.” “To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery…”
Douglass, who escaped to freedom and achieved his own independence from his plantation master, advocated Blacks’ emancipation, and their suffrage as freedmen. From the time of the Civil War, African Americans have depended on government to take an active role in their lives. That unhealthy “dependence” continues. In the 1960s, Blacks depended on government for civil rights. Congress passed and President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin. Martin Luther King said, “Society must now do something special for the Negro.”
Instead of building on Martin’s sense of affirmative actions toward justice, Blacks have inculcated Democratic socialism. Instead of pursuing “justice” in America, today’s Blacks follow paths of deference to the government welfare state. When President Johnson declared a “war on poverty,” and said “compassionate government” was the road to prosperity for poor people. These days government poverty programs encourage people to stay dependent. There’s money in it. Policymakers do us a disservice through poverty programs that destroy natural mechanisms that have always enabled poor people to lift themselves out of poverty.
What can the government do to help poor people? Instead of demanding that the state “pay us reparations’ too many Blacks beg for “more social programs and a higher minimum wage.” In contrast to the mindset that most adhered to in American history, the average farmer, shop owner or entrepreneur lived an entire life without getting anything from the federal government except mail service. It’s the great giveaway. The Wall Street Journal reports that 49 percent of the population lives in a household where at least one person gets some type of government benefit.
Independence Day 2018, and Blacks still set off firecrackers in celebration. But the joke’s on us — this generation of Blacks is the most government-dependent of all.
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.