By Jeremy Egerer
The great irony of a hunger strike is that it does nothing to prove the morality of the hunger striker. It does everything to prove
the morality of the man he's striking against. Millions of horrible people have been willing to die for horrible causes, and we have only been the worse for it. Far fewer have been willing to save the life of a suicidal enemy. And if you do happen to go on a hunger strike and win, the only thing you've done is proved that your enemy cares more about you than his cause. You can win a hunger strike only against a person who cares about people. You can defeat your enemy only if your enemy is actually a saint.
Gandhi may have saved the Indians from the English. We can only wonder how successful he would have been against al- Qaeda.
In almost exactly the same way, writing an open letter to white Americans doesn't prove that white Americans are racists; it proves only that black men believe that white men are capable of listening to other races. And if blacks believe that whites are capable of listening (as their hundreds of open letters implicitly insist), blacks can only believe that white people are capable of society. The franker and more frequent your pleas to the people you've judged without meeting, the more you have glorified their radical empathy and tolerance. The fact that a black man can publicly admonish every white man leaves us wondering why black men are largely incapable of taking criticism from whites.
The Golden Rule is a central tenet of every serious religion in the world, which makes many black Americans (whatever the PEW Research Center says of them) easily the most irreligious. To deal fairly with one another is a central principle of universal justice, which is why many black men are frequently proving themselves the most unjust. They ask everyone to imagine what it's like to be black and rarely consider the feelings of whites. They make wild accusations against an entire race and then have the insolence to complain about white racism. They riot because someone was shot by the police and then immediately pronounce our policemen guilty without a trial. If there is any empathy or fairness in the black community, it has been obscured by acts of mass hypocrisy and slander. If there is any chance of brotherhood between our races, it is being smothered by untrustworthy and unreasonable fanatics. A transfer of power from white men to black wouldn't signal an end to any abuses at all. It would only serve to change the color of our abusers.
Suspiciously overlooked in the disgusting "Dear white America" was the fact that charges of racism were leveled in the same pages as acknowledgements of black crime. Who would dare mention robbers and then demand indifference to robbery? Who has the audacity to bring up rapists and then pretend that raping is irrelevant? If there's a problem with black crime, then let's deal with the crime before dealing with our disgust for criminals. If there's a problem with character, then let men rise in our estimation before demanding that we re-estimate them. To ask the other way around isn't to ask for peace; essentially, it is a covert declaration of war. It holds forth an olive branch in one hand while hiding a dagger in the other.
The undeniable gist of the piece in the New York Times was that black people cannot any longer live in black society and are jealous of the stability, success, and harmony of white businesses and neighborhoods. It was a cry for inclusion masked in the unsociable language of the excluded. Nobody can deny that a history of oppression and indigence has created an almost unlivable ghetto, and nobody can deny after looking at the comments of any racially sensitive article that racism is existent in America. But if racism is our problem, have we forgotten the only solution? Almost openly denying the foundations of peaceful coexistence, the New York Times asks us to get along with someone whose open condescension and indefensible dishonesty would make him a terrible neighbor to the people of his own race – who he in turn implicitly admits are terrible neighbors.
The brotherhood of humanity will not be reunited by smug letters from effeminate and irrational back-stabbers. It will be re- established when men of all colors expect the same things from one another and know that they're playing by the same rules. Our peace is in the Laws of Nature, which the New York Times apparently believes to be irrelevant, and regarding which large sections of the black intelligentsia are either ignorant or hostile.
We agree with the New York Times racist that there is no hope for racial reconciliation when nobody is willing to admit the offensiveness of his failures. There is also no hope for humanity when nobody is willing to accuse other people fairly. And there can never be any kind of livable society when nobody is willing to forgive his repentant enemies. But there can never be peace when nobody is willing to out our impostors, to war against our criminals, and to distinguish the character of our neighbors in the true light of reason. The problem with Americans today is not that we're racists (even if it can be debated that we are). It's that some of us find "racism" more offensive than criminals, and those among us perpetuate the same injustices that they claim to deplore in others.
I admit, as the New York Times racist maintains, that I am prejudiced. I'm prejudiced against him, and against everyone who
Jeremy Egerer is the editor of the troublesome philosophical website known as Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.