| David Horowitz's 'Hating Whitey' distorts Blacks and Racism By Prof. Ron Daniels |
I recently appeared on the Fox News Channel's Hannity and Colmes show to debate/confront one David Horowitz, a radical turned conservative who once served as the editor of Ramparts Magazine in the 60's. A self-proclaimed former supporter of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Mr. Horowitz has a controversial new book out called Hating Whitey. In the book he alleges, among other things, that there is pervasive anti-White racism and anti-Semitism in the Black community. He contends that Black people have betrayed Dr. King's dream of a "color blind" society where people are judged by the "content of the character" rather than the pigmentation of their skin. Like other conservatives, Horowitz claims to be fed up with Black people blaming White people and racism for the persistence of problems which he implies are due to defects in the culture and character of Black people. He also argues that there is a double standard in sanctioning bigots and racists in America, suggesting that Rev. Jesse Jackson can speak at the Million Man March or be seen with Rev. Al Sharpton (he labels Farrakhan and Sharpton racists and anti-Semites) with impunity, while if he were to appear with David Duke he would be condemned for standing with a white supremacist.
Of course Mr. Horowitz's calculated ranting is not new. Accusations of "Black racism" or "reverse racism" have been in vogue since Ronald Reagan first popularized these terms during his tenure in the White House. President Reagan, who professed to never having seen racism in his life, was hell bent on eradicating what he considered to be encroachments on the rights of White people as a result of policies aimed at remedying discrimination against Blacks. Reagan was the most prominent point person for the White backlash, the counter attack designed to undermine the gains of civil rights movement. Isolated expressions of hostility towards Whites were cited to demonstrate that Black people could also be racist. In that vein, affirmative action was attacked as the embodiment of reverse discrimination, an infringement on the rights of Whites. The civil rights movement had gone too far. Black progress was impeding White progress.
Mr. Horowitz's convoluted contentions resonate among some within the White community because they play to the fears and anxieties that conservatives have exploited to push what is essentially a racist, sexist, homophobic and anti-labor political agenda; an agenda which has propelled conservatives into positions of power including control of the U.S. Congress. The problem is that the conservative's agenda would ultimately lead to a retreat to the "good old days" of White male dominance, power and privilege. The popularity of commentators like David Horowitz and simplistic books like Hating Whitey suggest that there are a significant number of White Americans who would welcome such a retreat. Hence, Horowitz's horrific views must be confronted and discredited at every opportunity.
While no one would claim that there is not some hostility towards Whites in the Black community, it certainly is not pervasive. On the contrary, forgiveness, tolerance and reconciliation are traits, which are deeply imbedded in Black culture. There is absolutely no history of Black people systematically advocating or conducting campaigns of hatred and terror against White people. Hence isolated incidents of overt hostility and/or violence by Blacks towards Whites are the exception and not the rule. Such rare incidents cannot be equated with the long history of terror and racist violence which Black people have suffered in this country at the hands of hostile White individuals and organizations.
By definition, racism is the capacity/power to translate prejudice/bigotry into custom, policy or law. Black people have not had the predisposition or the power to oppress White people in this country. Hence the notion of "Black racism" is a contradiction in terms. It is odd that Mr. Horowitz would focus on so called anti-White racism when Black people like James Byrd are still being lynched in this country or police brutality, mostly at the hands of White police officers and the racist phenomenon of DWB, Driving While Black, have reached epidemic proportions. I am not aware of any organized group in the Black community, which, is going around painting swastikas on Jewish Synagogues or burning down White churches. The resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan and other Neo Nazi and white supremacist organizations and militias is real. Benjamin Nathaniel Smith who went on a killing spree in the Mid-West or Buford Furrows who wounded several children in a Jewish daycare center and killed an Asian American postal worker in Los Angeles are not figments of the imagination. There are real white supremacist terrorists in this country who are armed, dangerous and intent on preserving America as a White Anglo Saxon Protestant nation.
Why are people like David Horowitz blaming the victim rather than shining the light on the real villains in American society? Perhaps it is because it is now quite profitable for closet/polite racists to publish distortions and misconceptions that reinforce the fears and anxieties of sizeable numbers of White people in a society where racism and white supremacy are still alive and well. Black people have no choice but to continue to demand affirmative action, reparations and other governmental policies designed to overcome past and present oppression and exploitation of Africans in America.
Copyright (c) 1999 Ron Daniels.