“Nonviolence is fine as long as it works” – Malcolm X
A few days ago, before the Thanksgiving holiday, I penned “The ‘Knockout Game’ Danger to Race Relations, and Danger to Black America” considering thoughts from one Will Wright about the prospect that the rise of the “Knockout Game” posed a threat to Black America. I agreed with Mr. Wright’s general premise, that the rise of the game and increased public outcry would be bad for Black America – but I actually feel it is worse than Mr. Wright suspects. During the discussion I noted that I did not think there was any real prospect for a “race war” in America, to which my good friend Rob responded:
Forgive me if you’ve already discussed this in detail elsewhere, but why do you think there is no potential for a race war in the USA? Do you think increased vigilantism would trigger government intervention before that could happen?
It’s an excellent question. Even if the prospects of an extreme event (race war) are small, the tragic outcomes of such an event makes it well worth consideration and debate.
First, let me note that the definition of “race war” is hardly clean. At what point do rising tensions and racially motivated violence become a “war”? Instead of setting criteria, I’ll simply draw on some historical instances and consider “could it get that bad?” Consider some times of severe racial strife:
- The Rwandan genocide. Between 500,000 and 1,000,000 Tutsi’s were slaughtered by the majority Hutu population – about 20% of the population.
- American Manifest Destiny era and the oppression of Native Americans.
- The American Civil Rights movement, with water cannons and dogs turned loose against the minority population by local authorities.
In each instance I argue that the “hearts and minds” of the people were much more open to the prospect of serious and heinous crimes against fellow men of a different ethnicity than we see today. White America looks nothing like it did in 1960, and certainly nothing like it did in 1840 in terms of racial attitudes. Broad-spread white-on-black aggression would require popular support which doesn’t exist, and is highly unlikely to exist regardless of how ugly “knockout” type nonsense gets. (We could certainly argue to what extent the status quo of “the system” is itself a war against Black America … of course, I would contend that said war is waged by the Left in order to keep the status quo of racial politics. But I digress.)
Tensions run both ways of course. What about this purported rise in black-on-white aggression? I contend that a majority of Black America is also not of the mindset to engage in wide-spread racial violence. The violence we see is the work of delinquent thugs, but not representative of a broad-based ideology.
Furthermore, the sheer nature of population proportion makes it unlikely that we would see a “race war” start with Black America. The 6-to-1 ratio is all but inarguable. When Patrick Henry said “give me liberty or give me death” he was in a room full of folks who largely wanted liberty and just needed a little convincing to go to war – I seriously doubt he would have said the same if addressing Parliament. By the same token, when we see folks like King Samir Shabazz say “you want freedom? you’re gonna have to kill some crackers! You’re gonna have to kill some of their babies!” he’s saying it amongst a group of potentially sympathetic supporters. He’s not exactly addressing the Rotary Club.
So White America doesn’t want (or have the heart and mind for) a race war. Black America doesn’t want (or have the heart and mind for) a race war. So what will happen if the “knockout” game kerfuffle continues to grow? Well, I still think things can get bad. A rise in vigilantism (as we noted in the previous post) would seem likely. Riots and violence? Quite possibly. Burning cities and looting? Who knows? But “race war”? I doubt it. No, one suspects that the worst you’ll get from White America, by-and-large, is a greater dose of indifference.
Besides, if one really wanted to destroy Black America, he could hardly do better than the policies of Lyndon Johnson, policies that appear to be wholly embraced by Black America. But again, I digress …