The phrase “waving the bloody shirt” grew popular in the South as a description of Republicans’ alleged exaggeration of the crimes of the Ku Klux Klan, the paramilitary division of the Democratic party. It is an irony of history that waving the bloody shirt has in the Age of Obama become the Democrats’ primary mode of discourse. Oppose the Affordable Care Act? Racism. Like the Second Amendment? Racism. Black Barbie is on sale for half off, but white Barbie is full price? Racism. Black holes sucking the energy out of your quadrant? Why single out the black ones? Racism!
Waving the bloody shirt is not only about making an emotional appeal — it’s a strategy for distraction. It became a bitter joke in the Soviet Union — whether the issue was the crimes of Stalin or the fact that the Lada was a piece of junk, the answer was always the same: A u vas negrov linchuyut. The same principle is at work in today’s Democratic commentariat: As Americans start to notice what a fiasco Obamacare is . . . Oh, look! A Confederate flag! There is really nothing more satisfying to liberals than a Confederate flag sighting, though I wonder what they’d make of the fact that in my corner of Texas it is not unheard-of to see black men wearing Dixie belt buckles or T-shirts. (All of our necks are just different shades of red.) When Brad Paisley sings about the Confederate flag, it’s like Christmas morning for Touré. Yet, despite the daft insistence of Joan Walsh and the Affiliated Suburban Pearl-Clutchers of America, there is no neo-Confederate revanche just around the corner. The idea is, however, a useful distraction. But a distraction from what?
Fifty years into the Democrats’ declaration of a war on poverty and President Kennedy’s first executive order for affirmative action, while spending $300 million a year on worthless diversity workshops and singing endless verses of “We Shall Overcome,” after enduring endless posturing from Barack Obama and the moral preening of his admirers, that is what black American families have to show for themselves: an average household net worth of $4,955. The average white household in these United States has a net worth of $110,729. Black Americans’ median net worth is less than 5 percent that of white Americans.
By way of comparison, black South Africans under apartheid had a median net worth about 6.8 percent that of white South Africans. Repeating: Black Americans are worse off relative to their white countrymen than black South Africans under apartheid were to theirs, a fact to which former Washington Post reporter Jon Jeter has drawn attention and from which he has drawn all the wrong conclusions. (Muppet News Flash: Washington Post straight-news reporter turns out to be a garden-variety liberal.) Philadelphia mayor John Street used to brag that “the brothers and sisters are running the city,” which would be more of a boast in a city with less criminal governance. Mayor Ray Nagin, whose fraud/conspiracy/money-laundering/bribery/tax-evasion trial should be getting under way any moment now, liked to promise that New Orleans would remain a “chocolate city.” A generation of one-party rule based on racial politics was enough to doom Detroit. Outside of the womb, the most dangerous place for a black American to be is in a city run by Democrats.
But somebody, somewhere, is flying a rebel flag.
And black Americans still have a median household net worth of less than half the price of a 2011 Ford Fiesta with 28,000 miles on it. The median black American household is poorer than the average household in India, which has a net worth of about $5,500, according to the Economic Times.
Everywhere it has been tried, the Democrats’ dependency agenda has been a social and economic catastrophe for black Americans — and a full-employment program for Democratic apparatchiks. This is not a conspiracy — it’s right out there in the open, every time a Democratic politician knows that he can count on 90 percent of the black vote without lifting a finger, winning the opportunity to add four more years to the 50 years of broken promises Democrats have made to black Americans, who lag their fellow countrymen on practically every social indicator. “These Negroes,” said alleged civil-rights hero Lyndon Baines Johnson, “they’re getting pretty uppity these days, and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before: the political pull to back up their uppity-ness. We’ve got to give them a little something — just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.”
So far, the LBJ plan seems to be working perfectly.
Black Americans did not leave the party of Lincoln for the party of Joe Biden; they left the party of Herbert Hoover for the party of Franklin Roosevelt. Or at least they thought they did. What they got instead was the party of sky-high crime, dangerous and dysfunctional schools, a joblessness rate for black men that is more than twice the rate for white men at 14 percent and rising. Twice the unemployment, twice the high-school dropouts, four times the abortions, four times the HIV, seven times the prison sentences, twelve times the babies born with congenital syphilis, fourteen times the murder victims, and nineteen times the gonorrhea.
All that and $4,955.
— Kevin D. Williamson is roving correspondent for National Review.