Black Rage, American Politics, Brutal Police

April, 1999

My thesis, going way back, is that black rage is nothing but rage, but that it has come to be accepted as political currency. it should not be, but that requires that some real democratic politics replace it. if whites cannot enjoin in this real politics which is ultimately more effective than rage, then this democracy is doomed to failure.

in other words, black rage should be co-opted by the mainstream in such a way that the causes of that rage are eliminated. this will make america civilized.

Q: Boohab, what does "co-opted by the mainstream" mean? Can you give specific examples of what you'd like to see happen? Has anyone read the essay "Mau-mauing the flak-catchers" by Tom Wolfe? He discusses how the social-reform bureaucracies in the seventies encouraged a really warped system which required that a minority group "organize" and dress and act like militants, and march on the government offices and demand jobs, which would then be dispensed according to how effectively the "militants" scared the sh*t out of the white people in the offices... of course, Tom Wolfe describes it MUCH better than I do, so I encourage you to read HIS essay, and not trust my summary.

A: "co-opted by the mainstream" in this context means that there would be no question that mainstream politics effectively deals with black issues so well that blacks are not better served by radical politics.

for example, if effectively dealing with the issue of police brutality and racial profiling did not require blacks to do anything out of the ordinary, then this could be counted as a success.

i think the benchmark would be something to the effect that the race of a candidate would have no bearing on whether that individual was more or less likely to satisfy the black constituency. furthermore, putting a dupe in with 'the right color skin' would also be unacceptable. the proper candidate should be able to articulate issues and resolve them in such a way that they *serve* the black constituency in direct response to their needs, without *isolating* them. but this is something, across many issues, mainstream politicians have been singularly unable to do. this forces blacks to seek more radical ways and means of achieving their political ends.

does anyone doubt that police forces have become *less* racist over the past 20 years? yet TODAY there is overwhelming evidence that they are still *too* racist. every opportunity mainstream politicians have had to bridge the gap (when they even bother to pay attention) they have failed. from the politics surrounding mark fuhrman to diallo, to gammage, to luima, to tyisha miller to rodney king the result is failure failure failure. we cannot name one white politician in power today who has given blacks any satisfaction on those matters. not even rhetorical satisfaction.

the result is that this gives more credibility to radicals who consistently *address* the issue, even if they have no solutions and no chance of attaining the power to implement any solutions. this is a classic case of whitefolks making themselves whiter than they need to be. in the end, the intransigent status quo remains in force, and blacks must resort to higher and higher pitched volumes to get america to wake up.

it is at this point where mau-mauing becomes more effective than ordinary franchise. but the mau-mauing does not take place in a vaccuum - the underlying tragedy continues. then whites excuse their unwillingness to listen from the tenor of the discussion. blacks excuse their hyperbole from white sangfroid. then somebody gets killed. suddenly whites realize there is some reality to the claim, but they can't figure out what black rhetoric is real - they blame the process. blacks say i told you so, but they can't figure out what white sympathy is real - they blame the process. blue ribbon bandaids are put in place, to keep 'the natives from getting restless', the issue gets incredible press, and then it goes away. the process is still broken.

the responsibility to fix the process lies with the people who *have* the power. why does it have to be considered 'reform' to get cops to stop killing black people? why does a white politician ever have to feel that he's stepping out on a limb to address this fundamental issue of personal safety? it is obvious that blacks and latinos are not receiving equal protection under the law when it comes to policing.