In an interview with conservative icon Mark Levin this week, best-selling author and civil rights pioneer Shelby Steele explained why he’s not on board with many of the grievances being thrown about by Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and just about every mainstream news organization in the United States. Steele, who has lived through and overcome actual racial oppression in the U.S., says that black people in American society have actually never had it better than they do right now.
“They say society is responsible for us, because racism is so systemic,” Steele said. “Well, that’s a corruption, and I know it’s a corruption, because the truth of the matter is blacks have never been less oppressed than they are today. Opportunity is around every corner.
“In all of this, no one ever stops to say, well, you’re unhappy with where minorities are at in American life, and blacks continue to be at the bottom of most socioeconomic measures,” he continued. “You’re unhappy about that. Well, why don’t you take some responsibility for that? Why don’t you take more responsibility? I would be happy to look at all the usual bad guys, the police and so forth, if we had the nerve, the courage to look at black people. To look at black Americans, minority Americans, and say, you’re not carrying your own weight.”
The very idea of putting any responsibility whatsoever on “oppressed” minorities is a form of hate speech in today’s America, of course. It doesn’t matter whether those minorities are black, Hispanic, gay, trans, or female. Until there is 100% complete equality of outcome among every single sliced-thin demographic in the country, the left will insist there are systemic forces holding those people down. Unless, of course, there is a vocation in which white people are underrepresented (professional basketball, for instance); that’s just fine.
“What do they want?” Steele asked of the activists. “I remember growing up in the civil rights movement, everybody knew exactly what we wanted. This insurrection just seems sort of unclear. It’s unmotivated by anything it says itself. So what is it really about? I think what is happening is that there is nothing really new. The civil rights argument that triggered this, that there was police abuse, is a very familiar story. We saw that in Ferguson, Missouri.
“It seems to me that in many ways it’s about power,” he noted. “In order to pursue power as they do, you have to have victims. Wow, the excitement that creates on the Left. It validates their claims that America is a wretched country, and they must get their recourse. It feeds this old model of operation that we’ve developed, that America is guilty of racism, guilty of this sin, and has been for 400 years, and minorities are victims who are entitled.”
Precisely. The biggest problem with the victim mentality – whether it’s experienced by an individual or by a group – is that its relentless negativity is exactly what prevents the “victims” from thriving. When you look all around and your internal lens is telling you that the deck is stacked against you, why would you ever try to escape those circumstances? Everyone in your circle – be it Twitter, your college professors, or the media – is telling you that it cannot be done. That in order for you to be successful, the whole world has to change.
This is a life-sapping, poisonous energy that the left is only too happy to perpetuate. Blame the world, and then elect the politicians who will, if not actually fix anything, at least sympathize with your dreadful plight. After all, if you’re determined not to change your worldview, it only makes sense to surround yourself with people who will confirm it.
And boy are Democrats great at doing that.