It’s the 86th anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther King Jr., who led the American civil rights movement back when it was actually about civil rights. He was in many ways the polar opposite of the clowns now running the movement, who do their level best to stir up racial animosity and who stoke the fires of resentment among the victims of Lyndon Johnson’s so-called Great Society for political and financial gain.
I was in eighth grade when Dr. King was murdered, and knew little about him apart from some speeches he gave that were broadcast on the evening news; but as I learned more about him, I came to admire him. I appreciate him even more as time goes by, although I’m sorry to say that that is largely due to the pathetic antics of the schmucks who inherited his mantle and who have turned his dream of a colorblind society on its head.
Michelle Obama, whose neurotic obsession with other people’s weight borders on the pathological, has said that “food deserts” are partly to blame for the high rates of obesity in the United States, particularly in low-income neighborhoods with large minority populations. According to this theory, the people who live in these neighborhoods have no access to nutritious foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, and so they are forced to consume fattening, non-nutritious, health-destroying junk food instead.
Many people who have actually investigated Mrs. Obama’s claims have pronounced them bogus; they say that fresh fruits and vegetables are available in low-income neighborhoods, but many of the locals just don’t buy them — apparently preferring to spend their grocery money on cases of canned soda pop, bags of potato chips, boxes of Twinkies, and other food-like substances that are devoid of any nutrients other than calories.
I’m not going to take sides in the argument over whether or not food deserts exist. What interests me is what happens when someone attempts to do something that would actually provide low-income people with more healthful options. What would happen if, say, a grocery chain that sells high-quality, nutritious food at affordable prices tried to establish a presence in exactly the type of neighborhood that has Mrs. Obama so concerned?
Well, you don’t have to wonder, because I’ll tell you. Trader Joe’s, a California-based retailer, decided to build a new store in Portland, Oregon, in a historically black neighborhood. Jon Gabriel at ricochet.com explains what happened next:
The company selected two acres along Martin Luther King Blvd. that had been vacant for decades. It seemed like the perfect place to create jobs, improve customer options, and beautify the neighborhood. City officials, the business community, and residents all seemed thrilled with the plan. Then some community organizers caught wind of it.
The fact that most members of the Portland African-American Leadership Forum didn’t live in the neighborhood was beside the point. “This is a people’s movement for African-Americans and other communities, for self-determination,” member Avel Gordly said in a press conference. Even the NAACP piled on, railing against the project as a “case study in gentrification.” (The area is about 25 percent African-American.)
After a few months of racially tinged accusations and angry demands, Trader Joe’s decided it wasn’t worth the hassle. “We run neighborhood stores and our approach is simple,” a corporate statement said. “If a neighborhood does not want a Trader Joe’s, we understand, and we won’t open the store in question.”
Hours after Trader Joe’s pulled out, PAALF leaders arrived at a previously scheduled press conference trying to process what just happened. The group re-issued demands that the now-cancelled development include affordable housing, mandated jobs based on race, and a small-business slush fund. Instead, the only demand being met is two fallow acres and a lot of anger from the people who actually live nearby.
“All of my neighbors were excited to have Trader Joe’s come here and replace a lot that has always been empty,” said Nghi Tran. “It’s good quality for poor men.” Like many residents, Tran pins the blame on PAALF. “They don’t come to the neighborhood cleanups,” he said. “They don’t live here anymore.”
“There are no winners today,” said Adam Milne, owner of an area restaurant. “Only missed tax revenue, lost jobs, less foot traffic, an empty lot and a boulevard still struggling to support its local small businesses.” The store was to be built by a local African American-owned construction company.
PAALF objected to Trader Joe’s on the grounds that its presence would “increase the desirability of the neighborhood” for “non-oppressed populations,” adding that “PAALF is and will remain opposed to any development in N/NE Portland that does not primarily benefit the Black community.”
In other words, they didn’t want a business in the neighborhood that would provide good jobs to local residents and good food at low prices because of the risk that it might attract persons of pallor to the area. Can you imagine the reaction from the so-called civil rights establishment if someone had tried to locate a new business in a predominantly white area, and some white racists threw a hissy fit because they feared that the business in question might attract dark-skinned people to the neighborhood?
It’s fitting that the vacant lot Trader Joe’s had chosen as the location for its new store was on a street named for Martin Luther King Jr., a man who worked tirelessly and ultimately sacrificed everything to end segregation and bring about his dream of a color-blind society. The professional race baiters, as well as the community organizer in the White House and his busybody wife, could learn a lot from Dr. King. Unfortunately, they probably never will.
Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a color-blind society. Eric Holder thinks his job is to make sure King’s dream never comes true.
From The Wall Street Journal:
Give Eric Holder credit for cognitive racial dissonance. On nearly the same day the Attorney General spoke in Washington to honor the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech, his Justice Department sued to block the educational dreams of minority children in Louisiana.
Late last week, Justice asked a federal court to stop 34 school districts in the Pelican State from handing out private-school vouchers so kids can escape failing public schools. Mr. Holder’s lawyers claim the voucher program appears “to impede the desegregation progress” required under federal law. Justice provides little evidence to support this claim, but there couldn’t be a clearer expression of how the civil-rights establishment is locked in a 1950s time warp.
Passed in 2012, Louisiana’s state-wide program guarantees a voucher to students from families with incomes below 250% of poverty and who attend schools graded C or below. The point is to let kids escape the segregation of failed schools, and about 90% of the beneficiaries are black.
For example, says the complaint, in several of those 22 districts “the voucher recipients were in the racial minority at the public school they attended before receiving the voucher.” In other words, Justice is claiming that the voucher program may be illegal because minority kids made their failing public schools more white by leaving those schools to go to better private schools. [continue reading]
For further enlightenment:
A Poignant Anniversary, by Thomas Sowell
Is Obama Good for Black Americans? by Mona Charen
Fifteen Moronic Things Liberals Call Racism, by John Hawkins
Obama’s War on Black Education, by Derrick Wilburn
Today is the 45th anniversary of the death of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. I won’t presume to speak for a man I never met, who died when I was in eighth grade; but based on what King said when he was alive, I suspect that if he were still with us today, he would be appalled at what is going on in the country that he loved.
King was a dreamer. He dreamed of a day when the quantity of melanin in a person’s skin would be irrelevant, when character would be what mattered. Listening to the speeches he gave toward the end of his life, you can’t help feeling that he really believed his dream would come true some day — even that he might live to see it.
It was a lovely dream, but what we have ended up with is the opposite: a country where skin color matters more than ever, and character and achievement are irrelevant. We have a country where persons of color are held to lower standards than persons of pallor — what George W. Bush called “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” We have a country where black on white crime is far more common than white on black crime, but the former is seldom reported (and when it is, the race of the perpetrator is rarely mentioned); while the latter, when it occurs, receives massive media coverage and sparks demonstrations and riots and all manner of mayhem. We have a country where tests of any sort are denounced as racist and declared invalid if whites score better on them, on average, than blacks. We have a country where institutions of higher learning employ racial quotas to achieve “diversity,” even when it means that less-qualified black applicants receive preference over more-qualified white applicants. We have a country where it’s acceptable to gerrymander congressional districts in order to get a congressperson of a specific color elected.
But for conclusive proof that racism is alive and well, one need look no further than Barack Obama — the man Harry Reid described approvingly as a light-skinned Negro without the Negro dialect, the man Joe Biden described admiringly as the first black candidate for president who was clean and articulate and good-looking, the man who gives Chris Matthews a thrill up his leg every time he reads words off a teleprompter.
Candidate Obama’s qualifications to be president were practically nonexistent; a white man of either party with a résumé like his would have been laughed out of the primaries. But as we all know now, that didn’t matter. The American people were so excited about electing the first black president that the fact that Obama lacked any executive experience and had never distinguished himself academically, professionally, or as an elected official didn’t matter a hill of beans. The lamestream media had collective orgasms over the man, swooning and hyperventilating whenever he came into view, rhapsodizing over his superhuman intelligence and matchless beauty, sweeping his frequent gaffes under the rug, and relentlessly informing all of us unworthy peasants just how blessed we were that this incomparable paragon of brilliance and virtue was actually willing to serve as our president… and warning us in no uncertain terms that anyone who failed to vote for Obama was a despicable racist scumbag.
It became painfully obvious as the 2008 election approached that we were doomed to have this pathetically unqualified and hopelessly misguided man as our president, and those of us whose brains were still functioning knew from the get-go that his presidency was going to be a disaster. But we gritted our teeth and waited for the four miserable years to pass, hoping that once the voters saw what a terrible president Obama was, they would snap out of their reverie, come to their senses, and vote him out of office.
This was not an unreasonable expectation. If a white president of either party had presided over four years as miserable as the four years that Obama had just presided over, he would almost certainly have had a primary challenge from someone in his own party (as happened to the luckless Jimmy Carter), and had he survived that, he would have been trounced in the general election (as also happened to Carter). No white president who was as incompetent and manifestly unfit for the office as Barack Obama would have been re-elected.
But in twenty-first century America, black presidents are not held to as high a standard as white presidents. The voters simply refused to treat Barack Obama the way they have always treated white incumbents whose terms in office were disasters. The inescapable conclusion is that American voters just don’t expect as much from a black president. He isn’t held responsible for his failures, as a white president would be; in fact, the voters give him a second chance — something they would never do for a failed white president.
And Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream — that character and achievement would some day matter more than color — seems farther away than ever.
I was in the eighth grade when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. At that time I had no way of knowing that King’s dream of a postracial society would still be only a dream forty-four years later, but unfortunately that seems to be the case. As evidence I offer the campaign buttons pictured below.
Can you imagine what would happen if some politician of pallor handed out campaign buttons that mentioned his/her skin color (“If you vote white, you know you’re right!”)? All hell would break loose. The double standard is alive and well. Wish I could say the same for King’s dream.
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