Re-traumatizing blacks to serve the Left

Keeping people on the boil makes for very powerful group politics, which is why demagogues and tyrannical regimes do it all over the world. But there is an awful cost when individuals or groups remain in turmoil over wrongs that lie in the past.

Dr. Condoleeza Rice's life story warms the hearts of many because she demonstrates the triumph of an individual over adversity in her own life. Yet our SecState vividly recalls traumatic memories of the infamous 1963 black church bombing in Birmingham,  Alabama.

"I remember the bombing of that Sunday School at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963. I did not see it happen, but I heard it happen, and I felt it happen, just a few blocks away at my father's church. It is a sound that I will never forget, that will forever reverberate in my ears. That bomb took the lives of four young girls, including my friend and playmate, Denise McNair. The crime was calculated to suck the hope out of young lives, bury their aspirations. But those fears were not propelled forward, those terrorists failed.

"Those terrible events burned into my consciousness. I missed many days at my segregated school because of the frequent bomb threats."

Mental trauma

When psychiatrists try to help trauma victims, sometimes years after the event, they always need to tread a careful line. On the one hand, someone who can't let go of the past may need to reconsider those old experiences. On the other hand, by constantly dwelling on the past it is all too easy to re-traumatize people, to scratch those old wounds so that they start bleeding all over again. Ethical therapists know about the danger of re-traumatizing people. They constantly try to avoid making things worse.

Look at the contrast. What the Left has done to black people in the last fifty years is a kind of emotional abuse -- a constant, obsessional reliving of the traumatic past. Fifty years after the Civil Rights Acts, Democrat politicians, professors and preachers are still intent on rubbing salt into those old, painful wounds. It has now become institutionalized. Reliving the past is a major reason for Black Studies Departments all over the country, just as Women's Studies are designed to perpetuate an everlasting cry of pain and rage about the fate of women throughout history. Those constant rehearsals of reasons for rage and resentment do not to help people; they just exploit their pain for political gain. As a result, the Left still gets the black vote more than 90% of the time, in exchange for fuzzy promises like "hope" and "change;" or worse, for welfare programs that undermine rather than strengthen black families and individuals. 

It always works on at least some people when you rile up resentments  That is why there was an NAACP TV commercial exploiting a dreadful hate crime in Texas to smear George W. Bush. It is why ethnic groups in the Balkans never stop hating each other.  It is how the Rwanda genocide happened among Tutsis and Hutus. Around the world, demagogues exploit old grievances because they don't want them to be solved. That is why the Palestinian mess cannot be solved; it has turned into an billion dollar boondoggle for the elites. There's always a lot of money to be made off the poverty and resentment of large groups.

Humanity and compassion

People who suffer from mental trauma have a right to our humanity and compassion. But we have no moral obligation to support a campaign to constantly revisit old grievances. Such campaigns just perpetuate the old abuse. The new abusers of black people are the leaders of the racial Left.  

That is why Senator Obama's siren song of hope and change is just another piece of hype, not a cure. For two centuries now we've been having a "conversation about race." The most deadly war in American history was fought over race. Fifty years after the Civil Rights Acts we constantly hear that even today, nothing has changed. Senator Obama's slogan that we must have yet another "conversation about race" is historically bizarre. 

It is high time to move beyond racial games. You don't do that by running a race-based candidate for president with the promise of soothing the wounds. We have heard those promises before.  Even if Obama were elected, the Al Sharptons and Jeremiah Wrights will be happy to keep those old wounds bleeding. They don't score any points by telling people that we have finally solved the conflict. And they and their allies are the beneficiaries of the ineffective programs of liberalism offered in to assuage the anger being constantly revisited.

The racial establishment hasn't done black Americans any favors by obsessively rubbing more salt into old wounds. The traumas of the past don't have to be constantly picked over. Instead, like Condi Rice, people need to acknowledge the past and still move beyond it. Every successful black person in the country has found a way to do that.  So has every other ethnic and racial group.

If political parties could be sued for malpractice the Democrats would be in court for a long time to come. The fact that Senator Obama is steeped in the grievance culture of the Left (as his twenty years being the mentee of mentor Jeremiah Wright attests)  is the biggest problem with his candidacy. 

James Lewis blogs at dangeroustimes.wordpress.com
Keeping people on the boil makes for very powerful group politics, which is why demagogues and tyrannical regimes do it all over the world. But there is an awful cost when individuals or groups remain in turmoil over wrongs that lie in the past.

Dr. Condoleeza Rice's life story warms the hearts of many because she demonstrates the triumph of an individual over adversity in her own life. Yet our SecState vividly recalls traumatic memories of the infamous 1963 black church bombing in Birmingham,  Alabama.

"I remember the bombing of that Sunday School at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963. I did not see it happen, but I heard it happen, and I felt it happen, just a few blocks away at my father's church. It is a sound that I will never forget, that will forever reverberate in my ears. That bomb took the lives of four young girls, including my friend and playmate, Denise McNair. The crime was calculated to suck the hope out of young lives, bury their aspirations. But those fears were not propelled forward, those terrorists failed.

"Those terrible events burned into my consciousness. I missed many days at my segregated school because of the frequent bomb threats."

Mental trauma

When psychiatrists try to help trauma victims, sometimes years after the event, they always need to tread a careful line. On the one hand, someone who can't let go of the past may need to reconsider those old experiences. On the other hand, by constantly dwelling on the past it is all too easy to re-traumatize people, to scratch those old wounds so that they start bleeding all over again. Ethical therapists know about the danger of re-traumatizing people. They constantly try to avoid making things worse.

Look at the contrast. What the Left has done to black people in the last fifty years is a kind of emotional abuse -- a constant, obsessional reliving of the traumatic past. Fifty years after the Civil Rights Acts, Democrat politicians, professors and preachers are still intent on rubbing salt into those old, painful wounds. It has now become institutionalized. Reliving the past is a major reason for Black Studies Departments all over the country, just as Women's Studies are designed to perpetuate an everlasting cry of pain and rage about the fate of women throughout history. Those constant rehearsals of reasons for rage and resentment do not to help people; they just exploit their pain for political gain. As a result, the Left still gets the black vote more than 90% of the time, in exchange for fuzzy promises like "hope" and "change;" or worse, for welfare programs that undermine rather than strengthen black families and individuals. 

It always works on at least some people when you rile up resentments  That is why there was an NAACP TV commercial exploiting a dreadful hate crime in Texas to smear George W. Bush. It is why ethnic groups in the Balkans never stop hating each other.  It is how the Rwanda genocide happened among Tutsis and Hutus. Around the world, demagogues exploit old grievances because they don't want them to be solved. That is why the Palestinian mess cannot be solved; it has turned into an billion dollar boondoggle for the elites. There's always a lot of money to be made off the poverty and resentment of large groups.

Humanity and compassion

People who suffer from mental trauma have a right to our humanity and compassion. But we have no moral obligation to support a campaign to constantly revisit old grievances. Such campaigns just perpetuate the old abuse. The new abusers of black people are the leaders of the racial Left.  

That is why Senator Obama's siren song of hope and change is just another piece of hype, not a cure. For two centuries now we've been having a "conversation about race." The most deadly war in American history was fought over race. Fifty years after the Civil Rights Acts we constantly hear that even today, nothing has changed. Senator Obama's slogan that we must have yet another "conversation about race" is historically bizarre. 

It is high time to move beyond racial games. You don't do that by running a race-based candidate for president with the promise of soothing the wounds. We have heard those promises before.  Even if Obama were elected, the Al Sharptons and Jeremiah Wrights will be happy to keep those old wounds bleeding. They don't score any points by telling people that we have finally solved the conflict. And they and their allies are the beneficiaries of the ineffective programs of liberalism offered in to assuage the anger being constantly revisited.

The racial establishment hasn't done black Americans any favors by obsessively rubbing more salt into old wounds. The traumas of the past don't have to be constantly picked over. Instead, like Condi Rice, people need to acknowledge the past and still move beyond it. Every successful black person in the country has found a way to do that.  So has every other ethnic and racial group.

If political parties could be sued for malpractice the Democrats would be in court for a long time to come. The fact that Senator Obama is steeped in the grievance culture of the Left (as his twenty years being the mentee of mentor Jeremiah Wright attests)  is the biggest problem with his candidacy. 

James Lewis blogs at dangeroustimes.wordpress.com