What does protesting the past get us?

Today's protesters protest bygone times when slavery was legal and was considered, by many otherwise normal people, socially desirable and morally acceptable.  They also protest the times of racism and racial discrimination that came after slavery was abolished in the U.S.  Those times are gone.

America, in order to make up for the past suffering of slaves, has bestowed on blacks many privileges and entitlements that are not available to all other Americans, affirmative action and protection from so-called disparate impact being examples.  American whites have become — as a racial group — the most aracial people on Earth.  In predominantly white America, both implicit and explicit discrimination against blacks in admissions, hiring, retention, and promotion has been made illegal.  Even vague expressions of perceived anti-black racism, like displaying a rope that some may consider a noose, are being vigorously investigated by law enforcement and — if the evidence warrants it — punished.  A privately made statement that could be interpreted by some as racially disparaging or critical of blacks can easily end the professional career of the speaker, particularly if the speaker is white.

Yet the protesters, impervious to our relentless efforts to protect blacks from any form of discrimination, presumed or actual, keep protesting and accusing whites of being the root causes of the wrongs that happened in those past times, even though they and — in many cases — their ancestors did not suffer from those  wrongs yet are benefiting from the privileges that were meant to make up for the suffering caused by those wrongs.

No one can change the past, even if the protesters destroy everything that we and our ancestors have built on American soil.  America's history is what it is and will stay that way forever.  It had its rights and wrongs, liberty being the former and slavery being the latter.  None of us who live here, now, has anything to do with it, nor do we have the power to change what was but isn't.  Furthermore, ancestors of many of us arrived at America's shores after slavery had been abolished.  Holding whites liable for the wrongs of the past that we and — often — our ancestors have nothing to do with just because of the whiteness of our skin is pure and blatant racism that our accusers, ostensibly, are so much against.  It makes our made-up sins permanent and indelible, no matter what we do and how much we yield and bow to our accusers.  It gives them a moral mandate to become our perpetual liability, forever and ever, a gentry-like permanent privileged class the membership in which is determined solely by birth and whose privileges and unearned entitlements are protected by the law and the government of the U.S.

It would be an instance of utmost foolishness and a lack of a sense of self-preservation on our part if we yielded to the absurd demands to remake America around their preferences and behavioral patterns while begging their forgiveness for the alleged wrongs that we did not commit.  It would only make them stronger and more blatant.  It would not change the past and would not stop them from accusing us of our "original sin," slavery.  I fail to see a good reason to believe they will stop short of abolishment of America and anything they may consider white, including our culture; our morality; our rights; our lifestyles; and — perhaps — even modern science and mathematics, which some blacks perceive as tools of their oppression by the white majority, once they have enough power to doing so.

Bringing lasting misery and suffering down on the heads of many for the momentary happiness of the few is not what this country is about.  If the protesters don't like what America is, today, then they are free to go to some other place that may be more suitable for them and their ideas of a well-functioning society.  For we are not going to turn our country upside-down or let them ruin this best nation of ours that humanity has ever seen, just because they cannot get over what it was some 155 years ago and more.

Mark Andrew Dwyer's recent columns are posted here and here.  Links to his other commentaries can be found here.

Image: Johnny Silvercloud via Flickr (cropped).

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