Reading Time: 5 minutes
There’s an awesome YouTube video of Jesse Jackson getting skewered in Ferguson.
First, though, a little history.
One of the greatest books ever on race-based poverty and jobs programs is Tom Wolfe’s Mau-Mauing the Flak-Catchers. You won’t understand race politics in America without reading it. Twice. Four times, maybe.
If you’ve read it, you know why Jesse Jackson and Capt. Ron Johnson and all the other “black leaders” are impotent to stop riots. From Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catcher by Tom Wolfe, 1970:
Every time there was a riot, whites would call on “Negro leaders” to try to cool it, only to find out that the Negro leaders didn’t have any followers. They sent Martin Luther King into Chicago and the people ignored him. They sent Dick Gregory into Watts and the people hooted at him and threw beer cans. During the riot in Hunters Point, the mayor of San Francisco, John Shelley, went into Hunters Point with the only black member of the Board of Supervisors, and the brothers threw rocks at both of them. They sent in the middle-class black members of the Human Rights Commission, and the brothers laughed at them and called them Toms. Then they figured the leadership of the riot was “the gangs,” so they sent in the “ex-gang leaders” from groups like Youth for Service to make a “liaison with the key gang leaders.” What they didn’t know was that Hunters Point and a lot of ghettos were so disorganized, there weren’t even any “key gangs,” much less “key gang leaders,” in there. That riot finally just burnt itself out after five days, that was all.
Wolfe, Tom (2010-04-01). Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers
(pp. 104-105). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s worth pointing out the those very poverty programs from the 1960s gave us Barack Obama. Contrary to popular belief, “community organizing” wasn’t Saul Alinsky’s invention. Social workers and liberal do-gooders, believers in the perfectibility of man, trusters in the moral imperative of omnipotent government—these early Michael Harringtons invented community organizing as a novel, new, enlightened approach to ending urban poverty.
Mr. Wolfe explains:
So the poverty professionals were always on the lookout for the bad-acting dudes who were the “real leaders,” the “natural leaders,” the “charismatic figures” in the ghetto jungle. These were the kind of people the social-welfare professionals in the Kennedy Administration had in mind when they planned the poverty program in the first place. It was a truly adventurous and experimental approach they had. Instead of handing out alms, which never seemed to change anything, they would encourage the people in the ghettos to organize. They would help them become powerful enough to force the Establishment to give them what they needed. From the beginning the poverty program was aimed at helping ghetto people rise up against their oppressors. It was a scene in which the federal government came into the ghetto and said, “Here is some money and some field advisors. Now you organize your own pressure groups.” It was no accident that Huey Newton and Bobby Seale drew up the ten-point program of the Black Panther Party one night in the offices of the North Oakland Poverty Center.
Wolfe, Tom (2010-04-01). Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers
(pp. 105-106). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.
Forty-four years later, black poverty is worse than it was in 1970, and race relations are at least as bad. I think we can safely declare the War on Poverty a miserable, expensive, deadly disaster like its cousin, the War on Drugs. In fact, one war could not have happened without the other, but that’s grist for a future post.
Following in the footsteps of Dick Gregory and Martin Luther King, Jesse Jackson came to Ferguson last week to quell the riots. But the rioters quelled him instead:
“When you gonna stop sellin’ us out, Jesse?”
“We don’t want you here. You’re not a leader. You’re not a leader. We don’t want you here, brother. As a matter of fact, you’re not even no brother. You can keep movin’.”
Did you hear that? Did you hear the way they talked to Jesse? Priceless.
The liberal establishment still doesn’t get it, though. The social workers and bureaucrats still think Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton matter. They don’t. They’re race hustlers who move form riot to riot stirring up hatred and cashing checks. MSNBC pays the phony FBI informant Al Sharpton to lie, telling the world that we need more government programs and more PhDs descending on places like Ferguson with shiny new jobs programs. It’s no different from 1970. Wolfe’s explanation from 1970 might have been written after 9:30 Mass this morning:
To sell the poverty program, its backers had to give it the protective coloration of “jobs” and “education,” the Job Corps and Operation Head Start, things like that, things the country as a whole could accept. “Jobs” and “education” were things everybody could agree on. They were part of the free-enterprise ethic. They weren’t uncomfortable subjects like racism and the class structure— and giving the poor the money and the tools to fight City Hall. But from the first that was what the lion’s share of the poverty budget went into. It went into “community organizing,” which was the bureaucratic term for “power to the people,” the term for finding the real leaders of the ghetto and helping them organize the poor.
No one respects Jesse Jackson less than the people he hasn’t helped. As it should be. And no one can claim the PhDs’ and the Democrats have helped blacks economically.
While society has improved many racial injustices in my life, we have not improved economic life for blacks. In fact, all of the trillions of dollars spent, all of the equal opportunity laws, and all of the affirmative action plans have only widened the income gap between whites and blacks.
Business Insider’s Mandi Woodruff points out about this chart:
Here, you can see there isn’t so much a gap between black and white households as a Grand Canyon-sized void that has only gotten worse since the 1960s.
Since the 1960s, the difference in household income between black and white households ballooned from $19,000 to $27,000, meaning black households on average earn just 59% as much as their white neighbors. Blacks enjoyed a bit of a boost from the prosperous early 2000s, when they earned 65% as much as white households, but the Great Recession made quick work of destroying those gains.
Blacks have also been the most unemployed racial group in the U.S. over the last half century, with an unemployment rate almost double the national average, according to the Urban Institute.
Black unemployment is still more than double the white unemployment rate.And how many African American children grow up in dangerous neighborhoods where single women–mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts–strive to keep little ones fed, clothed, in school, and alive?
Hoping for more crumbs form Washington’s table isn’t hope. It’s despair. It’s servitude and dependency. Lack of decent work emasculates black men. And they know Jesse Jackson isn’t doing anything to reverse that.
That’s why it’s so perversely satisfying to see Jackson excoriated in a McDonald’s parking lot in Ferguson by unemployed young men—Jackson’s supposed followers.
Jesse Jackson’s followers don’t live in Ferguson. They live in 5-million-dollar Manhattan penthouses. Poor Jesse’s nothing but an exposed, wealthy flak catcher now.