The Banality of Black Death
Eli Langley
22854

The principal banality in this article is not that of black death but that of the misguided and repeatedly refuted premise that we are suffering from some sort of epidemic of anti-black violence and that this is due to living in a racist/white supremacist society. No matter how many times social scientists, criminologists and others refute, with empirical evidence, the suggestion that there is some sort of epidemic of police brutality against blacks (here’s one good example, but there are many others: http://www.copinthehood.com/2015/04/killed-by-police-2-of-3-race.html), the myth persists because the irresponsible, sensationalizing media won’t let it die and keeps fueling the outrage with self-serving clickbait stories that focus on every instance of anti-black police violence while ignoring the many mundane, comparable stories of police brutality against white people. When anyone protests the falsehoods and nonsense, what they get are apples-to-oranges statistics where the rate of anti-black police violence is compared to the rate of anti-white police violence based on a pure comparison with the percentages of blacks and whites in the U.S., without factoring in the crucial factor of the far greater proportion of blacks who are involved in criminal activity in the first place … and, of course, when this sad fact is point out, whoever says it gets reflexively branded a racist. In other words, this is a fight we (by “we,” I don’t mean “white people,” but rather, anyone interested in truth and reality) can’t win, because, just like religious fundamentalists convinced that evolution is bunk or that man-made climate change doesn’t exist, the hate-filled anti-racism crusaders will not let go of their underlying premise that white people are out to get black people, have always been out to get black people and will keep on doing it until someone stops them. They do not want to deal with the more complex reality, the reality that in virtually every society, including this one, people discriminate against a racially, ethnically or religiously marked underclass and will do so as long as it remains an underclass (think of the history of discrimination against the Irish, Italians, Greeks, Eastern Europeans, Asians and many others that persisted so long as these groups were disproportionately poor and dissipated when they “made it” into the middle class and beyond).

The other reality that the anti-racist crusaders do not want to deal with is that the America of 2015 is not the America of 1860, or even of 1960. Vestiges of anti-black racism undoubtedly remain, but most anti-black racism has been banished from polite society and exists only on the margins, in the shadows or in unintentional prejudices that will inevitably continue to manifest themselves so long as the African-American underclass remains a reality all of us live with and see in action every day. On the other hand, anti-white racism is alive and well. It is practiced and perpetrated in broad daylight by ordinary folks and by the media alike. Articles abound making ludicrously overbroad generalizations about “white people” (as though they are some unitary group of like-minded automatons), talk about things as being “too white,” see, e.g., http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/mfa-vs-poc), about white people being a “disgrace” and “ruining everything,” see, e.g., http://gawker.com/fifty-years-after-the-march-white-people-are-still-a-d-1216851674; http://www.salon.com/2015/12/26/how_the_overwhelmingly_white_donor_class_stops_action_on_climate_change_partner/), or about how “white culture steals because it has no soul of its own,” see, e.g., http://www.salon.com/2013/04/25/how_can_white_americans_be_free/. Substitute “black” for “white” in any of these utterances, and you’ll instantly understand how outrageously insensitive, ignorant and racist such statements are. But that’s what our society is about today. I discuss these issues and more in some detail in this article on Medium, https://medium.com/@Zoobahtov/enslaved-by-history-parasite-privilege-and-the-silenced-majority-98eeea6b6151#.y5e3p1jmi, where I go beyond mere anecdotes and cite empirical evidence to show you that it is white people, not minorities, who are being silenced and bullied both in America and in Europe today and discuss the implications and solutions to this critical issue that is threatening to unravel our civilization. But who wants to deal with empirical evidence and detailed arguments when they can stick with oft-repeated and comforting but entirely false banalities like those perpetuated by the race-baiting article to which I am writing this response? Who wants to be challenged when they can, instead, have all their lazy, reflexive prejudices confirmed and feel like they’re a better person for having done so? Who wants to think when they can take to the streets to protest, riot, hoot, loot and shout? To those to whom only #Blacklivesmatter, counterfactual evidence, deeper realities and more profound truths certainly don’t.

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Alexander Zubatov is a practicing attorney specializing in general commercial litigation. He is also a practicing writer specializing in general non-commercial poetry, fiction, drama, essays and polemics. In the words of one of his intellectual heroes, José Ortega y Gasset, biography is “a system in which the contradictions of a human life are unified.”

Some of his articles have appeared in Acculturated, PopMatters, The Hedgehog Review, The Montreal Review, The Fortnightly Review, New English Review, Culture Wars and nthposition.

He makes occasional, unscheduled appearances on Twitter (https://twitter.com/Zoobahtov).

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