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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Black victimhood

"As the civil rights movement of the 1960s shifted its strategy from principled protest to pragmatic politics, which involved the acquisition of material gains such as housing, welfare, and health care, black leaders imputed the disadvantaged circumstances of the black underclass and lower-income groups to the entire black community. The effect was to disguise the achievements of individual blacks and the advancement and expansion of the black middle class that had been underway long before Rosa Parks refused to go the back of the bus. [See Section 'When We Were Colored.'] But the claim to victim status has been a significant characteristic of each stage of black activism. It legitimated the integration movement's politics of redemption as articulated by Martin Luther King, Jr. It was also present in the black power movement's politics of retribution and the black identification movement's politics of exclusion and racial solidarity. Today, it finds expression in the politics of sensitivity, compensation and remediation."

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Booker T. Washington said:

"There is another class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs....There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who do not want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public."

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