Friday October 31, 2014

"We're Owed and They Aren't"

by Christopher Chantrill
March 21, 2008

Writing in The American Thinker Ed Kaitz tells of how he got to know the immigrant Vietnamese shrimp fishermen of the Louisiana’s Gulf Coast.

When they arrived in Louisiana the refugees had no money (the money that they had was used to bribe their way out of Vietnam and into refugee camps in Thailand), few friends, and a mostly unfriendly and suspicious local population.

They did however have strong families, a strong work ethic, and the "Audacity of Hope." Within a generation, with little or no knowledge of English, the Vietnamese had achieved dominance in the fishing industry there and their children were already achieving the top SAT scores in the state.

So why was it, Ed asked a casual black acquaintance, that these Vietnamese had come to America and, become, without friends and influence, “within a generation, so successful?” And why was it “so difficult to convince young black men to abandon the streets” and build lives like the Vietnamese immigrants?

The answer was shocking.

"We’re owed and they aren’t."

Well, words are cheap. The trouble is that this “we’re owed” attitude is probably at the root of most black social pathology: the 70 percent of black babies born to single mothers and the abysmal performance of blacks in school. After all, what’s the point of sucking it in when “We’re owed and they aren’t?”

After the great catharsis of the civil rights movement when white America confessed its racist sins, blacks had a choice. They could forgive their white oppressors or they could torment them. Under the tutelage of white liberals and black nationalists they chose to torment.

Wrong choice.

It was wrong, of course, because forgiveness is at the center of our Christian culture. It is especially appropriate to remember this during Holy Week, when we recall how God sacrificed his Son for our sins and forgives the sins of the world.

But it is also wrong at a practical level because it destroys and retards the advancement of blacks from their status as an oppressed people.

When you come to the city you come as the member of a tribe, one of the Gentiles. Living in a tribe, scratching out a living on the land, tied to the land in serfdom or slavery, you rightly mistrusted everyone outside the tribe or outside the village. The outsiders are, after all competitors for the vital land you occupy, the land that gives you life.

But in the city, things are different. In the city you prosper not because you have the best land but because you serve your fellow citizens better with products and services that they want and need. In the city you prosper not because you prudently mistrust the brigands down the road but because you prudently enlarge and extend your circle of trust. You establish a reputation for trustworthiness and you seek out those who are trustworthy.

So long as American blacks sit in their ghetto of mistrust, so long as they cling to the motto of “We’re owed and they aren’t,” so long will they fail to journey from the wilderness of racism and rage to the Promised Land of trust and love and come at last to their great reward of full citizenship in this great America.

This week in his much noted speech, Barak Obama sent out a message loud and clear.

It’s still: “We’re owed, and you aren’t.”

And that’s a shame.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com. 

chrischantrill@gmail.com