Columnist feels threatened by minority "victimhood"

John Reynolds of Pleasant View writes in complaint about racial victimhood, which he describes as, well, minority people keeping the pot stirred. Reynolds is a guest columnist in the Standard-Examiner. You can read his latest here.

His argument apparently is that we should condemn minority racial advocacy. But to what end? He does not complete his thought. OK, I’ll follow the obvious bread-crumb trail of his line of thinking, because he’s too timid to say what he means. Let’s spell it out.

He’s annoyed that minorities, and their advocates, are still causing trouble for white folks today. He points to African Americans’ persistent sensitivity to words perceived as derogatory, whether in truth they are or not. He questions the uproar over the Arizona immigration law, vaguely dismissing the controversy as yet another case of racial victimhood.

Reynolds even found a couple of individual villains. In the case of continuing racial issues affecting African Americans, he singles out Al Sharpton and Maxine Waters as deplorable pot-stirrers, champions of a cult of victimhood. But Sharpton and Waters are easy targets. They’re often over-the-top oafs (yes, all racial groups have them), but to read Reynolds’ screed, they represent all African Americans, in all things.

White people are being inconvenienced, and Reynolds is here to complain about those minorities, who are still flapping their lips about supposed remaining inequalities in America. Dissent by minorities or on their behalf is whiny victimhood, Reynolds concludes.

The irony is that Reynolds himself comes off as a purveyor of, well, let’s call it white victimhood. Those black folks and Hispanics have been holding him down too long, poor fellow.

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5 Responses to Columnist feels threatened by minority "victimhood"

  1. Midwinter says:

    Well said. I wish that someone would do this for each of Reynolds’s guest columns, which always imply more than they say outright.

  2. Bob Becker says:

    I’m afraid we part company on this one, MS, at least in part

    First, the point of the book on which Reynolds based his column was that the ” cult of victimology, separatism, and anti-intellectualism work against the black community achieving its rightful goals.”

    While I agree that Mr. Reynolds tried to take the argument places I doubt the author would have [into the debate over Arizona's immigration law, for example], but the general point McWhorter made in his book is not a trivial one. Not by a long shot. While I taught in Baton Rouge, I had colleagues who taught occasional “exchange” classes at nearly all-black Southern University, who ran into the problem of very good students in their classes deliberately screwing up exams, because their friends considered getting top grades “acting white.” [Their term.] I’ve talked with black professors at black predominately black colleges and predominately white ones who’ve told me the same thing. And I’ve heard black student protesters on several campuses, demanding this or that [sometimes and all-black dorm, or a Black Cultural Center] insisting angrily that the racial climate in the nation, and the plight of black Americans, is “worse now than ever” — displaying either a profound ignorance of history, or a cynical willingness to pervert it to achieve their momentary ends. Not to mention that it demeans the real courage and sacrifices of those who fought to change the racial climate [and the Jim Crow laws] in this country so that blacks [and other minorities] have a great deal more opportunity [and rights] than they had within the living memory of many of us. Is racism dead? Of course not. I don’t know of anyone who thinks it is. [Mr. Reynolds may think that. I have no way to know. But he didn't say that in his column. ]

    A sense of being a victim because of your race can also become, and I’m afraid for some has become a convenient excuse for failure. “Ah, what’s the point. The cards were stacked against me. Didn’t matter what I did.” It’s that kind of attitude among some minority young people [and it does exist] that McWhorter was targeting in his book. Some, I said. Not all or even most. But some. Sadly, the “some” is not a trivial number.

    As for what Mr. Reynolds does with McWhorter’s serious point, that’s another matter. But I don’t think its accurate to reduce his argument to “He’s annoyed that minorities, and their advocates, are still causing trouble for white folks today. ” Nor is it accurate to inflate it to the point of saying his argument is that ” that we should condemn minority racial advocacy. ” McWhorter condemns advocacy based on convincing minorities that they are victims and appealing to the sense of victimhood, and Reynolds agrees with him on that. But that still leaves a broad range of racial advocacy aimed at improvement, education, political action and a lot more.

    And I don’t think his offering t Al Sharpton as an example of the ways victimhood racial advocacy is played on for the personal benefit of politicians is a trivial point either. Mr. Sharpton is a race-baiter. You may consider him a minor exception… I would like to as well… but whenever My Party holds a national convention, Mr. Sharpton is there, is treated as a major spokesman for Black Americans, and has party big wigs paying court. He’s not a trivial exception. In the Democratic Party, he’s a player. It’d be a mistake to dismiss him as a trivial non-entity of little significance.

    Wish you wouldn’t make me rise to Mr. Reyold’s defense. Puts me right of my feed, it does.

  3. laytonian says:

    I read McReynolds’ screed, but he lost me in his first sentence, when he claimed “: Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America” was a NEW book.

    The third edition of McWorter’s “Losing the Race” was published in 2000.

    So what touched off McReynolds’ screed? Some internet hoax email, something on Fox News, a tea party sign? A tea party screed against an op-ed piece that mentions the book?

    Here’s a list of possibilities:

    Why NOW go off all half-cocked, McReynolds, over a book that’s so old — claiming it as “new”????

    I can GUARANTEE that McReynolds has NEVER read the book “Losing the Race” and is just an appointed messenger reacting to someone else’s opinion.

    Otherwise, McReynolds wouldn’t have called the book “new”.

  4. Mark Shenefelt says:

    Thanks for the feedback, all.

    @BobBecker, I appreciate your academic perspective. But it’s obvious to me this is a case of a columnist finding a book on a specific facet of a larger issue and using it as flimsy overall cover for a blanket barrage against ongoing African American civil rights advocacy and Hispanic immigration.

  5. Pingback: Victimhood ! | Wealth, Health And Happiness by Attracting The Life You Desire!

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