Since the 1960s Washington has launched countless programs in what might be characterized as “racial alchemy” whose purpose is to make blacks nearly identical to whites in income, educational achievement, vocational status, being law abiding, eschewing welfare dependency and multiple other measures of equality. Despite all the billions, perhaps trillions, the results have been disappointing. But, almost invisibly, the enterprise has been transformed. It has evolved from one of seeking concrete results to one of manufacturing the illusion of equality. Success is now calibrated by cosmetic criteria–recall Oscar Wilde’s quip that only shallow people do not judge by appearances.
The racial Potemkin village is everywhere and let me depict only a few of the more obvious manifestations (I’ll skip TV sitcoms, the movies, video games, comics and book prizes). Consider the sudden appearance of well-spoken, well-dressed, “white speaking” blacks in TV commercials. A Martian who knew the US exclusively from watching TV would conclude that blacks comprised at least a third of the population and, without exception, lived as intact Ossie and Harriet-like families in bucolic suburban homes (the sole exception I’ve encountered is a State Farm commercial where the satisfied female customer is “ghetto” in speech and hairdo). One GMC truck commercial prominently features a black conducting a symphony orchestra. Add lots of good-looking typically young inter-racial couples and racially mixed groups of working class men quaffing a few beers together. Black actors also often portray doctors advising their white patients on the latest pharmaceutical products or explaining MRI’s to worried elderly white cancer patients. Highly presentable Ph.D’s of color likewise populate PBS-like scientific TV documentaries.
Today’s racial alchemy reaches industrial levels when it comes to black crime. Gruesome black-on-white murders only appear on the local news (if then) and would be almost non-existent save for politically incorrect websites that pass it along to wider audiences. And when black crime does escape containment, it is usually sanitized—accounts of black wildings at malls use terms like “youths’ or “teenagers” while black perpetrators are often race-less though crime details make it easy to identify the perpetrator as black. Meanwhile, those who somehow get on TV to challenge Black Lives Matter rhetoric with Department of Justice statistics on inter-racial violence get their ten seconds of fame before quickly being shouted down as racists. And let’s not forget rolling back broken windows policy as a way of “reducing” crime.”
A similar ubiquity infuses education. Difficult-to-boost test scores have been replaced by more malleable graduation statistics while performances on Advanced Placement exams (Chapter 5) are now often measured by the sheer number of “minorities” who take these exams. Similarly, large numbers of blacks are now pushed into gifted programs though they fail to meet the necessary academic criteria. Sustaining the charade are school officials who turn a blind eye to cheating on government mandated tests. Then there’s using grandiose names for disguising mediocre schools—only 14% of the graduates of the Bronx-based largely Hispanic and black Archimedes Academy for Math, Science and Technology Applications are academically ready for New York City’s flagship public college (as defined by not needing remedial classes) despite the school’s august sounding name. Further add Department of Justice consent decrees to close historic race-related gaps in school discipline. Nor is higher education immune to the construction of this racial fantasy land as even elite schools continue to embrace affirmative action and offer easy-to-pass majors such as Black Studies all the while hiring marginally qualified black academics to diversify once monochromatic departments.
Our public vocabulary has shifted to toward abstractions to absolve blacks from any personal responsibility for their plight. There are no lazy, intellectual inept black students; all want to learn but, sadly, have the misfortune to attend bad, often vandalized schools. Young blacks now, allegedly, commit crimes because they have the bad luck to live in a crime-ridden neighborhood and cannot find work because all the jobs have left town. And so many are in jail due to the government’s policy of mass incarceration.
In sum, just as old-fashioned alchemists faked the outcomes, miracles regarding American racial progress seemingly abound—base metals have been transformed into gold!
The shift into deceit is almost predictable. Most obviously, the dishonesty soothes black egos, welcome comfort after decades of bad news. Deception also makes life easier—obtaining a legitimate high school degree is tough work compared to waiting passively for educators who cook the books to award diplomas to those who can barely read them. Life in a Potemkin village can also be quite pleasant when what is illegal elsewhere, e.g., dealing a little weed, is tolerated to manufacture fanciful crime statistics. To be fair, this flight from an awkward reality is just human nature—what ethnic group relishes bad publicity? No group is immune to this type of deceit; blacks just have more to expunge. As such, for African Americans the construction of Potemkin villages is just a matter of degree not of kind.
Will this fantasy world ever end? At least in the short term probably not and may even expand as one nostrum after the next fails to deliver. Just wait until next year’s more diverse Oscar nominations. Of the utmost importance, the pressure to sustain the manufactured reality far exceed what comes from African Americans now appearing in TV commercials. I strongly suspect that the influential whites who facilitate the charade honestly believe that this alchemy will far outshine the failed billion dollar Great Society-like programs. That is, thanks to watching TV underclass blacks will receive a vicarious taste of a middle class existence (nice house, new car, pretty wife etc.) and this idyllic image will motivate them to avoid crime and pursue respectability. Similarly, blacks with unearned diplomas will nevertheless somehow get well-paying jobs thanks to enhanced self-esteem. On the other side of the racial divide, whites unconsciously prone to discriminate against African Americans will abandon their harmful prejudices when they no longer encounter of grim black-on-white crime on the 6:00PM news.
The interesting question, of course, is whether this façade will fool anybody other than the zealots. My guess is that eventually many though not all whites will see though the social engineering. There is just too much bad news to be papered over. At a minimum, distrust of the mass media will grow and as we now see with the rise of Donald Trump, resentment at being “social worked” will eventually bubble up. At some point the number of non-believers will grow and millions will finally confide to each other that they thought nobody else noticed the lies.