Progressives tell me that I don’t know what it is like to be a young black man in America. Well, that much is true. I’m 57, white and grew up on a farm, so I will never know what that is like – but I do have some observations about the condition and since I grew up dirt poor in northeast Mississippi in the 60’s and 70’s, I probably know a little more about being poor than many of the many progressive politicians and pundits who are currently offering up reasons why I should give up my white privilege. I also have traveled extensively around the world, most likely more than most, if not all, of the leaders of the various radical #blacklivesmatter groups and I have seen what it is like to truly be a member of a group that is destined to be oppressed simply by accident of birth.
I’ve been to places in China and India where human life has a value approaching zero. I have visited factories in China where two deaths was seen as a great safety record (because they killed five people the prior year). I have seen the caste system at work in India where being born into a certain caste determines not only your future but that of your children – and their children and with no possibility of breaking free…ever.
I have seen the authoritarian states in the Arab world where being in the wrong place or doing the wrong thing, not necessarily even a criminal act, could land you in prison and I have seen political prisons in Myanmar where holding the wrong views can result in you being put in a hole and never coming out. I have seen communist states where police and government authorities operate with true impunity – and when that is combined with a lack of value of human life, it essentially legalizes murder by governments.
I’ve seen true poverty in the slums of New Delhi and Bangkok where people exist on one bowl of rice a day. I have seen how people struggle to live just one more day with no hope or promise of more than the next 24 hours.
America is still a place where the only limit is the one you place on yourself. If you can make your grades, you can get a college degree and lift yourself out of poverty even if you have to borrow money to go. If you pick a degree that is valuable, you can market yourself to employers and pay the loan off. Most of the horror stories are about people who have no clue that spending $150,000 in borrowed money to get a degree in women’s studies or social work at a prestigious university only to land a $30K a year job with limited ability to increase that salary is not a good deal. America is still a place where race is secondary to character, drive and ability. America is still a place where what you get is directly related to what you are willing to put in.
#blacklivesmetter doesn’t realize it but compared 80% of the world (almost anything outside America), what they complain about would be considered true #firstworldproblems. They are conflating and exaggerating issues that are not based in statistical fact to gain political and social advantage because they refuse to achieve on their own. Failing (or simply refusing) to realize how good America truly is and demanding special treatment because your skin is a particular color is their issue, it is not my responsibility to give in to their ridiculous sentiments, especially after I have seen what I have seen. The worst conditions here in America are better by far than some of the best in other countries.
I freely admit that I don’t know what it is like to be a young black man in America, nor will I ever know – but I also know that young black men in America have no idea what it would be like to be them outside America. I also know that because I started poor and white and became successful in spite of those conditions, I have nothing to apologize for.