Monthly Archives: September 2008

Achievers are Not Robber Barons

By Reggie Jones (Opinion expressed are not necessarily those of the BTWS).

It’s that time again, and I am frustrated. Politicians are heading into the home stretch, blathering nonsense about a segment of society to which we owe more than any other. They and their sycophantic pundits parade their bigotry with inflammatory rhetoric that turns especially virulent as we approach the culmination of an election cycle.

The code phrase for this class-oriented bigotry is, “the rich.” It’s wielded by leftists who just can’t stand the most productive members of society. Their vitriol is never directed at Marxist dictators or criminal elements. Rather, it is directed at the real public servants, people I call “achievers.” Just two examples: former House Leader Dick Gephardt referred to achievers as “the rich and the lucky.” And more recently, Sen. John Edwards, a former presidential wannabe, just couldn’t stop talking about “two Americas.”
Well, at least one of those, ummm, ‘Americas’ shut that randy dandy up.

Achievers risk time and money to invent, improve and provide things that can and do make our lives better. Each of us is free to choose whether to reward them for the fruits of their labor or not. This is a fundamental tenet of capitalism – a system in which everybody can be winners.

But politicians just don’t get it. Why not? Because they live in another world. A world in which the name of the game is zero-sum – for each politician who is a winner, there must be a loser. The pool of winners cannot grow. The more “experienced” at winning a politician gets, the less he or she can fathom the potential of a ‘win-win’ situation. From their perspective, if the rich get richer, then surely, the poor must be getting poorer.

Suppose achievers became quitters after experiencing their first failure. Suppose they chose not to risk and endure the agony of failure and rejection time and again until they (hopefully) hit pay dirt. That is, until creating or doing something the world wants enough to pay for.

These are real American heroes, but there are no monuments in Washington to them.

Instead of textbooks labeling them as “robber barons” what if young people were inspired with the wisdom of Booker T. Washington who said, “…Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed.”

The Exact Moment I became an American

By Ronald Court.
It was 11:35 in the morning, seven years ago today, September 11, 2001. As I was driving home – classes at the local college where I taught were cancelled for the day – I found myself muttering, then loudly with determination, “I am not French-Canadian, I am an American, dammit , just as I turned off Route 15 to head towards a local flag shop.
Even then, so soon after we had been attacked, a few others were already ahead of me, purchasing U.S. flags in a shared spontaneous impulse to explicitly demonstrate our love of country, come hell or high water.
It occurs to me, as an American (of French-Canadian descent) that the age of hyphenation is over – or should be. It has done little to bring us together, and may contribute to keeping us apart. This is not so say we must set aside differences and disagreements. Indeed, entirely within the spirit of being an American is to celebrate each individual’s freedom to disagree.
Ever since the founding of the Booker T. Washington Society, I’ve refrained from using the term African-American. To my mind, it does more to divide than to define. As fellow Americans, our legitimate struggles are over values, not external characteristics.
Booker T. Washington never lost sight that his role was to improve the people of his race. He did not see alienation as advantageous to anyone’s interests.
So, don’t expect to find “African-American” bandied about on this site. If necessary, you’ll see “black” instead.
Which reminds me, can you tell me which of the two in the photograph below is African-American, and which is American?
A-A photo

Racism in America Today

By Reggie Jones (Opinion expressed are not necessarily those of the BTWS).

For some supporters of Barak Obama, his loss could be their gain. That realization came to me while reading a recent column by Slate.com’s Jacob Weisberg. Mr. Weisberg declares flatly that the only reason Barak Obama could lose the election to John McCain would be (white) racism. Oh?

Weisberg did not express an opinion regarding racism by blacks as evidenced by the 90% of blacks favoring Obama over McCain. Imagine the psychological effect a defeat by Obama would have on a majority of blacks. In that event, while “the masses” mourn, I suspect some will privately rejoice even as they publicly express anger and profess solidarity with the masses.

An Obama defeat could be manna from heaven for this select group, having built lucrative careers as easily-offended race hustlers. They will claim that an Obama defeat is irrefutable proof that America is, and will continue to be, inherently racist. They will claim that they alone are qualified to determine the path to progress for blacks. In doing so, they will seek to continue to entrench themselves in the hearts and minds of blacks as necessary to their survival.

They have been effective in shaking down Corporate America and demanding ever more racial spoils to compensate for trumped-up “offenses.” Jesse Lee Peterson noted as much in his well-documented book,
Scam: How Black Leadership Exploits Black America. An Obama loss would allow these “leaders” to continue feigning righteous indignation over the new “proof” that nothing has changed. One can almost hear Chicago’s other famous reverend crying, “Selma, Selma” in the aftermath.

Still, we can expect the Obama candidacy to be widely promoted with solemn pronouncements about its historic significance for America. But what will really matter to some, I suspect, is the potential significance it holds for their bottom line.

Sadly, this is not new. It’s been going on since Reconstruction, as Booker T. Washington noted over a century ago. “There is class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public…Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.