Archive for the ‘1910s’ Category

The race industry argument says that racism is no longer a big deal, that it is being kept alive by those who make money out of it or win votes.

Here is Rush Limbaugh in 2009:

The race industry is still around.  One of my most fervent desires and wishes, I’m serious, as a human being, is that all of this racism just be over with, all this group victimization be over with, and I don’t get it, because it’s never going to end.  These are tactics, these are political tactics employed by the left to secure power, and they’ll never give it up.  And while they’re the ones out there practicing all this racism and groupthink and victimization, they’re blaming people like me for it.  And it’s just a shame.  It’s just a shame.

But it is way older than that. Here is Booker T. Washington almost a hundred years before in 1911:

There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do do not want to lose their jobs.

Are there people who make money or win votes by bringing up racism? Of course. But there are also doctors who make money out of curing diseases. While you can argue that some doctors help to create disease or find cures to things that are not true diseases, disease would not go away if all the doctors became house painters. Instead it would get far worse.

In Booker T Washington’s day it was not the “race industry”, the profitable complainers, who hung black men from trees or kept black people at the back of the bus, who kept blacks from voting; they are not the ones who kept blacks out of  libraries, cinemas, hotels, restaurants and amusement parks.

Likewise today it is not the complainers, the whiners, the race card pullers, who make innocent black children go to bad schools, who help to keep blacks  out of white neighbourhoods, who hire them last and fire them first, who would rather spend money keeping black men in prison than in getting them off of drugs, etc.

That a black man could make the race industry argument at the height of Jim Crow shows two things:

  1. A race industry does not prove that racism is just being kept alive by complainers, that if they shut up it would go away.
  2. That some black people can argue that racism is no big deal even when it is.

The main thing that both Booker T Washington and Rush Limbaugh leave out is that they themselves make their living by defending an unjust society as just.

Thanks to commenter Great White Man for bringing the Booker T Washington quote to my attention.

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A car (1885- ) is a means of private road transport. It is also known as an automobile or motor car. A car can hold one to six people and go about fifteen times faster than someone on foot. Cars replace the horse-drawn carriages of old. Most households in America have at least one. Outside of certain cities, like New York or New Orleans, it is next to impossible to get by in America without one.

I did not intend to write about cars today, but I just found this beautiful picture of one – an Aston Martin DB5 from 1963, the sort that James Bond 007 drove.

Cars move by means of a motor that is built inside. That is why they are sometimes call motor cars. Current motors burn oil which moves the parts of the motor, which in turn moves the wheels.

In America the car might have remained a luxury for the rich but for two things:

  1. Henry Ford worked out how to make them cheap enough for ordinary people.
  2. The government built a system of roads for cars across the country.

Ford’s famous car was his black Model T, which his company made from 1908 to 1927. It had the power of twenty horses. At first it sold for 1800 crowns ($22,000 in current dollars), less than half the price of other cars. By the 1920s Ford was able to sell his cars for less than a 1000 crowns. He had cut the price of a car to a fourth of what it was.

Ford had done for the car what Gutenberg had done for the book.

This in turn has had at least three side effects:

  1. suburbia
  2. polluted air
  3. the teenager

You might think that with cars people would spend less time getting from one place to another, that it would save a lot of time. Not so. Instead cities have become much larger and take up more space, so now it takes just as much time to get around. But where before people had to live in the city close to work, now they can live farther away in what was once the countryside but, because of the car, has now become suburbia: half-city, half-country -d it has a lot of trees and grass, but it also has houses, stores and roads everywhere too.

But although more people live outside the city, the air has become polluted from the smoke coming from all those cars. It is not as bad as it was thirty years ago – cars have been improved to run more cleanly – but it is still worse than a hundred years ago.

The car has also created the teenager – someone who is still too young to live on his own apart from his parents, but old enough to drive a car and get into trouble. This has led to a great loosening of morals as far as sex goes. The car, though, is not alone on this one – birth control and the weakening of the Christian faith have also played their part.

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