Sucking PURPOSE out of life.

Sebastian Junger, famous author (The Perfect Storm), wrote a book called Tribe, in which he said “We have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding–‘tribes.’ Humans don’t mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary.” 

Further, he says, “There’s no use arguing that modern society isn’t a kind of paradise. The vast majority of us don’t, personally, have to grow or kill our own food, build our own dwellings or defend ourselves from wild animals and enemies. In one day we can travel a thousand miles by pushing our foot down on a gas pedal or around the world by booking a seat on an airplane. When we are in pain we have narcotics that dull it out of existence, and when we are depressed we have pills that change the chemistry of our brains. We understand an enormous amount about the universe, from subatomic particles to our own bodies to galaxy clusters, and we use that knowledge to make life even better and easier for ourselves. The poorest people in modern society enjoy a level of physical comfort that was unimaginable a thousand years ago, and the wealthiest people literally live the way gods were imagined to have……..And yet.”

What is your “yet”? What is missing from your life? (Well, if I knew what was missing, it wouldn’t be missing, would it?) In my case it all started with a stroke in March of 2016. I lost my strength, my balance, and my optimism about things that my body could do. Suddenly, here I was, weak, uncoordinated, walking like a drunk. Suddenly, no optimism about what my body was going to do in the future and yet, and yet. My yet is this: I am actually more content that I have ever been. God has a way of transforming us into what we most need to be. Before the stroke, independence formed the core of my being. I thought I loved God, but He doesn’t favor independence, He favors dependence on Him, and others He puts in my life. Now, I am somewhat dependent on others, and will probably be more so in the future. Love of interdependence was what was missing.

Junger says, “Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary.” But we don’t have to give in to that feeling of being “useless.” We can choose to be useful to an ever widening circle of others. I can’t walk but I can drive, so I drive a woman who is not allowed to drive, to our church home group. I can still be useful in small ways to my children and a small circle of friends. Perhaps the circle will grow wider over time, if my abilities recover better. This circle is my tribe. What about your tribe? How can you make yourself useful?

Let us now praise Europe–they are so “enlightened.”

Proposition: Shall the United States emulate Europe? Let’s examine that question through the lens of these marked differences:

THE “IRAN DEAL”

In short, Iran entered into years-long negotiations with the West over whether it would have a nuclear program, during the course of which it developed said nuclear program. The deal allowed it to preserve a temporarily curtailed program in exchange for the shipment of $1.7 billion in cash to Iran and relief from Western sanctions that had begun to bite. For the mullahs, it was the deal of the century. The economic benefits of the Accord were predictably poured into Iran’s expansion around the region. Rather than a new era of peace, the deal has coincided with more widespread conflict in the Middle East, at the hands of Iranian forces and Tehran’s proxies.” (National Review, May 2018) But Europe (and former President Obama) loves it, and can’t fathom why we pulled out. 

ASSISTED SUICIDE/EUTHANASIA

Doctor administered deaths by lethal injection has been legalized in the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg and Colombia. In Switzerland, the previous little-known 1942 law permitting assisted suicide has become the basis for a flourishing “suicide tourism” industry. Tens of thousands of people have now been legally killed or assisted in suicide by doctors in these jurisdictions. There are so many examples of abuse of these laws I can’t even recount them, but some of the most egregious occur in the Netherlands. Here’s an example in 2016: A woman with dementia wrote a note stating she never wanted to live in a nursing home. Despite that, she was institutionalized. Her doctor, without asking, deciding the time had come to end her life, drugged the victim’s coffee so that she would sleep while they were administering the lethal injection. But during the injection, she woke up and fought to save her life. The doctor required her family members to hold her down while she forcibly killed her. The regional Review Committee exonerated the doctor because she had acted in “good faith.” (“Good” for whom? “Faith” in what?)

In our country, Oregon was–predictably if you’ve ever navigated the downtown Portland streets–the first state to legalize euthanasia. Definitions of “terminal” have predictably expanded. Once again, Oregon (for shame) leads the way. Their “Death with Dignity Act”–DWDA)–(see Netherland’s example for where that phrase leads) allows patients who cannot afford curative treatment (which includes insulin) and who would be “terminal” without it, to qualify for life-ending drugs.

CLIMATE CHANGE/GLOBAL WARMING

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, acting in his capacity as depositary, communicates the following:
On 5 October 2016, the conditions for the entry into force of the above-mentioned Agreement were met. Accordingly, the Agreement shall enter into force on 4 November 2016, in accordance with its article 21, paragraph 1, which reads as follows:
“This Agreement shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.” So says the U.N. memo on the “Paris Accords.” The Paris Agreement: establishes binding commitments by all Parties to prepare, communicate and maintain a nationally determined contribution (NDC) and to pursue domestic measures to achieve them; prescribes that Parties shall communicate their NDCs every 5 years and provide information necessary for clarity and transparency; reaffirms the obligations of developed countries to support the efforts of developing country Parties to build clean, climate-resilient futures, while for the first time encouraging voluntary contributions by other Parties; relies on a robust transparency and accounting system to provide clarity on action and support by Parties, with flexibility for their differing capabilities of Parties. In addition to reporting information on mitigation, adaptation and support, the Agreement requires that the information submitted by each Party undergoes international review. The Agreement also includes a mechanism that will facilitate implementation and promote compliance in a non-adversarial and non-punitive manner, and will report annually to the CMA.”

That’s the usual vague and ambiguous U.N. language. The Heritage Foundation listed 4 reasons why the Paris Accords were terrible for the U.S. Here are my main two:

1. The Paris Agreement was costly and ineffective. If carried out, the energy regulations agreed to in Paris by the Obama administration would destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs, harm American manufacturing, and destroy $2.5 trillion in gross domestic product by the year 2035. The Paris Agreement would have extended long beyond the Trump administration, so remaining in the agreement would have kept the U.S. subject to its terms. Those terms require countries to update their commitments every five years to make them more ambitious, starting in 2020. Staying in the agreement would have prevented the U.S. from backsliding or even maintain the Obama administration’s initial commitment of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28%.

2. The agreement wasted taxpayer money. In climate negotiations leading up to the Paris conference, participants called for a Green Climate Fund that would collect $100 billion per year by 2020. The goal of this fund would be to subsidize green energy and pay for other climate adaptation and mitigation programs in poorer nations—and to get buy-in (literally) from those poorer nations for the final Paris Agreement. The Obama administration ended up shipping $1 billion in taxpayer dollars to this fund without authorization from Congress. Some of the top recipients of these government-funded climate programs have in the past been some of the most corrupt, which means corrupt governments collect the funds, not those who actually need it.

That last sentence says it all to me–so U.N.!!! (The U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) members include such stellar champions of human rights as: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Venezuela…). Just the kind of folks the USA wants to be affiliated with through U.N.-enforced accords. Ugh.

IMMIGRATION

Just ask virtually any citizen (NOT government officials!) of any country in Europe how much they like their country’s immigration results in the last 5 years. If they get over their fear of consequences for saying the wrong thing–a chancy proposition–I doubt you will find much approval. Increasingly crime, especially violence against women and terrorist-type attacks, have soured most ordinary (non “elite”) citizens on the open arms idea. Here in the U.S. crime continues to be pursued by the “usual suspects”, but is down in most places, and terrorist-type attacks are still very rare. Here in the U.S., a 2017 study by the libertarian Cato Institute found that radical Islamist terrorists accounted for 92% of the deaths and 94% of the injuries due to terrorist attacks on U.S. soil over the last 25 years, the bulk of those in the Sept. 11 attacks.

My conclusion: I don’t miss the President who curried favor with Europe, and I won’t tolerate any future Presidents who do. In the meantime, I will praise what Trump has done regarding Europe. While the self-appointed elites bemoan our “loss of influence” because we don’t follow Europe, I cheer it!

 

What is your hierarchy of identity?

What does that phrase mean? Here’s a personal example, from my deepest and most important identification to the lesser identifications: I am a son of Jesus Christ, I am husband to my wife, I am father to my children, I am a citizen of the United States of America, and I am a resident of Spokane, Washington. That’s it, I need no other group identifications. If we were to measure the importance of a level in this hierarchy by our willingness to die for it or them, then I would say I am most willing to die for the honor of Jesus Christ. Next I am willing to die for the sake of my wife or my children and if necessary, for my country. I am not willing to die for Spokane, Washington but I do have real financial bonds connecting me to the community in which I reside.

My thesis is, grouping individuals into “black people” or “white people” is invalid, because those groups are not held together by a real bond. The amount of melanin in the skin does not create a bond. Yet there are plenty of people who identify with their skin color, so we need to discuss why that is. There are generally three main reasons why people group others and themselves by the amount of melanin in their skins. In my opinion, the reasons are, in likely order of importance: 1. There is a commercial or emotional advantage conferred by the grouping; 2. It represents a simple way of grouping people, requiring no thought or discernment; 3. It provides fodder for news people, politicians, and demagogues.

What I mean by #1, the commercial advantages conferred by grouping people into white or black is this, there is money to be made in some way: creating jobs that have to do with agitating their own group against another group; burnishing the reputation of the people doing the accusing (self-appointed spokesmen), so that they can seek political office, fame and/or fortune; getting victim compensation–from free Starbucks to settlements of millions of dollars–from labeling the sinful or misinformed actions of individuals as “racist”. Emotional advantage comes from either identifying with being oppressed so as to generate self-pity or outrage, or feeling you are superior merely by being a member of that group.

What could be easier than #2, grouping people according to race or skin color? It’s visible, and requires no thought or research about whether you have anything else in common with members of the group; you get to belong to something without entrance requirements! But if you insist, at least be accurate: “African-American” is an ignorant construct. What if they are from Jamaica, or have been born here–they aren’t African! So what if many generations ago their lineage was brought to these shores from Africa? How many of those being called African-America even know which countries their forebears came from? And, if they are not now citizens of the USA, they aren’t Americans. Black isn’t accurate either: they can be various shades of brown, from the darkest Nubian to the lightest Somali. What is accurate, at least racially and scientifically, is Negro. I am not white, I try to be tan, but it is accurate to say that am Caucasian. It seems like the more politically-correct or overly sensitive we get, the less accurate we become.

Fodder for news, politicians and demagogues, #3, could just as easily be considered a commercial advantage, especially because people in those groups get paid–directly or indirectly–by “keeping the pot boiling” and making sure the boiling pot doesn’t become a melting pot. How? The ingredients that keep the boiling pot from becoming the melting pot are outrage, arrogance, ignorance and hatred. Are those attitudes and emotions group characteristics or individual characteristics? Shame on you if you said group. Only individuals can manifest those. Aren’t there plenty of people of both “black” and “white” races who do not harbor animus towards those of other races? There are blacks who have died defending whites–think Tuskegee Airmen–and whites who have died defending blacks–think Freedom Riders. What would those (valid) groups think of the “identity politics” of today, wherein everyone is assigned to a group based on race, religion or history of oppression, and individuals are judged on the supposed history of the group to which the accusers have assigned them?

The validity of group identification

There are valid groupings. When I say “valid” I mean that all or most of the members of the group have relationships and emotional bonds with each other, due to shared beliefs or ideals, and the voluntary nature of the inclusion. The strongest of these bonds is love,  the willingness to sacrifice self-interest for each other, putting someone else first. I am not taking bout feelings, but actions. The group with the strongest bonds of love is the nuclear family, after which is the extended family, the tribe and, extending that further, the clan. Citizenship in a nation, especially one like the U.S.A., and membership in organizations that have clear entrance requirements, are also valid groups because there are relationships and shared beliefs or ideals, and inclusion is chosen and voluntary.

Other valid groups are teams, military units and employees of a given company, because they all participate in, benefit from, defend and promote the welfare of the groupThe crux of the matter as to whether I consider a group valid is that very last clause. Grouping by race or melanin or past history fails my test. You might ask, “Who are you to question the motives or validity of  group politics and labeling?” Well, who are you to have herded individuals into arbitrary groups and then set them against each other?

My fellow Americans have become abusers of the First Amendment.

The first amendment of the U.S. Constitution is invoked by every special interest group, every school, every newspaper, every form of electronic communications, and every self-described victim in the United States. It is invoked to defend that person or group’s right to free speech. It is invoked against employers, media, parents or anyone in a position of authority. Claiming my “first amendment rights” evokes a reaction in the “oppressor ” like the dawning light does to Dracula or the Cross does to the demon-possessed. There is a small problem with this: The first amendment is addressed only to Congress. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Therefore, almost every “free speech issue” has nothing to do with the first amendment, unless Congress is working on a law to curtail it. The first amendment assumes that “freedom of speech” is a given, and the danger of restriction is that of government shutting it down. But when it comes to adjudicating the endless competing claims of advocates for their own interpretation of what is “free” and what is unacceptable, that should NOT be a matter for courts to determine “under the first amendment.”  THE FIRST AMENDMENT NOWHERE STATES WHAT KIND OF SPEECH IS ACCEPTABLE. What can be done to deal with speech that incites violence or slanders individuals unjustly? Notice, I did not say “slander groups.” It is individuals who are hurt by slander.

There’s nowhere the free speech issue and abuses of the concept are more ubiquitous than (anti)social media and the internet. What our founding fathers probably intended when drafting the first amendment was preventing, in order, State support of a particular religious denomination (Church of England) and government suppression of speeches like that of Patrick Henry (“Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death”), which sounded the clarion call to overthrow tyranny. Noble ideas in keeping with the reasons for founding a nation……..”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…..”, as the Declaration of Independence states have become spurious justifications for pornography and the vitriol of the internet. (Anti)social media honchos love to invoke the idea of free speech while being complicit in subverting it. Some excerpts from The New Yorker piece entitled Reddit and the Struggle to Detoxify the Internet March 19, 2018:detox internet

Yishan Wong, Reddit’s C.E.O. : “We stand for free speech,” he wrote in an internal post, in 2012. Reddit’s goal, he continued, was to “become a universal platform for human discourse.” At the time, Wong’s free-speech absolutism was ubiquitous in Silicon Valley. Twitter’s executives referred to their company as “the free-speech wing of the free-speech party.” Facebook’s original self-description, “an online directory that connects people through social networks at colleges,” had evolved into a grandiose mission statement: “Facebook gives people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” Social-media executives claim to transcend subjectivity, and they have designed their platforms to be feedback machines, giving us not what we claim to want, nor what might be good for us, but what we actually pay attention to. There are no good solutions to this problem, and so tech executives tend to discuss it as seldom as possible, and only in the airiest of platitudes.

In 2012, without notice or permission, Facebook tweaked the feeds of nearly seven hundred thousand of its users, showing one group more posts containing “positive emotional content” and the other more “negative emotional content.” Two years later, Facebook declassified the experiment and published the results. Users were livid, and, after that, Facebook either stopped conducting secret experiments or stopped admitting to them. But the results of the experiment were clear: the people with happier feeds acted happier, and vice versa. The study’s authors called it “massive-scale emotional contagion.” 

Melissa Tidwell, Reddit’s general counsel, told me, “I am so tired of people who repeat the mantra ‘Free speech!’ but then have nothing else to say. Look, free speech is obviously a great ideal to strive toward. Who doesn’t love freedom? Who doesn’t love speech? But then, in practice, every day, gray areas come up.” Earlier that day, I’d watched Tidwell and a colleague spend several minutes debating whether a soft-core porn subreddit, r/GentlemenBoners, should be included in standard search results. “Does free speech mean literally anyone can say anything at any time?” Tidwell continued. “Or is it actually more conducive to the free exchang/e of ideas if we create a platform where women and people of color can say what they want without thousands of people screaming, ‘Fuck you, light yourself on fire, I know where you live’? If your entire answer to that very difficult question is ‘Free speech,’ then, I’m sorry, that tells me that you’re not really paying attention.”

Reddit, Facebook, YouTube and on. I guarantee you, the masses of people who have something to say, no matter how asinine, will always be steps ahead of the censors, no matter how well intentioned. The “free speech genie” has escaped the lamp, and those who make the most noise are the ones getting their wishes granted. Individuals can sue for slander, but hurt feelings? Too late.

Shit, i’m a white male!

Okay, what now? Melanin injections and perming my hair? Gender “reassignment hormones and surgery? Oh wait, I’m almost 72 and fully unemployable and retired. Whew, that’s a relief. i can just be what I am.

Imprimis, a wonderful publication of Hillsdale College, presents guest lectures in written form. The following is from the April 2018 edition, by Heather MacDonald, entitled The Negative Impact of the #MeToo Movement: Pressures for so-called diversity, defined reductively by gonads and melanin, are of course nothing new. Since the 1990s, every mainstream institution has lived in terror of three lethal words: “all white male,” an epithet capable of producing paroxysms of self-abasement. When both categories of alleged privilege—white and male—overlap, an activist is in the diversity sweet spot, his power over an institution at its zenith. But however pervasive the diversity imperative was before, the #MeToo movement is going to make the previous three decades look like a golden age of meritocracy. No mainstream institution will hire, promote, or compensate without an exquisite calculation of gender and race ratios. 

Gender, diversity, and inclusion were the dominant themes at this January’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The conference was chaired exclusively by women. Windows were emblazoned with slogans like “Diversity is good for business” and “Gender equality is a social and economic issue.” CEOs shared their techniques for achieving gender equity. It’s actually quite simple: pay managers based on their record of hiring and promoting females and minorities, as Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta explained. Never mind the fact that by introducing irrelevant criteria such as race and gender into an evaluation process, you will inevitably end up with less qualified employees.

The public radio show, Performance Today, ran a series of shows in March about gender and racial inequities in classical music. At a time of diminishing classical music audiences, it is profoundly irresponsible to direct the poison of identity politics at our most precious musical institutions. Doing so only encourages potential young listeners and culturally ignorant philanthropists (I’m thinking of you, Bill Gates) to stay away. Orchestra boards will pay penance for their own inadequate diversity by a mad rush on female conductors, whose numbers are minuscule. It was already difficult two years ago to land a U.S. conducting position for a universally esteemed white male conductor, reports his agent. Now it would be nearly impossible, the agent believes, adding: “If I had a trans conductor, I would be rich.”

There is much more, but you get the gist. National Review, in the May 2018 issue, features an article called And the Victims Will Lead Us. This is all about “victimology.” But what is that really? Perhaps the real issue is entitlement. Being a victim is being deprived of something you deserve, something you are entitled to, something that is your right, be it life, liberty or the ability to pursue happiness. But what is anyone REALLY entitled too? And by what authority?

 

Entitlement and gratitude.

Family conflicts are probably the most painful of all conflicts in life. Having been a financial planner the better part of 25 years and a psychotherapist for most of my career years before that, and of course a father and a husband, I’ve come to learn a lot about conflicts. Because my natural inclination is to look for patterns in things, I’ve looked long and hard for the patterns that underlie family conflicts. And I believe that it’s mainly the misunderstanding of gratitude and entitlement. Resentment festers when someone believes that someone else should be grateful for what they’ve done for them. The person who feels entitled generally doesn’t even notice it. For that person, it’s hard to be grateful, because if you’re entitled to something why should you be grateful for it? Some people are defined by their gratitude, others by their entitlement. Which is which?

National Review, May 2018, led with a cover touting their lead article, And The Victims Will Lead Us.  Here’s a part of it: In the 20th century, Americans often claimed their rights and privileges as members of the middle class, demanding what was owed to “people who work hard and play by the rules.” Many Americans who were a bit poorer or a bit richer than the middle class still politically identified with that great mass of citizens. It was a rhetoric built around the idea that the middle class works to create wealth and deserves its share of it. Now, Americans group themselves into ever smaller and more-besieged minorities. Our political vocabulary is now about what is owed to each individual or group, regardless of the value of the work performed by that person or group. And claims for rights are made in a corporate persona. Instead of each person’s speaking for himself, people now issue political demands “as a member of” this or that community. It’s almost as if each individual finds meaning only insofar as he conforms to an abstracted or imagined political model. “Speaking as a woman” simply cannot be done by a female who is not a feminist. This cultural hegemony has many names, and we encounter them constantly, in a less sophisticated form, when feminists denounce the patriarchy, when sexual minorities critique heteronormativity, and when racial minorities define their mission as the upending of white supremacy.

The American ruling class broadcasts its soulless utilitarianism when it comes to politics. It tries to make every political problem into a mere technical policy challenge. But there is a loophole for those who are not initiated into this highly abstract form of political discourse. Utilitarianism admits just one criterion for allocating sympathy, resources, and attention: suffering. So if you want to participate in political debate, but you don’t want to master all the academic studies on your particular problem or interest, take account of all the methodological biases of these studies, and then find a platform where you can make your case — if, in short, you don’t want to become a nerd — your only chance of having a public voice is to become, or represent, a victim. This is the only chance to put passion — or spiritedness — back into a political conversation that is usually lifeless and technical.

Someone who walks into these environments looking for the intellectual parry and thrust of debate is instead told, “Your job is to listen.” The expectation that no one would dare to interject or question the personal testimony of the victim of oppression is not so different from the expectation of silence during the reading of the Gospel in a church service, or during a homily. Your job is to listen. And it is here, I would suggest, that the politics of the victim touch something deep in the soul of modern man. They are in some ways the residue of Christian thought and ritual in a Western world that offers little traditional religious education or formation. The premise of victim politics is like a mirror image of devotion to the Suffering Servant. Just as in Christianity, so in social-justice politics: The wounds of the primordial victim testify to the broken state of human nature and society at large. For Christians, the cross is a kind of throne, and the crown of thorns becomes a sign of authority. The paradox of Christianity is that the Lord reigns as King precisely because he offered himself as Victim.

The religious aspect should be evident to anyone who offers a rational critique of some identity-politics shibboleth only to be told “You’re denying my identity” or “You’re erasing my existence.” It’s a mysterious response at first. You offer an argument and are told that you disbelieve in someone’s existence. It sounds like an accusation of atheism, for a good reason: You’re being charged with heresy, and if you do not desist, you reveal yourself as morally reprobate, as one who would, with full knowledge, repeat the Crucifixion. Or if you prefer the current academese, you are one who “reifies the structures of oppression.” You love yourself more than you love the victim-god standing before you, the one exposing his wounds and offering you forgiveness on condition that you recognize his pain, confess your unearned privilege, and promise obedience.

Once the explicitly political claims are filtered out, what is left over in victim politics is a churchly way of being in a world that has escaped the bonds of religion. We are contending with a longing for recognition and esteem and for a mission that has a transcendent horizon; no form of human governance can ever satisfy such desires.
There it is. The need for transcendence, the so called God-shaped hole, cannot be filled with anything on earth. The beauty of following Christ is that we who have been declared guiltless by our transcendent savior can now be grateful that we didn’t get what we deserved for our enmity against God. We were entitled to wrath, we got mercy, we are grateful for that greatest gift. But those who seek their salvation in their entitlements can never be grateful for anything, because their true longing can’t be satisfied by what they are seeking. And they will never give up their futile quest until they meet the true Savior.

You say you want the REAL conversation about race? Really?

Every now and then, you read or hear something that absolutely requires a response! “White people say the purpose of talking about race is to some day end that conversation. Black people say it’s to some day get the real conversation started.” That opinion was from an article about Mike Tomlin. Okay, here’s the real conversation: chattel slavery, what the bible condemns as “man stealing”, is wrong and reprehensible. It’s wrong today in all the countries where it’s still practiced, it was wrong in all the countries, including ours, in which it was practiced. Slaveholders were worse off for it, if you really understand the economics and moral realities of slave dependency. Yet there is probably not an honest black person in our country whose forefathers were slaves from Africa, who wishes to be the person they would have been if slavery had never happened. Why do I say that? Simple: You would not exist if slavery didn’t happen. For instance, most slaves in the USA were stolen (tellin’ like it is!) from West Africa–mainly Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Senegambia, and Congo. So let’s say your great grandmother came from Ghana and your great grandfather from Congo, and they  met on a plantation in Virginia. Would they have ever met in Africa? Nope! So the person with your DNA–you–could not have existed No, that doesn’t make slavery right, but there it is! 
If by some impossible quirk of genetics or chance, if the “you” who exists today and the “you” who would have existed in Africa in whatever country your ancestors came from, were the same person, what would your life have been like? Do you even know where your ancestors came from? Would you trade your current existence for what your contemporaries in Africa are living? If not, shut up about America being racist, and follow the advice of Booker T. Washington–make yourself indispensable! If so, you have the following choices: keep doing whatever you are doing, which might include complaining about racism; emigrate to whatever country you wish you were from, and make a life there; be grateful for what you have and who you are, and bless your ancestors for their bearing up under suffering. Or, you can say “How dare you, whitey, tell me what to do!”
Now one more thing: Name a single group of people who have not suffered persecution or grievances somewhere. White people? Are you familiar with the tortures the Huguenots or the Protestants suffered at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church? How about the persecution of the Ainu, the indigenous white people of Japan? How about the white Bosnian Muslims at the hands of the Serbs? How about the 6 million Jews, most of whom were white Europeans, who were killed, and the countless more who were tortured and victims of horrendous medical experiments by Nazi Germany? You know what, all of those I mentioned went through equal or worse suffering and injustice than anything your ancestors went through. Should I start on what the Hutus did to the Tutsis in Rwanda, or to get more contemporary, what the Lendu are doing to the Hema in the Congocongo horror? Black on black cruelty, worse than anything white perpetrated on black. It’s called “man’s inhumanity to man”, the perpetration of evil, sin! Every age, everywhere, there’s no end until “every knee will bow” to Jesus, the true reconciler.
It’s time for you to shut the f–k up about slavery, racism and your oppression. That’s the real conversation about race you were waiting for! This isn’t a white or black issue, it’s the truth versus the grievance machine issue. Get over it. Reparations for slavery? Chris Rock did hilarious interviews with people about reparations, here. reparations In one interview, he gave a multiple choice exam. 1. I believe in reparations, here’s my check; 2. I am sorry about slavery, but it wasn’t my doing; 3. Kiss my white ass! I choose #2. I am innocent of slavery, and so are all my ancestors, who came here from Hungary and Poland, after their parents were gassed by Hitler! If that isn’t good enough for you, then I choose #3.
 Gary DeMar tells of former slave Frederick Douglass (1818–1895). When the slave owner of Douglass discovered that his wife was teaching his 12-year-old slave to read the Bible, he stopped her. “If he learns to read the Bible it will make him ever unfit to be a slave. In no time “he’ll be running away with himself.” DeMar continues: In his later years, Douglass reflected on that incident as the first antislavery lecture he had ever heard, and it inspired him to do anything he could to read more of the Bible. Eager to learn more about the Bible, Douglass recalled, “I have gathered scattered pages from this holy book, from the filthy street gutters of Baltimore, and washed and dried them, that in the moments of my leisure, I might get a word or two of wisdom from them.”Let the reader reflect upon the fact, that, in this Christian country, men and women are hiding from professors of religion, in barns, in the woods and fields, in order to learn to read the Holy Bible. Those dear souls, who came to my Sabbath school, came not because it was popular or reputable to attend such a place, for they came under the liability of having forty stripes laid on their naked backs. 
I fully expect that some reading this will call me a racist; so of course, I need to pull out my non-racist bonafides, right? Nope, the truth is, call me anything, but call me often, as Mae West used to croon. I just don’t care what you call me, but I want to finish by quoting Charlie Dates, a black pastor speaking at the MLK50 conference: Speaking about young Americans “fascinated with justice but they haven’t met the Author of righteousness.” “They are trying to get justice on the streets apart from understanding righteousness taught in our churches. And they will never find it.”