Race In America

Orwell, With Lots More Consumer Goods

Am I the only one who wearies of being racially managed like an errant child of three? Who wearies of being instructed, exhorted, lied to about race? Who wearies of having my children trained like performing dogs, made to recite social doctrine that few any longer believe and that helps neither black nor white? Who wearies of compulsory racial virtue inculcated relentlessly, unceasingly, by people with no authority to do it?

We live today in an odd, shadowy, almost Soviet world, divided into two distinct mental realms. There is what the management tells us to think and believe -- management being the ill-defined class of politicians, academics, journalists, and bureaucrats who rule vaguely, distantly, often without official capacity. Then there is what we do think and believe.

I've just suffered through another Martin Luther King day, with a surfeit of contrived moralizing by earnest bimbos and the various minor intelligences of public office. On the telescreens that hang from the ceiling at Gold's, school children stood in rows, hands upheld as if saluting an invisible Maximum Leader, solemnly swearing that they would do one kind deed a day in honor of King. In this they were watched closely by intellectual drabs, their teachers. Many of these are measurably fools, voluntary commissars who don't know what a commissar is.

It wasn't King I objected to. I know something of the man. He wasn't particularly good nor particularly bad, neither bright nor stupid, not evil. Nor does his political career offend me. I lived in Alabama in 1957. I liked the state and its people, but I saw race as it was. It was ugly. I'll side with King on that one.

But I don't like being managed.

King is a manufactured saint, as artificial as Kwanzaa, stage-managed by whites, turned by them into an impossible Father Theresa in black face to instruct me, trotted out by anchormen and anchor-bimbettes who recite their lines like bad actors who don't believe in their parts. Listen to them. Do they not sound like bored shills reading ads for a new miracle truss?

Blacks are welcome to have a saint if they choose. I don't want him used as a moral truncheon by people who want to shape me.

Morality does not drive this undeclared campaign. The managers do not care much about blacks, and in fact don't like them. Some years back the Washingtonian, the faintly heterosexual city magazine of the federal termite-mound, surveyed the newsroom of the Washington Post to see how many among the contents sent their children to the black public schools.

Zero.

The first thing a racial moralist does on hearing that the wife has flunked her pregnancy test is to call the realtor. It's all right to be around blacks -- well, not too closely around them, and only tame ones, and not too many of them, but enough to have An Urban Experience, or seed a cocktail party. With the first child, it's time to flee. Everybody does it, everybody knows it, but nobody says it.

For that matter, the invisible management of the country condescends to blacks as much as it does to whites, treating them as if they were mildly retarded bushmen in custodial care. The management tells blacks, "There, there, you have been a victim, poor thing and we must give you money and affirmative action because we know you haven't got the brains to make it on your own like everyone else."

The managerial class never tell blacks they ought to study, work, learn English, show up on time. They expect nothing of them. Which is to say that they hold blacks in utter contempt.

Such lying and hypocrisy serve well in controlling us. We are told only what the shadow government thinks it is well for us to know. We are not permitted to look at things as they are.

I spent a lot of time in the South as a kid, and grew fond of the place for its music, food, language, its sheer ornery distinctiveness. But the racial animosity toward blacks was there. Not in everyone, but in too many. I knew people who would have brought the gasoline can. Today I no longer see much of this among whites.

I do see it, a lot of it, among blacks. One day this may interest us greatly. Yet you will never hear the Post criticize hatreds held by blacks.

You won't hear of this, or of many things, because you are being shepherded in directions thought best for you. Remember those white men who dragged a black man to death behind a pickup truck? The media thundered and solemnized, gibbered and squeaked, over the vileness of this racial crime. They were right: There was little argument over what happened or why.

But when a black man in the Virginia suburbs of Washington stabbed to death a white boy of eight years, and the note found scrawled by him said, "Kill them raceess whiate kidd's anyway," the racial aspect didn't get much play somehow. In fact, it got as little as the media thought they could get away with giving it. This is usual.

I do not suggest that blacks relish the thought of killing white children, any more than whites want to drag blacks behind trucks. Few of any race are so bad. But I don't like being lied to, controlled, manipulated for my own good.

It isn't mere bias. It is too systematic, too orchestrated. It's management.

And of course the management isn't just racial. Remember a few years back when, as if someone had turned a switch, Christmas became "The Holiday Season"? We're being carefully secularized, as we are being carefully taught what to think of homosexuals and of the proper roles of the sexes.

It's the manipulation that I object to, not the content of the manipulation. I have nothing against homosexuals, don't know what the proper roles in society of the sexes might be, haven't decided what to do about racial relations. But I don't want to be told by Electro-Mommy.

Yet I will be told. The sheer pervasiveness of television makes it newly possible. Never in history has a government, in our case an ill-defined governing class with no formal existence, been able so deeply to bathe people in instruction -- while they eat, while they do their homework, while they work out. National administration by remote bureaucracies we've never heard of, and cannot influence, precludes resistance. How do you make war on a gas?

I don't like it.