Some interesting facts we need to know as we come to terms with the explosion of anger underway in the USA as a result of the death of George Floyd. The outrage is not restricted to just the USA with criticism thundering from the streets of Berlin, London, Paris and Vancouver, to capitals in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Artists drew an anti-racism mural in a besieged part of Syria and Lebanese and Chilean protesters offered advice on protection from police abuse.
Some rough numbers from history for us to absorb. There were eight million whites and four million black slaves in the Confederate States of America at the end of the American Civil War. The eight million white people blamed four million black people, as well as a bunch of corrupt white northern politicians and carpetbaggers, for their problem irrespective of what the federal government did or said.
There were many political leaders in the north and south of the country who said ending slavery will never work, and they were right. Nobody really thought enough about what happens after the brutal war that resulted in the death of more than 850,000. To this day American politicians still cannot admit that maybe they should have thought this thing through before now.
I’m trying to think of an example in history of a poor, illiterate, underclass, ethnic minority being enfranchised politically, economically, socially and culturally at the expense of a majority population. There are plenty of instances of the inverse and European colonialism is a shining bright example.
After things settle down in America are we going to have a third round of reconstruction where the same old tools are brought into play. I guess they will throw money at tired old programmes, with a few new twists. If history is correct expect new housing, quotas, welfare initiatives, direct guaranteed income, economic development zones, daycare support, job training, legal services, etc.
Don’t be surprised if we hear that a new ‘Head Start’ programme is introduced that provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition and parent involvement services to low-income children and families. Past ‘Head Start’ programmes were designed to foster stable family relationships, enhance children’s physical and emotional well-being and establish an environment to develop strong cognitive skills.
Probably none of this will work this time around. If the past is anything to go by at least half the money that goes into those programmes will be lost in overheads and corruption, which will reinforce the opinion of many African Americans that it’s all a bunch of baloney.
There is a case that this is a failure of socialism because we have many whites in the US in the same boat, but not as concentrated as poor black populations in urban areas. The white population that have been left behind due to globalisation were never told from day one that they’re inferior by the way their government treats them.
It is only a recent phenomenon for politicians to deride the poor whites which started with Mit Romney and later picked up on by Hillary Clinton with her comments on deplorables. She said at a fundraiser during her presidential campaign they were “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it”.
Let’s see what the next chapter brings.