A lawblawg called blackprof.com recently featured a post by Spencer Overton, a professor at the George Washington University School of Law. Professor Overton is most decidedly not a conservative but, from his very different perspective, he wonders, as I and others on the right have, whether advocates for the central city and African-American community are fighting the wrong war. Overton, who is writing a book about how ideologies become outmoded, wonders if there is not what he calls an "echo effect" in which black sensitivity to past discrimination has become counterproductive. He provides the following examples:
1. Academic achievement is deemed to be “White” among some Black folk, is frowned upon, and those who do so are deemed to be “oreos.”
2. When Whites dominated urban cities, public projects often displaced African American neighborhoods (“Urban renewal means Negro removal”). Now that African Americans control many urban cities, similar concerns about regentrification persist, and change and growth has evaded many urban areas.
3. Whites are deemed too culturally insensitive to adopt Black children, and tens of thousands of black children go unadopted.
Those of us in cities like Milwaukee might add a few more, such as adopting an oppositional stance toward law enforcement in response to its past and current wrongs when the far greater threat to the community is from street crime.
I cite Overton because it undercuts the notion that, when conservatives express concern over what they see as a counterproductive culture of alienation in our central cities, we are not being racist. I fully accept Overton's notion that this culture is rooted (not wholly, but to a large degree) in past discrimination and, I would add, in the excesses of the (largely white) counterculture and in the self congratulatory "solidarity" of white elites.