“We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”
Former president Ronald Reagan said that, and I feel it’s more applicable than ever.
During this time when riots and protests about how unfair society is, I can’t help but think of this little quote. Left and right we see people talking about how our society is geared toward racism and that prejudice based on skin color isn’t just a problem, it’s woven into the very foundations of our nation.
The social justice idea that we live in a racist society, that there’s some sort of systemic prejudice that keeps minorities down, has never sat right to me. If you dig hard enough, you can find the various government policies or rules that are affecting minorities negatively, and the vast majority of the time these hurtful policies come in the form of trying to “help” minority communities.
Dig deep enough and you’ll find out what these policies are, then it’s a matter of voting in politicians who would wipe these policies out. Like anything growing wildly and out of control, cutting back the government is healthy for everyone.
But systemic racism? I don’t buy it. For me, this has always looked like a boogie man. A nebulous shadowy presence in our country that inexorably drives the actions of people, police and elected officials to make decisions that harm minority communities. If asked to elaborate, you may get a rant about Republicans or white people, founders, slave owners, etc., but when pushed to elaborate even further, you suddenly start getting stutters and shrugs.
The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro put this struggle to identify the inherent racism in the system very succinctly:
I hate racism. I think it’s evil. But if you’re just going to say “institutional racism” every time something bad happens, there’s no way to fight it. I need a policy that you’re proposing, or I need a person who’s actually racist so we can fight it together, or we can determine whether the policy is good. What I find really problematic is the virtue-signaling that I see by so many people on the other side, which is: I don’t have to give you the racist, I don’t have to tell you who he is or what measures I’m proposing; I just say “institutional racism,” everybody cheers for me, because that’s an approved point of view, and now we move on with our lives. You haven’t helped anybody; you’ve just made yourself feel better.
Systemic racism, or systemic prejudice, isn’t really real. It’s a patsy idea used whenever someone does something they know to be wrong and they’re fishing for an excuse.
“It’s not my fault. Society made me do it.”
Only, that’s not true. There may be various outside factors that influenced you to be where you are now, but at the end of the day, you made the decisions that lead you to where you are.
If you wound up in jail because you robbed a convenience store, and during your court hearing you claimed that a stranger named Patricia McGillicuddy from two towns over leads a lifestyle that forced you to do this, you’d be laughed out of the courtroom. She didn’t do anything wrong, and more importantly, she doesn’t even know you.
When you claim that society made you do the thing you did, that’s what you’re essentially doing. You’re just using a much broader brush. A concept such as “systemic racism” give birth to “white privilege,” or the idea that white people live in a society geared toward them, giving them more power in any given situation.
That is, of course, ridiculous. Police are far more likely to shoot white people than black people, minorities are allowed to put together organizations and groups geared specifically toward their skin color, minorities can be granted money and scholarships based off of their skin color, and I haven’t seen the media talking about any of this, but they sure do like to commiserate on the evils of white people. For a society geared toward supporting white people, it sure does suck at it.
You surely can be affected by your surroundings, but at the end of the day, your personal decisions are your own. The things that happen to you are a result of many factors. Racism may even be one of those factors, but that racism will not come from society overall. It will come from individuals who make horrible decisions of their own.
Leave Mrs. McGillicuddy alone.