Russell and Duenes

A Business of Keeping the Troubles

with 5 comments

Concerning the perpetuation of racial issues, one author has said:

There is [a] class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs – partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs . . . There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don’t want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public.

Who said this? Malcolm X? Thomas Sowell? Shelby Steele? Walter Williams? Marcus Garvey? Sammy Davis Jr.? Thurgood Marshall? The word “negro” in the quote kind of gives away the fact that it’s not someone recent.

The quote is from 1911: Booker T. Washington. Its relevance speaks for itself. Is it the sole story when it comes to race and so-called “black leaders?” Of course not. And really, it’s not something unique to “race-problem solvers.” We all have sins and problems we’d like to keep alive for our own purposes. Thus, Washington’s words demonstrate a profound insight into human nature, one not relegated solely to his own era.



Written by Michael Duenes

March 10, 2015 at 7:19 pm

Posted in Duenes, Race, Reflections

5 Responses

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  1. I didn’t have to read more than a sentence before I knew this was Booker T. Washington. White people love him. It is obvious that there are people of every ethnicity, race, class, and order that want problems to continue so that they may profit (Corporate America in particular). And you are right that this is a core issue with sin. In any event, I encourage you to read the following excerpt from W.E.B. Dubois “Souls of Black Folk:”

    I don’t think it directly contradicts your post, but can add insight. Dubois points out Washington’s lack of action that may also have led to some of the overarching problems we face today in a way that re-shapes the argument. I think you have been looking at this topic over the years with a very distinct presupposition. I obviously have as well. But there is vastly more to the question of African-American plight other than insisting that we have “race-baters,” lazy people, poor fathers, and government intervention as the sole contributors to the overwhelming social and economic problems. It is a complicated issue that must also include issues like the utter dismissal by the Christian Church for its black brothers and sisters (today and over the centuries), businesses who continue to insist on clandestine racist hiring policies, and a deep seeded fear of black people that can lead to evil social practices. But simply leaving people who have been disenfranchised for centuries to fend for themselves (as Washington would have suggested) doesn’t work. Just go to a Native American Reservation for the evidence.


    russell and duenes

    March 11, 2015 at 9:24 am

    • I will read Dubois’ excerpt. Some blacks love Washington, too, as I got the quote from Larry Elder. But of course, you’d expect him to like Washington. I might point out the Irish immigrants in the 1800s and early 1900s. Don’t know that they were disenfranchised for centuries, but they were certainly in a terrible state and highly discriminated against. Whether they “fended for themselves,” I don’t know. But they changed their own culture and trajectory. You’re right, it’s not simple, and neither you nor I have suggested it is. But the predominant narrative on race in our country today is not what Thomas Sowell or Larry Elder or Jason Riley or Bill Cosby are saying. They are rare voices crying in the wilderness. When Jesse Jackson suggests cutting Obama’s nuts off for making fairly mild remarks about fatherhood, one sees the trouble. If balance is needed, it is toward the side of Washington’s message, in my view. But no particular view tells the whole story, and certainly not in specific cases. We each need help in different ways.

      Also, I assume you don’t think all corporations should be vilified as “corporate America.” Would that implicate all those who work for corporations?


      russell and duenes

      March 11, 2015 at 6:23 pm

  2. All corporations? No.
    Though many of your posts rail against goverment, I assume you don’t think all government should be vilified either. Wouldn’t that implicate all those who work in government jobs?

    russell and duenes

    March 11, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    • Indeed it would. So no, not all government should be vilified.


      russell and duenes

      March 12, 2015 at 10:52 am

  3. james daniel

    March 14, 2015 at 7:57 pm

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