Of course, Hargrove was immediately savaged in the far Left blogosphere and among the race hustlers. After all, group guilt is the other side of the group victimhood coin upon which so many of them rely for their fodder. Never mind that there were a couple of good points there. First, that asking modern Virginians to "apologize" for slavery, as though they were responsible for it, is every bit as ridiculous as suggesting that modern Jews are responsible for Christ's death (at least, any more responsible than anybody else, since Christ died on the cross for the sins of all of us). Or that modern Virginia blacks are in no place to ask for or receive an apology. Both points stem from the same fundamental point: there is not a single living Virginian --- or living person anywhere else --- who is either responsible for or a victim of slavery. Indeed, one economist/columnist --- I don't recall whether it was Walter Williams or Thomas Sowell --- who has noted that modern Black Americans should be thankful that their ancestors were kidnapped from Africa and carried into bondage into America since, as a result, the lives of modern Black Americans are infinitely superior to those of the descendants of those who did not suffer so.
That's not to say that Hargrove's comments were useful, or artfully or effectively rendered. As one blogger has noted:
But even for Blacks, like me, who could care less about an apology and are not holding our breaths for an apology for our ancestors, admonishing Blacks to "get over slavery" is counterproductive to improving race relations and mean-spirited.In fact, Hargrove's comments are as silly as seeking or offering an apology. No Black citizen of Virginia has anything to "get over" with regard to slavery, since no Black citizen of Virginia alive today was ever a slave (at least, in Virginia, and by virtue of Virginia law). Unfortunately, that same blogger went on to gratuitously claim that "if Hargrove and people of his ilk had their way, African Captivity would still be very much an institution in America," a silly suggestion by any measure. Whatever Hargrove's faults, I am not aware of even the slightest hint that he supports reinstating slavery or Jim Crow. Apparently, this commenter is confusing advocacy of such policies with Hargrove's failure to be sufficiently self-flagellating about historical events for which he was not responsible, and in which he did not participate.
King's column had a point, though probably not the one that he thought it did, or the one that at least one blogosphere denizen identified. After all, King starts by listing his "bona fides," such as they are: "There's nothing quite like going to a county office building down in Culpeper County, Va., and finding evidence of your family's enslavement. I did that several years ago."
Now, I'm all for looking into your family history, since it's important to know where you came from. But it strikes me as singularly ridiculous to suggest that I should spend my time --- or anybody else's --- worrying about and/or becoming resentful of the wrongs perpetrated against my ancestors. Should I resent a hospital in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, because in 1929 by great-grandfather died there of a ruptured appendix? Or a treating doctor of my great-grandmother, who died during the great Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918/19? More pointedly, should I hold responsible the descendants of those responsible?
Frankly, I've got better things to worry about. Or, to paraphrase one editorial noting the need for a bigger couch on "The Apology Circuit" akin to the format we've become accustomed to seeing them in since the days of the late Johnny Carson and Jack Paar of the Tonight Show (host at the trademark desk, with coffee cup and microphone, guests arrayed on a sofa to the host's right), I'm gonna need a lot more time to track down and demand apologies from the descendants responsible for all of the wrongs done to all of my ancestors.
The real point? That there are plenty of racial wrongs for which there are living perpetrators and victims. King is kind enough to list them, but doesn't bother to identify the institutions responsible for them. He does note that Hargrove:
and many white Virginians alive today were present when the spirit of Jim Crow reigned supreme in the Old Dominion.Wow! That's a pretty damning indictment. Likewise, there are many Germans alive today who were present when the spirit of Naziism reigned supreme in Germany. Many Russians, too, alive today who were present when the spirit of Vladimir Lenin reigned Supreme in the old Soviet Union. Lots of Iraqis alive today who were present when the spirit of Saddam Hussein reigned supreme in Iraq.... Well, you get the point. He goes on to note that:
the Virginia legislature passed a law requiring separate white and black waiting rooms at airports.Now, there is a common thread here. It's not just that white Virginians were responsible for these actions, though they assuredly were. After all, there's a fairly good chance that a majority of white Virginians today had nothing to do with it, weren't even Virginians at the time (if, indeed, they were alive), and are repulsed by such behavior.
Sen. Harry Byrd declared massive resistance to the Supreme Court's 1954 Brown decision desegregating public schools.
the General Assembly passed a series of laws to prevent school desegregation, including a measure forbidding state funds to be spent on integrated schools? That was a memorable year. And the next year, Prince Edward County went to an extreme to protect lily-white education. It closed the school system rather than integrate.
On Feb. 20, 1960, students from the historically black Virginia Union University entered Woolworth's department store on Broad Street in Richmond, sat at the lunch counter and patiently waited to be served. Instead, the management closed the store.
On June 9, 1960, an integrated group of youths sat at a Peoples Drug store lunch counter in Arlington. Waitresses served the whites, then walked away. A few minutes later, the lunch counter was closed.
In 1963, protesters gathered in front of the College Shoppe Restaurant on Main Street in Farmville. Management refused to serve blacks. Sheriff's deputies, in keeping with Virginia's Jim Crow laws, forcibly removed them.
No, the common thread is in the fact that the state policies identified by King, and of which he rightly complains, were perpetrated by the politicians of the time. And what, to a man (almost exclusively) did they have in common?
They were Democrats, and segregation and racial discrimination were the proud and public policies of the Virginia Democrat Party.
If King and his fellow race hustlers want an apology from live perpetrators for behavior creating live victims, he needs to look elsewhere. King and his fellow race hustlers need to look to the Democrat Party.
And it's more than passing strange that King and his fellow race hustlers are using this issue as a club with which to savage the GOP and its elected office holders, since it was the Republican Party which produced the leaders who ended slavery, and who --- to a degree far greater than Democrats --- supported efforts to end Jim Crow and racial segregation.