THE VIEW FROM HERE - When Martin Luther King gave his “I have a Dream Speech” sixty years ago before 250,000 people on the Washington Mall, it was based 100% on the Declaration of Independence’s inalienable right of Liberty/Freedom. Near the end, Dr. King said: This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." In the few subsequent lines before the end, King used the liberty-freedom thirteen more times ending with "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
When Dr. King spoke of freedom, he drew upon the core American value which no American could deny - the inalienable right of each human being to be free. Even highly prejudiced people did not deny that each Black person had the right to liberty, to make of much of their lives as possible and that artificial roadblocks were inherently unfair. The power of King’s “I Have A Dream Speech” is that it called upon all people, “all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics,” to be free and allow others to be free.
While the nation had not reached this ideal, the path to glory was Liberty and not equity; salvation was not pitting one group against another, nor was it denigrating Blacks as hapless victims.
President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s War on Poverty Program
On January 8, 1964 during his State of the Union address, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced the War on Poverty. Originally, it was not minority specific; the war was on all poverty without regard to race, creed, or color. Communities with the worse poverty were to receive the most help. The goal was not to help Whites more than Blacks or Blacks more than Hispanics. Minorities were disproportionately its original beneficiaries because they were poorer. The principle was to open the Opportunity Structure of Upward Mobility for every person so that each person who wanted to excel could do so. There was a lot of work to do. In Montclair, California, for example, Mexican-American high school students could not get higher than a C on any paper. How’s that for a stumbling block to college admissions? A friend of mine, a Phi Beta Kappa, at Pomona College, had trouble believing this could be true. Thus, he wrote the senior paper for one Mexican senior, while I helped another write his own senior paper (5 drafts). Both papers got a C. Another Montclair student was suspended for a week because he was overheard speaking Spanish with a friend. The school’s justification to me was that “he could have been saying something negative about a teacher.”
The Poverty Program, in which I worked for a few years, was designed to eliminate all these barriers so that each person would be treated fairly. The scope and variety of barriers were widespread and often ensnared poor white kids, e.g., Poor White Trash, who were also pushed down in favor of kids from “good families.”
The Poverty Program Became a Racist Minority Patronage System
Within a few years, politicos transformed the Poverty Program into a national patronage system similar to the old ward heelers. It was based on race, primarily Blacks, but in the West, Mexican-Americans were included. No longer was the objective to open the opportunity system to each person regardless of color, but rather it became a quota system where a specified percentage of minorities had to be admitted and then had to be promoted. All the minorities had to do was vote for the Democrats.
When businesses and schools were filling their quotas with Asians, Asians were removed from the Poverty Program. Since poor whites and wealthy advantaged whites were both White, say good-bye to poor whites kids who needed help.
The change from Opening the Opportunity Structure to Racial Quotas destroyed the national consensus supporting the War on Poverty, i.e., Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream Speech.” Liberty and freedom were banished in favor of the 1960's - 1970's version of Wokeism, i.e., Victimization. Blacks were oppressed by a system which would never allow them to achieve. Thus, all forms of qualifications were deemed racist. Values which the 1970's Wokers deemed “White” such as hard work, thrift, study, became the White man’s tools to oppress Blacks. One insidious aspect of this change in philosophy was that meritorious Blacks, who had been held back by an unfair society, were now being shortchanged by programs which promoted less qualified minorities. Instead, The Vicitimologists’ revolutionary philosophy was to take-over programs; quotas forced minorities to be hired regardless of merit. Blacks who did not get with the new victim ideology were harassed, called Uncle Toms or Oreo’s, and were excluded. MLK’s all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics became an evil to be avoided.
Today’s Wokers and Poverty Pimps are the Antithesis of Martin Luther King
Wokeism’s basic philosophy is that certain groups are The Oppressed and the solution is to seize control of the government and exile the Oppressors. It envisions no integration and no inalienable rights. Instead, everything is based on Group Rights and each Oppressed Group must have equity now and the sole and only reason for Blacks’ lack of equity now is white racism. No other explanation may even set forth. Wokers ignore the huge advances which Blacks have made. Polls show that many will claim that Blacks are no better off today than 60 years ago.
This absurd belief reminds us of the irrationality of true believers. The Wokers who see Blacks as bad off today as 60 years ago have the same mentality as Trumpists who believe Trump won the election. Faith is stronger than facts and logic, and political leaders like Wokers and Trump know how to manipulate people’s faith in order to deny reality. Their goal is simple – seize control through any means necessary. August 8, 2023, Substack, The Unnoticed Woker Coup D'état of Los Angeles. Just as Trump has done nothing for the blue collar and poor Whites, Wokers have no plans to improve the lot of minorities. Los Angeles Wokers do not propose home ownership for Blacks, but rather rentership which keeps Blacks poor, denies them the main way to build inter-generational wealth, while making Wall Street wealthier. Workers do not protect Blacks from crime, but rather want to “de-fund” the police. (Defund is an idiotic term.)
The Poverty Pimps
Poverty Pimps are those people who become the head of agencies to “help the minorities,” but the only people they help are themselves. They were rampant in the 1960's - 1970's, where minorities would get huge grants from the Feds and pocket the money and not provide any help to anyone. They would make speeches, have tons of meetings and conferences, but very seldom do any work, hence the name “poverty pimps.”
It seems that California Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) is throwing his hat into poverty pimp ring. This termed out politico’s website states that he “has introduced legislation that will create a new state agency in California to administer reparations to the descendants of slavery.” As some know, Gov. Newsom appointed a commission to study slavery reparations for California Blacks due California’s original sin of slavery which is responsible for all the ills in Black community. (The Wokers overlook that California never had slavery.) Thus, other Californians owe present day Blacks billions of dollars. Some people thought perhaps each Black person would get a huge check, but Sen. Bradford said it is more complicated. California needs a multi-million dollar agency to administer the reparations. Wonders of wonders, Sen. Bradford’s bill is timed to coincide for when the Senator needs a new job. It sure looks like another Poverty Pimp in the making where the only guaranteed beneficiary will be the agency’s head.
The woke – the lower case “woke” refers to those who believe in fairness, but who accept the propaganda of the sophisticated Woke machine without realizing that Wokeism is nothing but a group of opportunists attempting to seize control for their own profit.
(Richard Lee Abrams has been an attorney, a Realtor and community relations consultant as well as a CityWatch contributor. You may email him at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not those of CityWatchLA.com.)