As so often the case with social problems, the obsolescence of people is ignored which makes finding any real solutions impossible.
James Lyman BSAE, BSEE, MSSM
The problems for American Blacks, as well as many other minorities, is boiled down to one simple all encompassing word that ignores some very powerful forces at work in society today. That word is ‘Racism’. It’s the systemic centuries old racism, particularly by the privileged white people, which is the curse of Black people that keeps holding them back in society. Lets explore that for a minute, but first a little background so you can understand what I’m saying.
We hear repeatedly that the American Civil War freed the slaves! But in actuality it didn’t. The winning of the war did end titled slavery, where people actually owned other people as property. After the war, the plantations still needed cheap labor to produce tobacco and cotton, so this titled slavery was replaced by a serfdom system of share croppers. These were farm labors, mostly Black, who worked small plots of land for a portion of the crops raised. Forty acres and a mule, the share cropper and his family worked long hard hours to raise the labor intensive crops of cotton and tobacco to earn just enough to subside on. For the year, he lived off credit from the local store, paying it back after harvest, with very little to nothing left. Being left in debt, he couldn’t leave for any better opportunities, facing a systematic program of terrorism designed to keep him on the land working.
But then came World War II, and the massive expansion of American industry and its ability to design and manufacture sophisticated machines. Before the war, there had been much interest in automation for agriculture including cotton and tobacco, and after the war ended, new machines to automate their cultivation were introduced, just as had been done with wheat and corn crops. Suddenly, farmers no longer wanted all those little 40 acre plots, they wanted fields that went for a mile or more, and were half as wide. They didn’t want any obstructions on the land, they wanted smooth continuous fields where a combine could be driven with a minimum of turning.
They no longer wanted those share croppers with their small shacks and out buildings. They no longer had any use for their serfdom slaves, therefore they wanted all the share croppers off the land, but in the process finally set the Blacks free. In turn, this allowed real progress to be made with civil rights, because the monied powerful no longer cared about retaining the serfdom system of sharecroppers. The way was open, so starting in the fifties, civil rights began to make real progress.
The thing that truly freed the slaves wasn’t the Civil War, it was technology that made them obsolete as cheap human labor. The Black people were displaced by machines! They were now free to go out and make their way in the American economic system, to have their part of the American dream.
Trouble was, just as technology made them obsolete and free, technology was also beginning to take away jobs in industry . . . you know, those factory jobs where previous Americans had started their climb up the economic ladder. They were walking right into another round of even bigger displacement by technology. So it was like they were climbing a huge hill trying to reach the top and be with those ‘privileged whites’, except that hill was made up of gravel (our picture upper right). Every time they took a step, they slide backwards some amount. And the gravel they struggled against was technology which was taking away jobs.
No one realized that at the same time, many of those ‘privileged whites’ were starting to slip off the hill, sliding down, scrambling to regain what they had lost, but also taking one step forward and sliding two back as technology forced them down and out. The newly freed Blacks didn’t realize they were NOT in competition with the white people for a place in the economic sun, they were in competition against the machines. This continues today, but at a faster pace. And the machines don’t know or care anything about race, color or creed! It’s evident by the gravel hill analogy just how important technology displacement is to the advancement of Blacks or any other people. If technology is continually eroding away the steps to advancement, by doing away with jobs, then you must consider it if you’re going to make any real progress, yet every political activist working to advance the Blacks ignores this very important, indeed essential fact of life.
That’s why all of them have basically failed to make any progress.
We now have another political movement spawned to try again and lift up the Blacks, and again they are depending solely on political activism to achieve their goals instead of working the problem by analysis, research and understanding what is driving the situation. The same methodology that’s been used since the 1960’s and therefore most certainly will have the same results. The leaders of this political activism, in their drive for equality, don’t realize that Blacks are just as equal to the other Americans . . . because they are just as equally obsolete before they ever get started. And that’s the crux of the problem.
This applies to other minorities besides Black people. The exact same thing happened with the liberation of women. What actually liberated women was technology . . . technology made women obsolete as women, freeing them to go out into the work force and make their way, but they quickly found the way blocked. Like the Blacks, they came out into the workforce just when automation was beginning to make inroads in eliminating jobs, taking away jobs leaving women to also climb the crumbling hill of gravel. You can read another article I wrote titled, “The Fallacy of Women’s Liberation” on my website www.peopleobsolete.com, scrolling down to article number 32 and clicking on the title or the ‘PDF Download’ to read. It will give you a better understanding of the complexity of the problem.
Problems don’t get solved by pretending, they get solved by working them, by using real problem solving skills of understanding that only comes from research, analysis, modeling and intellect instead of by emotion. By THINKING! As long as we depend on political activism to solve our problems no one will ever have any real viable solutions.
We will always have those problems plaguing us.