Freed slave turned political leader and educator Booker T. Washington had no shortage of prophetic political predictions.
He predicted the kind of race hustlers and demagogues that would exist today in a post-civil rights America – back in 1911. He wrote in his book “My Larger Education” of these “problem profiteers”: “There is another class of coloured 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.”
That’s a perfect description of the kind of identity politics we see from the Left today – or just a few days ago, to be more specific. Take the example of the Congressional Black Caucus, which reacted with this kind of enthusiasm to the news that black unemployment is at the lowest level in recorded history:
Why didn’t they clap?
Because their concern isn’t their black voter base, it’s that their black voter bases continue voting for them, and you can’t do that without problems, real or perceived.
Booker T. continued in his book, writing, “My experience is that people who call themselves ‘The Intellectuals’ understand theories, but they do not understand things. I have long been convinced that, if these men could have gone into the South and taken up and become interested in some practical work which would have brought them in touch with people and things, the whole world would have looked very different to them.”
Today it’s Middle America who is complaining that the coastal elites are too out of touch with their struggles. Back in 1911, it was an escaped slave.
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