Of Whites and Blacks: America’s Circular Path

Breathe there a man with soul full alive who knowing that his privileges abide has said  to himself: “These I must forego.”

If there be go mark him well for as far as a I can tell none have given what they have so others may be glad.

Which makes me wonder what’s going on that so many people can be wrong who think things can suddenly change by marching down the streets to complain, by tearing down monuments old,  believing the bill of goods they are sold.

It was news when the head of Roman Catholicism’s Jesuit society ordered American Jesuits to throw themselves into the fight for total African-American equality. He ordered American Jesuit purchasing agents to boycott firms that discriminate against blacks.

He pointed out that the American Jesuits have become “identified more and more with the middle-class white segment of the population.” He went on to say, “our record of service” to the American blacks “has fallen far short of what it should have been.”

He called for recognition of the blacks economic and civil rights but for a thorough retraining of mind and emotion to eradicate prejudices. He deplored racism every where in the world as a violation of the Christian concept of man but singled out the situation in America as the most alarming.

He praised the blacks for their struggle in America and said, “If, in this revolution of rising expectations, they cannot find in the free world the sympathy and help they need, they may be tempted to turn to other leaders and to other systems inimical to Christian truths and democratic ideas.”

He ordered the Jesuit regional leaders to concentrate on fighting prejudice and poverty. He emphasized what he called the need to develop Jesuit experts in race relations and deplored the relatively few blacks now in Jesuit ranks.

That is a stark warning to his fellow Jesuits and an admonition them that they must change. One wonders if the 13 page directive to the American Jesuits will have the desired effect of uplifting and assisting American blacks. How is the Jesuit superior general decried racism in America by calling it the most alarming in the world?

We see today the Blacks Lives Matter marches. The destructive behavior like looting stores has mostly gone away. The tearing down of statues of those who the mob finds fault with are increasingly being ripped from their foundations. Teddy Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson and others are in danger. Like other frenzies this too will pass.

The real question is will they accomplish anything.  Much is being said and promised under the pressure of the protestors. But are these of such little value as those made by prisoners of war under duress?   When the situation changes will they be gone with the wind?

What about the demands of the Jesuit superior general? Will his comment suggesting America is the most racist country in the world work to spark a change? How will the Jesuits respond to it.

Well as we can see the fine words by the Jesuit superior general were generally ignored. How do we know? They were written during prior turbulent times which give them suspect.

More so, they were written in 1967. Nothing changed. Will they have an effect this time?


26 replies on “Of Whites and Blacks: America’s Circular Path”

  1. In 1972 I was hired as Director of Libra , a non profit
    located in the basement of the Old Cambridge Baptist Church
    in Harvard Square Cambridge Mass.

    The organization found jobs and housing for men and women released
    from Mass Prisons. We operated a halfway house for Juvenile
    Offenders in Central Square Cambridge , drafted legislation ,operated a moving
    service staffed by ex cons and tried our best to bring change to
    the Mass Correctional system.

    Entirely staffed by ex con re entry counselors whose
    prime directive was to give eyesight to the psychologically
    blind the agency took a leadership role in the stench from the
    Attica Rebellion.

    One day in 172 I get a call at the office from someone at WBCN fm Boston
    named Danny Schecter asking how would I like to do a weekly hour
    long radio show about Mass prisons for as long as I wanted.

    Here is a video about racism Danny Schecter made with Steven Van Zandt
    of Bruce Springsteen and later Soprano fame.

    Yea Danny mentored me for the next 40 years.

    Dec 9, 2013 – In 1985, Steven Van Zandt (of the E Street Band) and Danny Schechter put together an all-star roster to sing an apartheid protest song called Sun City


  2. How silly was that Jesuit to call America the most racist country in the world? In 1967 South Africa had apartheid then. The U S was more racist than that regime?Get real. Calling today’s America racist is just a smear. Calling Gen Flynn a traitor was just a smear. There was no evidence whatsoever against Flynn and there isn’t any against this great country. One shouldn’t bear false witness against their neighbor. Would someone kindly produce their evidence? Only Bubba Wallace, Jussi Smollet and the little girls in 17th century Salem could invent some. It doesn’t exist.

    1. wa-llahi! NC, In the 1920s the South African Government sent a delegation to the US South to study our racist system. The early apartheid SA government believed the US South had the most successful color bar techniques in the world at that time, and, wanted to incorporate them in their system. By far the USA was the epitome of a racist state. Try using the google machine, and/or lift some paper brain weights, before, you start your witless Trumpist blather.

  3. There are no gurus and no sacred cows in America. The Jesuit General Superior is one man who has his opinions. Calling America the most racist country in the world shows a complete lack of historical knowledge, current events knowledge, and political-science knowledge.

    America ended slavery with a Civil War; it enacted three Amendments requiring equal justice; did it come immediately, no, but it came in time, there was progress, two steps forward, a step back, until equal justice today is no longer a dream, but a reality, which the vast majority of Americans practice and support: equal justice and fairness for all. Institutional segregation ended by law with Brown v. Board of Education: “separate is not equal”; it ended by law public school segregation and segregation in every American Institution. The Civil Rights Movement and Civil Rights Legislation of the 1960s, the JFK’s, MLK Jr.’s and RFK’s of America, ensured, guarantee under the law equal treatment of all.

    There is no systemic racism in America because by law, by legislation, by the Courts decisions, truly and finally applying the words of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, it is against the law for any business, for any state, for any local government, for any school to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, ethnic origin or sex; it is against the law for any individual to discriminate.


    Do you have any idea how many interracial marriages there are, interracial friendships, interracial classmates, interracial workmates, interracial neighborhoods, interracial businesses, interracial government offices there are?

    Matt, who labels all of America the most racist country in the world was asked on this blog one time to name a racist judge, a racist lawyer, a racist clerk, a racist cop with whom he has worked. Matt, without names, tell us how many racists you know, what percent of family, friends, neighbors, classmates, workmates were or are racists, and say exactly what racist acts they committed. Please do not cite some teenage boys throwing rocks at a bus in 1970. What was that one in one thousand youth from South Boston committed an anti racial act? Here is an up to date fact. Do you know minority cops shoot white civilians at a higher rate than they shoot minority civilians. What does that prove? Nothing. Did you know of the hundred million encounters police have with American citizens every year how many non threatening unarmed men get shot? Is it a couple hundred? In a land of 320 million. You do know the statistics on crime rates in welfare families headed by single mothers is higher than in working families headed by a mom and dad. Don’t you?

    How about in the neighborhood you grew up, in South Boston and Dorchester, how many of your friends, relatives and neighbors were racists? How many still are? Because someone told a racist joke, does that make them racist. An off color joke about Italians, Poles, Irish micks, the Pope, the one about the priest, rabbi and minister meeting in a bar. Do off color remarks mark you as a racist for life?

    Give us a percentage, FACTS, you too ABE. What percentage of your relatives, neighbors, friends, work mates, classmates are racist today? How many have committed racist acts on the streets, in their jobs, in their schools?

    I could name a handful or racists, of haters I’ve known in my lifetime. I’ve met people of every race, religion and ethnic group who sometimes, in anger or with a bad joke, have disparaged folks of other races, religions and ethnic groups. Those rare epithets were not from racists, but from good folks who were sometimes simply thoughtless or careless with their words. But I have known a handful of racist haters: maybe a dozen in a lifetime who said they hated those who were different. Irrational, mean, sadistic, blind hatred. A dozen out of tens of thousands of family, friends, associates, classmates, workmates, acquaintances. I have met thousands who marched for Civil Rights, who worked for Civil Rights, who fully supported Civil Rights and Equal Treatment for all.

    Apparently Matt and Abe have had different lifetime experiences from now. I have said and written the following one hundred times at least. All four of my grandparents came as immigrant from Ireland. We were Irish Catholics by birth. In America, my uncle Billy Rogers married an Italian girl, Irene, and my uncle Bobby Rogers married a Protestant girl, Helen. Now, in just two generations, I am related by blood and/or marriage to every race, religion, ethnic group, sexual orientation, political persuasion, and musical proclivity in America. Someone asked, what about a Hindu from India. And I can reply, not yet, but I went to graduate school and shared a beer with Hindu physician from India, telling him when I was growing up I always had trouble with Superiors, as I was a rebel of sorts, and he replied when he was growing up he always had trouble with inferiors, India having a caste system, and we both laughed realizing we both were wrong and that all human beings are created equal.

    But if you asked me what percentage of Americans I have met in my lifetime who were racists, I’d say far less than one percent, far less than one percent were the haters. And the racists, the haters, came from every race, religion and ethnic group.



    LET ME GIVE YOU SOME FACTS: In 1960, the percentage of black families with a mom and dad together raising children was about 80%; it was the same in white families.

    Then came Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, the Great Welfare State; Big Government taking over. Today, 35% of white families are headed by a single mother raising children, and 75% of black families are headed by a single mother raising children; today, deaths from drug overdoses, opiates, are highest in poor white families especially in the Appalachian mountain areas.

    Why: What happened to cause this great social decline in America, these bad, regressive statistics. Three things caused a major breakdown throughout society in the social fabric; The Welfare State which drove fathers out of homes; the DRUG EPIDEMIC which broke up families, increased incarceration rates and increased crime rates, and which was very destructive to folks getting educations and jobs. And third, the Loss of Values, the Leftists’ war on organized religion, the Leftists pushing moral relativism, the Leftists’ hostility to religion, attempting to drive it out of public places, attempting to drive it underground, to bury it.

    Three things, the Welfare State which continues until today, the DRUG EPIDEMIC, which is worse than ever; and the LEFTISTS’ attack on organized religion, resulting in loss of values, less attendance at church, moral relativism,, increased disrespect, increased crime, increased family breakup, increased social dislocation.

    Read the articles JPC posted. When eminent social scientists wrote that black, brown and white Americans all fare very well in this land of opportunity, in America, if the individual does three things: Stays in School, Gets a Job, and gets married to raise a family. I would add a fourth. Stays off Drugs. The outcomes then are nearly equal for blacks, browns and whites, except Asian Americans fare better in college and get better pay.

    One Jesuit’s scholar’s opinion in the 1960s is not INFALLIBLE. He was wrong then, in my opinion. Today, as in every generation, from the Civil War, through Jim Crow, to the Civil Rights movements, to today, America has made great progress in achieving equal opportunity and fair and just treatment for all.

    Please YouTube and listen to the erudite scholars: Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Walter Williams . . . .If you only read the anti-American divisive screeds of your leftist allies, you will stay stuck in the rut of your fallacies.

    Please read just two short books by Thomas Sowell, USMC, PH.D.: Ethnic America and Cosmic Justice . . . .no, please read his latest book, just google Thomas Sowell’s most recent book . . . .Do yourself a favor . . . .Open your eyes . . .get the plank out of your eyes.

    1. “Give us a percentage, FACTS, you too ABE. What percentage of your relatives, neighbors, friends, work mates, classmates are racist today? How many have committed racist acts on the streets, in their jobs, in their schools?”

      I have no idea what the percentages are, Bill. But I do know what racism is. I see it all the time. I’m not just talking about Blacks. We from Boston grew up in ethnically isolated areas. Eastie, Southie, Charlestown, Hyde Park, Roxbury, The North End. You know how it was. I saw people get abused because of where their ancestors came from my whole life.

      I have no problem relenting on calling America the most racist country. As a matter of fact I am dead wrong about that. But there is a hell of a lot of racism in this country. There is a lot of good community and peace as well. I don’t want to start pulling out individual encounters I have had. There are way too many to recall. But just in Milton where I lived a mile from Mattapan Square one block off Blue Hill Ave there were no Black people except the Jackson families that were there from back in the mid 1800’s. Then Black families started to buy houses. I became friends with many of them and I was called Nigger Lover hundreds of times. I was attacked verbally and physically for befriending the Findleys and the Aarons and the Samuels and the Manns. Excellent people that were Black and they and their friends were targeted all the time. We had many more people that hung with us and had no problem with these new neighbors, but those memories are not a strong as having windows smashed or tires slashed.

      1. Abe, when our family, mom and dad, six kids aged 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11 moved from Old Harbor Village, the projects in South Boston, in 1950, EVERY TIRE IN MY DAD’S CAR WAS SLASHED.

        Neighborhood juvenile delinquents and sometimes young men in their late teens and early twenties, especially when drunk, did and said stupid things.

        We knew that of the 15,000 or so people in Savin Hill, the hateful (or stupid) culprits represented less than one in one thousand.

        You cite some young friends who said and did hateful things. You cite some young friends who were overtly friendly.

        The neighborhoods of Boston, South Boston versus Savin Hill, for example, were always competitive. They had separate football, baseball, hockey, basketball, boxing teams, et cetera. So did every neighborhood. And they all competed against each other, and in the Korean War and Vietnam War, they all went to war together.

        We had families of almost every ethnic group and every religion, and store owners of almost every ethnic group and every religion. Perhaps half were of Irish descent, but many were half-Irish and half-something else: English, French, Jewish, Polish . . .we had many Italian, German, Lithuanian, French, English, Welsh, Scotch descent . . .Harry the Barber was Greek as were other store owners and families . . .there were no blacks in Savin Hill then, but remember the entire percentage of blacks in Massachusetts was less than five percent.

        We played with Chinese kids, black kids, Latino kids at various gyms, in YMCA basketball, in CYO basketball, in basketball at the Vine Street Gym, Roxbury, and the Byrd Street Gym, Uphams Corner and at the Ceylon Street Park we watched and broke up fist fights between black kids and white kids, and one of our guys lost a great fist fight to a Latino Kid outside the Byrd Street gym, and I remember that gorgeous young woman of Latino descent who came to Savin Hill Beach from St. Paul’s Parish, and I dated and danced with young women of every race, religion and ethnic group in Boston . .

        We played high school sports against everyone and kids from every neighborhood, and I saw black versus white riot, gang fight break out at White Stadium . . .and after the blacks, all good fighters, left the stadium, fighting the good fighters from Charlestown and South Boston, the black kids starting pelting the white fans with rocks . . . .we fought with kids from every neighborhood as teenagers and young men . . .AND I KNELT ON THE FOOTBALL FIELD AT WHITE STADIUM WITH THE B.C. HIGH TEAM AND THE ENGLISH HIGH TEAM, with fellow football players of every race, religion and ethnic group, and we watched until the brawl was over, and then the refs blew their whistles to resume play.

        When we went to college and work, we were with young men and women from every neighborhood, and as we matured we all got along, all became friends . . .all fell in love and married and raised children with one another . .

        Our neighborhoods were not deliberately segregated, their were housing patterns that resulted in Southie and Savie being half-Irish, and East Boston and the North End being predominantly Italian . . .and Roxbury being mostly black, and the South End being mixed, and south Dorchester being mixed white (European, Christians and Jews) Blue Hill Avenue being Jewish, and Hyde Park and Mattapan and Lower Mills being mixed, and West Roxbury having the upper middle class.

        There were instances of hatred, but ninety nine percent of folks ninety nine percent of the time in sports, in schools, at work, at Churches or Synagogues, in the YMCAs were neighborly.

        We got along and grew up together and came to love and respect all our neighbors.

        It is human nature to walk into a room of one hundred people and one person says something negative to you and that is what you remember. the one who used the racial-ethnic epithet, the one who threw a punch at you. Shakespeare said, the good the men do is buried, the evil lives after them . . .we remember the violent, vile things friends and neighbors did, but we forget the ninety nine percent of good things they did, constantly, year in and year out.

        Boston was never a racist city. My mom in the 1920s went to State Teachers College with young women of every race, religion and ethnic group.

        Different cultures always had their differences, and sometimes clashes . . .Italian v Irish at the Boston Garden, in Revere, at boxing matches is an example, but boxers were of every race, religion and ethnic group, and some of the greatest were half Irish, and half something else like Lithuanian.

        Forced Busing was a Federally Induced nightmare . . .hyped by the leftist Media . . .Of course, my brother moved, when his three grammar school kids who used to walk a few hundred yards to one grammar school, were now by force of law, bused to three different schools, miles apart . . .and the FEDs omitted the suburbs from forced busing . . .a colossal federal blunder

        The Gays who sought the Courts’ help to force themselves in the St Patrick’s Day Parade were assisted by Leftists on the Massachusetts Courts and Leftists in the Media, especially the Boston Globe.

        But, the U.S. Supreme Court correctly ruled unanimously that the State cannot force groups to include groups or messages into their line of march….it was a violation of the Free Speech Clause

        The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council which ran the Parade had thousands of members and obviously some homosexuals. Openly homosexual politicians had marched in the Vets Parade. The Vets simply did not want this outside activist group forcibly inserted into their parade.

        The South Boston Allied War Veterans, representing thousands of families in South Boston, during the heights of the Civil Rights Movements, 1964, invited into the line of march, THE NAACP, THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COLORED PEOPLE, and they marched uneventfully to polite applause, and marching with and alongside them was my college philosophy professor, Father Flannagan.

        There is no hatred in the minds and hearts of the vast, vast majority of Bostonians, there never was. When the Irish first moved to Boston there were some bigots who hung signs, No Irish Need Apply, but there were also many Yankees help them and help Boston College get a building and parcel of land in the South End in 1963. During the Great Irish Famine, Yankee families responded by filling a ship full of food and sending it to Cork, Ireland, but English red tape, sadly, let it sit and rot at dockside.

        There were far more fair and just persons on all sides of the Atlantic, than there were haters and bigots.

        Who says Boston was racist. LEFTISTS. MOSTLY LEFTISTS AT THE BOSTON GLOBE.

        I grew up and knew all the good people of Southie, Savie and Boston, and I’ve written a two volume book, Shots Heard Round the World, Americans Answer the Call to Arms, which has a summary chapter titled, The Triumph of Multi-Ethnic America, and of course it recalls the triumph of mutli-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-racial America, and lists many of those veterans of every race, religion and ethnic group who served and sacrificed all in America’s Wars, from the Revolutionary War till today/

  4. One of the most impressive sights in Boston? George Washington on a horse in the Public Garden! Thomas Jefferson, would we have a country without him? Churchill stood alone in 1940 and willed a country towards victory! If men like these are getting their statues torn down ARE WE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?Or the United States of NAMBY PAMBY? that would be weakness.

    1. Let’s tear down the statutes and pictures of all men and women who had adultery, or who said something negative about the opposite sex, or who committed misdemeanors or felonies, or who assaulted anyone, or who discriminated against Catholics, Protestants or Jews, or who ever wrote or said a sexist word or bigoted word about anyone, or who made money discovering Polio Vaccines or whose families profited from the sale of goods or services to minorities; let’s tear down the statutes of minorities or women who said bad things about majorities or men. Let’s be fair, and tear down everyone’s statute who lived in a less enlightened time, or even in a more enlightened time that the present.
      Purge all . . . .Burn Baby Burn all those artworks and books of yesteryear. . . .only then will we who do not know our history, who do not know that people are shaped by their times, who do not know that good, bad and the ugly resides in all men, and has for all time, only then when we ignoramuses of history and ignoramuses of human nature have destroyed all the statutes and pictures of the past, can we start all over to create the LEFTIST UTOPIA of the Clueless Classless Masses.

      And while you Leftist fools are destroying the past and deconstructing all history and deconstructing the English language itself, and substituting the New World Order’s HERSTORY, which does not culturally appropriate from any culture (purge Paul Gauguin’s paintings of Tahiti; ban non-Brazilians from playing The Girl from Ipanema, for examples) and as you are substituting NEWSPEAK and Eugenically pure EUBONICS for Western Civilization’s English, French, Spanish, etcetera, and the NEW World Order’s revised history of America for the old traditionalists’ fact centered views . .. .then and only then when the Judaeo-Christian culture and the European-centric historical framework have been destroyed, can we figure out a CURE FOR IGNORANCE AND a CURE FOR RACISM AND REVERSE RACISM and a CURE FOR THE HATRED AND RESENTMENTS THAT LIVE IN THE HEARTS, SOULS AND MINDS of so, so many ill informed, badly educated, America hating misanthropes who occupy front and center of the Leftist Movement in Academia, the Media, and the FEDs.

      If only folks could look inside themselves and purge the hatred from their own hearts. If only folks could stop beating down others and stop flagellating themselves . . . the guilty need reflect and make amends for their own crimes . . .and those ignoramuses who accept the allegation that they must feel guilty for others’ crimes, for others’ sins of commission and omission, who apologize for being of European descent and building the greatest country on earth . . .or who apologize for their birth . . .or who apologize for the acts of their parents or ancestors . . .only those mired in group guilt . . .well, only those leftists who feel guilty for the crimes/sins of others, only they are hopeless.

    1. JPC:

      You just pointed to the most absurd article I’ve ever read. It is so self-contradictory it is laughable.

    2. Excellent article, JPC, I have always admired Walter Williams and always learned a lot from him. So, too, from another erudite scholar, one of my all time favorites, who I have been reading and listening to since the early 1980s or before, as I recall, the great Thomas Sowell, PH.D., who as a young man served in the United States Marine Corps.

    1. Walter Williams, along with Thomas Sowell, are two of America’s great thinkers, great philosophers, experts in social sciences, experts in socio-political-historical analyses.

  5. In the 1950s segregation existed in America. It started to Intergrate only in the 60s. The chief Jesuit may have had a point in 1967 but not today. 25 to 30% of all college attendees are non white. Bill Bennet said if a Black has a B average in high school he has a better chance of going to college than anyone else. Affirmative action has existed for over 40 years. Millions of Blacks have succeeded in America. If the country were racist millions would be leaving but the opposite is true. Tens of millions of Black and Brown folks are trying to get in. No country on the planet provides more opportunity for it’s citizens of all backgrounds. 2. The BLM protests are a farce. All lives matter. None are more important than others. America has an epidemic of fake hate crimes. NASCAR’s Wallace claims he is a victim when he imagines a noose is in his garage. It was just a rope to pull down the door. There is so little racism in America that Jussi Smollett had to hire two foreigners to fake his hate crime. The rioters are creating mayhem based on a falsehood. Systematic racism in the Courts and with the Police. It doesn’t exist. It is the Big lie. Blacks are shortchanged if they have to send their kids to failing schools in the big cities. Cities run by liberal Democrats. Charter schools, vouchers and choice should be tried.

    1. Wallace never even saw a rope. The noose thing was reported to him by NASCAR. He had no part in its report.

      This is the most racist country in the world. Always will be. You live in a fantasy world of illusions.

    2. NC:

      You seem to forget the Jesuit general superior called America the most racist country in the world. It hasn’t changed.

    3. “If I could save the Union without freeing one slave-I would do it”. A.L. Time to tear down the Lincoln Memorial? Nihilism ain’t worth nuthin.

      1. The great Russian nihilist, Nechaev, when, asked what future he envisioned building, after he had burned down existing society, replied, archly, “First things first.”

        All praise to the red n’ black fighters. All power to the dialectic.

  6. On this issue, The Soul of America is a dark one. Nothing will change. How many days after the Floyd killing did another Black man get killed by a cop? No matter how much radiation and chemo is used on some tumors, the cancer grows and kills. Tear down all the statues, change the name of streets, towns, bridges, schools, cities, rivers. They are all still there.

    1. Regarding the death of Floyd, the biggest factor may have been the non-administration of Narcan/Naloxone, but it is unclear whether the Minneapolis Police carried it :

      “In sum, he [George Floyd] was high on drugs at the time of his death. The fentanyl itself was four times the level known to cause fatalities, reports Paul Sperry, and on top of that he had speed and marijuana in his system. The arresting officer said he was foaming at the mouth and a close look at the video indicates this was so.”

      “Overdose results in respiratory depression which is reversible with naloxone. Sudden death can also occur because of cardiac arrest or severe anaphylactic reaction. The estimated lethal dose of fentanyl in humans is 2 mg. The recommended serum concentration for analgesia is 1–2 ng/ml and for anaesthesia it is 10–20 ng/ml. Blood concentrations of approximately 7 ng/ml or greater have been associated with fatalities where poly-substance use was involved. While fatalities have been reported after therapeutic use, many deaths have occurred as a result of the misuse of pharmaceutical products. Both used and unused fentanyl patches have been injected, smoked, snorted or taken orally with fatal consequences.”

      1. wa-llahi! Floyd killed himself? I hadn’t thought of that. Talk about going sideways, that was some fine exculpatory thinking. But, why was the knee on the neck necessary?

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