News & Politics

INSURRECTION: Civil Rights Leader Shelby Steele to Mark Levin: 'Blacks Have Never Been Less Oppressed'

("Life, Liberty, and Levin screenshot)

In a remarkable soliloquy, Shelby Steele dominated his interview with Mark Levin with an excoriation of the riots and looting that have taken place over the past couple of weeks. Steele, an African-American veteran of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and a best-selling author, appeared on the June 7 episode of Life, Liberty, and Levin to say the protesters have nothing new to say, and that blacks have never been less oppressed in American society.

Steele fully rejects the concept of systemic racism. Steele held court for the first eight minutes and fifty seconds of the program, and Levin sat back and let him drop truth bomb after truth bomb. Steele flat out said blacks have never faced less oppression, and that they need to take responsibility for their position at the bottom of most socioeconomic measures.

This is must-watch TV.

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Here’s the most eye-opening truth bomb Steele dropped for Mark Levin:

Society is responsible for us, because racism is so systemic. Well, that’s a corruption, and I know it’s a corruption, because the truth of the matter is blacks have never been less oppressed than they are today. Opportunity is around every corner. In all of this, no one ever stops to say, well, you’re unhappy with where minorities are at in American life, and blacks continue to be at the bottom of most socioeconomic measures. You’re unhappy about that. Well, why don’t you take some responsibility for that? Why don’t you take more responsibility? I would be happy to look at all the usual bad guys, the police and so forth, if we had the nerve, the courage to look at black people. To look at black Americans, minority Americans, and say, you’re not carrying your own weight.

Steele has written many books on race relations in America, including White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era, and Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country. He is also a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford.

To his credit, Mark Levin has never shied away from facing the difficult subjects facing American society. Later on in this episode, he had on Bob Woodson, another veteran of the civil rights movement in the ’60s who also rejects the victimhood narrative around today’s discussions of race relations in America today.

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The full 8:50 opening is well worth your time

That’s been the question all along: What do they want? I remember growing up in the civil rights movement, everybody knew exactly what we wanted. This insurrection just seems sort of unclear. It’s unmotivated by anything it says itself. So what is it really about? I think what is happening is that there is nothing really new. The civil rights argument that triggered this, that there was police abuse, is a very familiar story. We saw that in Ferguson, Missouri.

It seems to me that in many ways it’s about power. In order to pursue power as they do, you have to have victims. Wow, the excitement that creates on the Left. It validates their claims that America is a wretched country, and they must get their recourse. It feeds this old model of operation that we’ve developed, that America is guilty of racism, guilty of this sin, and has been for 400 years, and minorities are victims who are entitled.

So when people start to talk about systemic racism, built into the system, what they’re really doing is expanding the territory of entitlement. We want more. We want society to give us more. Society is responsible for us, because racism is so systemic. Well, that’s a corruption, and I know it’s a corruption, because the truth of the matter is blacks have never been less oppressed than they are today.

Opportunity is around every corner. In all of this, no one ever stops to say, well, you’re unhappy with where minorities are at in American life, and blacks continue to be at the bottom of most socioeconomic measures. You’re unhappy about that. Well, why don’t you take some responsibility for that? Why don’t you take more responsibility? I would be happy to look at all the usual bad guys, the police and so forth, if we had the nerve, the courage to look at black people.

To look at black Americans, minority Americans, and say, you’re not carrying your own weight. You’re gonna go have a fit and a tantrum and demonstrate, [but] are you teaching your child to read? Are you making sure that the school down the street actually educates your child? Are you becoming educated and following a dream in life and making things happen for yourself? Or are you saying, I’m a victim, and I’m owed, and the entitlement is inadequate? I need more, and after all, you whites, you know racism has been here for four centuries with slavery and so forth, so it’s time for you to give to me.

Well, that’s an exhausted, fruitless, empty strategy to take. We’ve been on that path since the 60s. We’re farther behind than we’ve ever been, and we keep blaming it on racism, blaming it on the police. I’m exhausted with that. I grew up in a time when there was real segregation. Blacks during the ’50s took a lot of responsibility for their lives, because the government didn’t. My father bought three ramshackle houses, rebuilt them, rented them out, kept clawing his way up the ladder. A man with a third-grade education from the South. What civil rights bill is going to replace that? That value system?

And he was not exceptional. Across the community we lived in, those were the values. That is the problem. We have allowed ourselves to be enabled in avoiding our real problems by a guilty white society. It keeps using us and exploiting us as victims. If you really care about how minorities do, why don’t you ask them to do it? Why don’t you ask them to drop the pretense?

There’s always going to be some racism, in every society. My own sense is that it is endemic to the human condition. We will always have to watch out for it. As I like to always say, stupidity is also endemic to the human condition, and we have to watch out for that too. That is no excuse for us to be where we are right now in American life. We have let this sort of guilty society, and our grievance industry, put us in this impossible situation where we are a permanent underclass. Before the ’60s, there was no black underclass. That’s a new phenomenon.

Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available now at www.WhoOwnsTheDems.com. Jeff hosts a podcast at anchor.fm/BehindTheCurtain. You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff.

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