Larry Elder

Rep. Rangel wants anger for votes and power. In discussing the Trayvon Martin case, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said, "Blacks are under attack." Under attack? By whom?

The "battle against racism" removes pressure from people to practice what works: personal responsibility, hard work, pursuing an education and a pledge to refrain from having children until capable of assuming the responsibility. Blacks are not helped by the angry, pessimistic rhetoric of those who claim to operate in their best interests. Getting ahead becomes elusive when others train you to think like a victim, that The Man holds you in a trap of weights and barriers.

Black actor Charles Dutton, playing a high school teacher in the movie "Menace II Society," gives to students this dismal "advice": "Being a black man in America isn't easy. The hunt is on, and you're the prey." Have a nice life, boys.

I was blessed with parents with no patience for those who felt sorry for themselves and who allowed others to make them feel inferior. In high school, my literature class read a poem that went something like this:

"While riding through old Baltimore, so small and full of glee,

"I saw a young Baltimorean keep a-lookin' straight at me.

"Now, he was young and very small, and I was not much bigger

"And so he smiled, but put out his tongue and called me 'nigger.'

"I saw the whole of Baltimore from May until September,

"Of all the things that happened there, that's all that I remember."

The teacher angrily talked about the permanent damage done to this little boy's psyche. The permanent stain of racism. The denial of the little boy's dignity. The boy, said the teacher, will never be the same. By the time the bell sounded, everyone was angry.

I went home and read the poem to my mom as she prepared dinner. When I finished -- "of all the things that happened there, that's all that I remember" -- she took a spoon out of a steaming pot, rapped it on the side, turned to me and said, "Too bad he let something that trivial spoil his vacation."

As Aristotle, in the "Nicomachean Ethics," wrote: "Anyone can become angry -- that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way -- this is not easy."

Apparently, Aristotle wasn't a Democratic strategist.


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.