Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Have We Gone Soft?

Cold Equations, discussing the Omaha Race Riot, writes:

Nowadays, the crime that inspired this riot would barely be newsworthy. Sites like American Renaissance post six cases like that before breakfast. Nobody cares except for some grumpy racialists. The idea that whites would react like this seems absurd now, but there it was.

A few possibilities:

  • “Whites”, in this instance, is misleading.  According to Wikipedia, the rioters were drawn from Irish and Eastern European immigrant communities.  I’m not an expert on the period, but I would speculate that their posture in regards to the WASP establishment (Omaha’s mayor was named Edward Parsons Smith, a WASP name if there ever was one) was not unlike contemporary black attitudes toward whites today.  For instance, WASP industrialists were using blacks as strikebreakers, and the rioters may not have believed that justice would be forthcoming from the establishment.
  • We’re richer now, and can afford more morality.  The working class was hard pressed back then in a manner that we can only imagine in the era of the welfare state.  Today we have more to lose by engaging in extrajudicial violence.
  • A corollary of the first two is a "woman shortage"; and one potentially more severe than what we face now. Again, I have no specific knowledge of this, but I'm pretty sure that men were overrepresented among turn-of-the-last-century immigrants. Combine poverty with outsider status and I would expect that a great many men in Omaha had neither a wife nor good prospects for obtaining one. Thus, news that one of "them" had forcibly poached one of "our" women would have had a much bigger psychological impact in 1919 than in 2010.
  • Whites are in the final stages of decadence, and can no longer be roused to collectively defend ourselves.

Thoughts?

4 comments:

trumwill said...

I think your first "possibility" is particularly on-point. I would consider adding that it seemed to reach the point in this country that rioting is something that whites consider "other people" doing. In the past the "other people" included ethnic Catholics moreso than today.

I started thinking about this a little a couple weeks ago. Whites in the US are generally well-behaved. HBDers would cite HBD as a reason for this and there may be something to that. But I think there is something else at work. Whites in England are not as well-behaved as whites in the US. Or so it seems.

So my current thought is that whites, even those in demographics where would would expect misbehavior, often view such misbehavior as being something "those" people do. And as such it has a positive effect on our behavior.

Just a thought, anyway.

ironrailsironweights said...

Racially motivated rioting by white people is unthinkable in America today, yet white people might very well engage in politically motivated rioting (e.g. an antiwar protest march or even a sports celebration that goes out of hand).

Peter

The Cold Equations said...

Wasps, at least southern wasps, did something very similar in Rosewood a few years later.

Professor Hale said...

I think what youare seeing there is the danger of mob mentality. It seems in recent history that white communities have moved beyond this, or at least practice it in more sophisticated ways. Election campaign rhetoric and taking up whatever leads the Drudge Report headlines are examples of this.

Black communities seem to use the mob as an excuse for lawless expression that is barely concealed at other times. A public trial verdict, a winning sports team are eaqually likely to result in not just rioting but also looting and widescale property destruction.

THe Omaha case you described had the mob moving and acting with purpose, even if the results were easily manipulated. The courthouse was burned because that is where their target was. The pawn shop was looted to get guns to use in the riot, not just to get them and use them for private crimes later (as was the case in L.A.)