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by Paul R. Hollrah, ©2014, blogging at Order of the Ephors

How does Church Street in Ferguson, MO appear now?

(Nov. 29, 2014) — In the wake of the St. Louis County grand jury findings in the death of black teenager Michael Brown, international television audiences have been treated to a spectacle of mindless violence in numerous American cities.  The demonstrators, rioters, and arsonists are largely African-American… aided and abetted by an assortment of misguided whites, some young, some old-style radical liberals… who apparently lack the ability to process the findings of the grand jury, showing that Officer Darren Wilson acted appropriately in shooting Michael Brown to death.

In the field of psychology, practitioners often use the terms “cognitive bias,” or “psycho bias” to describe irrational behavior.  “Cognitive bias” can be defined as “a pattern of deviant thinking in which inferences about people and situations may be drawn in an illogical fashion.”  Individuals motivated by cognitive bias tend to create their own “subjective” reality from their own unique perception of events.  An individual’s subjective perception of reality, as opposed to what others see as “objective,” often dictates social behavior.  Not surprisingly, cognitive bias often leads to gross misperceptions, faulty judgment, illogical conclusions, or other forms of irrationality.

What better way to describe the violence and the vitriol following the public announcement of the findings of the grand jury in St. Louis County?  What the grand jury found is precisely what thinking Americans already knew.  In short, Michael Brown was not the “gentle giant” he was made out to be.  To the contrary, he was a street thug with a huge chip on his shoulder who apparently felt that he could go through life just taking whatever he wanted.

Michael Brown was shot to death after robbing a convenience store and after assaulting a police officer who confronted him on the street just minutes later.  According to eyewitnesses, Brown rushed the officer in a crouched position, much like a football player preparing to make a tackle.

So a white cop shot a black street thug who was trying to kill him.  That is the plain fact of the matter.  But what appears to get totally lost in the subsequent sound and fury is the fact that the St. Louis County grand jury sat to hear the case for one reason and one reason alone: the prosecutor took the case before the grand jury because he knew that, if he were to review all of the evidence, the autopsy reports, and the eyewitness testimony, he could not make the case for an indictment.  He would have been laughed out of court and the black community would have charged a cover-up.

To avoid antagonizing the black community, and out of an abundance of caution, the prosecutor took the case before a sitting grand jury where all of the hard evidence and all of the eyewitness testimony could be examined and the case could enjoy maximum transparency.  But that wasn’t good enough for those who screamed for “justice” while seeking only “revenge.”

Clearly, there is a great deal of “cognitive bias” involved in the riots that followed the Ferguson shooting, just as there was in the Rodney King riots and the Trayvon Martin shooting.  In each instance, “cognitive bias” was a symptom, not the cause.  To find the source of the black anger that seethes just beneath the surface in so many minorities, we must dig a bit deeper.

A black man does not have to look far to see that he is different from Caucasians and Orientals.  And while other ethnic groups arriving in America… the Germans, Irish, Italians, Jews, Polish, Mexicans, Chinese, and Japanese, to name just a few… were forced to endure racial epithets such as “Krauts,” “Micks,” “Wops,” “Dagos,” “Kikes,” “Polacks,” “Spicks,” “Chinks,” “Japs,” and “Slopes,” respectively, many white Caucasians with European roots were indistinguishable from other nationalities, as were many of those with Oriental roots.  These ethnic groups were readily assimilated into our multi-cultural society.   The black man, on the other hand, readily identifiable by the color of his skin, has found it more difficult to assimilate.

As a first principle, it is important to note the significance of heritage in social behavior.  Those of us who are able to trace our ancestry back six, eight, or ten generations and take pride in the accomplishments of our forebears feel a self-imposed discipline that places a damper on any behavior that might dishonor the family name or the memory of those who’ve come before us.  This is true of most Caucasians and Orientals whose forebears came to America largely of their own free will from cultures in which the Age of Enlightenment produced history’s greatest advances in human knowledge.

The same is not true of black men, whose forebears were taken forcibly from primitive cultures, bringing with them no written records of lineage.  They were captured by Muslims and other blacks, sold into slavery, and brought to America on slave ships.  As a result, many young blacks today are unable to trace their lineage beyond one or two generations.  In fact, because of the systematic and purposeful destruction of the black family unit by liberals and Democrats, many young blacks today do not know who their fathers are, let alone their grandfathers and great-grandfathers.  With no family name and no ancestral accomplishments to honor, is it any wonder that their behavior in the classroom and on the streets is so often anti-social?  They recognize no lasting consequences for their behavior.

What must young black children think when they see, every day, news film out of Africa in which blacks are shown living in Stone Age tribal cultures?  And what must they think when they come to understand that few, if any, of the great advances in medicine, science, and technology are products of Africa?  And what must they think when they realize that it is people of white European extraction who are always called upon to deal with major African disasters such as the AIDS and Ebola epidemics?  It is unimaginable to think that such things would not contribute to feelings of inferiority and helplessness among blacks… young and old.

Unfortunately, in modern times, the breakup of the black family unit has relegated black men primarily to the role of sperm donors, not fathers and role models.  The Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, a major contributor to the breakup of the black family unit, was passed in 1935 by a Democrat-controlled Congress with a 72-23 majority in the Senate, a 322-103 majority in the House, and signed into law by a Democrat, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

However, in an effort to make themselves appear as common-sense stewards of the public purse, Democrats required that, in order for a family to be eligible for AFDC, the family must have had at least one dependent child, under age 18, who was “deprived of financial support from one of their parents due to the parent’s death, continued absence (emphasis added), or incapacity.”  In other words, if two able-bodied parents lived in the home the family was denied AFDC benefits.

Nothing… not drugs, not poverty, not urban decay, nor lack of educational opportunities… has contributed more to the disintegration of the black family unit than the restrictions of AFDC.  As an unintended consequence of AFDC, marriage was discouraged, fathers were forced out of their homes, and single-parent welfare mothers found they could increase their monthly income by simply having more babies.  As a consequence, we now have a society in which three out of four black babies are born out of wedlock; where black mothers, unable to discipline their fatherless children, find so many of their young men either imprisoned, addicted to drugs, or the victims of gang violence; and where a disproportionate number of young black men take advantage of every opportunity to mug, rob, loot, and burn as a means of assuaging their inner anger.

And finally, when an entire racial minority comes to the sudden realization that they’ve been played for fools for nearly sixty years, the only result can be crushing disappointment and a deep seething anger.  After raising the expectations of black Americans to the skies, Democrats have failed miserably on their promise to deliver social and economic parity with whites.  By offering nothing more than “free lunches” in exchange for votes on Election Day, all Democrats have succeeded in doing has been to deal a crushing blow to the pride, the aspirations, and the self-respect of our African-American citizens.  Is it any wonder so many of them are angry?

In this, the land of opportunity, there are no fixed barriers to social or economic progress.  Every community in America provides teachers and classroom facilities, at taxpayer expense, that are among the best in the world.  Unfortunately, the African-American culture is far too often anti-intellectual.  Black students who do their homework, who behave themselves inside and outside the classroom, and who make good grades are often intimidated by other black students who insist that they are “too white.”  Many black students… men such as Dr. Ben Carson, the former chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University, and women such as former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice… are living proof that blacks who do not succumb to self-imposed limitations are capable of achieving whatever they wish to achieve.

With all of these factors as conditioning agents, what could we possibly expect from young black men, such as Michael Brown, when they have stepfathers like Louis Head, who took to a public platform, his trousers slung so low that they almost fell off his body, exhorting a riotous crowd of young blacks to “Burn this b**** down!  Burn this b**** down!?”  With Brown’s natural father absent from the home, Head was the young man’s primary role model.

So is it any wonder that young black men, taught by white liberals to think of themselves as victims and burdened by a strong sense of hopelessness, would respond in a violent manner to the exhortations of such a man?  White people can understand the source of black anger, but can they do anything to assuage that anger?  Probably not; only blacks can do that.  What recent events in Ferguson, Missouri tell us is that time is short; it’s time that the black community figured out what causes so much hatred and animosity among young blacks and took steps to counter it while we still have an outside chance for racial harmony.





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  1. While going to college in Southern California, I worked as a school bus driver in East L.A. – I am white and was considered the “token honky” that I held as a badge of honor for me as many of my friends were black. Then I moved to San Diego for more college, worked again as a school bus driver for the forced integration program in place at the time. These kids were “not fit” to go to their local schools and thus had to be transported well out of their community. Again I made many friends in the disparaged communities I served(?). And when I got married, my Best Man was a black. All of this is to say I agree with the man in the foxhole that we “we all bleed red”.

  2. American Blacks and people of color have more laws and opportunities on their side than ever before in the history of America. These stir-ups created by race card baiters like Sharpton, Jackson, Soros, Black Panthers, Black Muslims only hurts the progress they have made in the last 50 years and makes money for the corrupted forces enabling these riots and damage. Many of the Blacks had more “freedom” growing up in their own communities and now that they have to live with “white” society and it’s regulations, many of the non-Christian and radical Black organizations don’t like it. I grew up in “white” communities and didn’t like a lot of the things I had to endure but I didn’t go out and burn down buildings. We cannot live in a “lawless” society, committing crimes whenever you feel like it is not how it works. If you want to be a “gangster” and live a life of Bonnie And Clyde you will have to learn it doesn’t work that way. We have laws to keep order in our Military and Society. Some laws are bad and some laws are good. Most laws were created to protect people from the stupid, careless, selfish, greedy and wicked things that people do with no regard for others or have pure criminal intent. Every Police Officer takes an oath to protect life and property and is supposed to do that. We see that sometimes it doesn’t work that way as in Monroe County, Tennessee or in some counties now in Florida. In time, those that are sworn will pay a price for disobeying the law they took an oath to or hopefully be prosecuted. Back in the 50’s and 60’s, Blacks had good reason to demonstrate and riot because there was a log jam in the system and they were slow to get any rights. Now is a different story.

  3. Excellent, well thought-out argument, and I enjoyed reading your editorial.
    I totally agree that the welfare system has done immeasurably more grief than good, and that affirmative action has harmed America in the world economy.
    But then the further back one goes in history, isn’t it amazing to find that everyone felt the yoke of tyranny at one time or another.
    At one time in my life I found myself crawling on the ground, dragging a badly wounded young man. We were outnumbered and had absolutely no chance of survival, and since everyone above me was dead or wounded, it was my responsibility to make the call. My call was attack, heck, we’re all dead anyway so let’s take as many of them with us as we can.
    When dark was complete, we crawled-out from whatever we were hiding behind or dug into and, after a couple of hours, came up behind where the enemy was camping and done them all in.
    I never had enough time to feel sorry for myself for being in such a perilous situation, but if I had, all I would’ve said to myself would’ve been, “Get over it”.
    Day or so later we were rescued.
    And it doesn’t make any difference, does it now, as to whether that guy I kept safe with me throughout that most interesting experience was black, yellow, or white, does it? Unfortunately, he died a month later in hospital.
    So my advice to the young black men of America (who want to be treated as responsible adults and not feeling sorry for themselves as if they’re wearing some kind of a badge of honor; to be respected as being able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps) is this: get over it.