for American Thinker
David Ruenzel knew, better than most, about the white privilege that killed him.
As a writer for the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of this favorite topics was rooting out racism. And how white racism is permanent. White racism is everywhere. And white racism explains everything.
This mantra of the Critical Race Theory and the Southern Poverty Law Center applied to all white people because, even if they were not personally cracking the whips, or breaking the skulls, white people benefitted from a racist system that did all that — and a lot more.
Ruenzel was writing about white privilege for the Southern Poverty Law Center as far back as 1997 — long before it became the rage at college campuses, newsrooms, churches, high schools and even grade schools.
By the time of his death, Ruenzel had accumulated many of the trappings of the white privilege he exposed: The job. The home. The intact family. And most importantly in his case, white privilege endowed Ruenzel with an expectation of safety in the Oakland neighborhood where last week two black people are suspected of killing him.
A black NPR reporter explained the connection between white privilege and violence to Tracy Halvorsen earlier this year during Black History Month. In an article called Baltimore, You Are Breaking My Heart, Halvorsen described the relentless crime and violence in her gentrified Baltimore neighborhood. How she had to borrow her neighbor’s pit bull to walk around the block. How her neighbors were victims.
How public officials accepted that as normal.
Halvorsen included all the requisite denials that race had anything to do with the patterns of crime and hyper-violence in Baltimore.
Activists in Baltimore corrected her quickly and in large numbers: Race had everything to do with it, they said. Her white privilege gave her an unrealistic expectation of safety in her neighborhood. Her white race blinded her to the real causes of black crime.
“I think the problem here is that many white and/or upper/middle-class residents of Baltimore – and, of course, the Maryland suburbanites who work or play in Baltimore – show no sense of the structural problems plaguing the city and the roots of violence,” said a commentator known as Shereen at a local blog that focuses on journalism and music operated by NPR reporter Lawrence Lanahan.
Lanahan says it’s time to give some tough love to the white people in Baltimore who do not like crime.
“It’s tough to talk about white privilege in the face of crimes like the ones Halvorsen cites, with innocent victims killed and badly injured and stunned families left to grieve,” Lanahan said. “There’s also a lot that goes on, from individual decisions to local, state, and federal policy, that ensures – whether intentionally or not – that all the social ills stay where they ‘belong’ in the neighborhoods that people like Halvorsen and, frankly, I won’t live in.”
White neighborhoods “get more resources” than black neighborhoods, Lanahan said. That racial disparity causes violence, he said.
Or as President Obama called it in a recent speech to the Black Caucus: The “justice gap.”
This is the kind of atmosphere that David Ruenzel helped to create with his early and oft-cited work on white privilege for the Southern Poverty Law Center. The kind mentioned in his obituaries. The kind that blinded him to the dangers of being a white person in a black neighborhood in Oakland.
Other visitors to the Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve where Ruenzel was murdered describe the trail as idyllic. An oasis. A hidden gem.
But commentators to the Oakland news site that reported Ruenzel’s death were a bit more explicit: “That parking lot is a well known site for smash and grabs,” said one of several. Others pointed out graffiti and other crimes.
Another commentator, as if he were channeling the dead writer, chided anyone who suggested however slightly that white people are at risk of violent crime from black people in Oakland: “I’ve never read more atrocious comments. The white fear/hate is pretty scary.”
This is the world the Southern Poverty Law Center hath wrought: Comments about killing are scarier than killing itself.
Psychologist Marlin Newburn says the comments are not based on fear. Or hate. Just a feeling that something is very, very wrong with astronomical levels of black mob violence and black criminality.
And something is even worse among those who would deny it — or explain it away.
“Some liberals, most of which are ego-soaked, look for ways to support their self-perceived importance so they champion imaginary causes for that purpose,” Newburn said. “They are adult-children who feel free to construct fantasies about their greatness. Their narcissism in part functions to blind them to inconvenient realities. So to compensate, they idealize the targets of their misdirected and pathological ‘caring.’”
The enablers are just as guilty as the predators. More Newburn:
“They perpetuate misery by defending the indefensible such as widespread black predation and other crimes. It causes too much cognitive dissonance and confusion, and it doesn’t comport with their imagined status as a great liberator and defender of their chosen imagined, downtrodden group.”
Today, Newburn is an adjunct professor of psychology at Lake Superior State University. But for the last 30 years, he toiled in Michigan courts and prisons as a forensic/clinical psychologist. That’s a long time watching white liberals trying to ignore, deny and condone black mob violence and black criminality.
“Reality will only disrupt their fantasies as all-knowing and all-protecting avengers. Maturity is sometimes defined as when a person ends illusions in their thinking, and accepts reality, no matter how distasteful. I apply that same definition to the grounded, peaceful, law-abiding, sane, and stable.
“Over the years I’ve examined and found a trait of sociopath in most liberals. They have this sadistic gratification in creating or fomenting social chaos and conflicts, then, presenting themselves as ‘above it all,’ they arrive to fix the problem they themselves caused or perpetuated. Think of it as mental illness. A Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome, but on a very large scale.”
Ruenzel is hardly the first enabler of black violence to believe he was exempt from it, as urban pioneers are finding throughout the country.
Newburn calls that “death from willful ignorance.”
That’s tough talk about a recently deceased husband, father and teacher whose death moved a lot of people to remember him with affection.
Tougher still for other victims and their families who had nothing to do with this insanity. Or even knew it existed so widely and so deeply. So fatally.