Wikipedia describes a Dutch Uncle as follows:
Dutch uncle is an informal term for a person who issues frank, harsh or severe comments and criticism to educate, encourage or admonish someone. Thus, a “Dutch uncle” is the reverse of what is normally thought of as avuncular or uncle-like.
In this essay I will give some Dutch Uncle advice to those who fancy themselves as fighting the good fight in the war over racism. I assume that your intentions are honorable, because if they are not, then my advice will be dismissed out of hand because it is irrelevant to your true intentions of eternal conflict.
Your premise is that you or your ancestors were the victims of past discrimination based on race; therefore, you are justified in admonishing your fellow citizens who are not minorities, perhaps even demanding reparations. Furthermore you are entitled to practice discrimination against them as compensation and force them to repent publicly for their own actions and for the actions of their ancestors. You demand these humbling admissions even if there is no evidence of individual discrimination. As a recipe for never-ending racial conflict, you could hardly have adopted better tactics.
First of all, there is no objective or valid method for determining the extent of past, nationwide discrimination other than a close examination of discriminatory laws. The so-called Jim Crow laws of the post Reconstruction era South certainly qualify, but it is safe to say that these were removed long ago. Today the only discriminatory laws punish those who are not considered to be minorities. I leave it to you to decide who these victims of “affirmative action” might be. Race warriors are left with nothing more than seeking insult and injury in the completely legal actions of your fellow citizens as they go about their daily lives. This is especially divisive when inculcated into the minds of children; i.e., telling them at an impressionable age that they cannot achieve their full potential in life because others hate them for the color of their skin.
Now here’s my first Dutch Uncle advice: Forget about it. Yes, forget about it. Ignore it. Put it out of your mind. There is nothing–I repeat, nothing– that you can do to change people’s minds….OTHER THAN PRACTICING EXEMPLORY BEHAVIOR YOURSELF. Do not become bitter. Do not ask government to intervene in some way to placate your real or perceived insults. All that will happen is the opposite of what you truly desire. Telling someone that he is a racist, whether he knows it or not, will get you nowhere. In fact it will get you LESS than nowhere. It will harm your cause.
Here are some more Dutch Uncle rules for would-be race warriors:
- Perfect yourself through continuous self-improvement and self-reflection. Every man contains the seeds of good and evil within himself, but he must fight his own devils alone. No one can make you a better person and no one can prevent you from becoming one.
- Forget about “fighting for social justice, etc.” as an occupation. Your occupation should be finding a way to integrate yourself into the market economy. You do this by building your personal capital base. Become someone others can rely upon, who has skills and knowledge that others admire. Yes, you get it now. Stay in school. Pay attention in school and do your best. Become self reliant and self dependant. Do not rely upon government handouts. These are traps to a lifetime of dependency and bitterness. This should be a strong principle. Work hard. Work smart. Live within your means and do not begrudge others who are more successful. This is the true path to good self-esteem. The most important component of your personal capital base is good character, honesty, reliability, integrity. These are the traits that are most desired in life and also the traits that are most lacking. One can acquire many skills and honors, but nothing is so valuable as one’s own good name.
- Turn the other cheek. Do not respond negatively to perceived slights. Be magnanimous; i.e., assume that others did not intend to slight you. Remember the adage–Those who seek trouble usually find it. Do not be that person. Hall of Fame baseball star Ernie Banks once was asked if he had ever suffered insults and discrimination due to his race. He said of course he had. When asked how he responded to these insults and how he remained so cheerful, Banks said, “I killed them with kindness.” This is the path to true self-worth. Do not let others make you bitter. Pity them instead.
- Build a strong, loving relationship with your family. Cultivate lasting friendships. Make friends by being a friend. No one can have too many friends. Be helpful. But most of all, remember that charity begins at home. In other words, your family is your foundation to happiness. Cultivate a strong family network. Do not keep a mental scorecard of whether you have helped your friends or family members more than they have helped you. Just be the person upon whom others can rely, whom others consult in times of trouble, whom others look upon as a rock of kindness and wisdom.
None of this is headline grabbing. None of this will get your name and picture in the paper. Forget about seeking accolades from becoming a race warrior. The real, lasting accolades, and the only ones that are important, will come to you anyway.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file