The Southern Tradition andrnthe Black Experiencernby Eugene D. GenovesernIam, to say the least, honored to receive your Richard WeaverrnAward and to be invited to share some thoughts with yourntonight. Richard Weaver observed, in Ideas Have Consequences:rn”There is ground for declaring that modern man hasrnbecome a moral idiot. . . . For four centuries every man hasrnbeen not only his own priest but his own professor of ethics,rnand the consequence is an anarchy which threatens even thatrnminimum of consensus of value necessary to the politicalrnstate.” Refusing to despair, Dr. Weaver fashioned his book asrna weapon in a protracted war for spiritual renewal. Yet, reflectingrnon the ravages of what he called the “hysterical optimism”rnof modern man, he added, “Whether man any longerrnwants to live in society at all or is willing to accept an animal existencernis a question that must be raised in all seriousness.”rnWith those words in mind, permit me some reflections on therndeepening racial crisis in America and the constructive insightsrnthat may be brought to bear by the Southern conservativerntradition for which Dr. Weaver spoke.rnAbout 50 percent of black teenagers do not attend school,rnand the black unemployment rate runs several times higherrnthan that for whites. Plausible analyses project a substantialrnmajority of black males dead, on drugs, or in jail by the age ofrn25. Blacks may be pardoned for hyperbole in speaking ofrncreeping genocide, for they are getting too close to the truth forrnEugene D. Genovese is distinguished scholar in residence atrnthe University Center in Georgia. He was the 1993 recipientrnof the Ingersoll Foundation’s Richard M. Weaver Award, forrnwhich this was his acceptance speech.rncomfort. Behind the statistics lie not merely the unemployedrnand underemployed, but a growing number of unemployables.rnWe may reasonably counter the implicit threat to our society byrninvoking the harshest of measures to put down riots, uprisings,rnand frontal assaults on our persons, homes, and political institutions.rnFor self-preservation is the foremost “right” of any people.rnBut we cannot reasonably leave it at that. For in resortingrnto what may become necessary measures, we shall risk the repudiationrnof our Judeo-Christian heritage, the defilement ofrnour national soul, and the shredding of the very free political institutionsrnwe are trying to preserve.rnThe “drug culture,” the “crime in the streets,” and the declinernof “law and order,” however much invoked as racist codernwords, gravely threaten all of us, especially the black people whornconstitute the principal victims. A debate on the left was recentlyrnopened by the Reverend Eugene Rivers, the black Pentecostalrnpastor of the Azusa Christian Community who hasrnbeen leading the fight to restore civilized community life to thernDorchester ghetto outside Boston. His article in Boston Review,rn”On the Responsibility of the Intellectuals in the Age ofrnCrack,” has created a storm that is now spreading to other partsrnof the country. Mr. Rivers, politically a man of the left, has invokedrnwhat is generally perceived as a conservative theme andrnidentified the root of the crisis as spiritual—as a catastrophicrndecline in Judeo-Christian moral values;rnAs entry into the labor market is increasingly dependentrnon education and high skills, we will see, perhaps, forrnthe first time in the history of the United States, a gen-rn20/CHRONlCLESrnrnrn