Watch Out For The Black Backlash

July 18, 2016 Off By Michael
Baton Rouge, Louisiana police officers patrol the area of Baton Rouge shooting on Sunday, July 16, 2016. Photo Credit: Reuters/ Joe Penney

Baton Rouge, Louisiana police officers on patrol following an attack on Baton Rouge police officers on Sunday, July 16, 2016. These assaults could lead to a Black Backlash.
Photo Credit: Reuters/ Joe Penney

Black people in America should be on the watch for a Black backlash that could come as a reaction to the wave of police killings in Dallas, Texas and in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The backlash will not necessarily come from white police officers. Although, it can not be counted out that the men in blue will not react to the ambush of police officers by becoming very repressive in their policing.

I am more concerned with white militia units who will feel that it rests upon their shoulders to avenge what appears to be a commonplace killing of police officers. I am afraid that we are witnessing the beginning of the race war predicted by Ronald Segal in his seminal work The Race War, The Viking Press, 1966.  When this book debuted in 1967 The Manchester Guardian said, “[It] deserves to be widely read … it is important that its message reach American readers”

If the book was read by Americans, those few who read it kept it from the masses. Perhaps the scholars and academians were hoping that the coming calamity could be averted if ignored as unfit for public discussion. For fifty years this strategy worked. Suddenly, the pent up angst over race is spilling out onto American streets in unprecedented assaults on police officers. These assaults could lead to a Backlash.

In 1966, Segal posited; “… race war itself is nothing new. Indeed, it is as old as human greed, the fears and hatreds of inequality, the distrust of difference, the arrogance of strength. but its dimensions have terribly changed, and a world which wishes to escape the consequences must learn in time to adequately  control the human stupidities behind it.

American society did not tackle the question of racism head on. There appeared to be no good reason to do so, because white afterall, equated to might and to being right. It could have been argued in the mid 1960s that whites would always maintain superior numbers over non-white Americans.

We in our failure to discuss the “racism question,” have not brought under heel the “stupidities” behind racism. So we find ourselves, four years away from the roaring 20s, bogged down in the muck and mire of racism, unable to control it; and now, shots are fired across the racial divide as justification for one killing after another.

The potential for a Black backlash is real. Black people should be cautious as they move about the country to work, to learn or to play. The window of opportunity to stop the inevitable racial clash is rapidly closing. If racism can not be extinguished, and extinguished soon, then we will see the fulfillment in the streets of America of a prophecy, that I foretold in Justice in Round (See pages 147-148).

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at