Race an Issue


"The old has passed away, behold, the new has come."  2011 is history, and 2012 has dawned.  Happy New Year! 

A sage once pointed out that the more things change the more they remain the same.  New beginnings, whether we like the fact or not, embody the past.  Today, I reflect upon an issue in the present that draws heavily from the past.  

Let me admit that the last thing I want to do in 2012 or thereafter is to spend my time talking or writing about race. Probably many of you can sympathize with this sentiment. Much like me, you too have no doubt had enough of the subject.

Yet the issue of race continues to be a big draw in mainstream media and leftist academic circles. The citizenry is continually force-fed a heaping portion of the subject every single day.  Sometimes it comes laced with a bit of sugar and subtlety, while at other times it does not. 

When I instructed ethics at a local college this Fall, the subject continued to pop up, especially in discussions about equality. Because I desired my students to consider many points of view and to learn to think outside the box, I assigned some readings regarded as verboten in academe. One of them was University of Delaware professor Linda S. Gottfredson's 1994 article, "Egalitarian Fiction and Collective Fraud." She is pictured on the right.  For those of you who are not acquainted with her work, she specializes in intelligence research and argues that the equality of the races is a fiction. She wrote that there is "voluminous evidence showing that racial-ethnic differences in intelligence are the rule rather than the exception (some groups performing better than whites and others worse). . . ." She explained that the black-white difference in intelligence "appears by age six [and] has remained at about 18 Stanford-Binet IQ points since it was first measured in large national samples over seventy years ago." She concluded, in part, that government enforcement of "the [egalitarian] lie is gradually distorting and degrading all institutions and processes where intelligence is at least somewhat important (which is practically everywhere) but especially where it is most important (in public schools, higher education, the professions, and high-level executive work)." Professor Gottfredson's work continues to expose the feebleness of racial and ethnic egalitarianism for what it is, i.e., so much political propaganda strangulating social and political policy in this country.

Let's pause now and take a deep breath.  I grew up in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. I remember well how African-Americans and Hispanics were mistreated. The endless abuses directed their way sickened me. When I was a freshman at the University of Mississippi, the janitor at the dormitory where I resided was prohibited from drinking water directly from the fountain the residents used. When the man became thirsty, he was compelled to draw water into a cup which he carried on his hip, and only then was he allowed to drink. Imagine the humiliation of it!

Long before I witnessed that social atrocity, I noted other acts of invidious discrimination. There was an unwritten ordinance in Freeport, Texas, where I grew up, that minorities reside in one remote, secluded area of town. There were no sidewalks, paved streets, or other signs of civilization there. One summer, when I landed a job as a snow cone salesman, I drove a truck throughout town, hawking at least twenty flavors of the refreshing treat. I remember viewing the abysmal conditions of poverty in which blacks and Hispanics had to live, and I was appalled. It was wrong, bloody wrong!

Thankfully, such abuses are now rare. No one is compelled these days to live under conditions of apartheid. Schools, restaurants, and department stores are integrated. Neighborhoods as well as employment opportunities, are required to be open to all regardless of their race, creed, or color. For the last half century, prodigious efforts have been made to atone for the sins of the past, even to the point of giving preferential treatment to minorities, and thereby self-consciously discriminating against others who had little or nothing to do with perpetrating the evils of the past.

The cure itself has become a kind of disease. Thanks to what is euphemistically known as "affirmative action," thousands of positions in this country are now occupied by those who are far from the brightest and the best.  This sad fact is a consequence of egalitarianism. Gottfredson is right about the "collective fraud" that has been dropped on the head of American society, all in the holy name of equality. 

In my own experience, I have often observed that jobs are frequently apportioned  on the basis of race and ethnicity. Robert Bork relates an all too familiar kind of story, this one about an outstanding young lawyer, who desired a teaching post. He was told by one interviewer, "You have had two important clerkships, with Bork and then Scalia, and in the Solicitor General's Office you have argued cases in the Supreme Court. You have accomplished a great deal in a short time." Then, without a trace of shame, the interviewer added, "Of course, it's not as good as being black." My strong hunch is that the prejudice directed against white men who are applicants for any position has not abated much since then,  but if anything has intensified.

During the 2007 presidential campaign, Barack Obama was hailed by the media as a messiah, as the next FDR, and as the person who would transform the face of American politics. Some citizens now find themselves wondering about the underlying explanation for this "slobbering love affair" between Obama and the media. Think about it.  The man was admitted to Columbia University and to Harvard Law School with mediocre credentials. Better qualified students were displaced because he was given preferential treatment in the name of "diversity," but never mind that. Prior to becoming President, Mr. Obama never managed anything, never wrote anything of significance except about himself, never distinguished himself as a legal advocate, and never excelled in any legislative body in which he was privileged to serve. So what accounts for his star status among the media? Well, he's articulate and an Ivy League graduate twice over, but more than any of that, he's black. The essential condition of his stardom is his race.  There is little doubt that he has become the twenty-first century's poster child for affirmative action.  It's an uncomfortable fact to face, but its true nonetheless. 

As I have watched television during the last few years, it has become impossible to ignore that virtually every commercial features African-Americans. It would seem that the best chance that one has to appear in a television commercial hinges upon his being black.  If this fact has escaped you, I invite you to watch television one night this week and to pay careful attention to every single commercial.  The channel you watch makes no difference.

When will remediation for the wrongs of the past be enough? It is certainly a fair question. A better question is why race remains a viable issue in American society, given the massive and unprecedented efforts to cure the slightest vestige of  discrimination.

I have reluctantly concluded, with F. Roger Devlin, that those who despise traditional American culture, with its Anglo underpinnings, have made "race" their rallying cry and presenting issue, and continue to do so, in order to re-invent the culture. Their goal is to discount, even to demonize, whites in order to aggregate power unto themselves. The "civil rights" phenomenon has become little more than a counter-cultural movement, given to excesses and to the kinds of wrongs it was intended to combat.  The radicalness of its response reminds me a bit of the French Revolution, in which even the Christian calendar became suspect!

No single incident symbolizes the point I'm making more than one in which the ubiquitous racial agitator and thug, Jesse Jackson, at left, participated. He led a protest against Stanford University's having a required course in Western culture. Along with other radicals and minorities, he asserted that Western culture should not be celebrated. It is, after all everything evil -- racist, sexist, imperialistic, and violent – entirely unlike some "civilized" Third World cultures, in which slavery, female genital mutilation, breast ironing, and dictatorship continue to abound! Jackson and his fellow protesters indignantly chanted, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, western culture's gotta go." Yeah, sure . . . why study Plato and Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Pascal, Kant, and Hegel? Why even read Jefferson, Madison, and Lincoln?

Need I remind you? The intelligence and courage, not to say the religion, that formatively shaped Western culture and accounted for its dizzying heights, were primarily those of Western European peoples. That is a stubborn and irrefutable fact. There is no reason to apologize for it nor to re-invent the culture. The goal should not therefore be to transform traditional American culture, but to restore it.

The reason why race continues to be front and center in our society is because Marxist malcontents and contemporary race baiters have made it so. I no longer intend to shrink from the discussion of race, because to do so is to cower to the enemies of American culture. They must be met head on and shown to be the liars and looters they are.

New Year's Day, 2012