We are now past both the first 100 days of 2021 and of the Biden administration – so we close on a topic that we find embedded in most stories today…..
Racism is raised when it applies… and when it is just convenient: Justice John Roberts once noted “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race” – a rather simple comment but one with layers of depth. It is a simple fact that categorizing someone by race when necessary (describing someone in a crowded room, for example) should not evoke heightened anxieties – similar to saying someone is short or bald or wearing a blue shirt. However, adding a racial component when unnecessary (someone graduates from school, speaks at a gathering, is alleged to be involved in any activity – including criminal activity, etc.) serves to perpetuate viewing that person based solely on skin pigment. To the extent such description furthers beliefs based on stereotypes or outdated perspectives, it sows the seeds of continuing discriminatory viewpoints.
This is not a new concept. Booker T. Washington noted over 100 years ago the existence of “problem profiteers” – those who continue the view of victimization of certain aspects of our society (including racial minorities) and the damage caused by such attention-seekers. Such actions often create the perception of “them vs. us”, adding dissension where collaboration might bear fruit. Additionally, those actions are based on the implicit proposition that certain groups in our society cannot achieve or succeed on their own merits and must be advanced artificially by others – essentially stating such a group does not have the intellect or abilities for their own success if given such an opportunity. Dr. Thomas Sowell (a brilliant economist and conservative speaker, author of The Quest for Cosmic Justice) has written for decades along the same lines – demanding focus on an individual’s personal results and qualifications, rather than the looks of that individual.
Our nation is based on democratic principles that all citizens should have an equal opportunity to set and achieve their goals. That is quite different from equal results – which are neither mentioned nor implied in those founding documents. Under the Biden administration, we have seen a less-than-subtle pivot from equal opportunity to equal results – in the calls for programs focused on not “equality” but “equity”. This is both contrary to our nation’s principles but also a grand step toward socialism on a national scale.
Discussions involving racism evoke visceral emotions that often overshadow relevant facts. The Georgia election law that has been assailed by the mainstream media, the liberals in Congress and 1600 Penn and others includes such unusual things as requiring identification information (not even actual ID) in relation to various aspects of voting. In many aspects, that law is not as strict as others (including New York and Colorado), yet the powerful caused major league baseball (no capital letters by design) to move an all-star game to a state with fewer minority voters and stricter voting laws? The most insidious aspect of these recriminations – to claim a law requiring identification information disenfranchises minorities is the equivalent to stating those individuals are not able to function at the level as others function – which is both wrong and blatantly discriminatory on its own. If we truly want to ensure voter integrity, requiring ID (which is done to board a plane, pick up reserved tickets for baseball games, obtain a passport and dozens of other relevant actions) seems the least onerous action we can use.
Some infuse racism into unrelated matters – like Dr. Fauci’s comment concerning racism and COVID19 earlier this year. Others view racism through the narrow political filter – a minority who is conservative is claimed to have any number of unworthy attributes merely because of looks and actions. This liberal-racism was apparent in the backlash against Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina after he gave a response to Biden’s first message to Congress this spring. Mainstream media was quick to denounce his statements, and others used references from the 1860’s in their description of Sen. Scott and his wrong ideas. Individuals like Scott, Washington and Sowell must develop a strong defense – as they are assailed not due to what they say but how they look as they say such things. Yet all you hear from mainstream media is how conservatives are all racists?
Viewing or treating someone differently due to skin color is wrong – whether it is in a criminal, social or any other type of context. Some may think otherwise – ask Chicago Mayor Lightfoot, given her pronouncement she will not dignify media requests for personal interviews unless the interviewer is non-white (the subject of one lawsuit already). So there are those in America who bear ill will toward people based on skin color – but don’t the media and political hustlers who segregate individuals in the same manner aid in the continuation of such feelings? Regardless, while the evidence supports the statement that racists live in our nation, it does not support the conclusion that the nation AS A WHOLE is “systemically” racist. While it seems some (mainstream media, social media, political oligarchs in DC or Springfield OR Chicago) are beyond help, perhaps we should all try to eliminate racial descriptors from our actions ….. and see if you notice a change in your area of the world?