|Uprooting the New Racism
Posted 03/28/2008 ET
Updated 03/28/2008 ET
In his Philadelphia address on race, Sen. Obama identified as a root cause of white resentment affirmative action -- the punishing of white working- and middle-class folks for sins they did not commit:
"Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race," said Barack. "As far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything. ... So when they ... hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed ... resentment builds over time."
On this issue, Barack seemed to have nailed it.
But then he revealed the distorting lens through which he and his fellow liberals see the world. To them, black rage is grounded in real grievances, while white resentments are exaggerated and exploited.
White resentments, said Barack, "have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. ... Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism."
What Barack is saying here is that the resentment of black America is justified, but the resentment of white America is a myth manufactured and manipulated by the conservative commentariat. Barack is attempting to de-legitimize the other side of the argument.
Yet, who is he to claim the moral high ground?
Where does this child of privilege who went to two Ivy League schools, then spent 20 years in a church where racist rants were routine, come off preaching to anyone? What are Barack's moral credentials to instruct white folks on what they must do, when he failed to do what any decent father should have done: Take his wife and daughters out of a church where hate had a home in the pulpit?
Barack needs to reread the Lord's admonition in the Sermon on the Mount: "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"
Longshoreman philosopher Eric Hoffer once wrote that all great movements eventually become a business, then degenerate into a racket.
That is certainly true of the civil rights movement. Begun with just demands for an end to state-mandated discrimination based on race, it ends with unjust demands for state-mandated preferences, based on race.
Under affirmative action, white men are passed over for jobs and promotions in business and government, and denied admission to colleges and universities to which their grades and merits entitle them, because of their gender and race.
Paradoxically, America's greatest warrior for equal justice under law and an end to reverse racism is, like Barack, a man of mixed ancestry. He is Ward Connerly. And his life's mission is to drive through reverse discrimination the same stake America drove through segregation.
And when one considers that the GOP establishment has often fled Connerly's cause and campaigns, his record of achievement is remarkable.
Connerly was chief engineer of CCRI, the 1996 California Civil Rights Initiative, Proposition 209, which outlawed affirmative action based on ethnicity, race or gender in all public institutions of America's most populous state. Two years later, Connerly racked up a second victory in Washington.
In 2006, Connerly went to Michigan to overturn an affirmative action policy that kept Jennifer Gratz out of the University of Michigan, though she had superior grades and performance records than many minority students admitted. The Michigan proposition also carried and has been upheld by the courts.
One U.S. senator, however, taped an ad denouncing Connerly's Proposition 2 in Michigan and endorsed affirmative action for minorities and women. That senator was Barack Obama.
Comes now the big test. Connerly is gathering signatures to place on the ballots in Nebraska, Arizona, Oklahoma, Colorado and Missouri -- the latter two crucial swing states -- propositions to outlaw all racial, gender and ethnic preferences. Voting would be the same day as the presidential election.
"Race preferences are on the way out," declares Connerly.
Now that our national conversation is underway, Barack should be asked to explain why discrimination against whites is good public policy, while discrimination against blacks explains the rants of the Rev. Wright.
America is headed for a day, a few decades off, when there will be no racial majority, only a collection of minorities. When that day arrives, if some races and ethnic groups may be preferred because of where their ancestors came from, while others can be held back because their ancestors came from Europe, America will become the Balkans writ large.
Folks need to be able to separate the true friends of racial justice from the phonies who believe with the pigs on Orwell's Animal Farm -- that "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."