December 30, 2010
Colorblind America: A Malignant FallacyBy Chidike Okeem
The fanciful idea of living in a colorblind society is one of the greatest impediments to sophisticated discussions about race in America. If there is going to be a soothing of racial tensions in American society, there first has to be an understanding that race -- albeit a social construct based on some biological realities -- exists and matters, and it is not just a vestigial figment of centuries-old white racism.
It is axiomatic that race is a part of our social reality; however, where we need more discussion is on precisely where race matters. The fundamental problem with race in America today is that we have a band of profiteering, country-trotting black liberals claiming that race matters in all the areas where it clearly does not.
For the purpose of the left's political gain, millions of people have been persuaded that capitalism does not work for blacks and that as a result, blacks need socialistic interventions. As I demonstrated in a previous article, these black Marxist prophets greedily indulge in the capitalistic rewards that they would never receive under the socialist economic model that they hypocritically present as the way forward for blacks.
Indeed, race matters; however, two things happen when some conservatives propagate the wrongheaded, politically correct idea that race is obsolete. First, they make the road clear for liberal sophists to persuade people that race matters in all the places where it does not, and second, conservatives lose the ability to effectively challenge liberals on the caustic effects of their policies on minority communities.
The message conservatives need to be advancing is that race matters vis-à-vis specific issues. By championing the fallacy of colorblindness, the conservative's authority to discuss race in the public sphere is inadvertently ceded to liberals.
America is in the middle of an archipelagic war against a bloodthirsty ideology, thus it is preposterous to take off the table the very few advantages that the country can use. These advantages are that we know the religion that most terrorists belong to, and we know they are predominantly of Middle Eastern descent.
Manifestly, the reason why people are so priggishly delicate about identifying conspicuous differences among humans that can help keep America safe is precisely because of this toxic colorblind rhetoric that has astonishingly become the political wisdom du jour. Because conservatives have adopted this left-wing idea, it becomes difficult to backtrack and suddenly take the position that race does matter regarding issues of national security. It's no wonder, then, that conservatives are woefully losing the racial and religious airport profiling debate.
Additionally, we know that race matters in the area of crime. As the great yet criminally under-appreciated Heather Mac Donald from the Manhattan Institute has noted time and time again in her groundbreaking pieces on black criminality in the New York area, black crime rates are astronomical in relation to their rate in the population -- as well as in comparison to other races.
Indisputably, it is the calculated liberal corrosion of the black family via progressive policies that caused the massive explosion of black criminality. Do you think conservatives should continue to unconcernedly sit back and pretend that race is a nonexistent phenomenon while liberals continue to promote policies that target, and thus disproportionately affect, specific races? I certainly hope not.
Race also matters with abortion rates. When black people are registering around 40% of the country's abortions and only around 12% of the population, there is an undeniable problem that colorblindness doesn't help to fix -- especially when you consider Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger's dream of wiping out black people and that a vast majority of Planned Parenthoods are -- rather fortuitously -- located in black neighborhoods.
Like many liberal contrivances, the idea of a colorblind society sounds wonderful in theory, as it gives the flowery impression that America has moved on from her painfully prejudicial past. However, by anesthetizing conservatives to real racial issues, this insidious notion allows actual racists the latitude to promote policies that disproportionately affect minorities.
One of the main ways in which the colorblind theory is manifested is through the diligent effort to fight against the manufactured foe of hyphenated Americanism. Rather than simply refuting liberal lies about race head-on, conservatives have lamely adopted the weird belief that somehow dropping the many prefixes of "American" is the magical panacea that ends the reality of racial animosity.
The real conflict is against race-baiting liberals; it is not against an innocuous hyphen. Whether or not people choose to put "Asian," "African," or "Latino" in front of "American" does not change the reality that these communities not only exist, but that they overwhelmingly vote for Democrats.
Moreover, the war against hyphenated Americanism falls into the politically correct trap of running what I call a "dictionary dictatorship," which is the Orwellian prohibition of words -- in this case, words that cannot be used to describe oneself if one desires to be considered "authentically American." This is the left's insidious game that Republicans are playing in the name of improving race relations.
Fighting against hyphenated Americanism also seems inherently problematic inasmuch as it conveys a notion that genial interracial relations are impossible unless all racial and cultural differences are childishly ignored. These racial differences are trivial in the grand scheme of things, but it is the conservative unwillingness to acknowledge these differences -- meshed with a demagogic liberal message -- that creates the artificial appearance of grandiosity.
The sad reality is that the fruitless war against hyphenated Americanism -- unwisely fought by conservatives -- breeds anti-Americanism, as liberals use this as a tool to convince minorities that conservatives are uncultured crazies who wish to scrub society of every last suggestion of ethnic diversity.
The lamentable mainstream conservative approach to race is best summed up by observing the following passage written by Dinesh D'Souza in his book Letters to a Young Conservative:
Dinesh D'Souza may be one of my intellectual influences, but he is utterly wrong on this. It is the same colorblind mantra that has crippled Republicans in expressing conservative policies to minorities. Besides, it makes no sense that wealthy blacks vote for Democrats because Democrats give them more goodies. If they are wealthy, they don't need government goodies. What D'Souza misses is that there is something else holding blacks back: left-wing intellectual slavery inadvertently aided by a conservative inability to lucidly communicate on racial issues with sophistication and efficacy. In other words, D'Souza's forget-those-blacks approach is a major part of the problem.
It is a profoundly depressing myth in America that the only way race relations can be improved is by pretending that race does not exist. Race does exist and matter, but who is convincingly articulating the conservative side of the story on important racial issues on the national stage? Furthermore, who is shattering the intellectual manacles that liberals have locked on the minds of minorities with their sophistical bromides?
(Answer: Nobody, because conservatives are too preoccupied with politically correct pleas for colorblindness and pugilistically engaging the boogeyman of hyphenated Americanism.)
Minorities know that race matters, but all they know is that it matters in all the apocryphal ways Cornel West is paid to tell them it does.
If conservatives do not stop this head-in-the-sand approach on the topic of race and start articulating the important places where it does matter -- while dismantling left-wing, race-baiting shibboleths where race does not matter (i.e., in economics) -- liberals will be the perennial winners in the war of words whenever the topic is broached.
1D'Souza, D. (2005).Letters to a Young Conservative. New York, NY: Basic Books. (pg. 216)