24 September 2021

Anti-Racists: (The New Racists)


In 2020, during the world “pandemic” of Novel Coronavirus 2019, I was on an involuntary Coast Guard deployment to GITMO, the infamous prison housing (suspected) 9/11 planners along with a few other (suspected) high level terrorists, who after almost a decade in prison are still awaiting trial.

Myself, along with maybe about a ¼ of my ~200 person unit, I joined the Coast Guard with the idea of going out to rescue people from drowning, and other similar movie worthy heroics. The Coast Guard is technically part of the military, but it has never been under the Department of Defense. It has participated in some way in every major armed conflict the US has been in, but 5 of its 6 primary roles are peace time domestic missions.

I and several others were transferred to a more “defense” oriented unit because the Bay Area based Port Security Unit couldn’t find enough volunteers, and after training us to use machine guns and special tactics, we shipped out.

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the most left/liberal/progressive areas in the country (if not the world). Working class, mixed race, LGBT family, vegetarian, even literal communists in the family – I grew up with a lot of the left’s checkboxes just being normal life for me.

I had a little exposure to religious people, anarchists, libertarians, little tastes of alternative viewpoints here and there, but liberalism was around me like water around a fish.

Going to GITMO was the first time I was ever fully submersed in an environment where conservatism was the default, liberalism the exception.

In GITMO it wasn’t just a mix of people who joined the Coast Guard to save lives and those who choose the Port Security Unit. It was people who volunteered specifically for GITMO. People who joined the Army and the Navy and the Marines. People who feel it is literally a moral issue to salute the flag. People who prioritize God, country, and family (in that order). Trump voters. People who continued to support Trump, even after he got in office and chose to manage his own Twitter account.


This was also the time of the massive “Black Lives Matter” protests.

Having been quite sick of the hypocrisy of the movement for many years, I tried to pay as little attention to it as possible, but having family back home who believed in the movements rhetoric, I eventually found opting out to be impossible, and ended up doing a good deal of writing about it. It was nationwide news, so of course it was a big topic of discussion at work as well, and I got to overhear a lot of opinions and ideas from the “other side”

And spending so much time among people with such a different worldview than the one I was used to, I eventually came to realize some things…

One thing that is true of both sides, is that they make assumptions about what the other side “really” means, whenever they say anything. They think they each know the other’s real, but secret, thoughts and beliefs and plans, the things which they never say aloud or in print or on the internet or in any form, but which everyone of a certain mindset supposedly “just knows”. Conservatives “know” that liberals really are secretly all atheist communists who want to allow bisexual orgies in the classroom, with free abortions as birth control. And the left “knows” that conservatives are all secretly white supremacists, most of whom simply hide it better than others.

Now of course it is true that there are genuine “white supremacists”. And its true that those people are almost always conservative. This of course does not mean that all conservatives are white supremacists; any more than one Muslim hijacker is a reflection of all Muslims.

The fact that actual terrorists are disproportionately Muslim does not reveal anything at all about what the majority of Muslims think or feel or believe – to claim that all the Muslims who don’t kill people secretly support those who do is obviously a biased and unjustified assumption. It is the exact equivalent to assume that, because a disproportionate amount of white supremacist are conservative, therefore the majority of conservatives are secretly racist.

Just looking at a random, average conservative, I’ve come to realize that conservatives tend to be way less racist than the majority of progressives.

The reason has nothing to do with being color-blind, or self-awareness, or an ability to control sub-conscious mental processes.

It is simply because the modern left philosophy on race is based on concepts left over from colonialism and slavery - in other words, the anti-racist philosophy itself is inherently racist - and it has been largely accepted by the main stream left.

The difference in outlook is best summarized by looking at the default characterizations - but we'll come back to that in a moment...

One of the assumptions the left makes about the right is that none of the right’s rhetoric is honest: everything they say is supposedly code for something else. They don’t really believe that a fetus has a soul and that therefore abortion is equivalent to murder – they really just want to keep women oppressed, (because patriarchy).

No one seems to realize what an extreme conspiracy theory this actually is.

In order for an entire secret coded language to exist, that politicians could put into speeches and all the white conservative followers would know what they “really” mean, somewhere this code would have to be communicated. We’re talking 100s of millions of people, who all know the same secret code, either without anyone ever directly communicating the key, or else with the brochure with the real meanings so well hid that no liberal person, in the history of liberal vs conservative, has ever been able to find a copy. Even with the creation of social media, somehow all of the 100s of millions of conservatives, with varying levels of individual intelligence, no one has spelled out the details of the code that every single one of them knows.

What is way more plausible than that level of organized consistent deceit is that different people have different viewpoints and beliefs and assumptions and values, and that those differences cause people to focus on different things and be outraged by different things.

What is way more plausible is that conservatives really do believe things like that there are secret organizations of communists trying to take over America, that socialism causes impoverished nations, that the Christian God is the One True God, that abortion is murder, and that individual people are responsible for their fate as a result of how talented and/or hardworking they are.

Never mind whether some or all of these ideas are idiotic. The point is, it is important not to have so much hubris that we assume we know better what someone else believes when they TELL US DIRECTLY EXACTLY WHAT THEY BELIEVE.

So, with that in mind, consider for a moment the possibility that when conservatives are talking about “criminals”, they are actually talking about people who commit crimes. 

In other words, that it actually isn’t a secret way to say “non-white-people”, to make their racism seem more palatable.

Back to each groups default characterizations: What is really important to conservatives, in terms of judging individuals, is that individual’s “moral character” (which – I’ve been surprised to learn - in practice seems to not demand Christian values specifically, but can be accepting of basic humanist principals of ethics – i.e. not hurting people), their loyalty to America, and whether they are hard-working and self-sufficient.) 

Conservatives believe in following the rules and respecting authority for it’s own sake. So, for example, they believe that anyone who takes illegal drugs is a terrible person, although it has nothing to do with the effects the drug has on them (quite clearly, because the same people are frequently huge enthusiasts of alcohol), it's just because of the fact that they are "illegal".

They are really big on taking care of oneself and ones family. It’s unrespectable, at best, to accept hand-outs. (That probably connects to the issue they have with socialism.) 

In fact, many believe in work for the pure sake of work, independent of whether that work is actually productive or valuable – they see idleness itself as a moral failing.

They are not big on unconditional compassion – in fact, that is one of the things they find most ridiculous about liberals. To conservatives, a billionaire deserves their fortune, because they “earned” it, and it’s insane to care about “living conditions” in a prison, because those who commit crimes deserve to be punished – or at the very least, we don’t need to feel bad for them, since it was their own choices that put them there.

With both of these things in mind (that people tend to say what they mean, and that conservatives have very different values than liberals), the difference between them that is relevant to this essay can be summarized by looking at two people:

Bob is a white guy who skipped high-school to smoke pot, graduated to harder drugs and dropped out without a diploma, briefly tried a couple minimum wage jobs before quitting without notice or getting fired, and finally settled on a life of crime to pay the rent, buy groceries, and fuel the addiction.

Charles is a black man who was at the top of his class in high school, applied to colleges and scholarships in his junior year, worked while he went to school fulltime to pay tuition at a junior college before transferring to university on scholarship, then used loans to attend law school. Now he wears a suit to work everyday and drives a moderately fancy car while paying off his loans.

Conservatives look at these two people, and they see one worthless criminal, and one highly respectable self-made man.

Liberals look at these two people, and all they see is a white person and a black person.

In addition, it seems to be inconceivable to liberals that conservatives might look at the two and see anything different than what they see. And all of their ideas about society follow from that.


In most popular discourse the very term “racist” itself has come to be redefined as “white supremacist”, but of course that isn’t what the word actually means.

Racism is a “belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities”, that “groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to physical appearance”.

Which is to say, the idea that race is ‘the’, or even ‘a’ relevant factor in determining “who someone is”, is literally, fundamentally, racist.

The idea that race is the most fundamental factor in determining who someone is, is inherent in the very concept of “identity politics”. The term “identity” in this context does not refer to an individual’s personal quirks or habits, preferences or interests, but rather to race, gender, and religion – demographic checkboxes at the end of a survey. 

In other words,  in this world view your “identity” – who you are as a person – is literally defined by your demographic characteristic. 

Under that view – that your race (along with your gender and sexuality) are THE fundamental things that define you as a person – everything else the left says and does around race makes sense. The only problem is that this core belief itself is the basis of all racism; and as a result it has the side of society that once truly was fighting against (real) racism to begin pushing hard to preserve “separate but equal” in every aspect of society under the banner of being anti-racist.

Outside of social influence, there is exactly zero evidence of any connection between the external physical traits that make up what we call “race” – things like skin color and hair texture and eye shape – and behavioral characteristics, preferences, intelligence, etc. There does seem to be some correlations with certain physical abilities – certain regions of the world consistently take more medals in particular Olympic events, and this is likely at least partially due to genetic factors – and so it is plausible there could be regional differences in mental ability as well, however, after factoring for socio-economic factors, there just isn’t any science to support it. Given how many have set out looking for it, if it hasn’t been found, chances are it isn’t there.

When mainstream Western society accepted what we now call racism as obvious, it was widely assumed to be based on the legitimate science of genetics. Anti-racists argued against it, and demonstrated over and again how faulty the science that appeared to support it was. And over time, they succeeded. Scientists may be human and subject to human bias and error, but science itself is self-correcting, and as evidence against it mounted, society itself largely gave up the assumption that the science of genetics supported a natural ranking of humanity by race.

But that took generations, and in the meantime, society developed a whole racist framework that became the basis of discourse that has lasted to today – only today that framework, finally abandoned by the right, has been embraced and revived by the left.

Perhaps the most blatant, the most flagrant, is the barely concealed revival of the concept of “colored”.

For slightly less than 100 years, codified racism took the form of “Jim crow” laws, the defining feature of which was to divide all of public life into two distinct, clearly defined groups:

1) white people

2) everyone else.

They attempted from the very beginning to legitimize the ethicality of this arrangement by maintaining that all facilities, whether for whites, or for “everyone else”, should be equal. Separate, but equal.

Europeans, having lighter skin to absorb more sunlight at high latitudes, are obviously not “white” (like the background to this page), but being lighter than people from almost all other places – and because the still relatively new Americans wanted to reject the Europe that had broken away from – it became the term to stick. Every new immigrant group had its turn being discriminated against, Italians, Irish, Jews, but taken together they well outnumbered the slaves (and later descendants of former slaves) and various immigrants from non-European countries combined. Strength in numbers and a human psychology that unites people against perceived common threats eventually had them settle on accepting all Europeans as “in-group” and everyone else from all over the entire rest of the world as “other”.

If Europeans are all “white”, but the “other” consists of a whole range of skin tones and appearances, well, a one-word summary of every possible color other than white is “colored”.

Hence, “colored” entrances, “colored” fountains, “colored” neighborhoods.

A black person descended from slavery may have absolutely zero in common with a person fresh-off-the-boat, whether from Asia, South America, the Islands, or Africa, but to Jim-Crow America, they are all “colored”.

The purpose of the term is to be reductionist – to say, we don’t care who you are, you are not a unique individual to us – all that matters is that you aren’t white.

The very fact of dividing all of humanity into exactly two categories – white, and “everyone else”, is intrinsically white supremacist. 

 It is literally saying that white people are the only people who’s culture matters, the only people worth spelling out, the only people worthy of a unique category. As demeaning of true multi-faceted humanity as conflating “race” with “identity” already is, “colored people” denies anyone who isn’t white even that small piece of identity. It says if you aren’t European, you are defined solely by not being European.

Flash forward 50 years, and the left has bizarrely and ironically found it appropriate to borrow the exact same term – and use it in the exact same way(!!!!), seemingly oblivious to this simply because the word order is reversed.

Colored people.

People of color.

They are literally the exact same words. And, just like it meant for Jim Crow, it means “everyone who isn’t a white person”.

Because that is what it is intended to mean, it doesn’t matter if the people who use it believe themselves to be anti-racist. It is fundamentally and inherently reductionist. It is intended to be. It automatically sets white people up as special, as a category of their own – as the only people who get a category of their own. And it is no less racist when it is used today than it was then.

If “people of color” is only a insignificantly small variation on “colored people”, perhaps this suggests the question of: “What should I use instead?”

It isn’t about the words. Its about the meaning. You shouldn’t use anything to mean the same thing. There is no legitimate, non-racist circumstance where it is appropriate and necessary to consolidate all non-white people into a single homogeneous group whose sole commonality is not being European in origin. As a society, we do not move forward until we stop pretending “white” people are so special; before we stop thinking in those terms. 

Aside from the concept that people with European ancestry are somehow unique or special among humans, the other concept handed down to us from the racist and colonial past is that humans who look different in terms of their superficial physical characteristics are in some way fundamentally different types of people.

This manifests in something as simple and ubiquitous as the phrase “______ people” itself. As any toddler can tell you, there is really no such thing as white people or black people. 

No one is this color:   Nor is anyone this color: 

In fact, no one is remotely close to either of those extremes.

And there are a lot of inbetweens

But not only are we all agreeing to pretend that the difference is extreme and absolute (or, “black and white”!), the very idea that there is some fundamental difference is a fiction we all go along with as well. We consistently treat different “races” as though they were made up of different species. A person is supposedly either one race or another, and whichever they are marks an individual as a member of a group, a ‘type of person’ and supposedly tells you all about their language, culture, belief systems, life experiences, and way of relating to society. 

Our view of races as akin to species is visible in the differing levels of horror and outrage we have between the mass killing of civilians and “genocide”. Regardless of the numbers of dead involved, we put any alleged “genocide” in a special category over and above any other mass killing. Even if the same (or even greater) numbers of individual people are killed, survivors losing loved ones and being displaced, if it is perceived that the motivation of the aggressors is based in whole or in part on “race” (or some similar impersonal demographic characteristic) it is somehow viewed as different, as fundamentally worse. While from the victim’s point of view, it makes absolutely no difference at all why someone is trying to murder you, if a third party is looking at the situation and assumes you are a particular “type” of person, then indeed it looks like the difference between an animal being slaughtered (96% of Americans eat animals) and the extinction of an entire specie. If you are a cow or pig, it is not particularly comforting that there are others “of your kind” out there somewhere when it dawns on you that everyone on the conveyor belt ahead of you is being killed and there is no escape for you either. We can have no sympathy for that individual, but we still feel like there is something deeply wrong with causing an entire class of being to cease to exist. 

We likewise seem to view people of different races as fundamentally a different class of being.

The defining feature of a specie is not just that they look distinct to the eye (differing phenotypes), but that member’s of two closely related but separate species can not successfully breed with each other. A lion and a tiger or a horse and a mule can produce an offspring, but that offspring will always be sterile, because the parents are different species. A boarder collie and a poodle, a beagle and a bulldog, even a Chihuahua and a husky, can all create fertile offspring, because they are all the same specie.

This is an important and relevant point, because not only can humans with different external appearances breed in theory, they actually do, and have among most populations that meet and mix, for as long as those populations have had contact.

In reality, genetic studies show that nearly all of African Americans descended from American slavery have at least some percentage European ancestry.

-An aside: this is nearly always assumed to be almost if not entirely from rape of female slaves by slave owners. This assumption is invalidated by the genetic testing – while European fathers and African mothers is relatively more common, the pattern does not make up an overwhelming majority: for every 4 European male ancestors of African Americans is 1 European female. (“5% of ancestors of African Americans were European females and 19% were European males”).  There's a lot to unpack in our modern assumptions, but that will have to be for another time...

It was the racists of history that decided that the races represented concrete, non-overlapping boxes into which all individuals could be placed, and more recently the white supremacists of America who decided that anyone who, through genetic mixing, didn’t fit 100% into one box or another would be considered “colored”.

It was white supremacists who came up with the term “octoroon”, and the phrase “one drop of unpure blood”.

But today antiracists are as likely as anyone else to unquestioningly place a person who is in reality genetically mixed fully into the “black” box. Calling someone like former president Barak Obama, who has one African parent and one European American parent “Black” is a legacy of white supremacy.  But anti-racists don’t call this out, because in order for their entire framework to work, people have to be able to be placed into well defined categories. If you acknowledge that a person can vary in their percentage of genes in a smooth progression from 100% European to 0% European and any percentage in between – and that a majority of Americans are at neither extreme, how can you conclusively determine who is a “person of color” and who isn’t? If people exist who are equal parts African and European, how do you talk meaningfully about privilege or what the “_______” community thinks or wants or does – unless you simply designate anyone with mixed heritage as “of color”? …as long as they meet some arbitrary and undefined threshold. 

The fact that people of different “races” can successfully produce fertile offspring together, who in turn go on to have children of their own, completely undermines the racialized view of human society, so for the most part we simply pretend it isn’t true, and designate anyone who has at least 25% African DNA as “Black” and anyone with at least 80% European DNA as “White”. 

As summarized by Bryc Et Al in the American Journal of Human Genetics following a large study of American genetics:

"...even a small proportion of this large population [of European Americans] that carry non-European ancestry translates into millions of European Americans who carry African and Native American ancestry. Our results suggest that the early US history, beginning in the 17th century (around 12 generations ago), might have been a time of many population interactions resulting in admixture.

The genetic ancestry of present-day individuals recapitulates historical migration events, known settlement patterns, and admixture processes. Perhaps most importantly, however, our results reveal the impact of centuries of admixture in the US, thereby undermining the use of cultural labels that group individuals into discrete nonoverlapping bins in biomedical contexts “which cannot be adequately represented by arbitrary ‘race/color’ categories.”


The science / biology side of it is clear cut, but perhaps even more fundamental to our way of thinking about race than the assumption that “races” are concrete and definable - is the idea that communities and/or cultures are. Or should be. In fact, many of the same people who embrace and promote a racialzied view of society will readily insist that they don’t believe “race” is real in a biological sense. But speaking of a monolithic “Black community” is just another form of validating race as a real thing. It may take it out of the realm of biology, but it still leaves no room for half-breeds, and it still involves defining for an individual what sort of person they are, or they are supposed to be. It still involves making assumptions and generalizations about the experiences an individual has in life. Whether it’s a question of DNA, or just of speech, dress, customs and food preferences and habits, our way of thinking both assumes and depends on people being definable by type. 

Hence, if “Black” is a type, then going back to original two people being categorized differently by liberals and conservatives, it makes sense that the Harvard educated lawyer who has African ancestors and dark skin goes in the same category with those Black men who are in prison. It makes sense that if a person who committed some crime and got a disproportionate police response, next time it could be “any of us” – even if we don’t commit any crimes – because “black” is the one overarching category that defines us.

It’s the same view that categorizes a “hate crime” as something separate – and fundamentally worse – than any other personal crime. Just like civilian massacres vs genocide, as the victim of threat, assault, or murder, having it be directed at you due to a specific personal thing, because of a demographic characteristic, or completely at random, makes absolutely no difference what-so-ever. Regardless of the motivation of the murderer, the victim is equally dead, the family mourns equally as much. Survivors have just as much pain and just as much rehab and therapy to endure no matter why they were targeted. Its only to third-party outsiders, people unconnected to it, who have the luxury to decide that its somehow “better” to be targeted due to something personal about yourself or completely at random, than it is to be targeted because of your demographics. It’s a way of thinking that depends on believing (just as the assailant apparently does) that demographics define people – and its one which in America is so prevalent that it’s been codified into law.

In reality, the thing that “hate” is based on is not physical characteristics, but cultural ones. It is a manifestation of one of the most fundamental aspects of human social psychology – tribalism. As unfortunate as it is, applied in today’s populous and mobile world, it was so important to early humanity that it seems to have evolved in a deep part of the human mind way back when we were so few in numbers that aliens watching Earth could have missed us altogether. It manifests in all of us. True racism is an obvious manifestation of it, but it is everywhere, from nationalism to sports teams, high school “clicks”, neighborhood gossip, political partisanship, and family loyalty. The very feeling of love itself, especially for anyone other than a mate and one’s own offspring, is inseparable from tribalism.

The human instinct for tribalism falling along racial lines seems to make sense on the surface, however early human tribes would have only encountered other tribes that looked exactly like themselves 99.99% of the time. It should be no surprise then that physical appearance is not actually the only, or even primary, criteria humans use to categorize each other.

It isn’t “race” specifically that is at the root of prejudice (although that is one particularly convenient way for the mind to categorize people, and therefore a common way for it to manifest). Tribalism merely needs anyway to designate some people as “my people”, as “us”, and some other people as “other”. 

Discrimination is a manifestation of tribalism. That it is more fundamental than “racism” per say is apparent when looking at places and times with significant discrimination against some people who shared the same race as the dominate social group: the Hutus and Tutsis, Koreans in Japan, Irish in the Early US.  

On the other side, as soon as people have some other criteria to base groups on, race always diminishes or disappears as a factor in determining who is “us” and who is “them” – military units, religions, sports fans… allegiance to the Country, to the One True God, to Local Sports Team instantly marks you as friend, any dissent as enemy, perhaps even as a fundamentally immoral person.

If you look at groups of people who’ve endured discrimination, the most common characteristic is separatism. When you have a group which migrates to a new community, but (whether by choice or not) does not assimilate – they maintain their own language, music, diet, holidays, and most important of all, have rules (whether explicit or implicit) about not marrying people from the surrounding culture, you have a group which will be considered “other” by those around them. Essentially “When in Rome, do the same things you have always done”. (My own Ashkenazi ancestors – I’m looking at you…) 

Those times where a previously rejected group is accepted into the mainstream, it involved a full integration, and a re-prioritizing of identity, of current culture over genetic legacy. 

Racists, colonialists, slave holders, white supremacists, and everyone who benefited from the status quo have understood this, intuitively if not explicitly, and so a primary tactic has always been to keep people of different races both physically separate and also to emphasize and enhance any cultural differences as much as possible.

From the stand point of trying to legitimize race as a way to maintain privilege this totally makes sense. 

Unfortunately for us all, they were so successful in making society believe that this is the “natural” and inevitable way of life, that race and culture are intrinsically linked, that we have all internalized it. So much so, in fact, that the most outspoken anti-racists now have separation as one of their most highly pushed agendas.

Of course they don’t call it that.

They don’t call it “separate but equal”.

Because that phrase itself is tied to an obviously racist past, an explicit attempt to keep races separate. Of course, the “but equal” part was always meant to acknowledge the humanity of “colored” people, to disavow discrimination and unfair treatment. The whole point was that all humans are valid and important and equally deserving – its just that white people should be with white people and black people should be with black people and miscellaneous other with their own kind. Back then we saw through that as a thinly veiled way to protect privilege and maintain race based social dominance.

Today’s advocates of modern “separate but equal” are largely “woke” people, black and white (and ‘other’), who vocally oppose privilege and race based social dominance.

When explicit segregation became illegal, more subtle ways of keeping it intact developed, like redlining. When Black people began moving into inner cities, “white flight” created suburbs, while leaving once vibrant city centers with less investment, and making “inner city” almost synonymous with “ghetto”. Yet today, as some progressive people of European ancestry are willing to move into the places their grandparents fled, they are decried as “gentrifiers” – even in cities with rent control, where forced displacement due to rent increases is not a threat. The statistical evidence consistently shows that rent stabilization / just cause for eviction laws do work, and existing residents do not leave so called “gentrifying” areas any more than the constant baseline of people moving from place to place. The real objection behind white people moving to black neighborhoods is that black neighborhoods are supposed to be reserved for colored people only. In practice, the fact that it is the reverse of redlining doesn’t make it any different. The net effect is maintaining the status quo of segregation.

Even when someone claims to value living in a “diverse” area, what that tends to mean in practice is that on a census count, there are some threshold of minorities within city lines. It means one may drive past people who look differently on a regular basis. It doesn’t necessarily mean living next door to people who look different, and that there are people who look different from either of you across the street, and people who look different from all 3 of you around the corner. In many of the most “diverse” cities in the nation people are in practice just as segregated as any city in the Jim Crow south.

There has always been some level of separate “black” media, and the trend has been to expand that separation, TV shows, channels, magazines, movies. America has always been a “melting pot”, and cultures everywhere in the world, for all of time, have learned from other cultures when they meet, and blended, adapted, and grown better as new ideas are introduced. The term “cultural appropriation” used have a connotation of someone commercializing and/or making fun of a culture of which they had no part, nothing to do with. Today it can just mean being part of a culture which doesn’t match one’s skin tone. It means “stay in your lane”, which essentially means “black people should do black people things and white people should do white people things” – again, that your physical characteristics define what kind of person you are supposed to be.

There’s been a trend of people of European origin opting out of conversations around race if there are any colored people speaking. While this may be done with the best of intentions, the “stay in your lane” mentality is in effect another form of promoting segregation. Those same people have opinions, and have conversations about the topic. They just don’t have them in front of anyone except other white people. So now even our conversations about race itself are “separate but equal”! There are even some groups organized with the explicit intent of promoting anti-racism who go so far as to literally segregate people based on skin color, in a horribly ironic attempt to ensure that white people don't take over meetings.

Any attempt to say “let them have their own thing”, whether its music or neighborhoods or recreational or political groups is a form of saying the races should be kept separate. This desire for well-defined lines of what who can and can’t do what, who can live where, designated media and neighborhoods, separate conversations and clubs, it all amounts to a promotion of “separate but equal”. A policy which, if you accept the premise that people of African, European, Asian and (aboriginal) American origin are fundamentally different people from each other, does at least seem logical on the surface. 


1) that premise is flawed: culture comes from ones environment, not from DNA,


2) separate but equal is never actually equal in practice, which is the whole reason it was struck down by the courts in the first place.

Even if everyone agreed to do everything possible to make things equal things would still never be equal, because people today of different backgrounds aren’t starting from the same point. If everyone has a level playing field, but some people have a huge headstart, those people are still always going to win.

Some people have recognized that leveling the playing field doesn’t do enough if some people have a huge headstart, however the solutions that have been tried so far consist of only two types: give the most disadvantaged a small boost, or give the luckiest and most privileged few who happen to share demographic characteristics with disadvantaged people a huge boost. 

We can all agree that the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow set up conditions where African American families, on average, are starting out with less wealth and education than European American families have, on average.

So the “race” to wealth, by race, in America, starts out with people not all lined up on the same starting line:

Some white people start out poor, some start out excessively wealthy, and most are somewhere in the middle. A few black people start out wealthy, a disproportionate amount start out poor, and most are in the middle, although most of the middle is further back than the white middle.

In order to try to correct this imbalance our major programs have been welfare and affirmative action. The former applies only to those people way in the very back, and the latter applies mostly to the people who are already in the middle – the jobs and colleges actively recruiting black people still have minimum standards, and it’s the highest performing black people who are most likely to be eligible for those positions.

So the effect of these two things is essentially like this:

Neither of these do much of anything to help the majority in the middle catch up.

These days the focus is not even on those types of solutions (which, as ineffective as they are, are still better than nothing), but has shifted almost entirely to the effect of "racist police"; which - at best - has the potential to help prevent a subset of the group at the far left end to not be pushed backward even farther. The majority of black people never go to prison, and the majority are never assaulted by police, so no amount of addressing those issues will ever do anything to even begin to close the gap. Those issues are in fact symptoms, not causes, of the wealth gap. Poverty leads to crime, and crime leads to interactions with police which in turn leads to incarceration rates. Deal with the root issue, and you automatically deal with all of them.

The left’s single-minded obsession with racism per say is leading to all sorts of similar situations where cause and effect are reversed, which lead to nonsensical “solutions” to the perceived problems. For example, in a recent local election it was proposed that politicians who run for district races show some form of evidence that they actually live in the area they want to represent. This was decried as racist.
 The reasoning was that disproportionately more black people rent (vs own) relative to white people, and that procuring a copy of a deed is easier than getting a copy of a lease (why that would be so was never addressed…).
Just this morning I received an email claiming explicitly that “austerity is racist”. Austerity is a set of political-economic policies that aim to reduce government budget deficits through spending cuts, tax increases, or a combination of both. The assumption is presumably that some austerity measures may include reducing aid to poor people, and black people are disproportionately poor - therefore the policy will affect them negatively, and therefore it is racist.
 In both of these examples, the actual issue is poverty. But instead of addressing that disparity, the reaction takes it for granted that “black” and “poor” are interchangeable, and seeks merely to offer token support to the poor; while assuming that they are, always have been, and always must be, poor. It takes black poverty as a given. But this, quite obviously, is itself a racist position! Nothing comes closer to implying that there is something intrinsic to race that causes the current outcomes without saying it than to give up on changing the economic status quo and instead focus on addressing the secondary effects caused by it.

Based on the priorities, focus, and objections of the left, it would seem that the universal understanding that the reason for the unequal social positions of different demographic groups is due to the effects of racist white people doing things directly to individual people for the express purpose of holding them back.

(The anti-racist worldview)


This view amounts to what blogger Tim Urban of “Wait But Why” refers to as “Political DisneyWorld” – society can be summed up the way it is in a Disney movie, with villains who are clearly and incurably evil, helpless victims of the villains dastardly plans, and heroes who are always pure good. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the left anti-racists themselves are the “heroes” who are selflessly coming to the aid of the poor colored people who are downtrodden by the top-hat wearing thin curly mustache white supremacists.

In the real world, society is a bit more complicated.

The closest I can come to a summary looks like this:

(My – (still oversimplified) - world view)

The most notable feature of this more in-depth version is that, once the cycle gets started, it is self-perpetuating. 

The first step, slavery, which we all agree is what got all this mess started in the first place, ended long before anyone alive today. The legal and formal forms of oppression that existed after has also ended before (almost) everyone alive today. In the first worldview, that only leaves dramatic anecdotes and conveniently subtle and unproveable trends to explain all disparities, and it implies that if people with power just stopped being racist, all inequality would disappear over night. But a more honest look at the differences in, for example, crime rates, by demographic reveals that would not be enough.

Another notable feature is that the message being perpetuated by anti-racists actually contributes to the cycle directly (by enhancing the size of the purple box and it’s accompanying arrow*).  They also contribute to the cycle by fighting for the lower two points in the brown box*.

While at this point I’m still focused on pointing out problems with the solutions currently on the table, here at last it’s at least starting to point at a possible direction for real solutions.

And on that note; the next post will be: My Checklist for How to Actually be a Good Ally

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you ask a question, I will answer it.

NEW: Blogger finally put in a system to be notified of responses to your comments! Just check the box to the right, below, before you hit "publish"