Racism 415

Racial “color-blindness” was tried for decades in America between the end of the Jim Crow laws and the election of Barack Obama. He ended it. The idea of the ethnic “melting-pot” – persons of any national origin becoming American nationals so citizens of the United States would be bound together by law (ius) not territorial nativity (rus) – which did work quite well for about two hundred years, was repudiated along with “color-blindness”.

Bruce Thornton wrote in the Hoover Digest in 2012:

The melting pot metaphor arose in the eighteenth century …  and it described the fusion of various religious sects, nationalities, and ethnic groups into one distinct people: E pluribus unum. …

The image of the melting pot drew its strength from the idea of unity fostered by beliefs and ideals—not race, blood, or sect.

This image, then, communicated the historically exceptional notion of American identity as one formed not by the accidents of blood, sect, or race, but by the unifying beliefs and political ideals enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution: the notion of individual, inalienable human rights that transcend group identity.

If some custom, value, or belief from the old country conflicted with those core American values, then the old way had to be modified or discarded if the immigrant wanted to participate fully in American social, economic, and political life. The immigrant had to adjust. No one expected the majority culture to modify its values to accommodate the immigrant

Logically, the change has meant a person’s race matters; it is to be taken into account when his/her candidacy for everything from school to job to advancement is considered by authorities. Rus matters more than ius after all. And some races are more worthy than others.

So is separation of races and ethnicities the best way to prevent inter-race conflict? If so, are the races to be treated as “separate but equal”, or are some races and ethnicities really more worthy than others?

Yes, goes the argument, some races and ethnicities need to be recompensed for past injury inflicted by other races and ethnicities, so those who have been oppressed must be favored over those who oppressed them. That is “social justice”.

Some argue that racism is natural. Races, nations, tribes, as such, are antipathetic to each other and presumably always will be.

A counter-argument to that is: so is nakedness natural. People will always be born naked, but that’s no reason not to cover ourselves. The nakedness cannot be changed, it can only be remedied. And is, easily enough.

Ah, but racism is much more difficult, in fact impossible, to remedy.

This question arises: Is it possible that even if racism is natural and common in individuals, it is not standard? As a sense of humor is natural and common, but not standard like a heart and a head. It is not essential to life.

Even if it is not standard, comes the reply, it is far more common than a sense of humor. Too common to be eliminated.

And regrettably that may be true.

If racial/national/tribal antipathy cannot be eliminated among the citizens of the United States, it cannot be eliminated anywhere.

It clearly cannot be eliminated in the United States.

It clearly cannot be eliminated.

If there is no racial-national-tribal discrimination against individuals by law, then everything that can and must be done about it has been done. In America it has been done. And yet racism is still with us.

Scolding people about being racist will make no difference. Privileging a minority with “affirmative action” or grants of unearned money will make no difference.

Racism cannot be compensated or educated out of existence. It cannot be reasoned away. It cannot be legislated, compelled, punished, “brain-washed” or habituated out of existence.

If it is natural, the best that can reasonably be hoped for is that most of us will make it ineffective with our own behavior.

Posted under Race by Jillian Becker on Sunday, August 13, 2023

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