Jump to content

Our Racial Blindspot


Recommended Posts

We are a nation built on individualism and liberty with a healthy dose of skepticism towards government intervention. All this fuels a sense of national greatness that is tempered by our history of slavery and racial segregation. The problem of race has always been a paradox that runs counter to our ideals and real life interactions. Blacks never had the same rights or opportunities to make the most of American life and despite significant progress since the 1960s too many blacks still lag behind.

Too many people overestimate the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on racial discrimination. They do not consider the problem posed by persistent subtle racism in everything from getting a loan to the criminal justice system to employment. More importantly no one wants to admit how racial and economic inequality are closely linked. Civil rights and the Great Society were not designed to adequately deal with the problem. At the same time its comfortable and familiar to blame pathological behavior among low income blacks rather than society for racial inequality. You don't have to pay low wage black workers more money if you can say dysfunctional blacks won't work and just want welfare. Its easy to say blacks lack a strong work ethic or desire for education. However no one wants to question economic development policies or capital mobility that send good paying jobs to mostly white suburbs or foreign countries. Low income blacks can't afford to move to those suburbs and all working people regardless of race get screwed when jobs go abroad. Mind you none of this means we should dismiss or downplay certain things blacks do to themselves. However the problem of race exacerbated by class remains a blind spot. It is something we can't see and do not want to.

This is not a simple matter of left versus right either. As a liberal I think conservatives and libertarians by ideological nature cannot move us forward because they underestimate racism and oppose government efforts to address it. Most on the political right are not racist but they can't make things better. Yet I still think we have to talk them about race because liberalism at its best is willing to question and rethink its positions and assumptions in relation to our opponents. Contrary to popular belief liberals and the left have been increasingly less vocal about racism and solutions to the problem. While some activists, thinkers, and a few pundits have tried to deal with racial inequality things are different in the political arena. The center left of the Democratic Party has done little beyond election time rhetoric or half hearted defenses of affirmative action to make racial equality an issue. Bill Clinton did not take bold or imaginative action to cut black poverty or economic under- development in urban areas. While economic growth lowered black unemployment and welfare reform cut poverty. Those gains were lost in the following years. Furthermore Barack Obama is not much better, and I fear he sides with rightwing conservatives by putting too much emphasis on black shortcomings while not looking at racism or economic inequality. My own hesitancy to deal with race as a proud, determined, black, liberal Democrat is even more troubling. That does not mean I am writing for catharsis. I firmly believe racism and economic inequality are real problems that need to be solved. Yes, I think blacks do things to complicate the problem. No, you can't let society off the hook. However I am still not sure why I hesitate to address the matter. Maybe its because we liberals and leftists want to bring whites and blacks together around a common reform agenda, and race can make this difficult.

One thing is certain. Our society has a growing number of aged white people while younger nonwhites are becoming a majority. Our economic and social wellbeing depend on these young people not being hindered or deprived from developing into good workers and strong citizens. We need to make real progress towards freedom and equality beyond racism. Whatever the disagreements between blacks and whites left and right the problems are real and doing nothing is not an option.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are a nation built on individualism and liberty with a healthy dose of skepticism towards government intervention. All this fuels a sense of national greatness that is tempered by our history of slavery and racial segregation. The problem of race has always been a paradox that runs counter to our ideals and real life interactions. Blacks never had the same rights or opportunities to make the most of American life and despite significant progress since the 1960s too many blacks still lag behind.

 

Too many people overestimate the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on racial discrimination. They do not consider the problem posed by persistent subtle racism in everything from getting a loan to the criminal justice system to employment. More importantly no one wants to admit how racial and economic inequality are closely linked. Civil rights and the Great Society were not designed to adequately deal with the problem. At the same time its comfortable and familiar to blame pathological behavior among low income blacks rather than society for racial inequality. You don't have to pay low wage black workers more money if you can say dysfunctional blacks won't work and just want welfare. Its easy to say blacks lack a strong work ethic or desire for education. However no one wants to question economic development policies or capital mobility that send good paying jobs to mostly white suburbs or foreign countries. Low income blacks can't afford to move to those suburbs and all working people regardless of race get screwed when jobs go abroad. Mind you none of this means we should dismiss or downplay certain things blacks do to themselves. However the problem of race exacerbated by class remains a blind spot. It is something we can't see and do not want to.

 

This is not a simple matter of left versus right either. As a liberal I think conservatives and libertarians by ideological nature cannot move us forward because they underestimate racism and oppose government efforts to address it. Most on the political right are not racist but they can't make things better. Yet I still think we have to talk them about race because liberalism at its best is willing to question and rethink its positions and assumptions in relation to our opponents. Contrary to popular belief liberals and the left have been increasingly less vocal about racism and solutions to the problem. While some activists, thinkers, and a few pundits have tried to deal with racial inequality things are different in the political arena. The center left of the Democratic Party has done little beyond election time rhetoric or half hearted defenses of affirmative action to make racial equality an issue. Bill Clinton did not take bold or imaginative action to cut black poverty or economic under- development in urban areas. While economic growth lowered black unemployment and welfare reform cut poverty. Those gains were lost in the following years. Furthermore Barack Obama is not much better, and I fear he sides with rightwing conservatives by putting too much emphasis on black shortcomings while not looking at racism or economic inequality. My own hesitancy to deal with race as a proud, determined, black, liberal Democrat is even more troubling. That does not mean I am writing for catharsis. I firmly believe racism and economic inequality are real problems that need to be solved. Yes, I think blacks do things to complicate the problem. No, you can't let society off the hook. However I am still not sure why I hesitate to address the matter. Maybe its because we liberals and leftists want to bring whites and blacks together around a common reform agenda, and race can make this difficult.

 

One thing is certain. Our society has a growing number of aged white people while younger nonwhites are becoming a majority. Our economic and social wellbeing depend on these young people not being hindered or deprived from developing into good workers and strong citizens. We need to make real progress towards freedom and equality beyond racism. Whatever the disagreements between blacks and whites left and right the problems are real and doing nothing is not an option.

......pathological behavior that one perpetrates is society's fault?..... you're not making sense here....

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

......pathological behavior that one perpetrates is society's fault?..... you're not making sense here....

 

I am not sure how you draw that conclusion from what I wrote. I read it again myself and did not see anything like that in the text. I think blacks do things in certain cases that make it hard on themselves but I make societal arguments apart from that. This is why I say yes blacks do things that complicate the situation, however just because that happens does not absolve society of its role ( No, you can't let society off the hook). Blacks are not perfect but they do not have to be for their to be a legitimate claim against societal injustice. While you may disagree I hope this puts things in a clearer perspective. Thank You for responding.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are a nation built on individualism and liberty with a healthy dose of skepticism towards government intervention. All this fuels a sense of national greatness that is tempered by our history of slavery and racial segregation. The problem of race has always been a paradox that runs counter to our ideals and real life interactions. Blacks never had the same rights or opportunities to make the most of American life and despite significant progress since the 1960s too many blacks still lag behind.

 

Too many people overestimate the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on racial discrimination. They do not consider the problem posed by persistent subtle racism in everything from getting a loan to the criminal justice system to employment. More importantly no one wants to admit how racial and economic inequality are closely linked. Civil rights and the Great Society were not designed to adequately deal with the problem. At the same time its comfortable and familiar to blame pathological behavior among low income blacks rather than society for racial inequality. You don't have to pay low wage black workers more money if you can say dysfunctional blacks won't work and just want welfare. Its easy to say blacks lack a strong work ethic or desire for education. However no one wants to question economic development policies or capital mobility that send good paying jobs to mostly white suburbs or foreign countries. Low income blacks can't afford to move to those suburbs and all working people regardless of race get screwed when jobs go abroad. Mind you none of this means we should dismiss or downplay certain things blacks do to themselves. However the problem of race exacerbated by class remains a blind spot. It is something we can't see and do not want to.

 

This is not a simple matter of left versus right either. As a liberal I think conservatives and libertarians by ideological nature cannot move us forward because they underestimate racism and oppose government efforts to address it. Most on the political right are not racist but they can't make things better. Yet I still think we have to talk them about race because liberalism at its best is willing to question and rethink its positions and assumptions in relation to our opponents. Contrary to popular belief liberals and the left have been increasingly less vocal about racism and solutions to the problem. While some activists, thinkers, and a few pundits have tried to deal with racial inequality things are different in the political arena. The center left of the Democratic Party has done little beyond election time rhetoric or half hearted defenses of affirmative action to make racial equality an issue. Bill Clinton did not take bold or imaginative action to cut black poverty or economic under- development in urban areas. While economic growth lowered black unemployment and welfare reform cut poverty. Those gains were lost in the following years. Furthermore Barack Obama is not much better, and I fear he sides with rightwing conservatives by putting too much emphasis on black shortcomings while not looking at racism or economic inequality. My own hesitancy to deal with race as a proud, determined, black, liberal Democrat is even more troubling. That does not mean I am writing for catharsis. I firmly believe racism and economic inequality are real problems that need to be solved. Yes, I think blacks do things to complicate the problem. No, you can't let society off the hook. However I am still not sure why I hesitate to address the matter. Maybe its because we liberals and leftists want to bring whites and blacks together around a common reform agenda, and race can make this difficult.

 

One thing is certain. Our society has a growing number of aged white people while younger nonwhites are becoming a majority. Our economic and social wellbeing depend on these young people not being hindered or deprived from developing into good workers and strong citizens. We need to make real progress towards freedom and equality beyond racism. Whatever the disagreements between blacks and whites left and right the problems are real and doing nothing is not an option.

So what jobs are exclusive for whites?

 

Wealth is exclusive for whites?

 

What do you want to happen? Should wealthy white Americans give their wealth to black America?

 

 

Asians do very well here, Arabs do extremely well, we have both legal and illegal migrant workers....

 

 

We have a black president which you did say does nothing of what your op... is reffering to.

 

You know what it is..

 

Black America has been led to belive their owed something...

 

 

 

 

Btw...

 

Blacks aren't the only poor people .. poverty dosent discimnate ...

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So what jobs are exclusive for whites?

 

Wealth is exclusive for whites?

 

What do you want to happen? Should wealthy white Americans give their wealth to black America?

 

 

Asians do very well here, Arabs do extremely well, we have both legal and illegal migrant workers....

 

 

We have a black president which you did say does nothing of what your op... is reffering to.

 

You know what it is..

 

Black America has been led to belive their owed something...

 

 

 

 

Btw...

 

Blacks aren't the only poor people .. poverty dosent discimnate ...

 

 

1. Employment bias is still a problem especially in urban areas.

 

2. In this case I'm not talking about progressive taxation but development policies are important. Think about where do new businesses, commercial corridors, or factories spring up ? How do public monies get spent on ? Do we make economic development decisions with low income black communities in mind ? I would argue that we do not. This means blacks are more likely to be poor and underemployed. They are stuck in low wage jobs. If we change these things the gap could be narrowed.

 

3. There are very successful blacks so I do not think we need to emulate other ethnic groups to the extent that is an issue.

 

4. If conservative white people think they are entitled to more liberty through lower taxes and less government then blacks are entitled to more liberty through policies that lessen racial discrimination.

 

You conservatives whites and blacks need to look at the problems faced by blacks and ask yourself if a conservative agenda can solve the problems ? To dismiss blacks as problematic and leave them alone is not a solution.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...