In an effort to keep balanced, I offer this article in the Wall Street Journal by Ward Connerly to give voice to the various perspective and sides on the issues of race and justice.
Ward Connerly is the former University of California Regent and chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute, a national non-profit organization in opposition to racial and gender preferences.
I’m not so sure we can conclusively translate the statements made to say, “Mr. Obama supports race preferences.” I would caution us on that kind of extrapolation without a stronger understanding of the whole of Obama’s thinking and reasoning, and not just take Connerly’s word for it. I concur that if the policies and initiatives that he promotes or opposes continue to perpetuate a value for preferential treatments, we are perhaps not heading in the right direction regarding race relations in this country. That being said, I do want to at least validate Connerly’s interpretation, as he is much more schooled in this area than I. So, I cautiously withhold strong judgments regarding these issues, again, listening carefully to each side.
THE PSYCHOSIS OF RACE AND HUMANITY IN AMERICAN CULTURE
What I still cannot help but think, and even believe, is that these kinds of initiatives (such as Affirmative Action) have arisen out of a deeply damaged past. That which has been created in this country regarding race is something deeply disturbing and highly complex. Addressing it by simply saying, “it’s time to move on,” I think misses a big psychological phenomena that is plaguing American blacks (especially), and perhaps other races.
I know not of what I speak, as I have not done extensive research. I’m in the midst of ministering with (and to) many African-Americans (and if you’ve read previous posts on race on this blog, I am at a very diverse congregation). And I’m attempting to become more educated each day. So, as I listen, the fight between the races is disturbingly dissonant. What I mean by that is that many argue among academic lines (initiatives, legislation, etc.) while the other voices argue along personal and psychological lines (thinking, perceptions, etc.). And, I would include a third category that suggests many have simply lost their voice.
Take for example the Billy Cosby controversy (MSNBC’s article, and his speech at the NAACP). It was met with a strident resistence. He was even called a “race traitor.” Why is it that someone, even, quote, “on the inside,” of the injustice/race issue, was ostracised by many in his community for his approach towards improving his racial community in this country? Why was Cosby, no doubt a victim of such racism, as well as what many would call a “success” out of such realities, called out like others as an “Uncle Tom?” (book here)
This post could get long. At this point, I simply am investigating something deeper in the psychology of this issue, both on the white side and the black side that has caused a unique kind of racial tension, different than what we see in other parts of the world. My theory thus far takes into account
- the specific treatment of blacks in American history
- the mix of the “American dream” and other distinctly American values such as “the pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
- second to that, the value of “rights” in America that
- the distinctly consumeristic, Westernly driven culture of individualism.
- the reality that many in this country do “make it.”
I guess I’m suggesting that all of this put together (and others that I’m still discovering) creates a potent racial cocktail that is making the entire country a bit tipsy with this issue, and few are able to speak to it without that disturbing dissonance.