My last post dealt with the column Newark teen recognized for tackling race issues by the New Jersey Star-Ledger’s Barry Carter. Carter describes the work of a black student at Delbarton, a private NJ high school, to foster better race relations at the school through his “Diversity Among Peers” initiative, for which he won the Princeton Prize in Race Relations. As a result of his efforts, the student, Shawn Ohazuruike, had just received the Princeton Prize in Race Relations. I noted that, despite his good intentions, Shawn’s cloaking of his initiative in the “diversity” premise reinforces the racist foundation of racial disharmony, thus undermining his goal.
One correspondent, urbanguru—whom I extensively engaged on the Star-Ledger website (see my last post)—blamed America’s Founding Fathers for racial problems, labeling them “our racialized society”:
Though as an individual [many whites] may not believe that they are racist or bigoted and most aren't ,but our racialized society -which t the founding fathers created and many ,many successive generations of whites upheld and sustained is the reason why we still need to work toward racial respect and inclusion.
I left this reply to urbanguru, edited and expanded for clarity:
“. . . our racialized society -which t the founding fathers created . . .” (sic)
This couldn’t be more wrong.
The principles of the Founding Fathers were precisely opposite of a racialized—i.e., tribalized; i.e., collectivized—society. The Declaration of Independence, the philosophic blueprint for America and the “conscience of the Constitution,” lays out the basis for an individualist, i.e., just, society—that all men are created equal, possessing unalienable individual rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
True, the Declaration’s principles were not fully implemented at the Founding. Many people were left out—blacks, women. This is not surprising, given the Founders’ radicalism. Racialism has been embedded throughout human history. Major change takes time. It takes a lot of time and a lot of hard work for new ideas to spread. But you have to start somewhere, and the Founders did. Remember that the principles of the Declaration formed the basis for the abolitionist movement, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, the Women’s Suffrage movement, and the 20th Century Civil Rights movement—Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech was firmly rooted in the Founder's vision, as he quoted extensively from the Declaration of Independence, which he referred to as “magnificent words”—and, more recently, the marriage equality movement. The Founding Fathers are not the cause of “our racialized society.” To the extent we still have one, they are the solution to it.
Urbanguru goes on to say:
FYI, I have three college degrees(and i'm an expert on economic and community development , but as an African American male whites seethe color of my skin first,and though i'm often right about subjects pertaining to political-economy, urban economics, business and finance- whites still struggle to accept my intelligence or they say things like "you are very articulate" translation you speak well for a black guy sad but true. (sic)
This is exactly my point. “Diversity” ideology encourages people to “see the color of my skin first.” Why would a white person think “you speak well for a black guy” unless his earlier encounter with a black person was with an inarticulate black person, leading to his conclusion that all black people are inarticulate?
Contrary to urbanguru, a racialized society is precisely the consequence of the diversity movement.
When viewpoints are tied to race, the logical next step is to conclude that one person’s opinion or manner of speaking is indicative of that person’s entire race or nationality. Therefore, If I disagree, I’d have to assume that I disagree with the entire racial group to which the person I disagree with belongs, even though I personally know few within his group. And if I have fundamental differences of opinion on what I believe and value with one person, I’d have to conclude that I have nothing in common with any member of that person’s entire racial group. So, why bother with any of them? They can’t help it. Their viewpoints are in their genes and in their blood. Why bother? Ascribing the viewpoint or idea of a single individual to an entire group linked only by race or national origin is the very essence of racism. That’s what diversity encourages, by urging us to mingle with people of different races simply to get “their” viewpoint—the hispanic or black or white or Asian viewpoints.
As Peter Schwartz observes in his prescient piece The Racism of “Diversity”:
It is now widely accepted that “diversity” is an appropriate goal for society. But what does this dictum actually mean? Racial integration is a valid objective, but that is something very different from what the advocates of “diversity” seek. According to its proponents, we need “diversity” in order to be exposed to new perspectives on life. We supposedly gain “enrichment from the differences in viewpoint of minorities,” as the MIT Faculty Newsletter puts it. “It is the only way to prepare students to live and work effectively in our diverse democracy and in the global economy,” says the president of the University of Michigan. Minorities should be given preferential treatment, the university’s vice president says, because “learning in a diverse environment benefits all students, minority and majority alike.”
These circumlocutions translate simply into this: one’s race determines the content of one’s mind. They imply that people have worthwhile views to express because of their ethnicity, and that “diversity” enables us to encounter “black ideas,” “Hispanic ideas,” etc. What could be more repulsively racist than that? This is exactly the premise held by the South’s slave-owners and by the Nazis’ Storm Troopers. They too believed that an individual’s thoughts and actions are determined by his racial heritage.
Any individual’s “perspectives on life” are his and his alone. They should not be automatically ascribed to him because of his race, nationality, or ethnicity. That’s grossly unfair to all other members of his group. But that’s what the diversity movement demands. That’s why we should fight tooth and nail against the diversity movement.
"I Have a Dream" -- Speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King at the "March on Washington," 1963.
Martin Luther King Should be Remembered for his Ideals, Not His Politics