Stuff White People Americans Do

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14 Responses

  1. Sarah S. says:

    Ironic. It seems that the real ‘reinvention’ of our generation could be to grapple together with these issues, regardless of race, to ensure social justice…as opposed to wishing them away and then getting angry when they still linger.Report

  2. Mark says:

    I have no problem acknowledging institutionalized racism: I’m part aboriginal; a secular Jew; a French-Canadian whose family spoke only English at home; an American born in Canada; and a Canadian living in America. All of those groups are hated by a lot of different people. But if you just look at me, I’m white and male, and I face none of the discrimination that I would have 50 or 100 years ago, or even the discrimination I would face today if I was wholly of one of those groups and not an amalgam.

    It surprises me when I hear that there are white people in this country who can’t even acknowledge that people of color are wronged today by our society.Report

  3. trizzlor says:

    Why not re-frame Affirmative Action as adjustment for inequalities that exist now rather than as reparations for past injustices. I’m a white person who has no ties to slavery (being a naturalized citizen) but I’ve certainly benefited indirectly from the prejudice that currently exists against minorities and the continuing cycle of poverty in minority communities: my parents had an easier time landing jobs, I went to suburban schools that better prepared me for college entrance exams, etc. Within this framework, I have no problem losing a hypothetical university spot to a minority candidate with similar grades because he very likely did not have the benefits that I did and worked harder to achieve the same successes.

    I think it’s important to get away from the emotionally charged “social justice” definition for this kind policy and focus on the fact that this it is a very real way of fairly rewarding hard work.Report

    • Lev in reply to trizzlor says:

      I think you mean historical justice instead of social justice. Historical justice would be saying that we treated the slaves badly so we should help their ancestors. Social justice would basically comprise your argument. If this is what you intended to mean, then I agree.Report

      • trizzlor in reply to Lev says:

        Certainly. Though both the referenced post and Jamelle’s addendum seems to discuss “social justice” precisely as a debt we owe to the past. Rather, my proposal is not at odds with American reinvention – it says we’ve reinvited ourselves, now let’s rid us of the lingering inequality.Report

  4. historystudent says:

    While I respect the concerns some have (especially through personal experience) regarding racism, as a conservative American I think our country has other issues which ought to receive priority. How our health care system may be affected by Congress, for example. The fact our national deficit and future entitlement payment obligations are out of this world. The unemployment numbers. The recurrent immigration “reform” proposals. The question of to what degree the federal government should intrude on the private sector. Taxation changes. The exit strategy (will there be one?) for Afghanistan. The fact that many of the troops who are in Iraq and Afghanistan now (or will be) on their FIFTH tour. I could go on but see no need.

    The conservatives with whom I associate aren’t interested in race baiting. Neither are they overly interested in analyzing minutely much about race at all, because 1) they think the “liberals” do enough of that hand wringing for everyone in America and 2) they hold to the ideal that America can be color-blind enough so that history can be made and WAS made by electing a president of color.

    Whether that president now inspires “buyer’s remorse” is another subject….

    My point is that conservatives who agonize over whether other conservatives (or they themselves) are misusing race in some fashion or are concentrating on it too much are allowing themselves to be distracted from more pressing issues. It does little good to clothe ourselves in sack cloth and ashes (or whatever) and try to out-liberal the liberals on questions of race. Political labels aside, any decent, thinking person — no matter their political affiliations — ought to know that every human being has dignity and behavior ought to flow from that accordingly. But since we don’t live in an ideal world, obviously we are going to have ongoing tensions from various sides. That’s reality, that’s life, but it need not be on the front burner in conservative discourse, especially when, as in some of what I’ve read on this site, it appears to accomplish really only one thing: to divide conservatives. Again, I’d expect that from liberals — they rejoice in our separatisms — but if we are going to save our republic, we conservatives have got to stop doing the opponents’ work for them.

    Our job is to find consensus among ourselves as we never have before. It may be virtually impossible to unify hawk neocons and dove paleocons on geopolitics and the function of the military. And there are other diametrically opposed views under the broad “conservative” umbrella. But I do think that a stronger conservative base can be built of people who are convinced now that our government is out of control spending-wise, to name just one nexus of potential consensus. So let’s quit gnashing our teeth (and baring them at one and other) and find our points of agreement.Report

    • trizzlor in reply to historystudent says:

      Republicans have steadily lost the fastest growing voting block in minorities (particularly Latinos). To put make the point clear – if only the demographics had been as they were in 2004, McCain would have beaten Obama. In fact, some estimates even have a hypothetical Dukakis win under the current numbers.

      Maybe the reason is that Republicans treat racism as some kind of anachronism that only liberals should waste their time worrying about.Report

      • historystudent in reply to trizzlor says:

        Latinos and other minorities tend to favor Democrats because Demo policies reflect what they want. Does that mean that Republicans should want to sidle closer to Democrat values? I think not. But apparently many top-level Republicans do, and that is one of the reasons that Republicans are not only losing minorities (why join the pale imitation when one can have the “real” thing?) but also conservatives who are sick and tired of a party that sells out values for the hope of new votes. If the Republican party cannot be the party of conservative values, then it will also lose the support of those of us it has sold out. The Republican party needs to decide what it wants to be and whom it intends and expects to represent.

        A Republican party that does not exercise fiduciary responsibility, uphold the Constitution, support limited government, etc. is not of much use to conservatives. The U.S. must have new blood in Washington D.C. — people who are brave enough to stop the unsustainable spending and the constantly expanding entitlements. If they are Republican, good. If not, so be it.Report

        • trizzlor in reply to historystudent says:

          Latinos and other minorities are fast becoming the majority of voting Americans and the GOP ignores them at its own peril. Personally, I don’t think it’s difficult to sell the idea of strong family/community values or self-reliance through limited government to minorities. It starts with fairly simple steps alluded to in this thread – like not calling the first latina SC Justice an “affirmative-action pick” – these are things that can only drive away voters, but the GOP routinely engages in because they think, like you, that minority votes are a lost cause … or even a weakness.

          Of course, if you think there is something inherent about minorities that makes them impossible to woo (as opposed to the many poor white demographics that vote R), then good luck to ya.Report

  5. greginak says:

    “Again, I’d expect that from liberals — they rejoice in our separatisms — but if we are going to save our republic, we conservatives have got to stop doing the opponents’ work for them.”

    Ahh yeah you caught. the entire discussion of race is just about dividing R’s. It’s all about a political game and not anything at all to do with an issue that affects many people deeply. We’ll have to move on to another dastardly plot aimed at R’s. I’ll get working on telling blacks that you have caught on so they have to drop all their race stuff.Report

    • historystudent in reply to greginak says:

      Of course it affects some people deeply. So does unemployment, dying in Iraq or Afghanistan, the potential crash of the dollar, the possibility of losing our national sovereignty, etc. Race problems have been with us since the founding of our country, and we will have to keep working on them. But right now is not the time for conservatives (note I did not invoke any party: this isn’t about “Rs”) to allow “internal” charges of racism to consume their attention when they detract from other vital matters.Report

  6. Cascadian says:

    Should all people that come from a tradition of slavery bear the burden…. no matter how far back.Report

  7. Bob Cheeks says:

    Jamalle, What are the triggers that will inform you that the gummint should shutdown affirmative action programs?
    What AA programs have succeeded and how?
    What AA programs have failed and why?Report

  8. Scott says:


    How are we to get to MLK’s color blind society by continuing to focus on color?Report