Recognizing that Obama is untested material, the media has been focusing on the historic significance of Obama’s presidency. Never mind, we hear, that he gave a pedestrian inauguration speech without a single memorable line."Memorable" is subjective. But the fact that his presidency is "historical" isn't. Everybody can agree with it, because it is the plain truth. That's why the media focuses on that: to avoid hurting the feelings of you and your ilk, who will be trying your best to point out instances of bias, and play it off like you are unjustly persecuted for the next four to eight years. Of course, your modus operandi tends to be to do that same thing when you actually have impressive political power anyway, so I am not sure why it should matter.
As I watched Obama take the oath of office, I was moved, along with many others, but I also felt a sense of vindication. In 1995 I published a controversial book The End of Racism. The meaning of the title was not that there was no more racism in America. Certainly in a big country one can find many examples of racism. My argument was that racism, which once used to be systematic, had now become episodic. In other words, racism existed, but it no longer controlled the lives of blacks and other minorities.In other words, you were being simplistic. Racism may be more "episodic", in the sense that it is 1. rarer, 2. less socially acceptable (and thus more covert), and 3. less legally defensible, it still exists enough to influence the self-perception of those who live in environments where racism is implicit in a number of social interactions. And, if this racism is possessed by a person in the right position, it can be stifling and discouraging, even if the event is rare. Sure, their lives are no longer "controlled" by racism, due to the fact that it is a legally rebuked and socially shunned viewpoint in the country as a whole. But...it still can have influence, in much the same way that sexism still has influence in both business and media and affects women's self-perception, despite explicit sexism also being a fringe viewpoint without government and vocal mainstream support. Basically, "episodic" racism isn't no racism.
Indeed racial discrimination could not explain why some groups succeeded in America and why other groups did not.ORLY? Is this assuming the "systematic racism" you mentioned earlier, or no?
The old civil rights model held that groups at the top of society got there through discrimination. Yet the empirical evidence showed that the two most successful groups in America were Asian Americans and Jews.And yet that is because they are smaller minority groups, and thus smaller samples, for one. Also, they are predominantly located in different regions of the country than the less fortunate minority groups, like Hispanics and African Americans. Or, more recently, those of Middle Eastern descent, where the racism involved is intermingled with anti-terrorism hysteria. In addition: it's not about getting to the top through discrimination, it is about preventing others who are not like you from getting near the top. It's not about the Presidency, or being a CEO, or being a billionaire. It's about being in government at all, being in high level management, being able to get employed for jobs that you are qualified for and get the same level of payment. The people at the top tend to be the exceptional, natural exceptions to general rules, self-made men (or people with the right connections to those who actually are self-made men). They are not really a good judgment of whether, in general, we are treating any given minority group fairly.
As for African Americans, their position near the bottom rung of the ladder could be better explained by cultural factors than by racial victimization.It's not the victimization that's the problem, it's their culture that was shaped by that same past victimization that's at fault! Niiiiiiiiiiice.
If groups are hated just for their skin color, then this is irrational discrimination. But if groups provoke hostility on account of their behavior, then this is rational discrimination. The implication of this idea is that it is not racist to be wary of African Americans who behave badly, as long as you are well disposed toward African Americans who conduct themselves admirably.That's all well and good. Not every criticism of an African American is a critique of an entire race, or inherently racist. But I am sure that your "rational discrimination" could just as easily morph into a "rationalized discrimination" when people get a mighty desire to broaden the definition of "behave badly" from "doing things that are wantonly disruptive and possibly illegal" to "wearing baggy pants" (I believe people in Florida were really pissed off about that a while back).
I may have been ahead of my time, but it now seems that I was not wrong. Here we get to the real significance of Obama’s election and his ascendancy to the presidency.The real significance? That our country is now non-racist enough so that 53% were willing to vote for a black guy in lieu of voting for more Republicans, whose policies had brought our country half-way to the gates of the Abyss? I mean, yes, it is encouraging. But...it really isn't that much of an improvement! All it means is that somewhere around half of our country might not be racist, and we have no ideas about the views of the others. Wonderful, but far from thorough. And won't even be close to resembling thorough until we have a near proportional amount of each racial and ethnic minority group in our legislature.
Consider the oceans of ink that have been spilled over the past couple of decades about how America is a racist society, how bigotry runs in the veins of white America, how little real progress has been made, how far we still have to go, and so on.And those people stand corrected ever so slightly. We still have some distance to go, though, and I think it is disingenuous of you to suggest otherwise. But, progress has been made, America is not as racist as it once was, and bigotry has been squelched more than it used to be. We're still not quite as racially magnanimous as other Western societies, but we're trying at least.
A few years ago I debated Jesse Jackson at Stanford University and he couldn’t give any evidence that contemporary racism had kept his children down. At the same time, he said that precisely the absence of evidence is what worried him the most. Jackson’s argument was that racism, once overt, had now become covert. In other words, racism hadn’t decreased in the slightest but it now worked in ever-more-subtle ways to deny African Americans their share of the American dream.This is why you shouldn't debate D'Souza and those like him. Ever. He's just in it for the street cred given by saying "I completely humiliated INSERT FAMOUS GUY HERE", and the ability to bring up one random part of the debate that makes him look good and that he can use, more or less, as a strawman position to argue against. I think, by it's very nature, in order for racism to become a covert operation it needs to decrease to some degree. Unless it is "covert" in the sense of an elaborate and strictly defined conspiracy that is secretly unified, it is going to have to be inherently less significant than when it is unified in plain view.
True, Obama is no Jesse Jackson. But precisely the difference between the two shows that it is individual conduct and demeanor that is decisive here, not skin color. Obama doesn’t come across as a race-hustler. He doesn’t seek to turn victimization into profit.These are the very reasons he wasn't deemed "black enough". He didn't speak out enough. Of course, Reverend Wright was smeared for speaking out in such a manner so it is probably best that Obama kept a level head about that, and almost every other issue. Now, on the subject of Obama and victimization though, he was born to a white college student and a Kenyan student at the same University. He may have personally experienced racism due entirely to skin color, but his family situation and economic situation and prospects for an education didn't suffer for that. So, he doesn't try to play the victim card, largely because he was able to succeed due to his parents never having been victimized, since they themselves did not have to try to build up families when "systematic racism" was the rule of law. Oh, and once again, one guy getting a powerful position does not "the end of racism" make.
If Obama’s election means anything, it means that we are now living in post-racist America. That’s why even those of us who didn’t vote for Obama have good reason to celebrate.Whatever makes you happy, Dineshikins.
Rather short post of his. I am almost relieved. But after more than a month, I am a bit sad I didn't have more to gnash my teeth about. Oh well.