Ending the Obsession With Race

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2018/03/06/ending-the-obsession-with-race/


“The time may have come when the issue of race could benefit from a period of benign neglect.”
—  Daniel Patrick Moynihan

By the time Daniel Patrick Moynihan penned a famous memo to President Richard Nixon in 1970 he had been in the forefront of authoring or sponsoring nearly every federal government program to help alleviate racism in America. Foremost of which was the 1965 Moynihan Report that warned of the dire need for the government to use its power to codify laws and economic programs to help achieve that goal.

That report, coupled with the landmark Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, propelled the Johnson Administration and later Nixon Administration to take the lead in battling entrenched racial discrimination across the country.

So in less than a decade the federal government had done its part by essentially making discrimination illegal everywhere in America, thus laying the foundation for the black community to gradually move up the economic ladder by eliminating the discriminatory barriers that had held them back for over a century.

Moynihan assumed correctly that with the federal government taking the lead to outlaw discrimination, it would reverberate throughout the country to the extent that even the South would eventually come around. In other words, it would gradually change how Americans behave and think about race, thus fulfilling Martin Luther King Jr.’s wish that blacks “would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. “ All it needed was a push in the right direction.

Moynihan and his colleagues, liberal and conservative alike, made that push decades ago, laying the groundwork for the inevitable decay of racism in America. Now just leave it alone, he inferred in his famous memo to Nixon, and the end result would be the full inclusion of blacks in our economy and society.

That has long since happened, as every American is protected against discrimination, and racism is now universally viewed as one of the worst anti-social vices, surpassed only by criminal behavior. Today it is utterly unacceptable to be a racist, utter racist slurs, or discriminate against our fellow citizens. And everybody knows it.

The Civil Rights Era is long since relegated to the history books, as justice and common decency have prevailed in American society, just as Martin Luther King and Daniel Patrick Moynihan predicted.

So why do so many liberals still try to reignite, refight, and relive the civil rights battles of yesteryear?

There are far too many who act as though there’s some insidious undercurrent of racism lurking about, gradually seeping into our society, our institutions; conspiring to keep minorities, especially blacks, from enjoying the liberties and opportunities of our nation.

They banter about odd terms like white privilege, anti-racism, and racist micro-aggressions as part of some unique neurotic language and mindset they’ve conjured up to battle the racism which to them is prevalent in modern America. And they’re quite serious about it.

Nowhere is this peculiar mindset more prevalent than Newton, Massachusetts. Newton, an affluent liberal suburb of Boston, was once headquarters of the retired uber-liberal Congressman Barney Frank, and is currently home to an array of liberal professors from such PC bastions as Harvard and Brandeis. In short, it’s part of a network of entrenched liberal castles from Berkeley to Boston. The type that always seem to thrive even when the country shifts to Republican Red.

In keeping with the Left’s fixation on race, the local liberal elites recently hosted an event on racism at the Newton Library. The hall was packed with nice liberals from all corners of the city, and beyond, to hear a small panel of mostly black students each recite a personal short story or a poetry reading, presumably about racism.

Their skits were short and interesting, and their combined readings were over in less than ten minutes. The audience roared with applause.

Then the moderator queried the student panel on their experiences with racism, to which a few of them had to think, and think hard, on whatever racist experiences they may or may not have had in their lives.

One gave a response about being followed around some high-end store in New York when she was younger, another said he thought a teacher didn’t quickly approve him for an honors class because of his race, while another student, who had to think real hard when the moderator insisted she come up with something, talked about being scolded by a clerk in another high-end store for touching Gucci bags.

Overall, the kids were relaxed, witty, and cheerful, even when reciting the litany of their presumed experiences with racism. They were certainly not angry, bitter, and disenchanted, as some of the angry, bitter, and disenchanted liberals in the audience undoubtedly assumed they’d be.

Yet it was here that the perception, interpretation, and reaction of the adult audience diverged.

To the vast majority of liberals present, this student panel merely confirmed their notion that racism is all around us, as evidenced by the horribly insidious bigotry that these kids presumably endured. Teachers not calling on some minority students quick enough? That’s clear evidence of an undercurrent of subtle racism with the Newton teachers, and why they must be indoctrinated in — I mean, taught — anti-racism. Not enough black teachers? More subtle racism. Quick! Time to call in the diversity police.

It’s a wonder that no one in the mostly liberal audience fainted or had a coronary at such “appalling” revelations by the minority students.

Yet to the non-liberal adults in the audience, meaning yours truly and one or two closeted conservatives, the reaction to the students’ litany of their racial experiences was …

And? What else? Is that it?

Even with the prodding of the moderator the most they could come up with was (I’m paraphrasing)… “the teacher might not be calling on me because I’m black.” (Or perhaps the other kids in the class are more assertive, louder, or just give better answers?) “The teacher didn’t approve me for an honors class fast enough because I’m black.” (Then surely there must be other examples of racism with this teacher? No? So why impugn the reputation of the teachers?) “Construction of the Massachusetts Turnpike through Newton in the early 1960s plowed through a century old black neighborhood, with clear racist intent.” This was so ridiculous it’s not worthy of a retort, other than the fact that the interstate highway had to go through Newton in a straight line to Boston.

In reality, what was clearly encouraging to learn was that, based on the students’ life experiences, there’s much to be happy and proud about in Newton, and in America. Which is, racism is so rare, so minimal, that, by their own accounts, it has hardly touched these students at all.

So it is indeed a welcome relief to see how far we’ve come in America by witnessing these bright, confident, All-American teens, who happened to be black, speak of what is in fact a post-racial America where they are truly judged by the content of their character — and their brains — both of which appear to be propelling them into elite colleges.

And try as the liberals do, they cannot convince the rest of us that we live in a racist country.

It’s all a big lie.

Yet they never stop whining and moaning about some imaginary notion of “white privilege” and “racist micro-aggressions” against black high school students, whom they treat as their perennial helpless victims in need of their neurotic condescending liberal supervision, rather than as the smart responsible teens they truly are.

Such race-obsessed nonsense has become far too prevalent in our schools. It’s misguided. It’s disruptive. It’s unhealthy. And, to paraphrase Mr. Moynihan, it could benefit from a period of benign neglect.


Tom Mountain is a Massachusetts Republican State Committeeman from Newton, Massachusetts.