What is post-racial America?
The notion that the election of Barack Obama to the presidency will inaugurate a “post-racial” America, an America that has gone “beyond race” as Obama has put it, has been widely accepted, even by many conservatives. I’m not sure that anyone has ever explained what this post-racial condition of America would actually look like.
Presumably a post-racial, beyond-race America will be one in which no one thinks about race any more, an America in which we all just see each other as individuals. This is most puzzling, since I was not aware that Obama has called for the elimination of the vast system of race-conscious preferences for blacks and other nonwhite groups that is institutionalized at every level of our society. Currently, blacks and Hispanics are admitted to selective universities with grades and SATs for which virtually all white and Asian applicants are automatically rejected. Blacks and Hispanics are admitted to graduate schools with grades and test scores for which virtually all white and Asian applicants are automatically rejected. In the 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger decision (see my article on it), the Supreme Court said that racial preferences for nonwhites were justified and mandated by the U.S. Constitution.
In every area of American life, from academic achievement to fire department examinations to grade school discipline to incarceration rates to bank loans and mortgages, blacks do much worse than whites, and their lack of success is seen as a moral stain on society calling forth ever renewed efforts to “close the racial gap.” One of the most written-about gaps is that black high school seniors are on average four years behind whites in reading abilities. But what such a huge differential indicates is not that blacks simply “lag behind whites,” a genial image that suggests a footrace in which the blacks cross the finish line just a little bit behind the whites; what it indicates is that the blacks are not even in the same event as the whites. And this is why, in every institution, parallel tracks for blacks have been set up where they are evaluated by much lower standards than those applied to whites. At the same time, to prevent whites from reacting against this massive racial favoritism for blacks, whites are required to attend “diversity sensitivity” sessions where they are told that they harbor conscious or unconscious racial stereotypes about blacks which are somehow responsible for the blacks being behind and which the whites must extricate from their psyches.
Will the elevation of Barack Obama to the presidency change any of this?
Of course not.
The post-racial America of which Obama’s champions speak does not mean the end of racial preferences for nonwhites. It does not mean the end of constant accusations of white racism. It does not mean the end of the systematic cover-up of blacks’ lower abilities, and of the fact that these lower abilities, not white racism, are the reason blacks are behind. It does not mean the end of the systematic cover up of the true facts of black-on-white crime. It does not mean the end of mandatory sensitivity training for whites. It does not mean the end of the belief that there is a moral cloud over America’s entire history up until the civil rights movement—or, in the event Obama is elected, up until the election of Barack Obama.
If post-racial America does not mean the removal of these pro-nonwhite, anti-white policies and beliefs, what does it mean?
It means a post-white America, an America transformed by the symbolic removal of whiteness as the country’s explicit or implicit historic and majority identity.
This is the consummation of which Obama’s supporters dream.
In Obama’s post-racial America, all the anti-white policies and attitudes, from affirmative action to open borders for Hispanics to the multicultural rewriting of history to endless campaigns against “white racial privilege,” will remain in place. What will change is that whites will not protest these anti-white policies any more, will not mutter under their breath about them any more, will not even think about muttering under their breath about them any more. Instead, they will unreservedly embrace them, in the joy of racial unity and harmony.
Post-racial America is an America in which whites, as whites, go silent forever.
Andrew E. writes:
With this article you have distilled the meaning of an Obama presidency to its absolute essence and with it, laid to rest the argument whether conservatives should favor Obama or Hillary. Other VFR readers have made valiant efforts to show that Obama is preferable, but you have just outflanked them all and routed the line. At the heart of Obama’s campaign is a hypocrisy so staggering (and dangerous!) that even the Clintons don’t attempt it. Further, Obama’s talents, which you have discussed at length as well, are making people believe it! Well done.LA replies:
Thank you. Of course I’ve been arguing for some time that Hillary is preferable to Obama. But what do you say to the tougher question which we will likely face: is McCain preferable to Obama?Andrew E. replies:
Yes, that is the question isn’t it. I’ve deliberately omitted it because, right now, I honestly don’t know. Hillary is still in the race. If she can’t hang on next week, then I suppose I’ll have to start thinking about it.Sage McLaughlin writes:
Your post on this subject is a very important one, and I fear you’re exactly right. I genuinely hope the right-wing blog world gives it a close reading. “Post-racial America” can only mean an America in which white racial consciousness can be said to be definitively dead; it surely does not mean that nonwhite racial consciousness and nonwhite racial spoils will be considered dead. Post-racial America simply translates into post-white America, and anyone who says differently needs to present some evidence that Obama has made even the tiniest gesture to indicate he intends to end the culture of racial grievance-mongering in American politics. In fact he and his supporters (to include his wife) are busily reminding anyone who will listen how “sick” Americans’ souls are, and how in need of some nonwhite messiah to come save them from white authority.
What this country needs is that the “post-racial” leftism of Obama takes power and then fails. Only then will a true move to the right become possible, as opposed to politically correct conservatism.Tim W. writes:
I agree with much of your take on this, but is it not possible that an Obama administration would wake a portion of white America up? For example, David Dinkins’s term as New York mayor racially polarized the city to the point that they haven’t elected a black to the office since. And New York is a liberal city. Imagine the reaction to an Obama administration out in the heartland.LA replies:
Of course I hope you’re right. My real point is that if this is what an Obama presidency represented, we would need to know this and be prepared to resist it.LA continues:
My memory of the 1993 mayoral election was mistaken. I had remembered it as being something like a two percent margin for Giuliani, representing only a slight shift from his narrow loss in 1989. But according to Wikipedia:Mark Jaws writes:
First of all, based on the symptoms you have described, I would say that we have been in “post-racial America” for over 30 years.LA replies:
“First of all, based on the symptoms you have described, I would say that we have been in “post-racial America” for over 30 years.”Richard W. writes:
Your “What does a post racial America mean” is exactly, 100 percent spot on. Another great article, that really gets us to the real meaning of this race. I continue to be amazed by the clarity of your thought and writing.LA replies:
Thank you.James M. writes:
Re: “What is post-racial America?”Mark Jaws writes:
I must disagree with you when you say we have not arrived at post-racial America. To back up your point you mention that we are still capable of opposing illegal immigration. Yes, we can, but only from the issue of “rule of law” and “national sovereignty.”LA replies:
Of course what you say is true and has been true for a long time. It is prohibited in the American mainstream to discuss any issue, such as immigration or minority race preferences, in terms of race or white racial concerns. Not just prohibited, but white people don’t want to do it, don’t believe in it, and recoil from the very idea of it. I oppose this and believe that it is normal for the white American majority to be concerned about their interests as a people—and not just as any people, but as the majority people of America and the West. This is especially the case when, even though the whites are not race-conscious in the sense of consciously affirming that race matters, the campaign to destroy America is a race-conscious campaign aimed at destroying white America, its culture, its history, everything. This is proved by the fact that even non-racial positions taken by whites in defense of their country, their laws, and their rights are attacked as racist, by nonwhites and their white liberal and neocon allies. Self-defense against this attack requires enough belief in oneself to stand up against this anti-white movement, even if one does not believe in race oneself.Paul Gottfried writes:
Certainly you can’t blame the blacks for this anti-white discrimination, since it is white Americans who choose to do these things to themselves. You have certainly seen the news in US News and World Report about which historical figures young American adults admire most. These heroines were all black leftists, and the only male who made it on to the list is MLK. People who think this way deserve not Obama’s set aside policies but the pleasures of living under Robert Mugabe.LA replies:
What does my article have to do with blaming blacks?Paul Gottfried replies:
Your essay does seem to suggest that Obama and his black followers represent antiwhite politics.LA replies:
I sort of see, because I keep saying “anti-white,” that one could read that as saying that blacks are the source of the anti-whiteness. In reality I’m discussing a belief system shared by blacks and many whites. I could have made this clearer.Paul Gottfried replies:
Your piece is splendid!LA writes (April 21, 2008):
It seems my earlier memory was correct after all. There was no big shift between the elections. Dinkins won by two percent in 1989, Giuliani won by two percent in 1993. See my comment here quoting the NY Times coverage from the day after the 1993 election with 100 percent of precincts reporting.April 19, 2010
The sentence in the initial entry, “This is the consummation of which Obama’s supporters dream,” is a paraphrase of a line in Yeats’s poem, “In Memory of Major Robert Gregory,” from his 1919 collection, The Wild Swans at Coole. The third stanza goes:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 25, 2008 10:56 AM | Send