When Barack Obama was elected president, many called the election of our nation’s first black president as the beginning of a “post-racial America.” This theme, pushed mostly by the political left, is a lie – and by the left’s own doing.
The Democratic Party has long claimed to be the voice for racial equality, but instead of creating a truly colorblind society, many seem to constantly support political ideas that only further racial division.
Read these two paragraphs from an otherwise innocuous report on one of the propositions being voted on in Austin:
Opponents of a proposed property tax increase in Travis County that would help fund a planned medical school and other health projects are claiming in a federal court lawsuit that the ballot language is too confusing for people with lower reading skills.
In particular, they say, the language could confuse minority voters.
Yes, it is a long proposition that’s difficult for even someone entrenched in politics to understand on the first read-through. For those with lower reading levels, it will certainly be confusing. Some of those individuals are surely minorities.
Some, not all. There are plenty of people who struggle with reading who are not minorities. And there are definitely plenty of minorities who do not struggle with reading.
The greater issue is this: When did it become appropriate to lump minorities in with the uneducated, the poor, the struggling-in-school, as if these groups are identical? What happened to being colorblind, to race not mattering?
I think this subtle language choice reveals a lot – and it’s not coming from Republicans or the Tea Party.
A similar mindset is rearing its head in Texas in three Supreme Court cases.
Race in education: Diversity is a good thing, but it’s not an excuse to lower standards for a particular group of people. Liberal advocates for minorities, women, redistribution of wealth, etc., love to talk about a “level playing field.” And they’re right: students expect that their work will be taken seriously and judged fairly. Grades should not be awarded based on race. How is admissions any different?
Abigail Fisher has a solid case in Fisher v. University of Texas. She worked hard throughout high school and deserved a shot based on her academic success – not her skin color. But not only is race-based admissions unfair to white students who are passed over because they belong to the majority race, it’s potentially degrading to minorities, suggesting that they need special treatment in order to succeed – doing nothing whatsoever to mend racial divisions. A fellow conservative blogger Justin Higgins put it:
Any time you apply separate blind standards to groups of people based on race, you’re doing far more harm than good to the groups you’re trying to help.
Furthermore, UT’s goal of “critical mass” being discussed in the case is entirely subjective and unenforceable. There is no defined demographic makeup (that would seem an awful lot like illegal racial quotas). It depends either on the feelings of the school’s administrators or of students. Who gets to decide when critical mass is reached? How many students have to say they don’t feel equal in order to negate it?
Voter ID: Obtaining a photo identification card might pose a minor inconvenience. No one seems to have any exact figures for Texas, but it seems – as in the proposition language debate above – many who don’t have IDs are minorities.
However, to make the jump from “some people might not have IDs” to “minorities without IDs are being disenfranchised” is a bit extreme. Generalizing that they can’t possibly get an ID that is either inexpensive or free diminishes their capability as functioning adults.
It’s true some counties don’t have DPS offices and that many offices in cities have very long lines. That’s an independent problem that will undoubtedly be addressed during the next legislative session. But it’s hardly grounds to claim people are being discriminated against, or that we can’t ask folks to spend a small amount of effort helping protect our most precious privilege as American citizens.
The Voting Rights Act: At the Texas Tribune Festival last month, Nina Perales from the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund summarized the liberal argument for the VRA in one sentence: “Hispanics should be able to elect their candidate of choice.”
This implies three statements, all of which are incorrect. First, most obviously, that Hispanics are being discriminated against. In a state that’s nearly 40% Hispanic (and growing), that’s almost silly. State Representative Burt Solomons, chair of the House Redistricting Committee, admitted that the redistricting process wasn’t perfect. If anything, he said, it was highly political, not racial.
Second, that Hispanics march in lockstep, that they as a unified or mostly unified bloc would agree on a “candidate of choice.” That’s simply not the case. Just like any demographic, there are divisions in Hispanic political leanings. Though the majority are Democrats, many share key conservative values on individual issues, and more and more are shifting to the right.
Finally, that Hispanics deserve special treatment to make up for past offenses. Though offered with good intentions, the liberal stance on this issue actually furthers, not discourages, racial divisions. Not only does the Voting Rights Act rely on arbitrary standards, it creates a dangerous perception: That America doesn’t treat all groups equally.
Race doesn’t matter. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we hope to live in a nation where individuals are judged by the content of their character – not the color of their skin. It’s time we took these words to heart.