Have the last 60 years been a waste of time, energy and money for the advancement of Black Americans' civil rights? Recently, some local elected leaders have asserted that we need to declare a second “public health hazard” because they hypothesize there is an epidemic of “white racism” based upon the often repeated allegation that we suffer from generations of widespread white “systemic and institutional racism” against Black Americans.
This is propaganda and untrue. Constant repetition of these false and defamatory racist slurs does not make them fact. The words insult the legacy of those white Americans who gave their lives on the battlefield and struggled in the legislative and judicial arenas for the past 150 years to help black Americans become equal partners in the most diverse and free society the world has ever known. They strived to create a society where success is based upon ability and equality under the law rather than race, identity, nepotism and favoritism. We are not a racist community or nation merely because the journey toward a democratic meritocracy is unfinished.
There are those who argue the system of norms and standards for upward mobility and achievement are racist because they were made by privileged white people, and are therefore inadequate to solve the problems of Black Americans. For proof, they offer evidence that among the black population there is proportionately poorer health, less academic achievement, more single-parent families, higher crime rates, less employment and economic opportunity, and lower income. Excluding poor whites and middle class Blacks, these racial disparities are true. But this does not prove they result from the mores and rules of a white racist society.
Instead of first addressing the real root causes of these longtime disparities, many of our elected and institutional leaders believe the solution is to base opportunity and outcomes in part on race and identity by placing in our institutions and places of business an appropriate number of minorities. This “diversity and inclusion” remedy is necessary to transcend measurable standards of qualification and achievement such as skills and performance. We remain a white racist society until this is done.
This is pure, unadulterated racist ideology based upon the moral relativism of social justice and equity rather than fixed standards that avoid arbitrary and discriminatory decision making; sometimes by the loudest and most threatening voices in the room. If society wants black Americans to be equal partners, we need to ask them to look inward and accept some responsibility for the lack of upward mobility of those persons still at the bottom of the social order before racism does become a public health emergency.