One of the classic debates within black politics is the debate over the effect of institutional racism over the prospects for African American success. Something very interesting occured to me as I was reading Booker Rising's account of John McWhorter today. That is that the politics of anti-racism engaged by Leftists encourage the culture of dysfunction by blackfolks below the middle class baseline.
Let's start with a little Old School basic premises.
1. The Civil Rights Movement in America was essentially a total and irreversible success.
2. Brown vs Board of Education was decided properly (with all due respect to Harold Cruse' dissent)
3. African American destiny is irrevocably intertwined with American destiny.
Add to that my new premise which is that Black Studies has been a success and therefore black culture is transparent in America.
These lead to some contradictions within black politics that are not reconciled. That is to say, they are strikingly unreconciled to the claims and imperatives of the black Left.
I would offer a strong defense of integration and assimilation as a Middle Class baseline. Which is to say that you must integrate and assimilate to get to the basic 'diner' status of American as a black person. There is no other valid reason for the support of Affirmative Action.
STOP. Think about it. Affirmative Action IS assimilation. Affirmative Action IS integration.
If the mainstream doesn't work for you, you cannot independently swim against it. Part of the failure of progressive black politics is that they encourage people who can't even hack the middle class basics to believe they can beat the system via some Black Power. It never worked, it never will work. NOI is proof.
Upon reaching the mainstream, that's when boldness and vision can work, but only based upon honest and open business dealings and relationships. So this is where I give hiphop entrepreneurs credit. None of them sell 'black only' music. All hiphop product is product for everyone. That's the way markets work, and business works ONLY when you are honest and trustworthy. That's how you can build ownership and wealth, power and prestige in this society.
Academics like Dyson, coming as they do from Socialist backgrounds believe they can identify a structural racism *that can be structurally defeated* through the defunding of 'racist institutions'. But America is not undergirded by racist institutions, America is chock full of public institutions and market institutions that are corrupted and abused by individual racists. Every racist act perpetrated by racist individuals empowered by an institution do not prove that institution racist. It only proves that America is full of racists that we are unable to keep out of the mainstream. It is the unwillingness of Leftists to acknowledge that fact that keeps many blacks distrustful of the mainstream public and market institutions into which they must integrate and assimilate in order to make the American middle class baseline. Instead, they irrationally hate and fear the very institutions upon which their improvement depends.
Every time you hear denials of an 'isolated incident', it is an argument that play in favor of those determined to brand institutions racist. Just last week the subject was refereeing in the NBA. We have become so accustomed to being sympathetic, as we rightly should, to the fight against racism, that we have been manipulated into tolerating broadside attacks on institutions when they should actually be devastating blows against evildoers within our institutions. The alternative is to believe that the Civil Rights Movement and subsequent laws did not work and are not being enforced.
The KKK is a racist institution. The LAPD is not.
You cannot be a member of the KKK and you cannot fulfill its mission unless you are a racist. But that is not a necessary condition for being a member of the LAPD and fulfilling its mission. However everyone knows that racists have infiltrated the ranks of the LAPD and abused their positions under the color of authority.
Challenging the theory that America is a racist country chock full of racist institutions allows us to more clearly see what kinds of solutions the Left poses. As a conservative I see those solutions as degrading the effectiveness of public and private institutions by putting the burden of proof on them. Can it be said that burden helped us deal effectively with Don Imus? Where indeed has the branding of an institution as structurally racist ever helped? Please, name some. I want to know. I think instead we can say that the elimination of Jim Crow was the penultimate battle with the final battle played on social grounds - getting our entire culture past the interpersonal barriers of a Jim Crow society. The first priority of White Supremacy has always been to deny others any 'defiling' of the 'pure' white race. That's not a problem any longer.
Opposition to Affirmative Action comes almost exclusively from the moral injunction against racial preferences. There can be no doubt that there are plenty of racists who can't stand the idea of race mixing on college campuses as the basis of their opposition, good luck trying to get them to say so in public. They cannot because the American mainstream doesn't tolerate such ideas. Not even when they're implied in disrespectful commentary. Virtually nobody stands on the principle of racial segregation. So where are the racist institutions?
Maybe they're all in our heads.