Category 7. Race

The Imputation of Bad Motive

The constant abuse of the word racist drives me to distraction.

Notwithstanding what you may have heard, it is not racist for our government to use “extreme vetting”, as the Trump Administration intends, on prospective immigrants from certain predominantly Muslim nations. It might be bad policy for any number of reasons – that’s a fair topic for debate – but it’s not racist.

If racism were at the heart of the Administration’s concerns about immigration from the designated countries – if President Trump loathed all Arabs, say, or thought them inferior – he would not have repeatedly voiced support for the admission of more Syrian Christians (who are, of course, Arabs) – and he would be intent on applying extreme vetting to would-be immigrants from all Arab countries.

No, P...

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Race, One More Time

What is racism if not the idea that race matters?

But just try to suggest that race doesn’t matter in polite company, and see how far that gets you. At a lovely dinner party on Saturday night I had a spirited discussion on precisely this topic with the woman who was sitting to my right, with whom I have been friendly for a long time. We are still on good terms; now she just thinks I’m nuts.

Her first response was that she has often been told by her black acquaintances that the people who claim to be colorblind are generally the ones who are the most bigoted. She didn’t mean to imply that I am a bigot, you understand, just to hint that I was on thin ice.

I hadn’t claimed that I didn’t see color, though; of course I do...

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Against Multiculturalism

Take a moment to think again about one of the most important sentences ever written:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence, the Founders set out a proudly universalist vision of natural rights. If all men are created equal, then preferences for one tribe, sect or class over another, whether in law or custom, are wrong.

This statement was a (literally) revolutionary rejection of the caste systems – and tribe-based identities – of other nations of the world. It spoke of universal natural rights...

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I Don’t Want to Talk About It.

Is it possible to be thrown out of a tight-knit group that one was instrumental in forming? I have a chance to find out.

I am in a fabulous book club. I got the group rolling four or five years ago by recruiting a handful of close friends to the venture. On a rotating schedule, one person chooses a book, another cooks a meal and a third leads the discussion. We read all kinds of books, and our subsequent discussions are augmented by fine food and wine. We are just as competitive about the consumables as we are about the selections of, and our opinions about, the books.

Considering that the book club is small, and consists exclusively of people who are sociologically similar (we are all prosperous men, 55+) the points of view represented are widely divergent: our political and religious or...

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Institutionalized “Diversity” as Racism

I am well aware that although I strive to express my views with civility, some Civil Horizon posts are taken as offensive by those who differ strongly with the positions I set forth. Let this introduction serve as a “trigger warning” to such people: this post may particularly offend you, as I will be taking on an idea that lots of people – including many of whom I am quite fond – hold dear. If you are one of those who will vehemently disagree with what I write this time, I ask that you engage with the ideas that I am setting down and not read into the post an animus that is not there.

“Diversity”, as that term is used in academia, in government and among corporations seeking to mollify the foregoing, is profoundly racist in its intent and effects...

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Race, Social Class and Personal Brands

Out for a walk just now, I had an unremarkable experience.

I crossed paths with an African-American of perhaps 30, well dressed and groomed, wearing horn-rimmed glasses not unlike my own. Had we spoken, I would guess that his diction and intonation, and quite possibly his accent, would also have been similar to mine; his appearance and manner strongly suggested that we were of the same social class.

We smiled silent greetings and kept on our merry ways.

Let’s think about brands for a minute or two, before coming back to race and social class.

McDonalds and Coca-Cola have built enormous businesses on the comfort that consumers take from knowing exactly what they’ll get when they purchase burgers or sodas...

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