“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Now, fifty-eight years later, Black Lives Matter and the politically correct wokerati scorn and condemn the land King dreamed of. We’re told that if we judge people by their character, we’re racist.
Character, we’re told, is a dog whistle for white supremacy. Hard work, rule-following, merit, law-abiding, test scores, marriage, family, honesty, generosity, loyalty, decency and objective measurements of productivity are simply white tools to subordinate minorities.
The left argues that people who value these traits do better in the game of life – and they do – and that those people tend not to be the left’s favored flavors of skin colors. Therefore, these traits are bad and must be de-legitimized.
The de-legitimizing process begins with branding. Traits for success are branded “white privilege.” Forget that it is not just whites who value these traits. The phrase “white privilege” has a nice ring to it.
Then they attack the traits themselves. A key trait under attack is the notion of merit. In colleges, the left bans objective measures of academic achievement. In college admissions, for example, the SAT gets canceled because too few of the right kind of minorities do well on it.
Colleges that continue to use the SAT have different cutoffs for different races. At Harvard, the average SAT scores of accepted blacks is 300 points lower than average scores of accepted whites and 450 points lower than accepted Asians. Even high schools are phasing out testing, or specifically discriminating against whites and Asians.
Most thought this foolishness would be limited to academia, because it doesn’t work in the real world. A business that refuses to reward employees for merit tends to see less merit. A business that sees less merit in its employees sees less profits.
But now the madness has metastasized. Everywhere, “merit” is increasingly seen as a codeword for “white.”
But if merit is canceled, what replaces it in deciding how to allocate society’s rewards? Race, that’s what.
Along with students, workers are now judged explicitly on the color of their skin. Blacks are greatly favored, Native Americans and Hispanics are favored some, whites are disfavored a little and Asians are disfavored a lot.
The proponents of this racial discrimination insist, ironically and hypocritically, that everyone engage in it and tout it – and all from colleges to corporations do – while simultaneously denying that it actually happens and canceling anyone who objects to it or even points it out. This canceling is done by labeling them “racist.”
Take Elizabeth Warren and Harvard. She bragged that she was Native American. At the time Harvard hired her, their written policy was to discriminate in favor of Native Americans. After hiring her, they boasted of her Native American status.
But when she was accused of trading on her racial status (a fake one, as it turned out) she and Harvard indignantly denied that Harvard had discriminated in her favor. In short, they claim now that Harvard violated their own pro-discrimination policy, and that anyone who contends otherwise is racist.
Institutions and corporations routinely play this game. They boast of their pro-discrimination policy. But they deny that any individual is ever the beneficiary of it – and how dare you suggest otherwise!
They don’t use the word “pro-discrimination” of course. They instead play word games. They used to call it “affirmative action” and then “diversity.” Each new term gets abandoned when it inevitably becomes associated with pro-discrimination.
Now they call it “equity” while carefully distinguishing between equity, which is good, and equality, which is bad because it doesn’t produce equity.
The moral justification for this ongoing exercise in quotas-by-euphemisms involves yet another word game. It’s something called “systemic racism.” That’s the kind of racism for which there’s no evidence other than disparate success rates among the races. You can’t see systemic racism in action; you can only see its results.
And so racial discrimination is necessary, say the proponents. Failing to engage in racial discrimination would allow disparate racial outcomes which would be evidence of racial discrimination.
Of course, racial discrimination in the name of equity is a one-way street. The fact that 74% of NBA players are black, while blacks comprise only 13% of the general population, is not seen as evidence of racial discrimination against whites. The fact that 50% of our presidents and vice presidents over the last half-generation were black is not seen as racial discrimination against whites.
Reverend King had a different word for these traits associated with success in life that the left calls “white privilege.” King called those traits “character.” He dreamed of a place where we judge people not by the color of their skin but by the “content of their character.”
But Martin Luther King Jr. is now just a popular street name and a three-day weekend. The great man’s dream of a colorblind society is now considered racist, and those who espouse it are being canceled. He, too, will soon be canceled.
The end result of the left’s racial discrimination, dishonest word games and war on merit will be less equity, not more. Along with less equality, less truth, less character, less merit, less progress and less civilization. Maybe that’s their goal.