The Conservative Discovery of Racial Discrimination

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"The Conservative Discovery of Racial Discrimination"


Via Ed Kilgore, George Will on the Ricci case:

The nation shall slog on, litigating through a fog of euphemisms and blurry categories (e.g., “race-conscious” actions that somehow are not racial discrimination because they “remedy” discrimination that no one has intended). This is the predictable price of failing to simply insist that government cannot take cognizance of race.

Obviously, this kind of sentiment from a leading light of the conservative movement would be more credible had the conservative movement taken the side of racial justice during the civil rights era. Instead, we got things like National Review’s memorable denunciation of the weak-tea Civil Rights Act of 1957:

The central question that emerges–and it is not a parliamentary question or a question that is answered by meerely consulting a catalog of the rights of American citizens, born Equal–is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes–the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced ace. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the median cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists. The question, as far as the White community is concerned, is whether the claims of civilization supersede those of universal suffrage. The British believe they do, and acted accordingly, in Kenya, where the choice was dramatically one between civilization and barbarism, and elsewhere; the South, where the conflict is by no means dramatic, as in Kenya, nevertheless perceives important qualitative differences between its culture and the Negroes’, and intends to assert its own.

Dwight Eisenhower could see that this was wrong and backed the ’57 bill. But Ike was a RINO, the kind of person George Will would despise.

But that’s the past, of course, and we can’t hold Will personally responsible for the things his predecessors were saying fifty years ago. But here’s the question—how is it that I can’t recall an instance of Will waxing indignant about some instance of racism directed against an African-American or Latino in the United States? I don’t believe it’s my faulty memory. Instead, I believe it’s that the new “color blind” American right is not dramatically different from the old “black people shouldn’t be allowed to vote” American right from fifty years ago. It’s a movement that’s basically indifferent to the interests of non-whites and totally uninterested in the question of whether or not there’s unfair discrimination against minority groups in the United States.

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