Government and Politics won’t solve Our Racial Problem
by Star Parker 2015
When horrible things happen, such as the tragic mass murder that occurred at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, we try to understand because it is through understanding that we solve problems.
Speaking about the incident, Hillary Clinton said: “It is tempting to dismiss a tragedy like this as an isolated incident — to believe that in today’s America, bigotry is largely behind us, that institutionalized racism no longer exists. But despite our best efforts and our highest hopes, America’s long struggle with race is far from finished.”
Some of the Republican candidates for president are taking heat because they have not come out so boldly and clearly as Clinton regarding the racial dimension of this crime.
Here’s the problem. No one, particularly with all the information we now have about the deranged young man who admitted to committing this crime, can question his racial motivations. He was a sick, pathological racist.
But Clinton, in her zeal to make political capital from this tragedy, conflated and confused very different things — racial bigotry and institutionalized racism – and as result, at a difficult and sensitive moment, threw out heat when we needed light.
Institutionalized racism is racism that a society officially endorses. It is present when there is a legal framework that supports it.
Institutionalized racism existed in the United States prior to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Social realities and laws that permitted racial discrimination of various kinds were made illegal by those acts.
So Clinton misrepresents reality to suggest that “institutionalized racism” exists today in America. It does not.
Racial bigotry, on the other hand, is personal behavior. Does it exist? It certainly does. But personal affairs of the heart and affairs of state are different issues.
As Martin Luther King Jr. observed, “morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated.
Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.” The civil rights-era laws purged America of legal, institutionalized racism in the spirit of Dr. King, restraining “the heartless.”
But why, a half-century later, does so much sick personal racial bigotry remain? Why does there remain such a sharp racial consciousness? Why does it remain so prevalent that individuals are judged by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character?
A good deal of this is driven by the refusal of so many — mostly liberals such as Clinton — to accept King’s simple but profound point that racial bigotry is a moral problem and that “morality cannot be legislated.”
The plethora of government programs driven by the pretense that government can go beyond just protecting citizens to become an active tool for creating a more just society have worsened the very problem they pretend to address. Making segregation illegal — making discrimination illegal — is far different from forced integration and mandated quotas.
Liberal policies have forced ongoing and increased racial consciousness and division in the country. In doing so, by taking government where it does not belong, trying to solve a moral problem it cannot solve, they have made the problem worse and sharpened, rather than eased, racial tensions.
Worse, taking government where it does not belong has diminished the most important factor needed to solve this problem, which is more, not less, personal moral responsibility by both the victims and the victimizers.
Appreciation for the awesome humility, forgiveness and love demonstrated by the families of the victims of this horrible crime and the other members of this church is the greatest homage we can pay to those who were murdered.
As a nation, we should be turning to the God to whom they were praying, whose teachings they were studying when they were murdered. The answers are there. Not in politics and not in Washington.
On the Confederate Flag…
Governor Nikki Haley got the ball rolling and the job was finished by Republican State Rep. Jenny Horne, who stood before the South Carolina House of Representatives identifying herself as a descendant of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and made an impassioned plea to move the bill to remove the flag with haste and not allow it to get hung up with amendments.
But this is not and will not be good enough for liberals.
In 1963, newly elected Alabama (Democrat) governor George Wallace took the oath of office in Montgomery, former capital of the Confederacy, and issued forth his famous phrase, “segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
Might we think that, along with the flag, removed was the last remnant of a culture that rejected the idea that all people in our land are equal both under our constitution and in the eyes of God?
Unfortunately, if you think that, you are very wrong. Because liberals won’t let it happen.
Racism is a mindset that strips individuals of their humanity; that casts them as objects; that denies that each is a unique divine creation.
The moral power of the civil rights movement was to wake America up to this truth and it succeeded because it appealed to the moral conscience of the nation. It prevailed because it was a religious movement led by a Christian pastor and not a political movement led by a community organizer.
But what came next was a far different story, and it is why pulling down the Confederate flag, although a laudable and positive step to move the country in the right direction, will not make much of a difference.
When civil rights turned into laws, when it moved out of the church and into the hands of politicians and the politically ambitious, it took on the same characteristics of the disease it was meant to eradicate.
When civil rights law became not about obliterating unequal treatment under the law but about using political power to socially engineer outcomes, the same individuals whose humanity we wanted to save were turned into new kinds of political objects for liberals to manipulate.
As a result, we engraved race awareness and differences deep into our national political culture, almost guaranteeing that an era where people are judged by the “content of their character” would be impossible.
It is why after almost two terms of a black man occupying the White House racial tensions continue to rage.
The latest example of this can be found in the recent Supreme Court decision legitimizing “disparate impact” in federal housing policy. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited discrimination in housing policy. But, again, not enough for liberals.
Now, per the court ruling in Texas Department of Housing and Community affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, any business decision, even though demonstrably not motivated by discrimination, can be deemed discrimination if it is shown to have “disparate impact” on different communities.
This makes it virtually impossible to make business decisions without thinking about race.
And the Department of Housing and Urban Development has just issued a new 377 page rule, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule. Cities nationwide must meet vast new reporting requirements to the federal government on housing patterns. The Feds will then decide if they are discriminatory, and use the power of federal funds to impose from Washington politically determined local outcomes.
Racial manipulation, Confederate-style, has just been replaced by racial manipulation, liberal-style. The victim is American freedom and the very minorities that these policies, which have failed time and again, are supposed to help.
A nation under liberals, rather than a nation under God, is a nation in which racial strife will never leave us, no matter how many symbols of a painful past are removed and buried.
See more from Star Parker at http://www.urbancure.org
CURE is a non-profit organization founded and led by Star Parker in Washington, DC providing news, analysis and free-market solutions to poverty.