Thoughts on Race and the Court

First question is about the challenge of addressing race in the 21st century, especially in light of the Supreme Court’s decision. Thoughts:

 Hillary – voice soaring with poignant soundbites.  No points

Bill Richardson – Leads with the reminder that confronting racism requires facing bigotry.  Reminds us that the next president has to lead and speak passionately about the importance of racial equality.  Cool.

Biden – like your college roommate’s Dad.  Stiff, but cool.  Brings it right to the Supreme Court.  Says he was tough on Alito, but his colleagues in the Senate should have been tougher.  Amen.

John Edwards – first southerner to answer and knows that the first thing you do is thank your host.  But he hits the mark.  Two Americas, etc.  Very cool.

Obama – looks a little peaked.  But smooth.  Reminds us that we are at Howard, where Thurgood Marshall and Houston conceived of Brown. And reminded us that he is only able to stand on the stage because of Brown.  Good opening.

Kucinich – hits the mark.  But I sure wish he was a more physically dynamic guy.  I hear lots of snickering in the media room while Kucinich is talking.

Gravel – makes some good points about the way the war on drugs is ravaging AFrican American communities.  But who is he?

Dodd – speaks truth to power on the resegregation of our public schools.  Says no issue is more important than the issue of education.  Says if he’s president he’ll work to reverse today’ s Supreme Court’s decision on school deseg today (something he could better do from Congress, if at all).


14 thoughts on “Thoughts on Race and the Court

  1. Segregation is bad. Hoever, counting heads is not a great idea either. The Supreme Court looked at the two schools trying to make racial quotas and put a stop to it. I find this to be a positive thing for race relations in America from a supposedly conservative-leaning Court.

    My take: think of it as a marriage. Two very differnt people are forced to marry. The government steps in to try to make it work. Work hours are negotiated. The number of kids is determined. Intimate relations are scheduled on the calendar. The man gets the television remote on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and the woman gets it Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Sundays rotate every other week. That should go a long way to creating a happy marriage, right?

    Of course not. All the government did was reinforce the idea that they are individuals rather than a couple. For a marriage to work, for a multicultural country to meld, the members must learn to bond, to unify. Common ground must be found. Each must learn the other’s strengths and accept their weaknesses. Love must be freely given, not handed out in grudging parcels. Otherwise, the two will never learn to trust each other.

    Liberalism tends to favor having the government fix race relations. Maybe in some cases that would help. Conservatives think individuals should work it out, and maybe sometimes that’s the way to go. I don’t think either ideology or either major party is the standard bearer on race.

  2. I like your example Matt. But what do you do when individuals are not willing to address their problems. In this case, it seems as though the goveernment should serve as counseler to mend the problem before the fighting starts.

  3. Matt, I have to agree with your analogy–partially. Affirmative Action is the worst solution out there except for all the others.

    It IS basically unfair, punishing certain individuals because of their racial identity. IMHO however, as I’ve said here before, it is the best thing on the table now, beating both 1) reparations, and 2) doing nothing, which has been shown to work painfully slowly, if at all. Those seem to be the two ends of the continuum, and either extreme is not attractive to me. Affirmative Action is at least an attempt to rectify and even the playing field. I fear that such damage has been done to the fabric of the Black community over the last 300 years that it will never be repaired, at least in my lifetime.

    Having said that, I do believe the ultimate answer lies in your statement that “Love must be freely given, not handed out in grudging parcels”. Not trying to argue here, genuinely asking the question–How would you have us get there? (without going to either end of the continuum).

  4. It appears that while I was responding to Matt, Jaylon did it already, and more succinctly. However, I think it is already too late to mend the problem before the fighting starts.

  5. Matt S,

    I must disagree. I wish it were that simple. The dynamics of race are so tied to the economic condition of people that only the government can assure equlity and fairness. States Rights’ advocates tend to be too conservative when it comes to race and economics. The U.S. is only 40 – 45 years removed from the institution of Jim Crow. Programs such as Affirmative Action serves to protect and assure equlaity for those of color and women. If it were not for AA, I think we all would see segregation all over again. I fear this could be a reality in schools. There are too many people based on class and race still trying to catch a break to improve their social condition.

  6. My stance on affirmative action has softened somewhat after listening to Eddie’s point of view last year at our fantasy football draft. While I generally find affirmative action to be a form of racial condescension, I can see how it might help jump start things or counter some of the economic imbalances.

    Our government should foster equal opportunity, not equal results. If minorities are still having doors shut in their face due to their skin color, then maybe a bit of affirmative action is called for.

    At some point, though, the training wheels have to come off. Going back to the previous metaphor: if the government is going to be the marriage counselor, at some point it needs to phase out and let the couple bond naturally. I think the U.S. has come a long way so far, and affirmative action probably helped.

  7. In my plight to get Hillary elected, I find myself wishing she were Obama or John Edwards. Or that Obama or John would have sex changes…

  8. It is good to know people are listening to me at the draft.

    “At some point, though, the training wheels have to come off.”

    It is too early for this. We have a black middle class thanks to Affirmative Action and additional hardwork. But, it has only been a very small period of time.

  9. More thoughts:

    First: AA is not a system in which women, minorities, etc get a free ride; it is a policy designed to assure groups discriminated against are not locked out of a system traditionally dominated by WASP.

    Being a black person who grew up in a very low socioeconomic community where black folks were living generations of cyclical poverty and a lack there of good education, I have seen what AA can do. It is too easy to say that it is 2007 and if you want a better life you should study harder. Both of my parents are not educated; they speak broken English; I was lucky to be the choice of a few whites that paid for me to attend a good private school and to get a different type of education than my buddies who are still on the streets. 98% of the white students I teach have parents that can spend $15,000 a year on our tuition. We have few blacks; many of my students apply to Harvard, Yale, etc. What an advantage they have over both poor whites and blacks in urban an rural areas. How can we as a society ask both groups to take the same SAT. My campus offers 20 AP courses; many urban schools cannot offer one.

    Slavery and Jim Crowism has had a long impact on social policy and race today. When you are white, you do not have to worry about if students will accept you, or your colleagues, boss, or your neighbors.

  10. Hey Mr. Carson!
    So I was working on my English research paper over Senator Fred Dalton Thompson and you popped into my head because i know you usually look into these topics. What i was wondering is what are your views on Sen. Thompson because i don’t really know what to think of him. He seems to be a good canidate (i can’t spell Holy cow sorry), but am i missing something. I know he was perviously an actor, lawyer, writer and studyed law and politics at Memphis State Unv and also and Vanderbilt. He is also called to be the next Ronald Reagan, do you agree with that? I feel like i am missing something here, he almost seems too good to be true for the republicans. Thanks for your time!!!

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