RE: At UC, Race Must Matter by Jeffrey S. Lehman (Los Angeles Times, August 26, 2006) and the related American Renaissance News discussion thread.
Lehman's article illustrates what I call "creeping idealism." The big "ideal" circa 1964 was, indeed, "colorblindness." Fairness. College admissions based on qualifications, not race. That sort of thing.
Later on, the "ideal" became "diversity." A college classroom needed racially "diverse" students to "represent" various perspectives.
The next stage of "idealism" is the "critical mass" concept that Lehman discusses:
Critical mass means a group of sufficient size that each member is able to be an individual, to disagree publicly with other members of his or her group, to be freed--at least partly--from the burdens of always being perceived as a spokesperson for his or her race.It was never my idea, by the way, that members of racial minorities should serve as any kind of spokespeople in classrooms. The multicultural types are simply claiming to correct a defect in their own earlier forms of "idealism." If a kid goes to school, he or she goes to school to learn stuff, not to be any kind of representative or "spokesperson."
Beyond "critical mass" we have "proportionalism," the ideal that dares not give its name. It is the notion that all identifiable racial and gender sectors of society should be represented according to their proportions of the whole society in all desirable occupational and other social groupings. I've written quite a bit about this concept:
The one thing all of these "ideals," other than the first, accomplish is: honest, intelligent, hard-working white people get pushed aside for the sake of some non-white people who are less intelligent, less hard-working and, in some cases, less honest. Most white people do value fairness. We made some very sincere efforts back in the '60s to see to it that black people got the same kind of fair treatment from public schools and government agencies that we expected for ourselves. And, contrary to the blathering "idealism" affected by the likes of Jeffrey S. Lehman, we still value fairness. It is, unfortunately, no longer something we expect as a matter of course. It is something we must learn to demand.
Copyright © 2006
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