Reflections on Race – It Shouldn’t Have to be a Race

This is in response to the following article in HP.

I don’t agree with most of what you say.  Money is not what solves the problem.  We live in a very competitive culture where some people will do just about anything to get ahead, and for some, that means playing a victim to gain an advantage, and for others, that may mean playing a boss (or perhaps exploiter is the better word) to gain an advantage.  I think that both strategies may be inherently manipulative, disrespectful, and harmful to all parties.  Both strategies render the human object, using human beings to achieve power,  with money as the intermediary, if not the ultimate goal.

Have Blacks been victimized relative to others?  Historically, in some cases, yes.  In the overall plan, though, it is important to move beyond “victim”, beyond “race”, and look toward a future where everyone can realize their potential to be happy.  This may sound callous, but I am going to make it explicit:  just like with Judaism, socially one should not proceed from a position of victimization and hardship that has statistically led to certain physical advantages, to a moral position of “being owed”, to a collection position of “moral and physical superiority”.  The chain is broken with insight into what is happening, advancing the postulate that everyone has the right to be happy, and safeguarding that integration provide paths toward that happiness, but also retaining that no one is victim or entitled based upon race because of statistics (any individual case is a different question).  The solution is more diversity and less competition.  We should not believe that competition is what makes us better, or that being better will make us happy.  Get over being jealous.  There are, for most people, opportunities.  Find them, or create them, without destroying someone or something else.

I guess, that I am arguing against a statistical Darwinism, simply because we have the intelligence to not have that path.  Integration that proceeds under selection pressures that are healthy, and not revolutionary (minority overruling formerly dominant majority – however much this may resonate with self-empowerment ideas, and direct aggression toward oppression), is in my opinion, more prudent and stable for a system.  Don Graham’s recent scholarship allocation granting undocumented workers scholarships is, I think, a very progressive example of healthy integration pressure for that group.  It does not use a law – which would be force  (and incidentally, a legal process is not a process that the group would normally have access to).  Also, there are almost 20 examples of governors using state authority to achieve integration by granting this group resident tuition rates, and sometimes access to scholarships.   Still, all of this requires documenting, tracking, identifying, and labeling.  It also probably fundamentally links money to rights.  Somehow, less than satisfying for an individual who probably is not comfortable with such activities.

I am, by the way, pro-affirmative action in education.  Not because minorities are “owed” or might get ahead, but because education provides a path for dialog, thinking, nonviolent conflict resolution and happiness independent of competition or others.

These are my current thoughts.  Not written in stone.  Just thinking that “being owed” is not really a path toward getting along with others, even if one is.  And getting along, may be important for moving toward a more inclusive society.

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