Shackling the Individual by Imposing Racist Pride
By: Nancy Salvato
An avid reader, Iâ€™ve learned much about individualism and freedom by reading about what life is like when these are taken away from groups of people. I recently finished The Kite Runner (2003) by Khaled Hosseini, which tells the story about being a Hazara minority in Afghanistan, and provides insight into the nature of racism and a glimpse of how it might feel as the recipient of that type of evil. For those interested, there are many non fiction writings available which document the iniquity of racism in this world, for example, Marci Nafzigerâ€™s research paper which discusses the extreme injustice that took place during the regime of Pol Pot in, â€œKhmer Rouge in Cambodia” (2006). There is a plethora of utopian literature which brings to the logical conclusion what happens when societies reject the notion that man will always be imperfect yet strives to be better based on accepted values of good and bad, instead, imposing an unnatural existence to make the impossible, possible, e.g., â€œThe Giverâ€ (1993) by Louis Lowry, in which the hero exists in, â€œa seemingly ideal world: a world without conflict, poverty, unemployment, divorce, injustice, or inequality,â€ â€œ1984â€ Orwellâ€™s landmark book about totalitarian society (1949), or Ayn Randâ€™s â€œAtlas Shruggedâ€ (1957) which tells the story where, â€œa society where individuality and independent thought are demonized and discouraged is brought to its knees when intellectuals effectively go on strike and withdraw their contribution to civilization.â€Sometimes it is much easier to understand a concept like freedom or racism by creating a story in which the reader can identify or empathize with characters; in education this is called making a text to self connection. This can happen with movies, as well. For instance, in â€œ
Planet of the Apesâ€ (1968) the imagery really hits home at the end of the movie when, as the movie ends, the protagonist glimpses the half buried Statue of Liberty in the horizon. In the world today, there are many people trying to eradicate racism. There are two different ways of looking at it. I happen to agree with Michael S. Berliner and Gary Hull, who explain, â€œRacism is the notion that oneâ€™s race determines oneâ€™s identity. It is the belief that oneâ€™s convictions, values and character are determined not by the judgment of oneâ€™s mind but by oneâ€™s anatomy or blood. â€ (ARI 2002) I believe with Berliner and Hull that the diversity movement, which â€œclaims that its goal is to extinguish racism and build tolerance of differences,â€ is a complete sham. They are correct when they argue that, â€œone cannot teach students that their identity is determined by skin color and expect them to become colorblind. One cannot espouse multiculturalism and expect students to see each other as individual human beings. One cannot preach the need for self-esteem while destroying the faculty which makes it possible: reason. One cannot teach collective identity and expect students to have self-esteem.â€ (ARI 2002)
What is frightening is that the pursuit of ideas such as multiculturalism and diversity is identical to the pursuit of the utopian society, the logical conclusion of which always leads to some kind of Marxian utopia that can only exist if people who do not want to subvert their own thoughts and ideas are eradicated. More frightening is that, â€œintellectual diversity, i.e., the diversity of ideas,â€ is being eradicated on campuses across the United States as â€œIntellectualsâ€ preach from their â€œbully pulpitsâ€ the notion of â€œpolitical correctnessâ€ which instead of valuing real diversity pursues abject conformity. (ARI 2002)
Ward Connerly writes, â€œLet us not put ointment on the wound of race, let us cut it out of the body politic like the cancer that it is. That will require deregulating race, getting the government out of the race business altogether, not asking American citizens the odious question about their ancestry, because it should be no more relevant to the government than oneâ€™s religion â€” and that question is forbiddenâ€¦ The president could also issue an Executive Order eliminating those silly little race boxes from government forms; and he could help to eliminate the race question from the Census. America does not need another generation of â€œracial healingâ€ programs. America needs to consign race to the ash heap of history where it rightfully belongs.â€ (NR 2003)
While Ward Connerly tries to extinguish racism and elevate our society to a point where the question of race doesnâ€™t enter into the question of who is best qualified for admission into a university, there are others in the academic community who believe that race and gender absolutely need to be taken into consideration. â€œ
Justice Powell, who wrote the Courtâ€™s decision in the Bakke case, said race could be used as a â€œplus factorâ€ in an admissions process. When race is used as a plus factor, it necessarily influences admissions decisions. At its simplest, whenever an adjustment is made for any characteristic, that adjustment may prove to have made a difference in the ultimate admissions decision.â€The notion of entitlement seems to be pervasive in a society that embraces moral relativism and is eliminating rank and competition in our educational institutions. Multiculturalism says to recognize and elevate people on the basis of color, not individual achievement. Moral relativism does not recognize universal standards. Deserving or not, larger numbers of people believe they are owed jobs, money, a certain standard of living.
P.J. Oâ€™Rourke explains why entitlement is wrong. â€œFreedom is not empowerment. Empowerment is what the Serbs have in Bosnia. Anybody can grab a gun and be empowered. Itâ€™s not entitlement. An entitlement is what people on welfare get, and how free are they? Itâ€™s not an endlessly expanding list of rights â€” the â€œrightâ€ to education, the â€œrightâ€ to health care, the â€œrightâ€ to food and housing. Thatâ€™s not freedom, thatâ€™s dependency. Those arenâ€™t rights, those are the rations of slavery â€” hay and a barn for human cattle. There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.â€ (CATO 1993)With Barack Obama looking more and more like the Democratic candidate for the 2008 election, people are finally beginning to pay attention to what â€œchangeâ€ looks like for the Illinois Senator. Following the primaries, I harbor no illusions about Obama and Iâ€™m glad that his bubble has finally begun to burst. Kathryn Jean Lopez, getting right to the heart of the issue, quotes the Rev Jeremiah Wright, â€œa.k.a. Barack Obamaâ€™s pastor,â€ â€¦who compared Obama to the Christ child. â€œBarack knows what it means living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people. Hillary would never know that.â€
Wright continues, â€œHillary ainâ€™t never been called a nigger. Hillary has never had a people defined as a non-person.â€ As a matter of fact, before women could vote, they were considered less than a whole person.
â€œThe more Americans hear this man whoâ€™s been an influential part of Obamaâ€™s life for two decades, the more theyâ€™re going to have the audacity to look beyond Obamaâ€™s inspirational milquetoast speeches, probing what makes him tick, what influences him, who advises him, what he believes. And not just on Sundays. Itâ€™s the Wright thing.â€ (NRO 2008)The bottom line is that if we truly want to eradicate racism, we donâ€™t want to elect a man to office whose beliefs embrace racism. If we are to believe that Obamaâ€™s preacher does not embody Obamaâ€™s beliefs, and/or that Obama was truly unaware that his preacher believed these reverse racist notions, then he would seem unqualified to be president because he should be surrounding himself by people who are looking out for everyone in the country, not just black people. He should be surrounding himself by advisors who make sure he has all the information he needs to make decisions. A person qualified to be president should make use of all information available.
Here is something that every American should understand.
â€œWhite pride,â€ no less than â€œblack pride,â€ is an illegitimate concept. â€œPride is a result of working hard and reaching positive goals. For it to have any significance, it must represent a reward, an emotional payment for oneâ€™s attainments. As such, pride belongs properly only to the individual achiever. It does not redound to others who merely happen to be members of the same ethnic group.â€
Andrew Bernstein (ARI 2002)A person who wants to be president of the United States is there because he or she is elected to represent all of the people in the highest office of the land. A person who doesnâ€™t believe the Constitution to be the â€œrule of lawâ€ or believe his or herself to be a protector of each individualâ€™s freedoms should not be running for office. Obama himself says, â€œDonâ€™t tell me that words donâ€™t matter.â€ If he believes in this notion, then he believes the words of his preacher or he wouldnâ€™t have chosen and maintained for twenty years his church as a house of worship.
Copyright Â© Nancy Salvato 2008
Nancy Salvato is the President and Director of Education and the Constitutional Literacy Program for Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan 501 (C) (3) research and educational project whose mission is to re-introduce the American public to the basic elements of our constitutional heritage while providing non-partisan, fact-based information on relevant socio-political issues important to our country, specifically the threats of aggressive Islamofascism and the American Fifth Column. She serves as a Senior Editor for The New Media Journal. She is also a staff writer, for the New Media Alliance, Inc., a non-profit (501c3) coalition of writers and grass-roots media outlets, and a frequent contributing writer to The World & I educational magazine