White guilt, arrogance drive policies

Matthew White

I understand that many white people feel guilty about the past.

Slavery was horrible, demeaning and inhumane. It diminished the slaves – because no human being should ever be treated as property – and it diminished the slave holders because it showed a deep disrespect for human life.

Even when black people were given equal rights, they weren’t given equal status. Abraham Lincoln – the first Republican president ever – signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, but a hundred years later black people still weren’t treated as equals. It took another Republican, Dwight D. Eisenhower, to begin the next significant wave of reform when he used federal troops to enforce desegregation in an Arkansas high school.

For too long, black people were held down. But, no act of government, and no act of preferential treatment now will ever make up for it. Also, no amount of guilt from whites will help black people overcome the challenges before them.

Affirmative action is a product of white guilt, but also of arrogance. It’s arrogant for whites to assume that the white solution – preferential treatment in education and employment – will somehow solve the black people’s problems for them.

Instead of giving black people a white solution, which assumes black people aren’t smart enough or able to come up with their own ideas, what’s needed is a black solution to black problems.

Arrogance is a common problem for liberals, who see the government as a benefactor that can cure social ills. Government is a slow-moving behemoth that almost always creates more problems then it solves. And, once again, affirmative action demonstrates this.

Rather than a cure to end racism, affirmative action is itself racist, sustaining the problem. Affirmative action tells certain students or employees that although they meet the requirements, there isn’t a spot for them because they don’t contribute to a diverse workplace or student body.

Some people will argue that relatively few people are hurt by affirmative action policies. I hope they have the guts to explain that to the poor excluded kid or worker being left out. Any racial discrimination is too much.

White people did not choose to be white anymore than black people chose to be black. Nobody in the history of the world has been able to choose their mother or father, and punishing someone for the color they happened to be born with – whether that color is black, white, olive or any other – with laws that exclude them is extremely revolting.

Quite simply, affirmative action is as evil as any black code from the old South. Diversity initiatives that exclude whites and males are as evil as Jim Crow laws that enforced “separate but equal” facilities for black people. In one case, the laws existed to hold people down and in the other case the laws existed to help people up, but even the best of intentions with serious defects like racial discrimination hardly hold up to honest scrutiny.

It’s time for racist solutions to racial problems to end. America is a great nation because we can recognize our faults, reverse course and set things right. It’s a time to recognize that forcing blacks to fit into the mold of a bunch of white guys from 1964 isn’t the solution we need.

Matthew White is a senior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].