Racial Rhetoric Inflames Rather Than Unites

May 20, 2014 - 4:12 AM
I am at a loss to understand what constructive purpose first lady Michelle Obama (and Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and others) hopes to achieve by constantly talking about the race issue.

Last Friday, Michelle Obama chose to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling — in which the U.S. Supreme Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional — by reminding graduating high-school seniors in Topeka, Kansas, that racism is still alive and well in America today.

Mrs. Obama said: "No matter what you do, the point is to never be afraid to talk about ... the issue of race, because even today, we still struggle to do that. ... This issue is so sensitive. It's so complicated, so bound up with a painful history."

To whom was she directing her comments? There are no doubt plenty of white people who won't touch the race issue with a 10-foot poll, because they fear that anything they say might be twisted and lead to the accusation that they are racially insensitive or racist. But I doubt that too many minorities are afraid to talk about racism for fear of reprisals of any kind.

In fact, people can't even raise legitimate questions about Barack Obama's racialist comments in his books or the overt racism of his longtime pastor Jeremiah Wright without having the questions turned around on them as some sort of evidence of their own racism.

Barack Obama has frequently invoked the race issue, in rallying supporters to vote for him on the basis of race and in his racially contoured comments in the Henry Gates and Trayvon Martin cases, to name two. Attorney General Eric Holder, with Obama's full blessing, on one occasion scolded the country for being afraid to talk about race and, on another, suggested that people were attacking him as a way to get at President Obama, because they are both African-Americans.

Mrs. Obama also said, "We know that today in America, too many folks are still stopped on the street because of the color of their skin, or they're made to feel unwelcome because of where they come from, or they're bullied because of who they love." I don't know how much bullying of homosexuals is still going on, but I do know there's a lot of bullying of people who don't share the liberal view on same-sex marriage, and I don't hear Mrs. Obama speaking up on their behalf.

I honestly hope fewer innocent people each day are being stopped on the streets because of the color of their skin, but I also hope that fewer innocent people are being ambushed and savagely knocked out on the streets without provocation and solely because of the color of their skin. Again, I don't hear Michelle Obama decrying such incidents and advocating bringing those responsible to justice.

Mrs. Obama lamented that Brown v. Board of Education is still being "decided every single day" and that all schools aren't equal because of their "crumbling classrooms and less experienced teachers." Perhaps not, but it sure isn't for lack of federal taxpayer money being allocated toward public education.

If Michelle Obama is truly worried about black children being trapped in inner-city schools, then why won't she and her husband support promising solutions involving school choice and vouchers? If they were less beholden to labor groups and to the politics of race and dependency, then maybe they would push real answers rather than inflammatory rhetoric that stirs up people against one another and does nothing to solve problems in education.

Undeniably, some racism persists in all directions, but constant liberal hectoring is not the way to eliminate it. Instead of forever reminding us of past wrongs and encouraging us to harbor resentment, why can't liberals urge all of us to move past those things, love one another and live in harmony?

But they simply won't do that. Though it's doubtlessly controversial to say this, we probably won't see Democrats stop stoking the race issue as long as they can hold on to the support of some 90 percent of the black vote, in great part because they disgracefully imply that conservatives and Republicans are racist.

From the bottom of my heart, I believe that conservative policies are far likelier to lift up all people, including minorities, than liberal policies and that many liberal policies perpetuating dependency on government are devastating to minority communities.

Rather than obsess about race, Mrs. Obama, why can't we quit using it to embitter people and hold them back and begin talking about solutions that can work toward restoring the American dream for all people? Instead of rhetoric calculated to keep our attention focused on the pigment of our skin, why can't we begin promoting Christian principles that teach us that we are all equal in God's eyes because we were made in his image and strive to move toward a genuinely colorblind society?