Conservatives on Fox News and with National Review On-line are reporting the recent 5-3 U.S. Supreme Court decision (Justice Kagan recused herself) ending race as one of many factors in influencing decisions on university admissions in Michigan as “a resounding win for the good guys.” By direct inference, racial minorities trying to have greater access and not any discriminatory influence on college admissions are “the bad guys.”
The proposition argued by the Court majority is plainly that white applicants are discriminated against by people of color even when admissions decisions that in Michigan and most everywhere are done as part of a holistic, multi-dimensional approach that include several factors in addition to the color of the applicant. Racial quotas have been unconstitutional and rightly so since the 1978 Bakke decision.
The Roberts Supreme Court minus four dissenting justices is operating under the assumption that white Americans are now the powerless and oppressed. This illusion can be proven as just that by asking any white person you know if they would have been willing and even envious of having been a black man or woman who graduated from an inferior inner city high school with few resources. Ask them too if they could change and become black at dawn tomorrow they would be both happy and anxious to do so in a kind of national day of the Watermelon Man, ‘a la Godfrey Cambridge.
This paradigm shift in race relations that has moved away from the previously understood view where whites are the clear power structure meting out racial discrimination and bigotry, denying people of color access to the basics of American democracy, and social and economic opportunity occurs just when traditional racism is experiencing a renaissance. That racial bigotry, is still quite virulent, more craftily disguised, and yet most often still right out in the open as with the Cliven Bundy’s race rant on Fox when he said the “the negro” would today be better off being a slave. This is right now and not in 1865 when black emancipation had just been realized.
It can be seen in the victimhood of George Zimmerman attacked by that black monster, Treyvon Martin. Or it is right there for all of us to see in the dozens of Republican controlled state governments that have enacted voter suppression laws to prevent too many people of color from voting based on the equally erroneous perception that it is black people and the poor who most often attempt and are wildly successful at committing voter fraud.
The greatest discriminatory policy concerning university admissions in the country are the huge number of what are called “legacy” admissions. This is where the very best schools reserve hundreds, sometimes thousands of admissions for the children of university alumni. At Princeton, legacy admissions are 33 percent of the 2015 Freshman Class. At Harvard, that gold standard of the wealthy, well- heeled and powerful the legacy admission rate runs at 30 percent.
Here even white applicants whose parents did not attend schools that would be any good student’s first choice are heavily discriminated against by having roughly a third of the potential spots each fall reserved for the children of alumni. Yes, there are a few blacks who benefit as their parents came in on the wave of the 1960’s civil rights revolution. But we are talking here about what remains distinctly white privilege, and that of affluent Americans based on the social and economic class you swim in.
Fox and National Review and other conservative organizations have remained silent about the legacy admission route to the best colleges.
It defies reality to see whites as victims of racism, when exactly the opposite unfortunately remains true. My work as an advocate for the civil rights of people of color, and especially Native-Americans, has given me a ringside seat. This white guy from the suburbs has been emotionally and in everyday social relations hit hard by the naked white fury that people who do not look like the superior race have the gall to assert the proposition that they are in a position of equality with the white majority.
A couple of years ago I wrote a provocative but truth-telling view of our American Civil War historical memory—what we as a people commonly remember, but in this case should instead remember about that event. I got two death threats in the mail, one with the phrase, “you blacks always see race in everything.” And another that had my wife scared to death and on the point of calling the police in. I told her to just get on the floor if any strange car abruptly stopped in front of our address.
The new white victimhood paradigm is the product of a changing American demographic that takes the 62% that are white today, and creates a situation by 2040, according to the latest Census Bureau projections, that finds no single racial group as the majority. And if you take all people of color together, who for the most part find common cause with one another simply since they all face white furitanical racism, white Americans will find themselves as a racial minority. This is intolerable to the conservative and mind-impaired whites and it makes them very, very frightened. So they strike back.
They go crazy and buy more and more guns, isolate themselves as much as possible from people of other racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. White Americans who are struggling to simply remain in the middle class misidentify their tormentors and adopt the elite’s view of the rest of us. White fury is aimed again at blacks. We incarcerate people of color at a rate six or seven times that of whites.
Monetary discrimination practiced by the 1% against the 99% find lots of allies among the 99% simply because economically compromised white Americans think that blacks will knock them off one of the lowest rungs on the economic ladder rendering them just some ordinary “nigger” It can’t be said any other way–my apologies for using the term.
Common racial stereotypes have morphed into even more oppressive and opportunity choking forms.
In my mind and heart I am black, red, brown and yellow and at the same time white as I was born into this world with the full knowledge of my Creator.
The assumptions, illusions, and perceptive distortions of the dominant white majority make them very dangerous—perhaps as dangerous as when the parents of today’s young people who fought the good fight with Dr. King during America’s Civil Rights years stirred up the ire of people who oppressively ruled others for centuries and who now just can’t let go of that. The cultural imprint is just too strong for them.
Thomas Martin Saturday
for Struggles for Justice
“Speaking for the Voiceless, Protecting the Vulnerable”