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Ed Driscoll

Racers Gotta Race

July 6th, 2011 - 5:30 am

“It’s racially discriminatory to prohibit racial discrimination,” Michael Barone writes in the Washington Examiner, noting the strange paradoxes of establishment liberalism. “That’s the bottom line of a decision issued Friday, just before the Fourth of July weekend, by the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. The case was brought by an organization called By Any Means Necessary to overturn a state constitutional amendment passed by a 58 percent majority of Michigan voters in November 2006:”

In my view the strongest argument against racial quotas and preferences is that they tend to cast a pall of illegitimacy over the achievements of the intended beneficiaries. We see this every time a liberal critic questions the competence of Justice Clarence Thomas.

Within colleges and universities the existence of racial quotas and preferences, unacknowledged but understood by everyone, tends to make relations between blacks and whites more tense and distant. We see all-black dorms on campus, separate orientations for students of color, separate graduation ceremonies — everything but separate drinking fountains.

In addition, the obvious unfairness of racial quotas and preferences has led to the adoption of speech codes to suppress any criticism and prohibit any statement that makes someone feel uncomfortable. Campuses that were once havens of free speech are now patrolled and regulated by thought police. Intellectual dishonesty has become a job requirement for university administrators.

And everyone knows it. Jonah Goldberg adds that the phrase “That’s racist” has become a comedic punchline, in his weekly L.A. Times column — and I can’t help but wonder the reaction in the offices there, when he submitted this particular topic:

No, racism hasn’t vanished. And the legacy of racism still has a long half-life.

But the simple fact is “that’s racist” is the sort of thing those darn kids today say to make fun of their aging Gen X and baby boomer parents.

It’s also a common joke among conservatives, precisely because we’re used to being called racists for the weirdest things. If I write on Twitter something about how I don’t like “Obamacare,” some fellow right-winger will immediately respond with some variant of “that’s racist!”

And that’s the joke. And the people who’ve spent the last few decades screaming, “That’s racist,” not as a punch line but as a heinously unfair accusation or in an attempt to bully people, don’t seem to get that the joke is on them.

Tony Katz, my colleague here at PJM, brilliantly defined the paradigm of the left when he dubbed the left “the racers.” There’s President Obama’s palace guard defenders at MSNBC and the JournoList, who use their racial obsessions as a weapon to avoid their man, who combines the ideological excesses of John Kerry and Jimmy Carter and occasional teleprompter malapropisms that rival Dubya’s rhetorical tongue-twisters, from becoming a punchline himself. There are the newspaper movie critics who somehow manage to find racism buried in the most innocuous films that emerge from politically correct Hollywood. And there’s the paradoxical ruling that Barone describes above.

Combine them all, and it’s obvious that the reactionary left has become utterly obsessed with the topic. If the cliche was that 1950s Republicans believed that there were communists lurking around every turn in Washington DC, then 21st century leftists have once again managed, in their own way, to go back to the future. Not to mention having a worldview that’s remarkably paranoid, as these styles go.

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