Tag Archives: people of color
Michelle Alexander is a law professor and former lawyer who has written the very popular book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.” Alexander believes that due to the targeted mass incarceration of people of color, we are now living in a “New Jim Crow.” Alexander explains that because so many young black men have been through the prison system, they are legally being discriminated against in employment, housing, education, public benefits, and jury service, just as their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents once were under slavery and Jim Crow laws. Alexander describes the black community as being in a “caste” system, helpless to further their status as long as this “New Jim Crow” system is in place. Her solution is to build a “major social movement” to dismantle the “caste” system. Alexander however, is wrong in this strangely worded, hyperbolic, and confused book.
Some fallacies made by racialists are so perplexing it is difficult to categorize them. These claims rely on people not looking them up, or even stopping to think about them. Tim Wise makes one of these claims in his book Speaking Treason Fluently without a citation:
“2006 saw the largest number of race-based housing discrimination complaints on record, and according to government and private studies, there are between two and three million cases of housing discrimination each year against people of color”1
The professional racialists believe that their positions are almost universally held by “people of color.” According to racialists their positions are understood by “people of color” from a very young age, and whites remain oblivious to this fact for their whole life in some cases. So it becomes troubling to the racialists when “people of color” disagree with them. White ignorance and white racism are so foundational to the racialists beliefs that they don’t quite know what to do when “people of color” dissent. They certainly aren’t going to wrestle with the very foundations of their arguments, instead they find some way to explain away their arguments by attacking their character.
The first problem with racialists is that their conclusions are factually untrue. Most people don’t make their decisions based on race unconsciously or otherwise. Most opposition to President Obama isn’t due to racism as they claim, nor was Hurricane Katrina large scale “ethnic cleansing”, as Tim Wise has written. Disparities among racial groups in education, housing, wealth, employment, health, and the justice system largely can’t be explained by discrimination and racism (all of this will be argued for in great detail).
When someone is in the unfortunate position of being in a sociology class, or a diversity training seminar, or reading people like Michael Eric Dyson or Tim Wise, one will most likely be exposed to a self proclaimed “anti-racist” crusader. When someone devotes his or her life and career to uncovering racism, a noble intention, then unfortunately his or her perception of society is likely to center around race. When bad things happen to “people of color,” it is inevitable that someone who professionally looks for racism will find what he or she is looking for.