St. Paul was right, that the wages of sin is death, is it a stretch to say that
the wages of white supremacy is colorblindness?
suggest such a thing, I’m sure, makes a good number of white brothers and
sisters uneasy, thinking perhaps Black Americans have deserted Dr. King’s dream
where people are judged by the content of their character and not by the color
of their skin.
Forget that King, just before his death, called for affirmative action in his
last book, "Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?" His dream wasn’t that
everyone would not recognize color, but that skin pigmentation would not be used
as the key measure of human potential.
wasn’t so naive to think a society steeped in centuries of white supremacy would
be magically transformed into a colorblind utopia. I’m not suggesting that
affirmative action is our salvation, but neither is it the reverse racism that
some opponents claim.
hard-working white person is sure to raise the question: Why should I be made to
pay for America’s past racial sins? Evidently, voluntary cooperation is not an
nation where the majority of its citizens are at least nominally-affiliated
Christians, it seems such questions are more knee-jerk deflection than
Eating of the fruit produced by sinful forbears is to partake in the original
sin, according to one of the central tenets of the Christian faith.
Deuteronomy 5:9 says: "I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the
iniquity of the fathers upon the children of the third and fourth generation of
them that hate me."
point here isn’t to promulgate evangelical Christianity. That’s Cal Thomas’ job.
I just find it hard to believe that people in a Christian-saturated society are
perplexed by the idea of paying for sins committed by previous generations.
haven’t come across any studies that document how much wealth black slaves were
robbed of by two centuries of unpaid servitude, particularly in the cotton
industry — an industry central to America’s early economic success.
several years ago, a University of California at Berkeley study found that the
value of lost income to black Americans because of discrimination between 1929
and 1969 alone comes to about $1.6 trillion.
contrary to Thomas Sowell’s distortions, the idea of reparations is not about
convincing people whose ancestors arrived in America after the Civil War that
they owe anybody anything for what happened in the ante- bellum South. Clearly,
black economic deprivation goes far beyond the Civil War and the ante-bellum
was AFTER slavery that America allowed the Black Codes, a set of laws designed
to restrict the labor mobility of the newly freed slaves, guaranteeing cheap
labor for white planters. One code stipulated that any freed slave without
"lawful employment" would be subject to arrest and then be leased to a white
there is a qualitative and quantitative difference between the economic
hardships faced by black America and those confronted by every other immigrant
group in this nation’s history.
the history of the U.S. housing market, for starters. Ford Foundation member Dr.
Melvin Oliver observes how many of his white colleagues were able to buy a house
because of a transfer of assets before the death of their parents. This down
payment on their homes was a benefit available to few blacks because of bank
red-lining and other such policies.
Oliver also notes the central role Uncle Sam played in creating a strong white
middle class with the GI Bill and federal subsidies of mortgages, to name just a
few privileges inaccessible to most blacks at the time.
you read these words, state universities across America are looking to replicate
a new admissions approach used by the University of California at San Diego,
which hires high school guidance counselors to review the overwhelming number of
applications they receive.
of these counselors who is moonlighting as an admissions officer is from
Eastlake High School in San Diego — not exactly a bastion of the
counselor, Nancy Nieto, gets inside information that students crave: the outline
for the perfect essay and the right combination of high school classes, the
Boston Globe reported last week.
really interesting to see what other applicants write in their essays, and how
they write," Nieto told the Globe. "My kids can compete better. I know what to
tell them to put down."
that story illustrates, all across America there is an informal social network
that gives whites preferential treatment in gaining access to a limited range of
economic opportunities. Can colorblindness really be the answer, when, in a
race-obsessed society, it renders white-skin privilege invisible?
Gonsalves is a Cape Cod Times staff writer and a syndicated columnist. His
column runs on Tuesdays. E-mail him at [email protected]