Where Is Race Interaction?

Posted on February 12, 2016

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When I was at University of Missouri in the 1950s, we drank our flat beers, and we’d sing along: “It don’t matter if you’re black or white.”

Today many share the view that interaction between the races is all but impossible without the guiding hand of race experts.

We hear “white students and white faculty” lack knowledge of the black experience and require education to remedy that problem.

“Racial understanding” sounds nice, it’s always good to be understanding, right? Yet the logic of it strikes one as dire. It rehabilitates, in politically correct lingo, the  belief that skin color is more important than what lies beneath.

Indeed, some university administrators now actively encourage their students to be color-conscious rather than colorblind.

A University of California document titled “Recognizing Microaggressions” lists various potentially offensive phrases that students and faculty should avoid using. It includes: “When I look at you, I don’t see color,” “There is only one race: the human race,” and “I don’t believe in race.”

At the University of Missouri, staff have been encouraged to see colorblindness as “disempowering for people who racial identity is an important part of who they are.”

Also, black students feel they lack spaces where they feel safe and comfortable. The solution: “A safe space for all black students. I guess if you put the word “safe” in front of “segregation,” its suddenly OK?

Having gone through my life refusing to treat people as “racial beings,” must I now change tack, and think racially if I want to seem as good? I think not.

Ultimately I find these new campus movements profoundly pessimistic. They’re accepting the reactionary view that it’s not only possible but desirable to categorize people by color and, as a corollary, that genuine integration is futile.

Excuse me for wanting not part of it.

 

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