The injustice of American racism is wedded to the injustice of capitalism, under which profit rules mean that a minority wins, at the expense of a majority’s loss. Among the majority of losers, due to our nation’s early history of wealth creation based on slave , and not just wage labor , are a high percentage of blacks.
But while the practice of Affirmative Action (AA) for the rich leaves none of them behind, that is hardly the case with the racial form of AA . It was allegedly created to end racism, but it really functions to benefit the system by letting a few more subjects in, while keeping still greater numbers out. Further, it has been expanded to include far more than blacks, and has done more for individual women and latinos than it has for the greatest number of black americans.
The system-saving program of AA works for only a small group of nonwhites, yet without it, America would be even less colorful than it is at present. This color practice, however, does nothing for the great majority of people, black, white or in-between, who never benefit from any affirmative action whatsoever. AA tends to make them feel slighted, envious , and to become more individualist, more divided from their fellow citizens, and even more racist.
Economic losers in America’s casino of capital number mostly whites , simply as a reflection of the population. If the majority of Americans were blue-skinned, then blue-skinned people would be the greatest number of poor, working poor, middle class debtors, etc. The categorization of humans according to race is part of the moral sickness of the system. We are one human race, and we only have different skin tones for reasons of our geographic, and then genetic origins . Skin tone should have nothing to do with differences that we develop by being culturally shaped in different times and places. Perpetuating racial difference only works to keep humanity apart. It nurtures profit and loss economics, thrives on the exploitation of humans , creates racial division, and reinforces ignorance about who and what we are.
The longer we accept ourselves as what we are labeled by those who benefit from our ignorance, the longer we remain intellectual , moral and economic losers.
Policies that allow a few into the upper class while dumping more into a lower class only serve to perpetuate the greater injustice that prevails. And that injustice will continue as long as policies like AA are seen as promoting social justice, when all they do is reward some individuals, at the expense of most of society. Debates over the preservation of AA miss this point , since neither side represents fairness in any but a rhetorical , individualistic and antisocial sense .
The cancer or polio choice that corporate capital offers its political consumers is similar to what is offered to those seeking equality through present AA policy, which almost always creates lesser evils and negative interpretation of the word. Can white men be macho louts? Well, why can’t a token handful of black men also aspire to these depths. Can men be obnoxious loudmouths? Then why shouldn’t a handful of token women display their egos in annoying fashion. This is what striving for equality in a system predicated on inequality creates: another small, token group of entrants into a market place thriving on dehumanizing deceit, manipulation and individualistic striving for gain, at individual costs that contribute to and maintain social inequities.
Affirmative action for the rich is what put the current dim bulb in the white house, after business and financial experience in which he displayed no more than average competence. AA policies for his kind assure success for all members of that class. This is nothing like the form which applies to blacks, in which it seems that for every one sent to Penn State, there are ten sent to State Penn. For every descendant of slavery who becomes a lawyer, corporate capital assures a measure of affluence and acceptability, but his far more numerous, far less affluent kin remain behind, making beds or driving cars for white people, at best, or filling prisons, at worst.
Capitalism’s Affirmative Action works for all rich white people, for very few nonwhite people, and not at all for working white people. The term “white privilege” has become a slur that covers everyone from Park Avenue to Trailer Parks, as though whites all experience the same financial success. But falsely equating all whites is as dumb as lumping all of any group together, without regard to its financial status. This narrows reality to the width of a president’s brain.
The idea that every white person in America is privileged, compared to, say, Colin Powell or Denzel Washington, is a product of negative equality that gives us all a right to be stupid . No matter what division of the one race – human – we may think we belong to, this nation makes it possible for us to be equally ignorant, manipulated, divided and conquered. That is what’s wrong with affirmative action that offers small scale individual profit, while causing large scale social loss .
We need social action that is an affirmation of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. One that confronts our vicious racist history, not by masking it with individual blame or benefits , but by confronting it with social responsibility that transforms reality in democratic ways that change its economic base of support. Creating individual black, latino or female affluence without benefiting all members of the group, is simply using social capital for antisocial purposes . Until that capital is under a more democratic control that guarantees greater social good for all people , we will remain a divided and conquered human race. In its present form of providing only individual benefit, affirmative action is part of the problem, not the solution.
Mr. Frank Scott contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from Bolinas, California. It was first published by the Coastal Post.