Matt’s Traditional American Values: What the left gets wrong on race

Matt+Colleran

Matt's Traditional American Values

Matt Colleran

The left has no room to talk when it predictably tries to sully the reputation of principled conservatives by calling us names and trying to tie us to disgusting movements such as the “alt-right,” which I consider to be part of the left and which true conservatives denounce.  The irony in those statements is that it is the left that is keeping racism alive in this country through two avenues.  First, several of the modern left’s policies directly harm the lives of minorities. Second, the left becomes explicitly racist with its desire to engage in “identity politics,” which is an effort to divide us into “identities” (just a fancy word for ‘demographics’). They then capitalize on a divided society for political gain.

We need to move past race, not further ingrain it into our lives.  I do not deny that some on the right have said things that have played into this division.  I am also not claiming that every individual on the left has racist motives for supporting their views.  What I am saying is that the modern left’s policies are disproportionately hurting minorities and stopping us from moving past race as a society.  

The most obvious example of the left’s policies being racist is their support for abortion.  Today, in New York City, a black baby is more likely to be aborted than born.  Nationally, black babies are aborted at three times the rate of white babies, and Hispanic babies at 150% the rate of white babies.  Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, was a believer in eugenics and told a confidant in 1939 that “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”  

To this day, Planned Parenthood continues to live out Sanger’s legacy by locating most of its clinics in neighborhoods with high minority populations.  In 2017, an official Planned Parenthood Twitter account specifically encouraged black women to have abortions, claiming it was “safer” than having a baby. Certainly, this is not true for the baby.   If the Black Lives Matter movement truly cared about protecting black lives, they would be protesting outside of every abortion clinic in this country.

However, abortion is not the only issue where the left’s policies are hurting minorities.  Unfortunately, the black and Hispanic poverty rates are more than double those of whites, and roughly double the rates for Asians.  So, minorities have more invested in seeing an end to poverty.  In the 1960s, poverty rates were in freefall, dropping from near 23% in 1960 to 12% by the end of the decade.  Projecting out the trendline of the poverty rate falling by one percentage point annually, poverty was on track to be extinct by the early 1980s.  

However, President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who also appointed several justices who ruled for abortion in Roe v. Wade, felt the need to interfere in an economy that was eradicating poverty without government intervention.  In the late 1960s, he introduced the “Great Society,” an attempt to eradicate poverty entirely.  However, all it did was create a cycle of poverty in which people, regardless of race or ethnicity, become dependent on the government, and therefore on the Democratic Party.  Today, the poverty rate is 13%, which is somehow higher than it was 50 years ago despite taxpayers spending $22 trillion on fighting poverty.  As minorities were more likely to be living in poverty in the late 1960s, when the “War on Poverty” was launched, they hurt more from the government creating a cycle of dependence.  In a parallel universe, in which a Republican had won in 1964, it is likely that free enterprise and economic freedom would have lifted 13% of the American population– and 22% of the African-American population– out of poverty.  Instead, we were stuck with Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” which, once the economy fully absorbed it by 1970, stopped the eradication of poverty in its tracks.  This harms people of all races, as does the abortion example, but it harms minorities at far greater rates than whites.

The other way in which the left is racist is through their love of “identity politics.”  Essentially, many on the left feel that a winning strategy is to divide people up by demographics, such as race, class, gender, location and sexual preference, and label them “identities,” each with their own unique concerns.  From there, they attempt to convince enough “identities” that Democrats  will protect their interests better than the Republicans will.  Isn’t saying that a black person should care about different issues or think differently than a white person the very definition of racism?  

This strategy has worked for the Democrats, as they win the vast majority of the minority vote despite minorities being more religious than the country as a whole, which should suggest conservative voting habits (President Trump and House Republicans both won regular churchgoers comfortably in 2016).  Some who claim to be the right have certainly tried to use identity politics as well.  One example of this is the so-called “alt-right,” which, as mentioned above, actually aligns with the left on many issues.

Any and all policy based on race is racist, by the simplest definition of the term.  That also means that supporting race-based affirmative action, as the left does, is racist.  Our society is not perfect, but it is easily the most racially tolerant society in human history.  The goal cannot merely be racial tolerance, but racial indifference.  

When Barack Obama was elected, as much as I disagree with his policies, I thought we had finally arrived at the day when race would simply go away and we could live in a post-racial society.  However, a decade later, that has not happened, and our society seems, in some ways, more fraught with racial tension than it was a decade ago.  

Two statements that have risen in recent years have particularly bothered me: “it’s okay to be white” and “black lives matter.”  While I believe that both of those statements’ literal meanings are true, “it’s okay to be any race” and “all lives matter” would be less divisive phrases. As Martin Luther King said, hopefully, one day, people “will be judged not for the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”