Bob of Unfogged thinks Ward Connerly’s latest gambit amounts to “wilful ignorance” of racial discrimination.

I think Connerly’s rationale is that, by far, the biggest perpetrator of racial discrimination these days is the government. By forbidding the government from recording people’s race, we make it much more difficult for them to discriminate on that basis. Since government dominates education and is the largest employer, that would indeed be a huge step toward a color blind society.

FILED UNDER: Race and Politics,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bob says:

    I think that my big disagreement with Connerly is over whether most of discrimination by the government is in the form of statutes and policies, or in the form of structural impediments to equality — and of illegal (and often unconsious) racism. A non-government example: Abercrombie & Fitch’s alleged discrimination against those who don’t fit A&F’s picture of who looks all-American. A&F’s official policy is that there are no racial preferences, but in practice A&F’s hiring appears to be blatantly racist — attractive white kids are actively recruited, while nonwhites are tuned away, channeled intoo back-room jobs, or just fired. If A&F were the California state government, Connerly’s initiative wouldn’t at all affect A&F’s official policy, but it would be far more difficult to detect and document how it’s actually carried out.

  2. Spoons says:

    Consider this: I am a white male. I was born in 1971.

    In my 31 1/2 years on the planet, I have been discriminated against based on my race, legally, dozens, perhaps hundreds of times.

    No black American of similar age can say that.

  3. James Joyner says:

    Bob: You make an interesting point. But, really, such things are pretty minor and clearly outside the purview of government. If A&F wants to target a white, preppie market, then it’s not illogical for them to hire that type of model. A store that was targeting trendy urban teens probably wouldn’t hire Wilford Brimley, either.

    Spoons: I’m guessing not. Which is entirely different than saying that blacks your age haven’t experienced the type of discrimination Bob points to. Clearly, different assumptions are made about, say, 20-year-olds dressed sloppily if one is white and another is black and they’re walking around a department store.