TOKENISM

John McWhorter finds racial preferences insulting and claims most other black Americans feel the same way.

That’s no renegade assessment from a “black conservative.” The decision ratifies a practice that black Americans themselves overwhelmingly deplore. Too often lost is that while racial preference advocates coo about the importance of “diverse” perspectives in classrooms, black students tend not to appreciate being singled out this way. In a recent issue of Philadelphia Friends Central School’s newspaper devoted to diversity, a black teen treats this practice as an example of racism: “It makes you become representative of your race. Anything about black culture, they expect you to know.” The undergraduate-written Black Guide to Life at Harvard insists: “We are not here to provide diversity training for Kate or Timmy before they go out to take over the world.”

Meanwhile, in poll after poll, black Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of racial preferences. Typical was a poll by the Washington Post that showed 86 percent of blacks opposed. In Black Pride and Black Prejudice, Paul Sniderman and Thomas Piazza report that 90 percent of 756 blacks rejected admitting a black student over a white student when their difference in SAT scores is 25 points. In the Friends Central newspaper issue, a black teacher writes: “I would like to receive praise and awards and not have others consider them to be hand-outs.” He sees this as an aspect of racism in his life.

While I share McWhorter’s view, I’m skeptical of the polling. Black Americans continue to vote overwhelmingly (90% plus in most elections) for Democrat candidates who promise to provide racial handouts and the leaders who purport to represent Black America–Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP–all support them.

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.