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‘Race Industry’ Scare-Tactics By: Bruce S. Thornton
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, February 22, 2002

THE OPPOSITION to Charles Pickering's nomination to the federal appeals court has given us a rare opportunity to peek behind the spin-curtain and see the Oz-like manipulations that create the liberal vision of race in America.

The Civil Rights Industry-- a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party-- has rounded up the usual suspects in its attack on Pickering.  Old statements or actions from forty years ago are dredged up to imply that Pickering would "roll back the clock" on civil rights, a favorite scare-tactic of the Race Industry when its various barrels of pork-- e.g., racially gerrymandered congressional districts, which Pickering has opposed -- are threatened.

After all, if civil rights aren't in perpetual danger from nefarious crypto-racists, then we don't need the self-selected race tribunes who, by shaking down frightened and guilty white people, make a pretty good living exposing and monitoring these devious demons.  But to the embarrassment of Pickering's opposition, most black people in his hometown in Mississippi are in favor of his nomination.  They base their support on his actions, which over the years have benefited his black neighbors in numerous ways.

We see here the fundamental flaw of most liberal views on race: they tend to be abstract and function on a symbolic level, focusing on words rather than deeds.  Affluent intellectuals, whose only intimate, day-to-day experience with the minority "other" is usually with those from the same social class, understandably will want to measure racial correctness on the level of rhetoric rather than reality.  Hence supporting affirmative action, praising hacks like Cornel West, and avoiding the "n-word" will be the hallmark of the racially sensitive, even as their kids are enrolled in tony private schools or they shop for homes in neighborhoods into which minorities only come to clean or cut the grass.

This segregation by social class, moreover, reinforces racial stereotypes that serve the Race Industry.  Again the opposition to Pickering is revealing, since his biggest critic is the ultra-liberal People for the American Way, whose real beef with Pickering is his Christianity.  But the fact that he is Christian is one of the main reasons black people in Mississippi support him.  The Christian faith of black America is deep and wide, and conflicts with the perception that most blacks are secular materialists like the liberal establishment, and that they support all the Democratic party's positions generated by secular materialism (for example, the absolutist "separation of church and state" confected over the years from the Constitution's anti-establishment clause by various Supreme Court decisions).

This vision of race, then, depends on abstract generalizations and stereotypes that ignore the complex variety of region, religion, and social class that defines black America as much as it does white.  In collusion with the race tribunes, on the other hand, most liberals endorse a simplistic view of blacks as perpetual victims traumatized by history and hence in need of noblesse oblige from guilty, sensitive whites, with the race tribunes functioning as middlemen.

This assumption of universal black victimization, which undergirds university and government affirmative-action programs, is insidiously racist, since it institutionalizes the perception of black inferiority, inferiority so ingrained that not even education or money can compensate for the wounds of history.  Guilty and beneficent whites are thus always on top, since a victimizer is superior to his victim, the giver superior to the receiver.  As the old African proverb says, the hand that gives is always over the hand that takes.

Whether Pickering deserves to be a judge or not should be determined by his legal qualifications and experience, not by some contrived image of him that serves the Race Industry or the anti-Christian bigotry of liberal lobbies.  And if his views on race are deemed important, then look to his deeds and their beneficiaries.  As with many other issues, with race it's not whether you talk the talk, but whether you walk the walk.

Bruce Thornton is the author of Greek Ways and Decline and Fall: Europe’s Slow-Motion Suicide (Encounter Book}. He is 2009-2010 National Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

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