By their blood we will know their policy
By Matthew Fraser, Opinions Editor
The people most effected by hate crimes deserve a representative to demand that action be taken to protect their lives, but it is also worth noting that when these ideas are put to the test, they literally necessitate racial quotas.
Early in my path towards political engagement I would often encounter the statement “Liberals are the real racists.” This statement was oft repeated by conservatives wailing against identity politics and/or explaining the actions of their leaders as anything but racist. In America, this statement went hand in hand with “We are the party of Abraham Lincoln. You know, the guy who freed the slaves.” My skepticism (I hope) was understandable seeing as nearly every time these two statements occurred, they were accompanied by a red MAGA hat. However, overtime I would see certain patterns and statements that genuinely made me wonder if maybe, every once in awhile, those red hatters were right.
In 2019 Ayanna Pressley infamously stated that: “We don’t need any more black faces that don’t want to be a black voice.” The first problem with this statement is that it necessitates asking what a black voice is? If you can have a black face without having a black voice, it implies that not everyone who looks black is really black at all. Within this lies the paradox of race definition: is it more racist to say someone is not black due to how they think than it is to determine what combinations of ideas makes one black? Put another way, what does it mean to think like an authentic black person?
Last July, the National Museum of African American History and Culture released a chart that could only be described as supportive of racist ideas. The chart led with the line: “white people still hold most of the institutional power in America, we have all internalized some aspects of white culture—including people of color.” To be clear, it is true that white people hold the majority of seats of power in America, however, this chart was speaking to the idea that white supremacy is so pervasive that even people of color have internalized and accepted parts of it. This opening point led the chart to state that things like “objective, rational thinking,” seeing hard work as the key to success, planning for the future, and viewing one’s time as a commodity were all aspects of internalized white cultural norms. Conversely, this implies that to be well and truly “black” one mustn’t think rationally, make future oriented goals, or view their own time as valuable. Sounds a little “civilizing the savages” if you ask me, but then again, in the quest to separate black faces from black voices, one must determine who is or isn’t authentic.
Recently, retired air force pilot turned congresswoman Tammy Duckworth vowed to abstain from voting on any appointments made by Joe Biden if they weren’t Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, or other people of color. Soon, she was joined by one Mazie Hirono, who in an interview with MSNBC stated that she didn’t think that Joe Biden was promoting enough diversity. This stance likely did not emerge from the ether but was spurred on by the recent outbreak of anti-Asian violence in America. Specifically, congresswoman Duckworth’s objections came after the shooting of six Asian women in Atlanta.
At first glance this seems noble; America is rapidly diversifying and it will be important for all American people to have representation in the halls of power. The people most effected by hate crimes deserve a representative to demand that action be taken to protect their lives, but it is also worth noting that when these ideas are put to the test, they literally necessitate racial quotas. Case in point, when Duckworth was reminded that Kamala Harris is half Indian, she replied that this was “insulting.” Is there then a sufficient genetic level of representation that must be met or is Harris just not an “Asian voice”? Should we bring back old words like octaroon (someone who is one eighth black) so that we can accurately measure the blood quantum of all incoming politicians, workers, and teachers? What measures do we put in place to make sure that enough of the right kind are admitted?
Though I have become thoroughly anti-establishment over the years, the conservative variation of it has never once appealed to me. However, I have been forced to see that, yes, apex wokeness too often becomes self parody and holy-minded racism. The act of being woke can and has led people down the path of espousing racist ideas to correct for other often viler racist ideas. It bears repeating the words of the great Bobby Seale who said: “You cannot fight racism with racism. You have to fight it with solidarity.” Unfortunately, the intoxicating mixture of identity and policy may reign supreme for a long time to come.