CHAPTER 29. THE ROLE OF MULTICULTURALISM IN ESTABLISHING A NEW SEPARATE BUT EQUAL PERIOD OF SEGREGATION
There seems to be no clear definition of what multi-culturalism is, even among the proponents of this approach. The best definition of it is that it is a system of justifying ideas that maintains that since integration has been a failure, the government of the United States and its people, owe to the various racial/ethnic/sexual minorities a permanent proportionate share of governmental resources, resources that shall be provided to these same minorities. This arrangement is backed up a politically correct language that censors any dissents from this approach as racist or sexist or both. Furthermore, multiculturalism's language is one that helps avoid talking about the concept of race and racism because it limits not only the concepts and ideas about civil rights, but even chooses the very terms to be used.
Not only is the no clear definition of multi-culturalism among its proponent, evens it fans Avery F. Gordon and Christopher Newfield (eds.) Mapping Multiculturalism (1996:78) see that "there are good reasons to be suspicious of multiculturalism's ability to perform . . .a redefinition of the national framework. Many of this volume's contributors see multiculturalism as obstructive or irrelevant to the progressive work they deem most essential. We heartily share their concerns."
To show just how accepted this philosophy has become, is it's great acceptance in the area of education. But in fact, this ". . .multiculturalism looked like curricula reforms and not at all like a social movement." In fact, it is not a social movement. It is a policy approach to get the minorities share of governmental resources. It is not a movement to change America. Of course, liberals justify their actions by saying that men can change through education, but this is sheer self-serving clap-trap. The new understanding of racism is that it is definitely not the primary result of prejudice. Racism stems from a system of racist capitalism in which race is used as a key variable to maintain the capitalist system. Prejudice is only one of the methods used to keep this racist capitalist system in continuance. But most liberals are still having troubles recognizing this.
Multiculturalists do not have any strong critics from the left. One gets the impression that most of the socialist thinkers are fellow-travelers. They are comfortable with multiculturalism and write about organizing various ethnic groups in battles against capitalism. Therefore, the multiculturalists get a free ride. They "have captured the moral high ground" because they "are" the left in America.
And since the multiculturalists have few critics from the left, they get away with murder. For instance, they have turned Martin Luther King, Jr. into a multiculturalist. What hypocrisy! The father of the multicultural revolution is Malcolm X, not King. The New Left rejected King fairly early on in the civil rights struggle. And of course, the multiculturalists have also transformed Malcolm X into a "nice guy" like King. After all, there is the convenient myth of the "post-Mecca" Malcolm X. In fact, multiculturalism is the New Left in different clothing. Its proponents are the old radical chic proponents.
Talk about the irresponsibility and childishness of the multiculturalists and their fellow travelers. I was disgusted when I read Andrew Hacker's introductory comments to Delgado's (?) book talking about the coming race war. Hacker says that since we tried integration and it did not work the intellectuals switched over to more militant strategies. Well the civil rights movement didn't really get started until 1956 and King was being criticized as early as 1963 and heavily so by 1967. So they tried integration for what, maybe as much as 11 years? And how long have the new ethnic liberals been pushing multiculturalism? From let's say 1967 until today, some thirty years or so? And what has it brought the blacks? Just more and more backlash and conservatism. The ultimate nonsense in ethnic liberalism is to talk about a race war. Oh, it doesn't matter to them that we have never had a race war in our entire 400 year history. You can't call slave revolts or race riots a war. Well, frankly, let them talk about race war for it will speed their ultimate demise.
At one time, all the neo-abolitionists, North and South and including W. E. B. Du Bois, supported the Washington accommodationist approach. They all lied to themselves, and many were more than happy to be corrupted by taking government money and government positions. The position we are now in is exactly the position of the Booker T. Washington neo-abolitionists. So instead of the multiculturalists seeing themselves as heroes, they should be seeing themselves as accommodationist fools. That's the point of the article.
I think the black intellectual community is completely lost. Most of their thinking consists of little but self-justifications for receiving governmental monies. And haven't they done such a wonderful job? Congratulations to them for bringing about the white counter-revolution. Now neither the Republican or the Democratic parties will touch the label of "liberal."
What really burns me is when the ethnic leftists say those of us who resist multicultural policies are racist. I just have to laugh at their hypocrisy. They can't understand why, for instance, advocating Spanish as the official language of Miami would anger white America. If Americans suddenly emigrated en masse to Peru and started an American settlement there and then demanded that English be the official language, the leftists would scream bloody murder at the gall of these American imperialists. But the multiculturalists are not bothered by any apparent contradictions.
No One Knows What Multiculuturalism Really Is
Nobody really knows what multiculturalism stands for, and that is the way the multilculturalists like it. They like the fact that they can be all things to all people. Not even blacks understand what multiculturalism is. Clarence Page in his book Showing My Color: Impolite Essays on Race and Identity (1996:41) writes that "The self-segregation we see today may be the early vision of a new, pluralistic, multicultural century that will see blacks become a part of the economic and political mainstream but, like Jews or Mormons, maintain their cultural integrity and identity."
He is obviously not aware of a sociological classic by Will Herberg called Protestant, Catholic, and Jew which talks about the transmutation pot as opposed to the idea of the melting pot. What Page is describing is the model the Jewish people largely want, the transmutation pot, wherein they are free to maintain their Jewish identity in their primary relations, as opposed to secondary ones. If Page's description was correct, we wouldn't really have a problem, but multiculturalism is much more than Herberg's transmutation pot.
Only intellectuals, both black and white, would worry about maintaining the black's cultural integrity and identity when they are facing a coming era of economic desolation and apartheid in this country.
Cruse (1987:38) does not even know what multiculturalism is. He writes that the United States is a plural society and that "What desegregation did in fact accomplish, above, beyond, and outside the law of the land, was to bolster and encourage the spontaneous movement toward racial pluralism." He wonders why the black leaders of the fight against Jim Crow did not realize that integration would never work because America is a pluralist society. And he proposes that the term "plural but equal" should be used to describe the best situation rather than "separate but equal." Since Cruse obviously doesn't understand American pluralism, he provides an intellectual justification for a new "separate but equal" era.
The "New" Racism
As multi-culturalism became the accepted new version of liberalism in America, sociologists began to do research to help support this philosophy. They began to say that there is a new expression of racism, one that has wrapped itself in the traditional values of American life. And since this new racism is so closely identified with the traditional culture, then the promotion and advancement of competitive cultures is justified as offsetting ways of thought. Proponents of the new racism include Blauner 1972; Feagin, 1996; Hochschild 1984; McConahay and Hough 1976; Sears 1988; Wellman 1985; and Wilhelm, 1973.
"Third World activists on the Berkeley campus and elsewhere advanced viewpoints that built on ideas and rhetoric associated with anticolonial revolts in the Third World, contending that America's ghettos, reservations, and barrios were "internal colonies," the result of a process of domination and exploitation similar to that which defined the relationship between European colonizers and their overseas colonies. Years later, scholars would engage in hairsplitting debates about the relevance of the "colonial analogy." What was most important was not the specific claims, but what it gave rise to, the political and economic dimension of race instead of attitudes and prejudice. Eventually this was translated into academic jargon with the term "institutionalized racism," which was introduced into the sociological lexicon with the publication of Black Power." (Steinberg 1995:2-3)
They argued that race prejudice was in retreat; yet the discord over issues of race persisted and, in some ways, became even more divisive. So it seemed necessary to researchers of the 1970s and 80s to rethink what prejudice consists in, and how it fits into liberal democracy on the American model. Sniderman and Piazza (1993:173)
According to the central thesis, the overt expression of racial prejudice is now frowned upon. People therefore favor disguised, indirect ways to express their bigotry. The perception that blacks "violate cherished values," particularly the values of hard work and individual initiative, has been the spur to a new kind of racism. What is new about the new racism is its expropriation of traditional values as a cloak to hide its true nature, which consists of prejudice and bigotry. "The crucial issue is the claim that racial prejudice now has the out-and-out backing of America's most cherished values. Prejudice came to be seen as the product of the finest and proudest of American values" (Sniderman and Piazza 1993:68 and 174)
Researchers started to study the so-called subtle racism of the post-civil rights movement era. They called this the "new racism" as if racism was new. Like Eldridge Cleaver, they said that racism was a prime expression of mainstream American values, that racism is as American as apple pie. Racism had wormed its way into the core of American values.
What the theorists of the new racism have not realized is that the new racism is not new, but has always existed in America (Cooney and Santana Cooney, 1994). It has just been hidden by various ideologies such as biological racism, but was always there and was always the real racism. The equality of opportunity needs to be stripped of its historical associations with racism and made an actuality rather than be used as an excuse to establish another separate but equal system of segregation (even if the new ethnic liberals call it a "plural and equal" system).
Four-way Split In Liberal Forces
Once upon a time liberalism was a very strong challenge to conservative forces. The liberals believed that government could help reduce obstacles for minorities so that there could be real equality of opportunity for all. Liberals believed in America and the American way. But the resistance to the civil rights movement by whites and others led to a reevaluation in the American left. There was the feeling that racism was not going away anytime soon so it must be endemic to American society. And since it is endemic, the new liberals moved away from simply removing obstacles to economic advancement to an affirmative action to ensure a representation of minorities in the economic, social, and political spheres of American life. The new standard of the left became the affirmative action view of liberalism. They stressed accepting a more or less permanent separation of America ethnic/racial groups in an ethnic pluralism. Here the emphasis is placed on the benefits of separation, all of course supported by different ethnic groups receiving their proportionate share of all good things. Those old liberals who refused to accept the new stress on the more or less permanence of affirmative action, came to be called neo-conservatives.
Main stream liberalism has now abandoned a stress on economics for an emphasis on ethnicity. This has led to a four way split in liberal forces that has considerably weakened liberalism as they fight each other. It has also led to an abandonment of liberalism by a majority of whites. Now, not even the Democratic party will call itself the party of liberalism. This does not, however, seem to both the liberal multi-cultural theorists. The rejection of liberalism just increases their dissatisfaction with the American political system and the American people as a whole.
Rise of Neoconservatism
Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz, in a remarkable essay written just prior to the urban disorders, cast the black-Jewish relationship in an entirely new light. "My Negro Problem -- And Ours," published in July 1963, focused, not on themes of brotherhood or fellowship, but on the cultural chasm separating Jews and blacks. . . . Jews were the victims. Ironically, Podhoretz -- not yet a neoconservative -- suggested that the only way to deal with the race problem in America was through miscegenation. His piece aroused a storm of disapproval and was the occasion for Harold Cruse's sharp response, "My Jewish Problem and Theirs." In his essay Cruse described his mistreatment by Jewish teachers as he grew up in Harlem and the subordination later of black intellectuals to Jewish control. (Friedman 1995:216)
Since the crucial question for most black intellectuals today is whether liberalism has served black interests well or badly, it should hardly be surprising that Jews -- the group most closely identified with liberalism in American society -- have become for some blacks the symbol of that conflict. (Friedman 1995:14)
It was not long before once liberal commentators began to become disgusted with the excesses of the multi-culturalists and Afrocentrists. Jewish writers and intellectuals such as Norman Podhoretz, Irving Kristol, Joseph Epstein, Midge Decter, Nathan Glazer, and Milton Himmelfarb went to the attack, especially in the journal Commentary. These Jewish writers were supported by gentiles Daniel Patrick Moynihan, James Q. Wilson, and Paul Seabury. (Friedman 1995:266-267) In 1974 Martin Peretz purchased the previously left-liberal New Republic and shifted it to advocacy of a "muscular Judaism" and more conservative themes.
After the California Supreme Court ruled in Bakke's favor in 1976, the university's board of regents appealed to the Supreme Court. When The ADL, the American Jewish Congress, and the American Jewish Committee filed briefs on behalf of Bakke, the stage was set for another major black-Jewish confrontation. (Friedman 1995:313)
The tag "neo-conservative" is probably unfortunate. The neo-conservatives are still liberal even if at times they do not write like they are. The neo-conservative label is a none too subtle insult attached by the radical chic and politically correct neo-liberals.
As many as half of all blacks holding professional and managerial jobs have been employed in local, state, and federal agencies. A great deal of the expansion of black employment in the previous twenty-five years has been in firms that come under the jurisdiction of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. (Friedman 1995:336)
Of course, not all Jewish thinkers have joined the ranks of the neo-conservatives. Some radicals were Waskow and Michael Lerner. In 1986 Lerner founded the Jewish magazine Tikkun as a left-wing response to Commentary. (Friedman 1995:270)
There are still some traditional liberals around, those who do not accept the multi-culturalism of the left but who also refuse to follow the neo-conservatives and remain committed to at least some degree of permanent affirmative action. This probably is still the majority position of the left wing in the United States.
Afro-Centrism and Separatism
One of the leading members of the afrocentric thinkers is Molefi Kete Asante who wrote Afrocentricity (1992). The afrocentrists decided to outdo the exaggerations of a euro-centric approach to world history for a terrible distortion of world history. Statements are now being made by extreme Afrocentrists that the skin pigment melanin makes blacks more humane than and otherwise superior to white people. (Friedman 1995:345-46)
Multiculturalism Creates Internal Divisions within the Ethnic Communities
Not only has multiculturalism split the forces of the left. They have also created internal divisions within their own ethnic communities between those minorities who have adapted and adopted mainstream American culture and those who insist that one has to remain "ethnic" in order to be a member of the community.
There is a good deal of prejudice and arrogance among the intellectual "ethnics" who parade their ethnocentrism around as a badge of honor. At one time, the left solidly rejected ethnocentrism as one of the worst sins a person could commit. But now, the multicultural ethnic intellectuals embrace ethnocentrism as a good thing. They have turned the rational world upside down. There is a good deal of resentment against these ethnocentrics on the part of those members of the ethnic community who would normally have been known as "success stories," those members of ethnic minorities who have become as American as apple pie, but who are now branded by the super-ethnics as sell-outs to the community. For instance, many intermarriages between whites and minorities result in offspring that do not know the minority language. These people should not be looked down upon by the multiculturalists, but often are. How much this super-ethnocentrism has slowed assimilation and occupational success has yet to be studied. (Of course, the sociologists would never even consider studying the problem, seeing it as a "reactionary" question.)
The Results of Multi-culturalism: Intellectual and Policy Civil War between Left and Right Lead the Nation to Semi-Anarchy
What is really happening in America is a type of civil war between liberals and conservatives. Conservatives dominate the nation's non-intellectual institutions, but liberals are powerful enough in the more intellectual institutions to be able to have enough power to sabotage the goals of the conservatives. The result is that none of the nations' institutions run well. Many of them are paralyzed as a result of the conflicting and incompatible goals and means of the warring conservative and liberal factions. For instance, multiculturalism has not been able to take over the nation's schools, at least below the college level, and yet the liberals have so interfered with the schools to oppose conservative policies that about the only thing that reigns in the nation's average schools is a considerable degree of chaos.
The efforts of the liberals against the conservatives and the conservatives response has led to near anarchy in the United States. The liberals have so over-used the courts to challenge institutional authorities that the authorities are scared of being in authority. The end result is that the inmates are more in charge of the asylum than the staff is. But with the inmates in charge, overall, there is less justice for everyone, including the inmates.
The conservatives have responded to liberal policies by leading a tax revolt that has limited any real changes for minorities. As a result, all our institutions have been weakened financially. Indeed, American government has been so weakened by both sides that it is virtually inept at performing a competent governing role.
Proof of the Failure of Multiculturalism: The O.J. Trial
Clarence Page (1996) in his book Showing My Color: Impolite Essays on Race and Identity writes that in the circles he travels in, a mix of black and white liberals mostly, it is considerable impolite, if not down right rude, to bring up the topic of race. This is because race is so divisive that its mere mention in a party would easily spoil the gathering.
Most of the discussions of the O.J. trial are completely short-sighted. It is probably the trial of the century because all the major power groups in the society have lined up on different sides to fight it out to see who's version of reality will prevail. It reminds me of the Dreyfus case in France where all the different groups in the society took sides. It revealed all the lines of division and contention in the society.
The trial makes one wonder if there ever can be justice again in matters involving black and white interaction. If the whites are going to let off the whites who harm blacks and the blacks are going to let off the blacks who harm whites then we have reached a real impasse. I guess a lot more racially-motivated murderers and other offenders will be roaming our streets. Aren't we lucky?
The Death of Affirmative Action
In the summer of 1997 proposition 209 banning affirmative action went into effect in California. The news media reported that twenty-three other states were considering of taking similar steps. The end of affirmative action exposes the lie of the "plural but equal" philosophy. Just as in the Jim Crow period, whites have reasserted their power and lessened the "equal" for the minorities. The United States is clearly entering a new period of segregation and the multicultural intellectuals with their talk of multi cultures are still hiding this fact.
What We Need
What we need is a new group of liberals (this time non-racist ones) that will break with the current "plural but equal" multiculturalists and establish a more militant N.A.A.C.P. (a non-racist one) and another Rev. Vernon Johns (who will proclaim the coming of a new civil rights struggle). That's what we need, but the left in American currently refuses to see the need for such changes. They are too busy enjoying the money and positions doled out by the federal government to our "multi-cultures".
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