Is race politics poisoning young minds? Coleman Hughes weighs in

Is race politics poisoning young minds? Coleman Hughes weighs in

Colorblindness as a Philosophy for a Multi-racial Democracy

  • Coleman Hughes argues that color blindness is a wise philosophy for a multi-racial democracy because it takes race off the table as a direct selection criterion and instead uses better proxies for disadvantage like class and socioeconomics.
  • Colorblindness does not mean ignoring race or denying the existence of racism, but rather using better proxies for disadvantage, such as class and socioeconomics.
  • Colorblindness aims to create a multi-racial democracy where no group is discriminated against based on race.

Race as a Social Construct

  • Hughes defines race in two ways: the official categories recognized by the government, which are social constructs created for political reasons, and population genetics, which studies the genetic differences between human populations.
  • The everyday concept of race has deviated from the biological reality studied by population geneticists, and race is a social construct inspired by biological differences but has taken on a life of its own.
  • The concept of race and racial categories were created pragmatically by the Nixon administration to implement racial quotas and employment policies.
  • Race is not a scientific concept but rather a social construct used for bureaucratic purposes.

Building a Colorblind Society

  • To build a colorblind society, steps can be taken from both a policy and social interaction standpoint.
  • Policy changes can include eliminating race as a category in public policy and enforcing the colorblind language of the Civil Rights Act.
  • On a social level, individuals can self-reflect to ensure they are not treating people differently based on race.
  • Children are not naturally racist, but they learn to ascribe deeper meaning to racial differences from adults.
  • The speaker suggests protecting children's racial innocence by delaying discussions about race and not emphasizing racial differences.
  • Schools and education play a significant role in shaping children's racial attitudes, and the speaker advocates for color-blind education to promote racial equality.

Criticisms and Benefits of Colorblindness

  • The term "colorblindness" has been criticized and perceived negatively, but it is still the most recognizable and useful word to describe the philosophy.
  • Colorblind policies that have been implemented successfully include need-based financial aid in college, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and traffic cameras that replace human cops in issuing tickets, reducing the potential for racially biased interactions.
  • Benign disparities, such as unequal ticketing rates by race in the case of traffic cameras, should not overshadow the overall benefits and effectiveness of colorblind policies.

Blinding Oneself to Potentially Biasing Data

  • Eliminating potential bias by blinding oneself to data that might cause bias is a good practice, and it creates an extra layer of trust that prevents suspicion.
  • Blinding oneself to potentially biasing data makes it a certainty that racial bias was not a factor in decision-making, which builds trust between, for example, a professor and her class.

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