Posted on May 25, 2016

Conservatives Must Reject White Identity Politics

Matt Lewis, Roll Call, May 25, 2016


This emerging racial consciousness among whites is one of the most interesting and disturbing trends to behold. As in Europe, this phenomenon has many fathers–a shifting and anemic economy, demographic changes, and a myriad of other factors. But it’s also, at least partly, a backlash against political correctness and liberal overreach.

Count me among those conservatives who sincerely hope for a colorblind society–who believe that people should, as Dr. King said, “not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

The problem is, at some point, mainstream conservatives started believing this–and liberals stopped.

When a poor white kid gets denied a spot at a university to make way for a less academically deserving minority–who is the son of a doctor or a lawyer–we are not living in a colorblind society. Imagine being that poor kid and being told that you are “privileged” because of your skin color. Now, imagine living in a world where this happens to you, yet you’re not even allowed to vent about it.


Now, in no way do I want to absolve Trump’s minions of personal responsibility, but, as the online magazine, The Federalist, recently noted, it is fair to say that the Left has helped create an environment where “white people are being asked–or pushed–to take stock of their whiteness and identify with it more.”

This is unhealthy for America. One of the most shocking and disappointing developments in my political life has been the lack of progress in race relations (the latest example being the Freddie Gray verdict in Baltimore ). Without weighing in on the verdict, per se, the story is another reminder of how today’s African-Americans have legitimate grievances that should not be dismissed.


Back to the notion that refusing to embrace tribalistic politics makes me look weak. I reject the notion that conservatives should become “Alt-Right” white nationalists just because we disagree with liberal views on things like affirmative action.

Being reactive and letting your adversaries push our buttons and pull our strings–that is what makes you weak. Sticking to your principles and resisting zero-sum racism is what makes you strong.