The President’s Dialogue on Race: A Critique

Samuel T. Francis, American Renaissance, May 1998

From the very beginnings last summer of President Clinton’s “national dialogue on race” and the creation of his Advisory Board on Race, the purpose has been clear. It has not been to initiate or maintain a genuine dialogue that reaches beyond what the New York Times has called “banal chatter,” let alone to examine in an impartial way the very material threats to domestic harmony that our current immigration policy and various trends of racial thought and behavior represent. The real purpose of the “dialogue on race” was evident in Mr. Clinton’s own remarks at the time it was initiated, and it has been apparent in the various hearings the advisory board has conducted over the last several months.

In his commencement address in San Diego last June announcing the initiative, the president remarked that “A half century from now, when your own grandchildren are in college, there will be no majority race in America.” Mr. Clinton is to be commended for being the first president to say what has hitherto been unsayable — that U.S. Census Bureau projections show that by the middle of the next century, barely 50 years from now, non-Hispanic whites for the first time in American history will cease to be the majority of the U.S. population. That projection, first reported by the Census Bureau in 1992, let alone its cultural and political implications, has yet to sink into the American public consciousness, and had Mr. Clinton chosen to make Americans aware of the significance of that transition and its meaning, I would find no fault with him.

Instead, both the president and his advisory board have taken the demographic and racial transformation of the United States as a given, an inevitability that cannot be halted or reversed, and the president himself a few days prior to his San Diego speech even welcomed the transformation. Speaking to a group of journalists in Boston, Mr. Clinton stated, “This will arguably be the third great revolution in America . . . to prove that we literally can live without in effect having a dominant European culture. We want to become a multiracial, multiethnic society. We’re not going to disintegrate in the face of it.”

Again, Mr. Clinton is correct that the racial and demographic transition from a majority white to a majority non-white population will indeed mean the end of the “dominant European culture” that has prevailed throughout American history and on which our civilization — our form of government and laws, our language and literature, our religion, and our manners, customs, and tastes — is based. Unlike many supporters of an “open borders” immigration policy, Mr. Clinton apparently does not believe that we can alter the racial composition of our population without also altering the cultural character of our nation, and if he had seen this transformation as a problem to be avoided, again, I would have found no fault with him.

Yet the fact that the President of the United States appears to welcome the end of our “dominant European culture” is ominous, since it means that the chief executive no longer considers that cultural identity to be worth conserving or even that it can be conserved, and it is in this that the real purpose of Mr. Clinton’s race initiative is to be found. Its real purpose, in short, is simply to accommodate white Americans to the racial transformation of their country and the imminent destruction of their culture.

Hence, from that perspective, it is hardly surprising that the board should spend little time listening to the critics of affirmative action or that it be so concerned to show that all racial problems in the United States are really the fault of whites, that these problems can be resolved only when whites are made conscious of their guilt and responsibility, and that the guilt and responsibility of whites for racial problems are rooted in the very dominance of the European culture whose termination the president welcomes. Nor is it surprising, given that real purpose of the initiative, that various members of the commission in the last few months have positively discussed national reparations for slavery or that the failures, racial animosity, and “hate crimes” of non-whites are never discussed. The president himself set the tone for this way of framing the “dialogue” in his remarks in San Diego last summer. “We still see evidence of bigotry from the desecration of houses of worship, whether they be churches, synagogues or mosques, to demeaning talk in corporate suites.” “Bigotry,” in other words, is entirely confined to white arson of black churches and to cases, such as the one alleged against Texaco, of white corporate managers discriminating against non-whites — both of them instances of “bigotry” that have now been widely challenged if not actually discredited.

The manner in which the public sessions of the race advisory board have dealt with unexpected expressions of dissent from the public reflects this intentionally one-sided view of race relations. When the board met in Fairfax County, Virginia, last December, a white man interrupted its proceedings by complaining that “there’s no one up there talking about white people.” The gentleman was brusquely removed by police officers, and former Education Secretary, Bill Bennet, who happened to be sitting with the advisory board that day, promptly denounced him as a “fool.” When another white critic of the panel made similar remarks during one of its sessions in California earlier this year, he too was summarily bounced by the police.

Yet, in March, at a board meeting in Colorado, 20 American Indians presented similar grievances about the lack of representation of their own group but did so in a rather more disruptive way: They donned ski masks, shouted, whooped, and beat tom-toms, and made it impossible to conduct a meeting at all. When the commission reconvened the next day, it once again became a shouting match. No one was called a “fool” or removed by police. “The issues are deeply felt,” explained the board’s executive director, Judith Winston. And so they are — at least when they are felt by non-whites.

Of course it is whites who should be whooping about an anti-white inquisition that is being passed off as “dialogue.” We have yet to hear from Mr. Clinton or his race panel any mention of instances of black or other non-white bigotry, such as the kidnapping, gang rape, torture and murder of Melissa McLauchlin in South Carolina in 1992 by blacks in retaliation for what one of her killers called “400 years of oppression” by whites, or the obviously racially motivated assault, rape, and murder committed against three white youths by a group of six black men in Flint, Michigan on June 19, 1997, barely a week after Mr. Clinton’s San Diego address, or any number of other racially motivated crimes committed against whites by non-whites or against non-whites by other non-whites for ethnic or racial motivations. The chatter of the “national dialogue” is indeed largely banal, but the banalities are confined to only one perspective and one overriding purpose, that of holding whites alone responsible for all racial wrongs.

Recent statistics on “hate crimes” suggest some truths that the president and his race commission are unwilling to face. While 66 percent of the perpetrators of “hate crimes” in 1996 were white, 20 percent of the perpetrators were black. In other words, “hate crimes,” while conventionally held to be confirming evidence of the continuation of violent white bigotry and racism, are in fact disproportionately committed by blacks, who compose only 12 percent of the population, while whites, composing some 74 percent of the population, are underrepresented as “hate crime” perpetrators.

Aside from deliberate outrages against whites, the responsibility of non-whites for a legion of their own social failures and problems must be discussed if the “dialogue on race” is to have any real meaning. There is no need to repeat here the dreary statistics about black crime rates, illegitimacy, welfare dependency, venereal disease and AIDS rates, unemployment, and other indices of social failure and social dysfunctions, but it is increasingly implausible to blame all of them on whites. Nor do I mean to single out blacks. Hispanics also show similar but usually less dramatic indications of social failure and dysfunction. The teen-age illegitimacy rate among Hispanics (at 11 percent) now exceeds that of blacks (at 10 percent), and both exceed the illegitimacy rate for non-Hispanic white teenagers (4 percent). Hispanics are also more likely than blacks to fail to graduate from high school.

Taxpayers, particularly white middle-class taxpayers, are the ones who pay the public burden of these failures of non-whites, and they also are often the victims of black and other non-white crimes and social dysfunctions. In addition, of course, the fiscal burden and the administrative impact of civil rights enforcement, affirmative action, and other state-enforced privileges for non-whites are also borne by whites, especially white men. But on top of bearing most of the financial burden for public costs arising from these non-white dysfunctions, in addition to having to confront every day the physical danger of non-white violence and crime, and in addition to enduring the larger national social decomposition that non-white failures and dysfunctions cause, whites are now told chirpingly by their president that all racial bigotry is due to them and that the “dominant European culture,” by the norms of which most white Americans continue to abide, is going to come to an end and that he welcomes it.

The purpose of the president’s race initiative, then, whether manifested in his own words, in the actions of his advisory board, or in what the advisory board and the president fail to discuss or forbid to be discussed, is not “tolerance,” “diversity,” “harmony,” “equality,” or “justice.” The real purpose is to accommodate white Americans to the end of their culture and their dominance as a majority of the American nation and as the cultural core of the nation, and to manage their adjustment to the coming non-white dominance of the near future. The real issue of the president’s race initiative, then, is, as so many things are, a question of power — in this case, racial power.

White Americans today are confronted with the two most overwhelming facts of our time — first, the coming demographic transformation of American society from a majority white to a majority non-white society, and, secondly, the emergence of what can only be described as an explicit racial consciousness among non-whites that identifies whites as their enemies and oppressors, a racial consciousness that is encouraged and exploited and certainly seldom challenged by many whites themselves, whether liberal or conservative. This racial consciousness ranges in its expression from a mild but unquestioned assumption of non-white solidarity in conflict with whites to outright, militant hatred of whites, but whatever its form of expression, white Americans need to ask themselves what will be their fate as a white minority in a non-white society where the racial demonology created by non-whites prevails, and they need to think hard about the answers they reach.

White Americans also need to question and indeed reject the very premises of the president’s “dialogue” — that the racial and cultural transition to a non-white America is inevitable or desirable; that whites somehow possess a monopoly on racial bigotry, the perpetration of racial injustice, or racial consciousness and solidarity; and that it is morally incumbent on whites to alter their behavior, their culture, and their sense of moral and social responsibility in deference to non-white and often anti-white demands. If there is anything we as a nation have learned since the civil rights movement thirty years ago, it is that race is a reality, a natural as well as a cultural and social reality, and that the denial of racial realities that has been written into our laws, our public conduct, and our national public discourse is a denial of a major truth about human beings. Every other race and ethnic group in the United States has learned or is presently learning this truth, and only white Americans deny it, deny themselves their own racial consciousness, and deny the threats to their civilization and to their own safety that their denials invite. If we are to have a real dialogue on race, then let us have one, but let it be one in which white Americans engage only if they are able and willing to claim the identity and the heritage to which they have every right.

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