Racial Harmony in America: A Pipe Dream?
Opinion Gist: It seems that no matter what challenging issue is raised in America, race or racism is brought into the discussion. The constant cry is for “racial harmony”. As is the case with any goal, we should be very honest with ourselves regarding the probability of achieving racial harmony in America.
In the midst of all the lamenting and protesting about the totally unacceptable state of race relations in America, I do not hear very much honest assessing of our condition. A primary component of that assessing would be to forthrightly address the factors that contribute to the sad and threatening racial tension and divide in America. Doing so will measure the depth of our problem and allow for deciding, as a society, if we will do what is required to “right this ship”. We get to decide whether we have what it takes to, even with some success, move toward racial harmony or is doing so just a pipe dream?
A starting point would be answering the question “What does ‘racial harmony’ look like?” The following mission statement from the Center for Racial Harmony gives a picture that hits the mark: “Racial Harmony acts as the liaison or neutral party to assist all members of our community generate and promote understanding, cooperation, and communication among all races and ethnic groups.” When those elements are present, we will have racial harmony. There are far more determinants of racial harmony than can be addressed here. Hopefully, looking at a few of these determinants will encourage a serious effort to identify more of the conditions that must be in place to achieve racial harmony. The critical follow-on step is to honestly assess the extent to which each of those determinants is present, or possible, in America.
One necessary component for attaining racial harmony is visionary leadership that sets and pursues goals that are consistent with that aim. Mack Brooks, a black American, makes this point well in an article titled, “Enlightened, inspired black leadership”. A relevant portion follows:
One of the cornerstones of effective leadership is that leaders have a clear, coherent, well-articulated vision of what they want to accomplish. The view from afar is that there are many voices in the Afro-American community, but not the orchestration needed for the community to understand the process or the goal. I would not be so bold or so arrogant as to say what my community’s leaders should do, but I can say that inspired, enlightened black leadership should have some specific earmarks.
Visionary goal-oriented leadership is required across-the-board without regard to race or any other distinguishing feature. However, for racial harmony, this type of leadership is essential among black Americans. Every American has a role to play, but if black Americans lack this caliber of leadership, the game is over and lost. There might be some visionary goal-oriented black leaders at local and state levels, but I see few, if any, at the national level where direction is most impacted. If anything, most of those at the national level not only lack vision and productive goal-orientation, their actions and approaches are a major hindrance to achieving racial harmony.
Further, racial harmony must be the goal as indicated by actions and attitudes. That indication must be across racial lines. I contend that the predominant actions and attitudes of most politicians, American citizens (without regard to race), dominant media, and internet-based purveyors of information do not, by their actions and attitudes, indicate interest in achieving racial harmony. At every turn, they are driven by a desire to gain and hold power. In this quest for power, Democrats bring race in at any opportunity where it might attract black support; while Republicans steer clear of any action that might open the door for race to be used against them…even when such use would be without reasonable foundation. This quest for power and how it is pursued shows that racial harmony is not a goal; the one goal is gaining and holding power.
The negative impact of the power quest on seeking racial harmony is compounded by the actions of dominant media and internet purveyors of information. By and large, these entities feed the racial divide that is a barrier to America achieving racial harmony. Candace Owens, a black commentator, and political activist, during an interview with Brian Rose, reported googling, “How many black people are there in the world?” On the first page, what came up was mostly information on how black people are being affected more by COVID-19 than are whites. I googled the same question and got the same response. This is about conditioning people to see racism around every corner.
The Candace Owens’ experience points up how dominant media types cooperate with Democrats in pushing race when it is politically opportune. The rest of the story is that feeding this racial divide, at the expense of racial harmony, works politically. This from an article by Alec Tyson titled, “The 2018 midterm vote: Divisions by race, gender, education”: “Blacks voted overwhelmingly (90%) for the Democratic candidate, including comparable shares of black men (88%) and black women (92%).” The fact of life is that black Americans vote for Democrats in a manner that seems automatic. Given that Democratic politicians have done and even now are doing little or nothing to better the condition of black Americans, the only explanation for that high level of support has to be acceptance of the “racism is the cause of all your problems” mantra. It works and Democrats know it works.
There is also the absolute necessity of speaking forthrightly and even-handedly regarding issues and conditions in our time. In considering any action, comment, policy, and so forth, consideration should always be given to the resulting impact on relationships. That includes relationships between races or between ethnic groups. That is not to say this consideration should override doing what is right and necessary.
An example of how this element should come into play shows in what happened during President Trump’s 21 May 2020 visit to a Ford plant in Michigan. This from an article by Tim Walker titled, “First Thing: ‘petulant’ Trump wore mask on factory visit – but not in public”:
Donald Trump defied the requests of his hosts by once again going without a face mask in public during his Thursday tour of a Ford factory in Michigan, which has been repurposed to produce ventilators and personal protective equipment. The state’s attorney general described the president’s refusal to wear a mask as the behavior of a “petulant child”. Trump said he wore a mask earlier in the visit but “didn’t want to give the press the pleasure” of seeing him in a face covering. Pictures later emerged of him wearing the mask.
These segments from an article by Meredith Spelbring titled, “Nessel calls Trump ‘petulant child,’ says he would not be welcomed back to Michigan”:
When asked by Blitzer whether he would be welcomed back in Michigan in the future, Nessel said on her behalf, he is not.
Under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order, face masks are mandatory in public enclosed spaces. Ford policy also requires the use of masks, but previously said it was Trump and the White House’s whether or not he wore one.
Michigan State Attorney General Dana Nessel and Governor Whitmer are Democrats.
Please view the video titled, “Trump Speaks with African-American Leaders at the Ford Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan”. Not counting Dr. Ben Carson, there are six black individuals at the table in a Ford plant. Of the six, only one is wearing a mask. I have not seen nor heard any objection to, or questioning of, those black individuals not wearing a mask.
This happens while the President is labeled “petulant “and is declared unwelcome in Michigan by the State Attorney General. Why not address the black individuals who did not wear masks? Calling them out would run counter to the Democratic playbook. It is not about what is fair, but about what wins votes. However, the fallout is that many people look at this kind of action and recognize the unfairness. If they are white and speak out, they are declared “racist and privileged”, which means “go away and shut up”. If we are black, we are declared stupid, betrayers of our people, out-of-touch with reality…Uncle Toms. The end result is more racial tension and retrogression in any search for racial harmony.
What I have said to this point barely scratches the surface regarding assessing the probability of achieving racial harmony in America. Add one other essential determinant: Achieving racial harmony requires a deep and enduring desire to do so. In a time when the “racism around every corner” mantra wins elections and garners power, I am not sure that most Americans sincerely want racial harmony. Today, achieving racial harmony in America appears to be a pipe dream.