Colorblind Ambition TIM WISE

Colorblind Ambition TIM WISE - Colorblind Ambition: The...

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Colorblind Ambition: The Rise of Post Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity by Tim Wise June 18, 2010, 10:31 am It was summer 2004 when most of us first became familiar with Barack Obama. Then an Illinois state senator, the U.S. senate candidate delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Boston: the first of his many now-famous orations on a national stage. Therein he delivered several applause lines, but none were as big as when he proclaimed: "There's not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America." Though one might welcome such a statement were it offered in the future and aspirational tense - - as a heartfelt plea for true equality -- Obama proclaimed it in the descriptive and present tense. In so doing he traded intellectual honesty for easy and predictable ovation. After all, 2004 was the same year that research from MIT and the University of Chicago found that job applicants with "white" names were 50 percent more likely to be called back for an interview than those with "black" names, even when all their qualifications were indistinguishable. And with black and brown unemployment standing at double the white rate, even as the new upstart from Chicago poured forth rhetoric professing national unity (and with the median white family possessing 8-10 times the net worth of the median black or Latino family), it should have been apparent that Obama was engaged in political science fiction rather than the description of sociological truth. Post-Racial Liberalism: It's Origins and Trajectory To be fair, of course, the rhetoric of post-racial liberalism wasn't something invented by the current President. Rather, it has its roots in the period immediately following the passage of civil rights laws in the 1960s. It was Daniel Patrick Moynihan, for instance -- an advisor to President Johnson before becoming a United States Senator -- who first suggested that the nation would do well to engage in "benign neglect" when it came to the issue of race. According to Moynihan, persistent inequities between whites and blacks could best be addressed by the passage of race-neutral, universal programs to help all in need; that, in addition to focusing on presumed cultural defects in the black community, from single parent families to crime to an inadequate attachment to education and the labor market. While conservatives made some of the same arguments about so-called black cultural pathology during this period, what distinguished post-racial liberalism from the new cultural racism of the right was its stated commitment to reducing racial disparities, albeit by non-racial means.
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By the late 1970s, the leading herald of post-racial liberalism was University of Chicago sociologist, William Julius Wilson, an African American scholar (now at Harvard) whose books, The Declining Significance of Race, and later, The Truly Disadvantaged, put forth the two main
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Colorblind Ambition TIM WISE - Colorblind Ambition: The...

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