• Conversations on Diversity

    A blog by Eboo Patel, Mary Ellen Giess and Tony Banout that looks at identity and diversity issues from multiple angles.


White Liberals, Black People, and Views on Racism

Should diversity progressives principally be advancing minority communities or progressive worldviews?

December 3, 2018

Here is a common diversity progressive worldview:   

Racism is woven into every aspect of American life, from the curriculum at elite universities to the prison sentences given out for petty crimes. There is no liberation within this system. Individual actions will either be for naught or coopted. The only solution is resistance and revolution.

It turns out that white liberals are more likely to believe the narrative sketched above than black people.

As Thomas Edsall highlights in a recent New York Times column, eighty percent of white liberals agreed with the following statement on a Pew survey: “racial discrimination is the main reason why many black people can’t get ahead these days”.

Compare that to sixty percent of black people – a mammoth twenty point difference.      

Now consider this: nearly twice as many black people (32%) agreed with the following statement as white people (18.8%): “blacks who can’t get ahead in this country are mostly responsible for their own condition.”    

I think the Pew Survey that Edsall quotes highlights a deep tension within the diversity progressive worldview: what happens when your favored groups do not hold your preferred worldviews?      

This raises other fascinating questions. Is diversity progressivism principally about the diversity part - advancing minority racial communities whose members will likely hold a range of worldviews, including those that are not progressive? Or is it principally about the progressivism part – advancing a worldview and raising the voices of people of all racial communities who hold that worldview?




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