Liberal views on race

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As someone who takes relatively conservative views about race, I've noticed that fellow conservatives on this issue often focus only on the points they want to make to challenge more liberal ideas. It's usually best to acknowledge what's right about your opponent's position to avoid misunderstanding and establish common ground. On this issue in particular, I think it's especially important to do this, because in the end both sides want the same thing -- what's best for race relations. To that end, I've been working through some issues often emphasized by the left on race to identify the points I think are correct. The main body of this agreement is about the kinds of racism that occur (though I don't agree with all the examples they will give, I don't agree with the extent or severity of these elements of racism, and I certainly don't think the existence of these features in our society justify most of the attitudes welcomed and affirmed by the left from the black community especially).

For these reasons, I've been trying to identify some of the places I do think common attitudes and practices do have a racist effect, even if it's unintended. Part of all this is so I can present a balanced look at these issues in the classes I'm teaching right now, but it also helps ensure that my conservative views aren't mere conservativism. They're conservative attitudes toward social policy despite a recognition of many of the points leftward-thinking race scholars want so much to emphasize. In terms of ordinary life, I think these are extremely important issues, so I want to spend time on them.

My first post on the topic looked at what's called normative whiteness, the sense created by society that whiteness is ordinary and normal, which often makes those who aren't white feel as if they're not normal. I've been using Patricia Williams' Seeing a Color-Blind Future: The Paradox of Race as a guide. I'll be working now on some more steps in this process, and when I'm done I think I'll have a pretty good working model of most of the elements the racial left are right about (no pun intended).

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