Dom on NPR: “Through Gates: Expanding Our Discussion Of Race”

By Julianne Hing Jul 24, 2009

Dom argues, over at NPR, that we need to focus not on intentions–"How dare you call me racist? I stand up against racism, I love diversity!–and instead should instead focus on the actual outcomes of actions, be they from individual bias incidents or larger structural forces. Check it:

As uncomfortable as it may be in some quarters, what we need to focus upon are outcomes. And I say this as someone who has been racially profiled, so I understand the humiliation and anger that it engenders. Racial outcomes are our best barometer for how much progress we are making in the quest to form an egalitarian land of opportunity. After all, the statistics we read about on the regular tell one of two stories: people of color on balance have considerably less access to resources and chances for advancement, or we are irreversibly inferior to white Americans in intellect and ability. How else to explain the gross racial disparities we continue to see in education, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, homeownership and other wealth, access to health care and health outcomes, arrest and prison population demographics?

I suspect that many more of us continue to subscribe to the inferiority explanation than are willing to admit it otherwise we’d be outraged into action. But the fact is that the playing field was not even at our nation’s founding, and continues to be horribly skewed. The allocation of wealth, opportunities, and government has always been and to this day remains widely out-of-proportion in favor of whites.

And while we’re on the topic of HLG, what do people make of today’s news that Obama is being forced to backtrack on his comments earlier this week that the Cambridge police "acted stupidly"? From the NYT:

President Obama said Friday that he “could have calibrated” his words more carefully in the racially-charged controversy over the arrest of a Harvard professor, making a surprise appearance at the daily White House briefing to try and cool the tensions surrounding the case.