Progressives Punish ‘Honorary Whites’ but Aren’t Helping Blacks

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Like biting into a madeleine was reading a federal court injunction against the Biden administration’s pandemic bailout programs for restaurants, which favored some ethnicities over others. Memories came flooding back of South Africa’s apartheid in its waning days, with its absurd designation of certain Asians as “honorary whites.”

Slight difference: Under the Biden plan some became honorary whites for the purpose of being disadvantaged, i.e., sent to the end of the line for government aid. According to no rhyme or reason, said the court, spared the prejudicial status were “Pakistanis but not Afghans; Japanese but not Iraqis; Hispanics but not Middle Easterners.”

You’ve noticed a herd of meme-performing pundits insisting that critical race theory is hardly even a thing. Radicals ritually downplay their radicalism as they sense their nearness to power, though perhaps prematurely in this case. Also likely to be voided by the courts is a Biden program favoring black farmers over white farmers.

Meanwhile, still intact is the administration’s larger agenda of extending more entitlements to the middle class, inevitably making the entitled population whiter (and more Asian). Indeed, the more

Joe Biden

mouths the words Jim Crow, the more it seems he’s trying to satiate a part of his base (mostly consisting of white progressive racial extremists) with rhetoric alone. Perhaps you believe today’s “voting rights” kabuki is so Democrats can do even more to help blacks. Political realism suggests otherwise.

One premise of critical race theory is certainly correct: Today is built on a foundation of yesterdays. On the foundation of slavery, Jim Crow and housing segregation nowadays is built the exploitation of black communities by multicultural elites playing their “defund the police” games at the expense of blacks who suffer the lion’s share of violent crime.

On the foundation of past discrimination and marginalization of the black community is built the union power that advantages itself at the expense of inflicting inferior educations on black children.

In response to centuries of antiblack discrimination has risen an “antiracist” alliance of university activists who work to cheapen the educational attainments of blacks by relaxing the standards that apply to them.

Most of all, if critical race theory is concerned with the historical pathologies that give rise to present inequities, it fails spectacularly when it doesn’t name among those pathologies the Democrats’ near monopoly on black voters. Think how different our politics would be if not for the simple fact of many blacks being concentrated in certain geographic areas thanks to the legacy of housing bias.

Talk about the “great replacement.” Far more mainstream than any white reactionary are those progressive theorists now fretting about Hispanics and Asians, with their disconcerting habit of giving some of their votes to Republicans, displacing black influence in the Democratic Party. The theorists don’t bother to ask, though, how often that influence has really paid off for blacks.

New York’s “ranked-choice” experiment was at least an attempt to make one-party politics more accountable (otherwise the next mayor would have been chosen by 7% of registered voters). But realists should see ranked choice as a poor substitute for two-party politics, which simplifies the choice for voters to one of status quo or change. Course- and error-correction are democracy’s real virtues. The right signals still bubble up; the problem is getting them acted on. In one-party Chicago, a black police chief can still complain about the failure of prosecutors and judges to put gun felons in jail; a black mayor can criticize the reluctance of black citizens to cooperate with police in solving murders.

Now if there were a functional opposition party in these places to help and even empower these leaders to walk the talk and make the necessary institutional changes.

In New York, the Democratic mayoral primary winner,

Eric Adams,

the one candidate who spoke to every New Yorker’s desire for effective policing, was almost undone under ranked choice by multiple flavors of progressive social climber outbidding each other in wokeness.

Mr. Adams, a black former police captain, now sets himself an even heavier lift: to bring back stop and frisk, an anticrime measure that got a chance to succeed in the first place only because of the exceptional circumstances of real two-party competition for the city’s top office during the Giuliani-Bloomberg era.

The same approach has been bruited and bruited and bruited in Chicago since the early Obama years, when the city’s murder rate began heading in the wrong direction. Even so, most Chicago neighborhoods saw declining murders. Guess which voting bloc has borne almost the entire brunt of the homicide epidemic? If critical race theory were critical in any meaningful sense (a more descriptive name might be self-satisfied race theory), it would critically explain why those politicians most answerable to black voters seem to do so little to improve their lot.

Wonder Land: Revising patriotism, the woke left has spent the last year pushing the notion that America is systemically flawed. Image: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

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