Monday, November 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Can we have a courageous discussion about race?

By
From page A8 | March 24, 2014 |

In 2009, newly sworn-in Attorney General Eric Holder challenged Americans to courageously engage in a conversation about race.

“If we are to make progress on these issues, we must feel comfortable enough with one another and tolerant enough of each other to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us,” he said.

Five years after Holder’s challenge, the situation only appears to have deteriorated further.

As a nation, we frequently tiptoe around the often perilous issue of race and the many public policy issues race touches. This happens because many on the left are quick to assign racial prejudice to their opponents in debates about public policy issues they feel are the province of liberals alone.

In no place is this more blatant than in our tenuous national dialogue about poverty.

Ask Rep. Paul Ryan.

He has been the latest victim of this phenomenon after recent comments in which he referred to the “tailspin of culture, in our inner cities,” which he argues has created a culture of dependency in disadvantaged communities.

Ryan, who has been on a listening tour of inner-city neighborhoods for more than a year, was summarily lambasted by the left for his implied racial meaning (although race was never mentioned).

His experience illustrates the primary reason many avoid open and honest discussion of such sensitive subject matter.

Conservatives have learned that when discussing issues like poverty, they expose themselves to accusations of racism.

Such accusations are frequently “used as a delegitimizing tactic on issues  . . .  where good-faith disagreement should be possible,” explained New York Times columnist Ross Douthat.

As Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney wrote last year, “unfairly imagining racism where it doesn’t exist . . .  isn’t a good way to begin a discussion.”

Similar sentiments were shared by Michael Meyers, executive director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition, who wrote “It is so important not to trivialize racism by calling things racist that they are not. . . .  Liberals should know better than to keep crying racism, falsely.”

In reality, the risk that one might be assigned such a loaded moniker does nothing but keep alternative, even creative, policy ideas off the table.

We are not a racist society, but we are not a “post-racial” one either.

In spite of our best intentions, colorblindness is a virtue we have yet to achieve.

But it will be impossible to achieve if we shut down debate instead of using it as a tool in tackling the manifold social and economic problems that disproportionately impact minority communities.

Such an endeavor requires empathy from the right.

And it demands tolerance from the left, made all the more imperative after such swift assertions that Ryan and like-minded conservatives are little more than racists.

Social decay and poverty demand our attention. Their persistence proves that our current approach to fighting such ills has failed.

We won’t improve the prospects for the poor by employing the same old ineffective programs or by smearing policymakers who suggest alternative causes and solutions.

Holder was right: Confronting race and poverty demands courage. It will force us to think, listen and face some realities about ourselves. Not all of those truths will be pleasant or easy to acknowledge.

But no resolution will ever be realized if we refrain from engaging, prevent others from talking, refuse to listen or retreat in the face of adversity.

Cynthia M. Allen is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Readers may send her email at cmallen@star-telegram.com.

Cynthia M. Allen

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • The MisterMarch 24, 2014 - 8:09 am

    "They" (government, international banksters, and mega-corps) will never allow this race issue to be resolved. They gain power and control when we are in conflict with one another... especially when they can be perceived as the voice of reason. They started this race problem, they perpetuated this race problem, they finance this race problem, they protect this race problem under the authority of law. They ripped Africans from their homes, enslaved them and brought them to this continent. They legislated the Fugitive Slave Act to return escaped slaves. They implemented Jim Crow laws to create conflict between the races. They created marriage license requirements to prevent the races from joining one another. They created segregation, quotas, drug laws and the war on poverty to destabilize the Black families. They created eugenics and Planned Parenthood and forced sterilization to bring genocide on Blacks in this country. So, the only true way to have brotherhood among the races is to take the power away from the "they" and return it to "us" the people. As an aside, because people generally treat other people, regardless of their skin color, as they themselves would like to be treated, this has worn away some of the power of conflict that "they" once wielded. Because "they" must have conflict among the people, this could well be the reason for the rise of homosexuality as a protected act and a protected class. Whether "they" are successful or not is up to us... the people.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The MisterMarch 24, 2014 - 8:10 am

    "They" (government, international banksters, and mega-corps) will never allow this race issue to be resolved. They gain power and control when we are in conflict with one another... especially when they can be perceived as the voice of reason. They started this race problem, they perpetuated this race problem, they finance this race problem, they protect this race problem under the authority of law. They ripped Africans from their homes, enslaved them and brought them to this continent. They legislated the Fugitive Slave Act to return escaped slaves. They implemented Jim Crow laws to create conflict between the races. They created marriage license requirements to prevent the races from joining one another. They created segregation, quotas, drug laws and the war on poverty to destabilize the Black families. They created eugenics and Planned Parenthood and forced sterilization to bring genocide on Blacks in this country. So, the only true way to have brotherhood among the races is to take the power away from the "they" and return it to "us" the people. As an aside, because people generally treat other people, regardless of their skin color, as they themselves would like to be treated, this has worn away some of the power of conflict that "they" once wielded. Because "they" must have conflict among the people, this could well be the reason for the rise of hom0sexuality as a protected act and a protected class. Whether "they" are successful or not is up to us... the people.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Cadets raise cash to help wounded Air Force veteran

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Solano cities gather for Thanksgiving meal

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

Holiday boutiques in full swing

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Food Addicts group sets Thanksgiving Day meet

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Local government board schedules meeting

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Turkey Trot returns Thanksgiving Day

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3

 
Holiday tree-lighting events begin

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3

 
.

US / World

3 months after Napa quake, recovery rolling

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US looking past Ebola to prepare for next outbreak

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

Anxieties mount as Ferguson waits on grand jury

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Thief suspect falls through ceiling, leaves phone

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

1 killed, dozens injured in California bus crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
San Jose police arrest man after airport chase

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Surfer missing off beach south of San Francisco

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Crew blasts off for International Space Station

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

US tells Iran to consider nuclear talks extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Damage worse than thought in Japanese earthquake

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Joey Chestnut devours turkey to win eating contest

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Strong quake in west China kills 5; 54 hurt

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Boy with fake gun dies after shot by Ohio officer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

 
Israeli Cabinet moves to define Israel as Jewish

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Former DC Mayor Marion Barry dies at 78

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Islamic State group recruits, exploits children

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Giffords rides in Tucson cycling event

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Suicide bomber kills at least 45 Afghans

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Some 30 horses die in stable fire outside Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Health care M&A leads global deal surge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

.

Living

Community Calendar: Nov. 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Nov. 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes: Nov. 25, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

My sister-in-law expects me to pay her for damages, but she won’t pay me

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

 
Horoscopes: Nov. 24, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

.

Entertainment

List of winners of the American Music Awards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
1D, Katy Perry win big at American Music Awards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

‘Mockingjay, Part 1′ opens with $123 million

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

TVGrid Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
.

Sports

 
Speights scores 28 as Warriors hold off Thunder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Hyde scores go-ahead TD, lifts 49ers past Redskins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Federer leads Swiss past France for Davis Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Hamilton answers Rosberg in style to clinch title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Revs win 2-1 at Red Bulls in East final 1st leg

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sarvas puts Galaxy past Seattle 1-0 in West opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
First lady attends Princeton women’s hoops game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Stacy Lewis sweeps 3 biggest LPGA awards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
UCLA honors Robinson, retires No. 42 for all teams

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Katy Perry to perform at Super Bowl halftime show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NFL roundup: Seahawks roll past Cardinals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Athletics acquire 1B Ike Davis from Pirates

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Monday, Nov. 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Leslie “Esi” Gros

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Jack I. Johnson

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4

Dorothy Pouge Arnold

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Arthur Irving Weiner

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

.

Comics

Blondie Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C. Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sudoku Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sally Forth Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baldo Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
B.C. Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Wizard of Id Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Bridge Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Sudoku Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Crossword Nov 24

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7