Op-Ed: Racial divides in Los Angeles politics are wrong morally and pragmatically, but they’re not right as policy
The racial divides in American politics are the product of many interwoven forces, ranging from the structure of segregation to the distribution of political power. But they are not, in the end, morally or pragmatically wrong. They’re just wrong as the policy framework into which they are embedded.
There’s no single solution to the racial divide that is in play in the L.A. City Council. A number of the issues are more about the right politics than the right policy. But some basic principles are fundamental, and the consequences of following them are profound.
For starters, the racial divide needs to be addressed through policy, not politics
The debate over the merits of so-called “affirmative action” has been one long, ugly struggle. Not too long ago, it was not uncommon to see arguments over the merits of affirmative action on the L.A. City Council.
While it is important to acknowledge that policy is vital to improving race relations, there’s absolutely no doubt that the political discussions and the policies which flow from them are also critical.
It is important to acknowledge that the racial divide in the United States is the product of many interwoven forces, ranging from white supremacy to class to policy. But it is also true that there is no single solution to the racial divide in the United States.
Affirmative action, and the related policy of so-called “treaty” schools, has its roots in the need to close the racial divide that has become entrenched in American politics. This is largely due to the fact that our country is a racial state, where race has been given a degree of significance and importance as a social construct.
But the fact of the matter is, this racial construct has been created by white Americans. The racial divide that is embedded in our legal, political and cultural frameworks is not the product of American history or tradition, it is the consequence of white supremacy and racism.
A policy framework which treats race as either a social construct whose value is in the eye of the beholder or as something with historical, biological, and social roots is fundamentally flawed.