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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

A 'Colorblind America' sees race, but tries to treat people the same

"Anti-racism" is a kind of "neo-racism," argues Coleman Hughes in his new book, The End of Race Politics: Arguments for a Colorblind America. Everybody "sees" race, he tells Quillette podcaster Jonathan Kay. But they don't have treat people differently because of their skin color or base government policy on race.

Hughes wants to return to the values of the civil rights movement. To abolitionist Wendell Phillips, "a colorblind government . . . is a legal regime that cannot distinguish black from white." Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders "believed that when we try to address policy toward the disadvantaged, we should define the [idea of] disadvantage as being based on class in socioeconomic terms, not based on race," Hughes says.

Hughes was raised by a black father and a "light brown" mother who identified as Puerto Rican, Nuyorican, from the South Bronx and occasionally Latina.

He grew up thinking that "your skin color doesn’t tell you anything deep about who you are; and that treating people on the basis of their race was wrong in every conceivable sense," he tells Kay.

His private school sent him to a People of Color Conference where "first heard the concepts of intersectionality, critical race theory, internalized oppression, whiteness, and so on and so forth," he recalls. The conference taught "that my blackness was essentially a kind of magic, right? That it was like a slice of God inside my soul that white people didn’t have."

Some attendees found that idea attractive. Hughes thought it was "a weird little excursion . . . almost like I visited Utah and saw how Mormons lived for a couple of days and then went back to reality."

At Columbia University, it was the "dominant ethic," Hughes says. At orientation, students were split into racial groups. "I’m being asked to go to the black corner of the room and talk about how I’m a victim of systemic racism . . . And everyone eggs each other on to make a mountain out of a series of molehills."

"Dwelling on the ways in which you’ve been hurt" doesn't help people move forward, Hughes says. Students should be encouraged to think "about how your life is in your own hands." The belief that you control your own destiny -- an internal locus of control" -- correlates with happiness and well-being.

"Anti-racists" such as Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo argue "that only white people can be racist, and only black people or people of color in general can suffer it," says Hughes. "That opens the door to all kinds of policies which discriminate against white people, including policies that happened during COVID, such as [assigning] emergency aid based on race, as opposed to financial need."

Kendi argues that the state "ought to racially discriminate up until the day when black people, as 13 percent of the population, occupy 13 percent of every other resource of value, every other domain of value in society," Hughes says. That kind of equality has never happened in any society and never will.

"All of this is opposed to what the civil rights leaders of the past envisioned as the healthy goal for our country, which was a society where I don’t treat you differently because you’re white and I ask you not to treat me differently because I’m black. And we both ask the government to not treat either of us differently because of our race."

On The View, co-host Sunny Hostin told Hughes that he's seen as a "pawn of the right" and a "charlatan."

"I don’t think there’s any evidence I’ve been co-opted by anyone and I think that’s an ad-hominem tactic people use to not address, really, the important conversations we’re having here," Hughes replied. He identifies as an "independent," not a conservative.

"The reason I wrote this book is because, in the past 10 years, it has become common to, in the name of anti-racism, teach a kind of philosophy to our children, in general, that says your race is everything," he said. "And I think that is the wrong way to fight racism." 



When I had a brain tumor removed, I really did not care about the neurosurgeon's skin color. When my child had chemotherapy infusions, I really did not care about the ethnic heritage of the pediatrician. I have no clue about the ethnic heritage of the person who designed my home or the carpenters who built it, and that does not bother me. Why should I care about these things?!!! People are their individual character and intellect and experiences, and learning about those is how one becomes acquaintances and friends.


Steve Sherman
Steve Sherman

If there was one thing George W. Bush was right about it was

The soft bigotry of low expectations

The kids from these charters will stream into private colleges on scholarships and their peers will resent them for their success in life



Anti-racism is such an obvious scam, I'm surprised that anyone falls for it, Otherwise, Kendi would be 13-percenting the NBA. Frauds and grifters, regardless of color, deserve equal treatment, ranging from scorn to prosecution.

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