|Yale University students demonstrate for racial inclusion|
Sadly, the world is full of the intolerable: poverty, disease, war, economic exploitation, sexism, and yes, of course, racism. The eradication of racism – in the world, in America, on a college campus, in a single dorm – is a goal to be devoutly hoped for, and ardently fought for. But that ardor must be tempered by practicality, by recognition of reality. Indeed, part of the radical black analysis of modern America is that it is essentially racist. Ta-Nehisi Coates, probably today’s pre-eminent African-American intellectual, has written that, “in America, the notion that black people are lacking in virtue is ambient.” Last year Coates and liberal writer Jonathan Chait argued back and forth on the causes of black poverty, with Coates explicitly arguing that there was little or no hope of ending racism in America. Damnably, American racism does seem incurable! It pollutes our cultural bloodstream like alcohol, distorting our perceptions, impairing our judgment, quickening our anger, and eroding our trust. We drank it so long ago, but it wreaks its havoc even now, and we never sober up.