Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The Art of the New Racism

By K. Lloyd Billingsley, Independent Institute

“Certain San Francisco artists may receive $1,000 a month under a new city program, the latest in a series of universal basic income initiatives cropping up in cities across California,” writes Faith Pinho of Anybody eager for the extra $1000 might wonder who the “certain artists” might be.

They must be “San Francisco residents under certain income thresholds who faced economic loss during the pandemic.” The recipients can be from “every artistic tradition,” but the artist’s work must be “rooted in a historically marginalized community.” So the money has nothing to do with the quality of the artist’s work, only the nature of their “community.” 

As Pinho explains, the San Francisco program follows “another guaranteed income initiative” in Oakland, now handing out $500 a month to 600 families. According to Mayor Libby Schaaf, this is all about “closing the racial wealth gap,” because “poverty is not a personal failure, it is a policy failure.” In this vision, a person’s training, work ethic, and ideas have nothing to do with their economic success, so income must be guaranteed by the government. As Victor Davis Hanson notes, there’s more to it.

The $500 grants go only to BIPOC, “black, indigenous and people of color” families and exclude those who look like Joe Biden. This violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, but Hanson sees a trend. The latest federal stimulus/farm bill, for example, “is targeted for all those in need – as long as they are not white.” This stereotypes, demonizes and excludes an entire group, the classic definition of racism but now branded as “critical race theory.”


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