Culture Wars/Current Controversies

New Pluralist Vision for California

By Robert Stark, Medium

The nation is caught up in a reckoning over racial justice that coincides with civil unrest and greater political polarization. In line with these national trends, California has put forth measures on racial justice grounds that include racial favoritist cash payouts, educational curriculum based upon divisive Critical Race Theory and austerity measures on the part of corporations using wokeness to justify laying off workers. The example of capitalizing all races while uncapping White is the very essence of Critical Race Theory. Despite almost unanimous institutional support, California citizens, including about half of non-Whites rejected a divisive measure to reinstate Affirmative Action in government employment and higher education.

There is growing opposition to divisive policies based upon Critical Race Theory with many Red State jurisdictions and Republican politicians proposing measures against it. However conservatives lack any alternative coherent framework to effectively challenge it. For instance Conservatives will flip flop between calling for color blindness and radical individualism with Donald Trump proposing specialized Platinum Plans for African Americans while still relying upon jingoistic flag waving and dog whistles that appeal to White Racial Resentment. GOP politicians, however, including Trump, avoid any overt mentions of Whiteness in contrast to former Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard denouncing the blatant anti-White racism of Chicago’s mayor Lori Lightfoot, and Andrew Yang , during his presidential campaign before he went woke, talking about the White working class as a group with legitimate political interests. Both Yang and Tulsi are younger, from diverse backgrounds, and have a better understanding of where the country is headed.

The divisive and manufactured nature of woke culture is undermining trust in institutions and ironically leading to neo-tribalism. This social and political breakdown could have a silver lining but only if there is an alternative to the failed one-size-fits-all approach of both color-blind civic nationalism and the left’s vision for racial equity.

Due to its immense diversity and status as a national trend-setter, California is the perfect place to propose this new pluralist vision. California’s current narrative on race relations such as the perception that GOP voting Californians are racist is just an extension of America’s Red vs. Blue divide rather than about California issues. California has less of America’s baggage on race and there was less civil unrest during last year’s racial justice protests. Overall race relations in California are at least affable and the degree to which there is racial tension is much more complex than America’s White vs. Black or White Supremacy vs. Diversity narrative, as no ethnic group in California forms a majority.

While there are issues that impact all Californians, such as jobs and housing, this new pluralist vision must take into account the needs of all groups without passing moral value judgments upon one group over another. For starters encouraging ethnic and cultural based student unions on high school and college campuses for all without regressive double standards.

There needs to be platinum plans for all, including African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, European Americans, and Latinos, with specialized plans tailored to each group’s specific needs. The liberal establishment neglects the needs of minorities beyond woke symbolism and securing votes, by lumping in together everyone who is non-White into a broader People of Color category they ignore the unique needs of particular groups.

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