Friday, November 13, 2015

not even maoists retain the testicular fortitude to openly profess maoism...,

WaPo |  The mid-20th-century gains of the civil rights movement rested on an implicit bargain: The pursuit of equality in civil and political rights could be advanced only at the expense of the pursuit of social equality. The 1964 Civil Rights Act, for instance, included an exemption for private clubs protecting them from the requirements of non-discrimination law. That bargain holds no longer. That is the fundamental meaning of this week’s events at the University of Missouri and Yale University.

The issues of free speech matter, too, but they are leading people in the wrong direction, away from the deepest issue. A recent University of Chicago reporton free speech gets it right: “The University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed.” This idea protects not only those who wish to wear blackface for Halloween but also those being skewered in the media for having called for the resignation of specific institutional leaders. On this subject, I would say, there’s little to see here. Move along.

The real issue is how to think about social equality.

1984 case Roberts v. United States Jaycees. That case put an end to that exemption for private clubs. To achieve social equality, however, against a backdrop of centuries of racial social subordination demands not only the vision of prophets who can imagine that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood. It calls, too, for cultural transformation, for a revolution, even, in our ordinary habits of interaction.