Tag Archives: “colorblindness”

Futility of “Colorblindness:” Jeb Bush and Unfair, Anti-Black, and Untruthful Insinuations

Virginia Slave Law, 1705

Virginia Slave Law, 1705 (Placard displayed at police accountability meeting in Fairfax, Va., September 14, 2015 (regarding the case of Natasha McKenna (deceased))).

Republicans think that black people will vote for their anti-black platform and beliefs because they state it in an acceptable manner–while including wicked implications and insinuations of black people. Such is “colorblindness” as practiced in the United States today: it (anti-black beliefs) is ok as long as it sounds and looks good.

It will not work.

An example is Jeb Bush’s statement (emphasis, in bold, is the blog author’s):

“Look around this room,” a man told Bush, who spoke to a mostly white crowd. “How many black faces do you see? How are you going to include them and get them to vote for you?” asked the man, who was white.

Bush pointed to his record on school choice and said that if Republicans could double their share of the black vote, they would win the swing states of Ohio and Virginia.

“Our message is one of hope and aspiration,” he said at the East Cooper Republican Women’s Club annual Shrimp Dinner. “It isn’t one of division and get in line and we’ll take care of you with free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting — that says you can achieve earned success.”

Charles Blow, columnist for the New York Times, picked up this insinuation and wrote–

There it is! If you let people talk long enough, the true self will always be revealed. Not only is there a supreme irony in this racial condescension that casts black people, whose free labor helped establish the prosperity of this country and who were systematically excluded from the full benefits of that prosperity for generations, as leeches only desirous of “free stuff,” this line of reasoning also infantilizes black thought and consciousness and presents an I-know-best-what-ails-you paternalism about black progress.

Jeb Bush’s “colorblindness” is tiresome and exhausting to endure.

Futility of “Colorblindness”: Ben Carson Excuses White Hegemony and Chastises, Blames, Critiques Black People; Carson Speaks like Wardell (Ward) Connerly

The great mass of black voters has been deeply turned off by the way the Republicans have been at best indifferent toward them,” he said, “and at worst have displayed a camouflaged hostility that panders to the party base.” –Prof. Randall Kennedy, Harvard Law School

The price of white hegemony is borne by other people.

The terrible cost of the white hegemonic image of “harmony” is borne by others. We can bear it no longer.

The majority culture believes in “colorblindness,” but also believes that the majority of the society (whites) are better than everyone else in the society. Open expression of this idea is not socially acceptable, but the institutions of society are empowered to act solely for the benefit or advantage of the majority white population without apology. Questioning of those white hegemonic institutions is met with defensiveness as well as a blaming of the questioner.

Ben Carson, Republican candidate for the U.S. presidential office, embodies this notion; his black skin color a convenient and comforting camouflage for the anti-black, white hegemonic argument. The sentiment appears to be that the GOP line of argument cannot be offensive if a black person says it. Such a position affirms the high value of race in the society of the United States, specifically that only whites are empowered. Nonwhites are empowered only to the extent to disempower nonwhite groups.

Mr. Carson has been playing this role in several news articles. Carson gives apparent support while following that statement with overarching criticism carefully couched to avoid immediate reaction. [Author’s note: Carson is not fooling anyone; this is a well-practiced tactic of Republicans (and that of the power structure). Carson’s tactics are similar to that of Wardell (Ward) Connerly.]

Asking for peace; wanting silence.

Placard: “Don’t say you want peace when you really mean silence.”

I will provide an example, an interview Carson had with Major Garrett of CBS News, Carson stated that the protestors in the aftermath of the shooting and death of Mr. Michael Brown showed that they actually cared and had begun a dialogue. However, that seeming praise was negated by Carson’s criticism (and blame of black people) (emphasis, in bold, the blog author’s):

He also talked about the different images that come to mind when he considers what happened in Ferguson. “It conjures up [a] an image of the people feeling that they have been unjustly treated by the police, and [b] that justifies civil disturbance,” Carson said. “Of course we all see the images of the burning.”

There is another image in Carson’s mind, too. He told Garrett, “It also conjures up an image of the people being unwilling to actually face the facts. I think the community is unwilling to face the fact that Michael Brown was a bad actor.

[Author’s note: Because Mr. Brown was killed before any arrest, charges, or trial, he still maintains a presumption of innocence, something that Carson recklessly ignores in his zeal to condemn. In Carson’s view, the Ferguson protesters were not justified because it was not for police impunity but rather a desire to disturb the peace, and Mr. Brown was at fault for his death. Thus, all of the racial consequences of the white hegemonic institutions are erased while also confirming the devaluation of black lives.]

For the Black Lives Matter movement, he considers them to be bullies:

But Carson, the only black presidential candidate running as either a Democrat or Republican, went on to say that it was “very different than, let’s say, the Black Lives Matter movement, where it’s foisting yourself on people – rather than engaging in dialogue – and bullying people. I never liked the idea of bullying on behalf of anybody.”

[Author’s note: Carson did not explain what he meant by use of the word “bullying.” Carson’s statements are confusing but fit well into a white-hegemonic apology. However, naming and exposing the negatives of white hegemonic rule is disruptive to the white-advantaged status quo. Because of this, such identifiers of the negative consequences of white hegemony are said to be rude, demanding, domineering, etc.]

Carson’s convoluted, muddled, and self-contradictory statement to Mr. Garrett is a form of the “colorblindness” argument, which wants to advance the idea that everybody is equal, but only white people are valued.

I analyze the “colorblind” argument and Carson’s statements in other articles below.

White hegemonic argument Ben Carson’s comment in Ferguson, Mo.
Defend white hegemony (that is, the status quo) and deny black suffering under the same hegemonic system. I think we’ve actually regressed with this administration and its emphasis on race, because it emphasizes race to indicate that things are not progressing well. And that just isn’t true,” Carson said.

He said the country has regressed because “we’re talking about it a lot more — more people complaining that they’re being treated unfairly. I don’t think we need to be emphasizing what’s unjust. I think we need to be emphasizing what opportunities there are.”

He continued: “A lot of people perceive everything through racial eyes. But my point is, we don’t have to do that. What we have to do instead is begin to see people as people.” [???]

[Author’s note: Also, this argument is convoluted with criticism of President Barack Obama. There is also a call for false balance–because there are no statements of harmony, there should not be any statements of injustice, racism, or unfairness. Of course, if there were harmony, such statements would not be made in the first place.]

Request for item that does not threaten white hegemony It is very important that police are taught to be respectful of everyone,” said Carson. “One lady was talking about the fact that she woke up, her son woke up, and said: ‘There are police out there all over the place! There are armored vehicles out there!’ She went outside, a policeman was walking on the sidewalk, and she asked him: ‘What’s going on?’ He said, ‘nothing.’ That’s not respectful. We need to make sure that respect is offered in both directions.”

[Author’s note: I am uncertain of the worth of this statement. Nothing Carson stated appears disrespectful but rather unresponsive. In so doing he “criticized” the hegemonic institution extremely lightly. This example is vague, but his statements about nonwhite people is clear, negative, and condemnatory. (See the next statement, below, as a further example.)]

Blame, chastise, belabor, bully, etc., black people (generously) I heard more than one time how the thing that really inflamed the community was the fact that Michael Brown’s body laid out on the street for four hours,” said Carson. “I think a lot of people understood that he had done bad things, but his body didn’t have to be disrespected. I heard also that people need to learn how to respect authority.”

Mr. Carson should be ashamed; his previous life’s work has already been negated.


Civil Service Reform: Current System Not Working; Move to New System Unwise

There are calls to reform the civil service (Partnership for Public Service), but the existing civil service is not functioning properly. A number of events urges better implementation of the current civil service and caution about further strengthening authority to an unaccountable management class.


Below is a table of several topics that demonstrate that much needs to be improved under the current rules before thinking of moving to new, untested civil service system.

Civil Service Event Coverage Comment
Artis v. Bernanke, employment discrimination case at the Federal Reserve Board https://alexwdc.wordpress.com/?s=artis 18 year duration for this case represents systemic failure.
Use of forced distribution at the Federal Reserve Board https://alexwdc.wordpress.com/?s=federal+reserve
Partnership of Public Service argument for civil service reform https://alexwdc.wordpress.com/?s=partnership Group envisions economic punishment of no raises (or self-firing) in its format for forced distribution.
Merit Systems Protection Board and methods to address so-called poor performance Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2015/08/06/the-top-five-ways-federal-managers-fail-to-fire-their-low-performers/ Poor performance lives in ambiguity; MSPB does not even attempt to define the term used to damage or end careers.
Commerce GS-15 manager alleged of several incidents of misconduct Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2015/09/02/commerce-official-let-her-kids-watch-porn-on-federal-computers-then-told-investigators-she-saw-nothing-wrong-with-it/ Commerce Office of Inspector General report: https://www.oig.doc.gov/OIGPublications/OIG-14-0153.pdf
Fired civil servant who filed complaints with newspaper, his congressional representative and staff, and nonprofit group, shoots and kills security guard and himself Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2015/08/27/federal-employees-and-contractors-face-danger-even-death-just-doing-their-jobs/
Diversity and inclusion issues at the federal financial regulatory agencies https://alexwdc.wordpress.com/?s=diversity


In general, the situation is grim.
Non-civil-service event but informative–abusive work environment at Amazon.com. https://alexwdc.wordpress.com/?s=amazon

The New York Times: http://nyti.ms/1ISY0xv

The New York Times: http://nyti.ms/1zoKGPy (Supreme Court rules that Amazon does not have to pay employees for time spent in warehouse security lines after end of shift.)

Salon: http://www.salon.com/2014/02/23/worse_than_wal_mart_amazons_sick_brutality_and_secret_history_of_ruthlessly_intimidating_workers/

Eye-opening articles

Futility of “Colorblindness”: Confounding Claims of Non Bias Reveals Biased Logic

In the Wednesday, September 2, 2015, Washington Post (print edition), there was a letter to the editor about a column by Lonnae O’Neal, “Punished for Mixing Wine with Fun.”

The issue with “colorblindness” is the desire to appear fair while also wanting to maintain the unfair, imbalanced status quo that believes in white hegemony.

The resulting logical twists and biased presumptions needed to advance the mutually exclusive positions are confounding and exhausting to comprehend. The legacies of slavery and other wickedness permeates throughout all systems of the United States of America, resulting in discrimination of all forms in very many situations. It is a tiring, persistent burden for the targets of such bias, one made worse with the claim of colorblindness.

What happened to the ladies on the Napa Valley Wine Train? According to the column, the ladies were asked to quiet down or exit, following complaints from other guests on the train. Upon arrival at a station, police were called to escort the ladies to a waiting bus. One of the ladies is 80 years old.

The company at first asserted its actions were for security in a Facebook post that was deleted. The chief executive officer, Anthony “Tony” Giaccio, later sent a letter acknowledging that the organization was at fault for the series of events that occurred.

[Author’s note: A similar situation occurred with a party of Latinas. It seems some people want to drink wine in absolute silence, except for train noise, perhaps there should be a quiet car and then permit conversations in other cars for other guests. Nevertheless, the action of calling the police for such a situation shows how racial bias informs a rush to judgment and calls for “extreme” punishment.]



I will now return to analyze the letter to the editor. The letter writer excuses that mistreatment in the name of colorblindness.

One method of advancing such colorblindness has three components:

  • Dismiss claims of racial bias,
  • Defend the status quo of white hegemony in the United States, and
  • Condemn/blame the person(s) who question the white hegemonic status quo.
Argument Quote from letter to the editor [blog author comments within brackets]
Dismiss claims of racial bias. “I’m not saying that the behavior of the train staff was justified, but I saw nothing in Ms. O’Neal’s column that supported her implication that the complaints were motivated by racial bias or jealousy of the women’s joy.”

[The basis for the writer’s conclusion was absent from the letter. The writer despite her disclaimer is indeed justifying the action of the train staff, for which the CEO of the train provided an “apology” to the affected ladies.]

Defend the status quo of white hegemony in the United States. “This unfortunate affair could have happened no matter the racial makeup of any group disturbing others.”

[Perhaps, or perhaps not. Anyway, we have a real claim presented that should be resolved. The letter writer’s claim is nebulous and hypothetical as well as ignores completely the column and the ladies’ story.]

Condemn/blame the person(s) who question the white hegemonic status quo. “Looking for racial connections when there are none only makes people of different races more resentful of each other.”

[The letter writer has completely abandoned her apparent balance and denies the story of the ladies and the column despite not presenting any facts. She concludes that there was no racial connections. How that conclusion was reached again was not explained. The letter writer assumes that there is racial equality existing and that the complainants broke the harmony. But no such harmony exists: The United States was built with the labor of enslaved human beings and its social order of white hegemony is sustained by continuing systemic discrimination to nonwhite people. The letter writer seems to also resent that the column was even written at all.]

The society of the United States has much work still to improve its society and culture from the depths of chattel slavery, the minstrelsy period, and Jim Crow exclusion. It will continue to be an arduous task because the social majority benefits from the mistreatment of others.

Futility of “Colorblindness”: Meme of White Hegemony and Black Inferiority Still Exists–Unacceptable

Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston

In have written about the meme prevalent in the United States of America–white hegemony and black inferiority–in this blog, mostly under the title “futility of “colorblindness.”

It seems to be a continuing topic because of the formation of the #BlackLivesMatter group. Effectively, the group seeks to remove the white hegemony and black disadvantaged paradigm from policy making in the United States. This goal is a tall order but it is necessary to start moving towards it.

The United States of America: A Culture of Discrimination

Antiblack sentiment


A culture developed to subjugate nonwhite people (and the poor of all races). Matthew Cooke’s YouTube presentation, Race Baiting 101
“Colorblind” racism. https://alexwdc.wordpress.com/?s=colorblindness

Nathan Newman and J.J. Gass, A New Birth of Freedom: the Forgotten History of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments



Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo (2006). “Racism without Racists:   Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States.”

President Barack Obama’s punishing slams on Black people. https://alexwdc.wordpress.com/?s=obama+colorblind

https://alexwdc.wordpress.com/2010/06/12/president-barack-obama-governance-is-slightly-different-from-the-previous-administration-other-than-style-administration-may-be-a-carbon-copy/ (see note on Ms. Shirley Sherrod)

Pervasive antiblack sentiment in the workplace Federal Reserve Board (FRB), federal financial regulatory agencies—



Artis v. Bernanke (FRB employment discrimination case)


Dick Grote, “pay for performance,” “rank and yank”—systematic removal of nonwhite persons from workforce



Overall encouragement of dangerous self-hate and punishment in order to satiate the majority culture while ignoring the systems of white hegemony Courtland Milloy: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/institutional-racism-isnt-killing-blacks-by-itself-it-is-the-enemy-within/2015/08/25/4b9f1d98-4b50-11e5-bfb9-9736d04fc8e4_story.html

Barbara Reynolds: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/08/24/i-was-a-civil-rights-activist-in-the-1960s-but-its-hard-for-me-to-get-behind-black-lives-matter/

President Barack Obama (see link above)

Hilary Clinton and several members of #BlackLivesMatter:


It will not be easy. For example, the Honorable Muriel Bowser, Mayor of the city of Washington, D.C., witnessing an increase of violent crime occurring in the city, announced a proposal of more police and increased fines, in addition to other social service legislative policy ideas, to address the issue. Disagreement during the speech was heard.

There is good reason for concern, the events of the recent past (relative to the date of this post) should inform everyone that reliance on the police alone is insufficient–and dangerous. Regardless of the intentions of the Mayor, how that policy is enforced is the greater concern. The Mayor should consider these effects in her planning as well as committing herself to supervising enforcement activity for fairness.

Futility of “Colorblindness” and Confirmation Bias: Can Poison Workplace Interaction of a Supervisor and Subordinate Employee; These Interactions Must Be Covered under Equal Employment Opportunity Law

In the United States, the manager of an organization is give great power to hire, supervise, instruct, discipline, and terminate employees, according to the laws relating to employment (indexed as master and servant) law.

Perhaps in a sufficient number of cases, manager’s assessment in an applicable discretionary power is correct, but in a situation of implied bias–that the supervisor is prone to disfavor the work of a subordinate just because of his or her skin color, such discretion becomes racially discriminatory and unfair. The subordinate cannot do anything to avoid the effects of a manager who applies a unconscious bias to such subordinate.

As a result, broad assertions (even with manager-supplied documented “proof”) of poor performance, must be viewed with a skeptical eye and with a view of ensuring that the manager’s assessment and documentation is itself fair and equitable to the subordinate and not just accepting the manager’s compilation of errors is the final word. This point is a definite weakness of the Grote forced distribution system (governed by manager’s unchecked “opinion”), covered separately in this blog.

Exploring the issue of unconscious bias, Dr. Arin N. Reeves, a researcher with Nextions, a consulting organization, investigated the effect of confirmation bias. Specifically, Dr. Reeves was investigating the reason from prior research finding that supervising lawyers perceived African American lawyers to be sub par in their writing skills in comparison to their Caucasian counterparts.

Dr. Reeves and her team performed a study, studying the issue from a perspective of unconscious or implicit bias. Five law partners were asked to write an legal research memo from a hypothetical third-year litigation associate that focused on trade secrets in Internet start-ups. The researchers then introduced 22 errors–spelling and grammar (7), substantive technical writing errors (6), errors of fact (5), and errors of analysis (4).

This error-amended memo was provided to 60 partners of law firms; one-half of them were told that the memo was written by an African American associate, and the other one-half of them were told that the author was Caucasian.

The result–from 53 law partners (24 having reviewed the African American associate’s memo and 29 having reviewed the Caucasian associates memo)–is as follows:

African American Associate Caucasian Associate
Overall quality of the memo (rated from 1 (poor) to 5 (extremely well written) 3.2/5.0 4.1/5.0
Qualitative comments
  • “needs lots of work”,
  • “can’t believe he went to NYU”,
  • average at best”
  • “generally good writer but needs to work on…”,
  • “has potential”,
  • “good analytical skills”
Specific errors
Spelling and grammar errors found 5.8/7.0 2.9/7.0
Technical writing errors 4.9/6.0 4.1/6.0
Errors in fact 3.9/5.0 3.2/5.0
Errors in analysis Rated better overall because he had fewer critical comments.
Formatting (not requested by research group, but 41 comments received) 29 comments / 41 11 comments / 41

The researchers noted that there was no significant correlation between a partners race/ethnicity and the differentiated patters of errors found between the two memos. In addition, there was no significant correlation between a partner’s gender and the differentiated patterns of errors found between the two memos, the researchers continued. The researchers stated that they did find that female partners generally found more errors and wrote longer narratives than the male partners.

President Barack Obama: Delivers Eulogy Providing Comfort to Families and Nation Grieving the Loss of Nine Persons to Murder in Charleston, South Carolina

Know Their Names, By Sarah Green, sarahgreenillustration (http://sarahgreenillustration.tumblr.com/)

Know Their Names, by Sarah Green, sarahgreenillustration (http://sarahgreenillustration.tumblr.com/)

On June 17, 2015, nine Black people were killed during a Bible study meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Emanuel AME) by a visitor (Dylann Roof, now in jail awaiting criminal charges). One of the nine, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, was a pastor of Emanuel AME and was a South Carolina state senator.

[The remaining eight are–Ms. Cynthia Hurd; Ms. Susie Jackson; Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor; Mr. Tywanza Sanders; Rev. Daniel Simmons, Sr.; Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Ms. Myra Thompson.]

President Barack Obama, on June 26, 2015, delivered a eulogy for Rev. Pinckney as well as the other victims. Eulogies are tricky speeches–the words must

  • provide comfort to the grieving surving family members of the deceased,
  • wish the deceased well in their new life in eternity, and
  • honor the life of the deceased, in the case of a religious person, like those who worshiped at Emanuel AME, both their religious and secular lives.

The President was able to craft a wonderful speech that was comforting, respectful, and was encouraging of positive change as the response to tragedy. The YouTube video of the speech is presented below.

In closing, I use quotes from the President’s eulogy because it provides advice for the way forward in addressing structural discrimination.

None of us can or should expect a transformation in race relations overnight.  Every time something like this happens, somebody says we have to have a conversation about race.  We talk a lot about race.  There’s no shortcut.  And we don’t need more talk.

It would be a refutation of the forgiveness expressed by those families if we merely slipped into old habits, whereby those who disagree with us are not merely wrong but bad; where we shout instead of listen; where we barricade ourselves behind preconceived notions or well-practiced cynicism.

[Author’s Note: Persons, like Dylann Roof in a murder case discussed in this post, accused of a crime in the United States are presumed innocent until proven guilty.]