Ta-Nehisi Coates, a great blogger now on the Atlantic, has a great point that I hadn’t seen before. There’s already been a fair amount of discussion out there on racism versus racial resentment. I tend to agree with the idea that when you see race relations as a zero-sum game you tend to get into racism, and that sort of attitude long pre-dates affirmative action.
The newer point gets to the question of why immigrants should have to deal with America’s racial baggage. Whole argument is worth reading, but here’s the key point:
Let us jouney to the heart of things--what the "immigrants didn’t do it" defense offers is an a’la carte brand of citizenship where one gets to pick and chose what you will or won’t claim. Here is fellowship on the cheap--scarfing down hot dogs and cheering for fireworks on the Fourth of July(despite the fact that said commenter’s forbears did absolutely nothing to liberate the country) while slinking away when the subject of slavery or Jim Crow arises. I should thank the heavens that I had nothing to do with the forced removal of the Native Americans. But I recognize that I live in Manhattan--on land that I didn’t settle. Moreover, I certainly had nothing to do with the murder of millions of Jews by the Third Reich, but I’m quite proud that my taxes help pay for the Holocaust Museum. Either you’re an American, or you are not. If you are, welcome to the family--the entire family.