Race, government, and God
by La Shawn Barber
Posted on Wednesday, September 12, 2012, at 12:45 pm
"Distinctions by race are so evil, so arbitrary and invidious that a state, bound to defend the equal protection of the laws must not invoke them in any public sphere." - Thurgood Marshall
If black, Chinese, Hispanic, Pakistani, Saudi, Vietnamese, and other students can have ethnicity-based groups at taxpayer-supported universities, why can't white students? That question is at the center of a swirling "controversy" at Towson University in Towson, Md.
Towson student Matthew Heimbach proposed a new group: the White Student Union. "We want to replicate what every student union does on campus," he told a CBS affiliate in Baltimore. Earlier, Heimbach created a group called Youth for Western Civilization. "We want to be able to promote on campus for students who want to be proud of their heritage and the foundations of this country and stand up for themselves."
Assuming the group won't exclude people based on race, I don't see how the school could reject the proposal. A man who resigned as advisor to Youth for Western Civilization said the only purpose of a group with "white" in its name is hostility toward minorities. I suspect what Heimbach really wants is to highlight the double standard. It brings to mind "affirmative action" bake sales, in which conservative student groups demonstrate the unfairness of racial preferences by selling items at prices based on race. For example, white students pay $1 for a cookie, Hispanics 50 cents, and blacks 25 cents, to reflect the school's use of race in admissions.
For the uninitiated, our government, under the guise of so-called affirmative action, grants special treatment to members of certain racial/ethnic groups purportedly to compensate for past wrongs and/or increase the numbers of underrepresented minorities. Although the civil rights movement was fought to stop the government from treating individuals differently based on skin color, the practice still exists. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case that challenges the university's use of race in admissions.
If the government discriminates against a man because of his race, he should be compensated, not his racial group. He may seek redress, and the results of that redress should flow to him. Racial preferences give unmerited advantage to some and unmerited disadvantage to others. I'm an outspoken opponent of this practice and have warned supporters, especially minorities, that a government with the power to discriminate in their favor has the power to discriminate against them.
Although God created different races, we're all His children through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. And no matter how much racial strife we experience in this fallen world, we can rest assured there is no spiritual inequality or distinction among the saved. We are accountable for our own actions, and we're judged as individual moral agents. Our government should follow suit.
Meanwhile, back in the fallen world. … Do you believe Heimbach and other white students have the right to create a race-based group? Would a "Scottish Student Union" be less controversial than or preferable to a "White Student Union?"
La Shawn Barber
La Shawn writes about culture, faith, and politics. Her work has appeared in the Christian Research Journal, Christianity Today, the Washington Examiner, and other publications