Date: Tue, 16 May 2000 10:01:06 -0700 (PDT)
From: “George Winkel”
To: “James A. Landrith, Jr.” firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Arguing multiracial identity
Below is an argument by e-mail I had with a law student (a guy), named Karan Singh. He agrees to our debate being posted/continued on your Letters section.
From: “Karan R. Singh”
To: “George Winkel”
Subj: Interesting points
On 4/27/00 Mr. Singh wrote:
I just read your essay on the Loving [v. Virginia (1967)] case and current ethno-racial politics and found it very interesting. As a mixed person myself, I have experienced many situations your fellow editors have commented on or described.
As a law student, I am interested in your answer as to how anti-discrimination laws will be enforced if race is no longer considered a “salient” identity factor. It seems rather naive to assume that discrimination will completely disappear, even with the widespread social indoctrination on the irrelevance on so-called racial characteristics.
If there are no objective categories, i.e. racial classifications, how would the people who suffer from housing discrimination, for example, prove they were denied an opportunity based on their immutable appearance?
From: “George Winkel”
To: “Karan R. Singh”
Re: Interesting points
On 4/29/00 George Winkel responded to Karan Singh: Thank you for your 4/27/00 remarks on my Web discussion of the Loving v. Virginia case. Was that “‘Loving’ vs. Civil Rights Law”? http://www.webcom.com/intvoice/gwinkel3.html You asked me very pertinent questions.
You mentioned housing discrimination. I have seen evidence the so-called “white flight” urge dropped to 1 percent in 1997, down from 44-percent in 1958. https://www.multiracial.com/government/ca.pdf [704K see p.74] I expect that this breathtaking drop parallels abatement of housing discrimination, too. My challenge to civil rights “leadership” is why did they make no effort to desegregate housing? Housing discrimination has been illegal for 30 years (id., p.67). Clearly, integrating housing would have seen integration of everything else, from schools and workplaces to nuptial beds. Ms. Singh [sic], can you show me that this conspicuous leadership failure did not grow out of political willingness to re-segregate, and the minority identity politicking fostered by census “race” redistricting?
We have the Fourteenth Amendment and anti-discrimination laws (e.g., California’s Uhruh Act), prohibiting all sorts of arbitrary discriminations beside “race.” Some, such as sexual orientation, are not asked on any census. I believe arbitrary discrimination can be remedied without collecting “race” identities on the decennial, Article I, constitutional (apportionment) census. As I will explain, I am not happy with the present statistical approaches to racial justice. But statistical tools can be applied to problem areas without perching a census “race box” beside the count of people, on which federal and state redistricting is based. I have written opposing the existing practice of making the census perpetuate the decrepit legend of “race,” to say nothing of its implication in segregating our communities into racial political fiefdoms.
I argued for removing “race” from the decennial census in a letter to the editor of Multiracial Activist: https://www.multiracial.com/readers/2000readerletters.html
Enforcing laws against arbitrary discrimination for someone’s “immutable appearance” makes much more sense to me than actions establishing the existence of “race.” What you term “objective categories, i.e. racial classifications” which government vainly fumbles with, does not make sense. Please understand: I come from a position targeting “race” as the problem’s source. “Race” is a far worse problem than “racism,” in my view. Actions against racism which tend to reinforce the belief “race” somehow exists only aggravate the problem. They become the problem. Racism (discrimination, inequality, etc.), in my opinion, is only a symptom of the problem. The problem is “race.”
I have written an article attempting to parse the word “race.” https://www.multiracial.com/abolitionist/word/winkel2.html I argue “race” is a two-part notion. Human somatic variation, our “immutable appearance,” the first part, is a pure gift. The second element of “race” is belief. It is pure too — pure unfounded superstition — on a par with belief in witches, or faith in Voodoo. Nature has no voodoo “race-lines” analogous to the different “race” categories. Moreover, all the racial traits are inherited separately. Consequently their frequency distributions undulate around the world, each one plotting its own fingerprint of peaks and valleys. Maybe “race” grew out of early European seafarers’ fright on discovering peoples in distant ports who looked different from themselves. (Only white N. Europeans seemed stunned at seeing black people. Biblical and classical writers living nearer Africa found nothing remarkable about human variation. They attributed differences to climate. Like St. Augustine, they recognized that men everywhere are of one seed. Modern associations of “race” are poisoned with rumors of eugenics, “one-drop” rules, and other twisted science lying half-unburied in our collective memory from the 19th-20th Centuries.) Anyway, the fatal flaw in the “race” idea which has come down to us is its imposing fixed, “immutable” categories on the seamlessly varying continuum of our racial “appearance.” I believe the post-King civil rights movement lost its way when it invested in “minority” empowerment and endlessly warring against racism. The NAACP and other umbrella organizations restored the “race” superstition, and they built up the divisive psychological “lines” when, in my opinion, they should have done the opposite. They should have continued educating, and appealing to conscience, “naive” as that may sound to you.
For several reasons I believe the better approach is to dismantle “race.” Your characterization was “widespread social indoctrination on the irrelevance on so-called racial characteristics.” (Sic.) However phrased, it seems clear to me that dismantling “race” never seriously began. Even scientists and teachers remain flustered about “race,” most still believing it exists on some level. College students parroting the phrase “social construct” reveal no insight into the hypnotic grip the repeated incantations of “race” have tightened in themselves and in everyone. Academics’ articles drone on about how little genetic difference underlies “race.” This largely misses the point, just as do the discussions of I.Q. bell curves, and GED tests. (I think these performance lags result from “race’s” negative hypnotic suggestions.) http://www.webcom.com/intvoice/gwinkel2.html All of our crossings are viable! That is the point. Existence of mixed persons, strong, fertile, and fit — you, my dear — are living proof that “race” is a mass hallucination. Proof is easy. Persuading people to see it, to throw off race’s evil spell is difficult.
I hope I have answered your questions. If so, with your permission I would like to offer this reply and your letter, above, to James Landrith, for posting to his Multiracial Activist “letters to the editor” page, if he thinks it is worth posting.
From: “Karan R. Singh”
To: “George Winkel”
Re: Interesting points
On 4/29/00 Karan Singh wrote: Thank you for the prompt response to my question. I do need to inform you that the Northern India/Punjabi name “Karan” is a male-gender first name. I get the Karen/Karan thing all the time, but I felt you should receive the courtesy of having that cleared up.
I did read your Bell Curve analysis, and thought it was a good article.
My response to your reply focuses on the assumptions you make and the inferences you draw from the Council on Economic Advisors report.
The polling data does not indicate who was sampled and the methods used to gather data used in arriving at the conclusions, i.e. personal interview vs. mailed questionnaire. I think the results will vary depending on the context of the polling. I base this assertion on my personal experience as a person straddling the so-called “color line,” and who is privy to many strange conversations from people when they feel they have a sympathetic audience. While I think the stated poll results are great, I am skeptical as to how they were deduced.
I think it is a great leap to draw the inference that the attitudes of a selected sample of residents will parallel the attitudes of the smaller group of landlords or real estate agents who control access to residential areas. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has documented many instances of these gatekeepers refusing such access due to the perceived background of the applicant. See “http://www.hud.gov/hsngdisc.html“.
I agree that arbitrary discrimination laws would preclude these sorts of practices, but they in turn would suffer serious First Amendment attacks concerning the vagueness of the “arbitrary discrimination” definition, as well as a private owner-occupier landlords’ own freedom of association.
These attacks are arguably valid notwithstanding the presupposed assent to publicly market the property by the landlord. This is because without any “immutable characteristic” objectively defined factors, for example as listed in the Fair Housing Act, see “http://www.hud.gov/fhe/fheact.html“, there is no way for a small-scale landlord to exclude people in light of his/her own rights and know which exclusion will be later deemed legal or illegal . An example would be a religious owner-occupier declining the application of a non-church member for a basement apartment, with the later charge of ethnic discrimination brought against him. On the flip side, such a justification could be used as screen for discriminatory conduct unless a pattern was shown of similarly situated individuals not getting equal treatment. How can this be shown without the use of objective factors?
Small-scale owner-occupier landlords are also exempt from the Fair Housing Act. Id. Based on my own experience, these types of landlords are the most common in concentrated urban cities, where housing segregation is commonly-known to be most visible. Any such law targeted at “arbitrary discrimination” seems to run into the boundaries of these homeowners’ rights.
As a person who agrees that “racial” box-checking often aggravates the social psyche, I think that the lack of legal alternatives for identifying when discrimination happens leaves us with little choice but to keep the boxes. It seems like a chicken-and-egg type of cycle: how to enforce anti-discrimination laws without a construct of categories to protect from discrimination.
As far as the “civil rights leadership” question, that is outside the scope of this issue and will not be addressed. By “civil rights leadership” I am presuming you refer to organized civil rights groups. I will point out, though, that the NAACP Website claims that it fought for the Fair Housing Act. See “http://www.naacp.org/about/factsheet.html“. Also, proving a negative, i.e. showing that inaction was NOT motivated by a certain reason, is virtually impossible without the actor’s confession.
I was pleased by your offer to submit our discussions for posting. I think that would be great.
As a last point I think you should refrain from referring to strangers as “my dear” regardless of gender. It seems a bit impolite and, frankly, sexist. I think that you, as an intelligent commentator and valuable addition to the Interracial Voice Ed Board, should get out your message without such distractions.
From: “George Winkel”
To: “Karan R. Singh”
Re: Interesting points
On 5/11/00 George Winkel wrote: Please forgive my gaff, negligently misreading the spelling of your name for the feminine form. It must be quite an irritation to you, and I am truly sorry.
Turning to your arguments, I disagree with nearly everything you say. I will be happy to explain on a public forum.
I also disagree about your sexism pc suggestion. That is, I do not think it is forward or impolite for a senior attorney (indifferent of gender) such as myself to address a female law student, “my dear” — at least not in the use context of my misunderstanding to that effect in my previous e-mail. You are not a woman. What qualifies you presumptuously to correct me as you purport to in your 4/29/00, @ 01:40 e-mail? I hope you will not argue that passage of time, or evolution of ” respondents reporting their disposition to move away from “black” neighbors steadily declining from 44-percent in 1958 to 1-percent in 1997. Even if this sampling is dead wrong (as Mr. Singh seems to wish), the fact remains, residential segregation patterns the evil heart of racial inequality in America, and nothing is done about it by “black” leadership. My own intuitive observations over the same 40 years tell me the CEA polling data are not dead wrong. Far from it the data feels accurate to me. Moreover, it is clear to me the truth of my take on “black” leaders defaulting on their duty to recognize and address the source of the inequalities their people suffer stands independently of the accuracy or inaccuracy of CEA polling data.
>I think it is a great leap to draw the inference that the attitudes of a
>selected sample of residents will parallel the attitudes of the smaller
>group of landlords or real estate agents who control access to residential
>areas. The De/fheact.html,
>there is no way for a small-scale landlord to exclude people in light of
>his/her own rights and know which exclusion will be later deemed legal or
>illegal . An example would be a religious owner-occupier declining the
>application of a non-church member for a basement apartment, with the later
>charge of ethnic discrimination brought against him. On the flip side, such
>a justification could be used as screen for discriminatory conduct unless a
>pattern was shown of similarly situated individuals not getting equal
>treatment. How can this be shown without the use of objective factors?
I think Mr. Singh concludes we need “race” in order to distinguish perpetrators and victims. The Fair Housing Act bans arbitrary discrimination against disability, family status and national origin, among other things. Is “race” not a set of made-up names for ancestry, connected somewhat to “national origin,” “family status,” and “color”? Cle underlying their conflict meaningful or even rational. “Race” attributes spurious meaning to immaterial human somatic variation (skin melanin, etc.), or even to nothing visible at all. It is derelict in my opinion for “minority” leadership to allow this divisive hypnotic delusion called “race” — alleging categorical “difference” — to continue unchallenged into the Third Millennium.
>Small-scale owner-occupier landlords are also exempt from the Fair Housing
>Act. Id. Based on my own experience, these types of landlords are the most
>common in concentrated urban cities, where housing segregation is
>commonly-known to be most visible. Any such law targeted at “arbitrary
>discrimination” seems to run into the boundaries of these homeowners’ rights.
The HUD website http://www.hud.gov/hsngdisc.html posts actions brought against individual apartment and mobilehome park managers, and even a prosecution of a woman reto know that “race” is a categorical delusion (checkbox madness), and they make no effort to explode the myth of “race,” being so comfortable as they are with the status quo ante. Their avaricious failure is the issue which I mean to address.