Monday, January 15, 2007

A Note on Integration after Martin Luther King Day

Posted by Cardozo

Encourage minority friends to bid for homes in your neighborhood that are for sale, or invite them to join you in your vacation areas. Help figure out how more than one individual or family from a particular underrepresented group might come along, so that your friends are not - yet again - the only minorities in the room, on the street, at the party, on the slopes, in the store, on the beach.

Look, I know it can seem artificial consciously to consider race or ethnic background. But simply not thinking about integration is a failing tactic in much of America.

Rob McCord penned the above in yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer, and I cite it, Bush, in order to celebrate naivete.

In an interview on NPR's Talk of the Nation, McCord suggested that naivete might not be such a bad thing. Or rather, that what is commonly thought of as naive (like the above plea for renewed integration driven by individuals acting in good conscience) might actually be far-sightedness.

With this I wholly agree. Despite those annoyingly oft-quoted words of John Maynard Keynes about us all being dead in the long run, the true difference makers always assume that even dramatic social changes can happen in the short run. And sometimes they do, in spite of those who scoff at the naivete of well-intentioned idealism.

Say what you will, Bush, about McCord's idealism. There's nothing very nuanced about it. But maybe nuance is overrated - a product of an overmediated culture, perhaps. After all, how can pundits keep selling books, or editorialists keep writing editorials, if all they do is repeat those simple truths with the power to change everything if only they were put into actual practice?

McCord's words are truth, aren't they, Bush? If everyone who despises the continuing segregation in America were to integrate their own lives in any substantial way, the forces preserving segregation would dissolve proportionately.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank McCord for risking the label of naivete and appealing to those who would act, to act. And for leading by example.

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