“But even in this new age of a far more diverse America racial progress can only happen when we become more honest, less embarrassed, less content to stay in our comfort zone and snicker at our cynical thoughts.” Thus spoke Fox News commentator Juan Williams, writing in support of the new Starbucks campaign to require its employees to attempt to engage Starbucks customers in discussions about race-relations. Before proceeding with my response to Mr. Williams, I shall get into the spirit of the occasion by identifying Mr. Williams as a Black person and by mentioning that he is dependably, unwaveringly, a hardcore “progressive” (i.e., he is way left of center) in his politics, a man whose customary geniality can be transformed into a white heat when the discussion turns (or could be turned) into a matter of race.
In this commentator’s opinion, the last thing this country needs is yet another discussion about race. I think we all know exactly where we stand on race – even Al Sharpton and the other race-baiters know. For that matter, I think I know exactly where I stand with regard to just about all of the groups formerly known as “races” – not to mention Latinos, women, LGBTs, Jews, Muslims (whether Islamists or the good guys), Rastafarians, Buddhists, whatever. Where I stand on all of this is, I don’t really give a hoot, except in the limited sense that usually, in my heart of hearts, I find myself rooting for the underdog. I really want my Black brothers and sisters to do well, to succeed, to show everyone they can be rich and successful outside of the worlds of sports and entertainment – and I especially want them to do it on their own merits, beyond all the quotas and handouts and other special benefits. I long for the day when I can choose a Black doctor, lawyer, financial advisor, car salesman, whatever, knowing that the person got to that position through effort and talent rather than quotas, handouts, and favoritism. But I wish America’s Blacks would assimilate themselves into the general American culture, stop bitching about how they are treated, stop begging or demanding favors or reparations, and just get to work. In other words, do what everyone else does. If they really prefer another country’s system, let them move to that country instead of transforming this one; there are many countries that are governed on other models, but there is only one America.
And I most certainly don’t want to have to repeat this statement – or even have to think about it – in order to buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Besides, I’d probably be thrown out of the place long before I had finished either my statement or my coffee. Dunkin Donuts, here I come.