The USCCB opposes racism. “The Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism seeks to teach about and to witness to the intrinsic dignity of the human person as an antidote to the grave sin of racism.” We can only applaud the promotion of the “intrinsic dignity of the human person.”
But what is “racism,” and how does racism degrade a person’s intrinsic dignity?
The usual remedies to the “sin of racism” that arise from religious and secular advocacy groups are all-too-familiar and wearisome: workshops, training, consciousness-raising events, and most importantly of all, devising programs and lavishing money on the alleged victim groups. Are these activities honest and worthwhile?
Discover Financial Services (Discover Card) recently announced a plan to give $5 million to black-owned restaurants that are rebounding from the impact of COVID-19 and, presumably, in response to the BLM protests. (In corporate marketing, there are no coincidences.)
Companies like Discover are not alone when they suggest that an entire class of entrepreneurs are victims of racism with the color of skin as the only evidence of the oppression.
What is the genetic makeup of a “black-owned” business? Must every owner be black? Does a person with a white mother and a black father qualify? When does white genetic makeup outweigh the black? These questions are uncomfortable and, honestly, ugly.
Yet the answers are crucial to secular and church institutions that “oppose racism.” Whether or not they write a check or administer a program depends upon the socially-acceptable constructs. But who defines “racism”? Black Lives Matter? The Democrat Party? The USCCB?
Discover’s announcement is reminiscent of similar projects in the 1980s. Back then, Jesse Jackson’s Operation PUSH effectively muscled several corporations to submit to their agenda. Jackson was astute. The cost of settling lawsuits out of court with Operation PUSH was a lot cheaper than the cost of extended litigation and negative publicity. The settlements were lucrative not only to black businessmen but to innovative white entrepreneurs as well.
Corporations required that a black person (or a group of black people) had to own at least fifty percent of a company for purposes of the “black-owned” designation. But in many cases, it became difficult to identify a sufficient number of vendors with the proper genetic makeup. Many businesses owned by white people enlisted black people as co-owners. Sometimes, there was no need for any expertise other than the color of one’s skin. The silent-partner status in itself was sufficient to spark a substantial increase in sales and profits.
The owners soon learned they could charge exorbitant prices to corporations eager to meet their black-owned purchase quota. When the affiliates attained ten percent of the black-owned purchasing target, they exhausted the racial quota distraction and could get back to business as usual.
The purchases were also exempt from competitive bids and were not subject to financial audits. Hence, fake racism became a lucrative business for a lot of whites who had the wits to partner with blacks. They were “Oreo corporations,” to coin a term: black on the outside, white on the inside. The racism racket became an innovative capitalist cash cow.
Large corporations also cynically tried to demonstrate their racial sensitivity by hiring black executives whether or not they needed them. They would lavish them with corporate offices and assign exalted executive titles, but give them little or no responsibilities. It was a small price to pay to deflect the attention of the race hustlers.
Who would seriously deny that these practices are degrading to the human spirit and enable racism from another perspective? The USCCB seems to agree in general, stating that “…racism still profoundly affects our culture, and it has no place in the Christian heart. This evil causes great harm to its victims, and it corrupts the souls of those who harbor racist or prejudicial thoughts. The persistence of the evil of racism is why we are writing this letter now.”
By this definition, Discover Card is racist. So is Jesse Jackson and Operation PUSH. And so are those corporations who use black-owned companies to prove their liberal credentials. Race hustlers at the highest levels of our institutions utilize the term “racism” as an instrument for blackmail, caring not a twit about ending the immoral practice of hating another on racial grounds. On the contrary, the fake racism industrial complex must continue to keep the money flowing.
We use the word “Catholic” to describe the universality of the Church, a Church that transcends tribes and races and includes all nations. Unlike “diversity” and “multi-culturalism,” “Catholic” is a word that unifies, not divides. The racism racket is just a variation on the tired and inimical practice of inventing programs to pour money on alleged victim groups, distracting us from paying attention to the Ten Commandments and proclaiming the Gospel. But will the USCCB letter on racism identify these degrading and racist practices?
Not a safe bet.
Famed Hoover Institution economist Thomas Sowell is a longtime observer of the fake racism racket. He is more realistic than USCCB bureaucrats: “Racism does not have a good track record. It’s been tried out for a long time and you’d think by now we’d want to put an end to it instead of putting it under new management.”
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