The Paternalistic Racist
I recently called a local politician in my State district who is also on the board of trustees of Colorado Mesa University. I simply wanted a statement regarding his “yea” vote on a resolution by the board in support of the “Asset Bill” (SB-12-015) which is currently making its way through the Colorado legislature. The “Asset Bill” is Colorado’s version of the “Dream Act,” a law which, if passed, would extend tax-payer subsidized tuition breaks to illegal aliens and children of illegal aliens. I originally left a voice mail for the politician/litigation attorney, Daniel “Dan” Robinson and in the voice mail I used the term “illegal aliens.” He called back in minutes, stricken with indignation at my use of the politically incorrect, but legally accurate term, “illegal aliens” (illegal: not according to or authorized by law–alien: relating to, belonging, or owing allegiance to another country or government). He started off with demanding the name and “orientation” of my news organization. He made his suspicions known to me with, “we are aware that conservative websites are looking for the negatives and the positives will never come to light.”
I then asked him, “Well then, would you mind sharing with the people of Colorado the positives that will result if the Asset Bill is passed and implemented.”
He continued to filibuster with, “I can’t speak for the board of trustees, you’ll have to ask the others on the board.”
“I understand that sir,” I persisted, “however the vote by the board to support the Asset Bill was unanimous. You certainly must have found something very positive about the bill to give it that level of support. Would you mind sharing those positives, please?”
He continued to avoid giving a direct response and then diverged into another guilt-filled rant. “Your description of ‘illegal aliens’ in and of itself indicates that someone thinks of them as illegal and alien!” (see Webster’s definitions above) he blustered. “These are students that grew up here as you did and they have something to offer to society.”
That was all I got from Dan Robinson, trustee for Colorado Mesa University, candidate for the State House seat in Colorado District 55, and master avoider of directly speaking in favor of giving tax-payer funded subsidies to illegal aliens in the form of in-state tuition, despite the fact that he voted to support the measure and has a history of making “equality and civil rights” of the utmost importance in education. (Whatever happened to literacy, math, science, and good citizenship?) In a report from 2001 entitled “Issues of Equality in the Mesa Valley”, Dan Robinson’s approach to “equality and education” was reported in the following paragraphs:
The door to opportunity is through education, he observed, and “sadly, in Mesa County, many young people can only peek through the keyhole of that door to see what opportunities might exist.” He recalled a recent school board meeting where it was reported that more than 600 students were being lost between ninth grade and high school graduation. Estimates were that half of these were Hispanics typically from low-income households. Mr. Robinson called this loss heartbreaking and a disappearance of the hopes and dreams that most young people enter school with. He then cited a gap of up to 30 percent in the third-grade achievement scores between Anglos and Hispanics. It is not surprising, he continued, that the so-called low-performing schools have the poorest children in the county in them.
Mr. Robinson told the Committee that poor people are not afforded the same degree of protection of their civil rights as those with greater economic means. He said that poor people’s civil rights are always compromised, and observed that as a white male, he is afforded certain privileges that do not extend “to a black man or Hispanic man or an immigrant with limited-English ability.” The discrimination, he observed, is not blatant but subtle and difficult to address.
Mr. Robinson concluded that Mesa County is a wonderful community and cited the hugely successful Cinco de Mayo festival as a testament to the celebration of diversity. Once again stressing the link between education and economic success and civil rights, he pondered:
When a citizen is arrested at a town council meeting (in Palisade) for not standing for the Pledge of Allegiance . . . when half the Chicanos don’t graduate from high school; when the gap widens between Anglo and Hispanic students on test scores, when almost all the kids doing poorly in school are also poor kids economically, we need to stand and take notice.
In response to Committee questions, Mr. Robinson stated that he knows of only one minority person who has ever served on the school board and that the participation of minorities in the political process is very low. He also said the school district is not competing effectively for qualified Hispanic teachers.
Dan Robinson, and others like him, practice what is often called “Paternalistic Racism.” Paternalistic Racism is a fawning, condescending perspective which views individuals of minority or “underprivileged” status as being helpless, their rights diminished because of their race or nationality. The paternalistic racist believes that the objects of his pity are dependent upon the help of “compassionate” others, because they simply cannot make it on their own.
Paternalistic Racism and Attack Racism both arise from the same lie: That man is defined by his race and economic conditions. Attack Racism asserts that individuals of another race or nationality are not equal because they are genetically differentiated from the racist who asserts superiority (Attack Racism is practiced by individuals and regimes of all colors from David Duke, to Jeremiah Wright, to Nazi Fascists). Paternalistic Racism asserts that a man is limited by his race, nationality, or caste, and is therefore relatively impotent against prevailing social forces. For example; “poor people are not afforded the same degree of protection of their civil rights as those with greater economic means. Poor people’s civil rights are always compromised. As a white male, I am afforded certain privileges that do not extend to a black man or Hispanic man or an immigrant with limited-English ability.” Dan Robinson, 2001.
The Paternalistic Racist asserts that the individual, because he is “poor,” “black,” or “Hispanic,” or is an “immigrant with limited-English ability,” cannot overcome these barriers to his personal success without help from the government, its tax-payer funded institutions, schools and social safety-nets. Paternalistic Racism has failed to ever help a poor man out of poverty, or an immigrant to learn English, because Paternalistic Racism seeks to provide for the needs of such people without an expectation that they work, learn a new language, go through the processes of naturalization, and lift themselves out of their own adversities.
The paternalistic racist feels that his actions are compassionate because he believes his actions come from a sincere desire to help the helpless or underprivileged. This feeling is more a love of the impression that one gives, or the feeling that one gets from being “compassionate.” To do for another what would bring that person, or class of people, blessings of integrity, self-worth, and valuable skills, is not love, but the expression of the thinking of the racist who sees other races as incapable of doing for themselves and succeeding.
The mindset of the racist; that a class or color of a person hinders
their ability to succeed, is sinister because it results in a vacuum of expectations for the object of the racist’s pity. Illegal immigrants, for example, have no expectation that they must follow a legal path to naturalization. They are invited to break the law, abuse social services programs, and insinuate themselves into every government program that subsidizes the poor. They are not expected to do well in school. Traditional standards for grading are simply diminished. Language and culture fade as important components of national identity. The paternalistic racist fears that the sensitive, frail, and helpless object of his pity, cannot bear under any expectation, including learning a new language, earning a living, or paying the same price that others must pay if they break the law.
Racism is racism, whether it is aggressive and hate-filled, or passive and pitiful. Illegal immigrants, and other classes and individuals who are not expected to use their human liberty with care and responsibility, end up being harmed, not helped by this condescending counterfeit of compassion. They are made more dependent upon others and the government, and less free when paternalistic racism is practiced. All men are created equal, and color and nationality do not make them unequal. Human potential, success and failure, ability and inability, are not determined by race or nationality, but by individual industry, inherent traits of character, and the responsible use of freedom.
Colorado Mesa University
Issues of Equality in the Mesa Valley