Continuing from part one on Faces At the Bottom of the Well (1992) with guest Lawrence Ware. We discuss “The Racial Preference Licensing Act” (ch. 3), which plays with an idea (attributed to his fictional alter ego Geneva Crenshaw) that since businesses continue to discriminate (in hiring if not in excluding clientele), maybe we should license the activity, so a business that wants to be racist will have to a) declare it, b) be consistently racist, and c) pay into a reparations fund, e.g. to black educational institutions. Would such a proposal actually deal more honestly with this intractable problem?
In the full episode, we also cover “Divining a Racial Realism Theory” (ch. 5), and “The Rules of Racial Standing” (ch. 6).
Ch. 5 depicts Bell debating a different fictional character, the gun-toting Erika Wechsler who meets the description of today’s Antifa. Her “racial realism” is an excuse to compare today’s situation with regard to the failure of civil rights laws to achieve desired effects to the arguments of legal realists in 1930s who objected to the classical structure of law as formal group of “common law” rules. Clearly during the Great Depression, circumstances required government to go beyond its usual role to meet human need, yet conservative courts could not interpret the Constitution to allow these necessary actions to take place.
Finally, ch. 6 discusses the political rhetoric as it applies to race: Blacks’ accounts of racial discrimination inevitably are thought of as requiring white support or need to be “taken with a grain of salt,” since black people are interpreted as biased in this area. The exception is when a black person speaks out against other blacks, at which point whites amplify that voice. Finally, whenever a black speaker says something that upsets white people, whites demand that all other black figures denounce the offending speaker.