How Conservatives Think About Race in America

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When it comes to how conservatives think about race in America, no issue provides a clearer picture of their perspective than affirmative action. Conservatives see the issue very differently than liberals. While liberals believe affirmative action programs create opportunities for disadvantaged minorities where they didn't previously exist, conservatives believe these programs actually serve to foster racism by denying opportunities to others who are equally qualified. Further, most affirmative action programs address specific minorities, while alienating others. From a conservative perspective, this creates tension and undermines the ideal of racial equality.

Conservatives are much less apt to adopt sympathetic attitudes toward minorities on the basis of their race alone. Conservatives assume racial equality exists to begin with and base their policies on that assumption. Therefore, when it comes to an issue like "hate crimes," for example, conservatives disagree with the notion entirely.

If some unconscionable crime is perpetrated upon someone based on that person's ethnicity, conservatives don't believe the victim should receive "more justice" because of it. The idea of "more" or "less" justice doesn't make sense to conservatives, since they believe there can only be one form of justice, applied equally to everyone. If the same unconscionable crime is perpetrated upon someone based on that person's financial circumstances, for example, that victim should be no less entitled to the same pursuit of justice. A crime is a crime, regardless of the motivation behind it.

Conservatives believe that affirmative action programs and hate crime legislation often do more harm to the pursuit of racial harmony than good. These types of legislative programs might serve to build resentment outside the particular minority community they serve, which, in turn, promotes the very disharmony they are designed to circumvent.

When attention is spent on race, conservatives believe no good can come from it.