San Diego’s Rock Church recently launched a racial-healing seminar entitled, “A Race For Unity.” The premise is that racism has divided our country and, underneath the radar, our churches. The Rock proposes a nationwide dialogue and soul-searching about race. What this well-intentioned seminar misses, though, is that racism is a zero-sum game.
Clearly, the Rock’s senior pastor Miles McPherson doesn’t see it that way. Instead, he believes the willingness to speak with people of other races/ethnicities will catalyze broader healing. Unfortunately, he’s wrong. No multiracial society has ever succeeded; that’s just the ugly truth. Moreover, the zero-sum game inherent in racism negates any optimism towards this social ill.
Please don’t misunderstand me: I’m not suggesting that racism is a positive attribute. Rather, I’m suggesting that efforts to force diversity onto a population will never succeed.
Implicit in these racial-healing seminars is the idea that whites are the oppressors. What racism hucksters fail to acknowledge is that racism isn’t exclusive to whites. If we’re being completely honest, all races commit various forms of discrimination towards their fellow man.
We can’t heal the racial divide unless we first take the plank out of our own eye. Only then can we see clearly to take the plank out of our brother’s eye.
Modern Racism is about Control in this Zero-sum Game
But the biggest issue is that racism is a permanent fixture in large human societies. That’s because all humans fall prey to an overriding sin: the lust for money and its resultant power.
Every demographic has an agenda. In McPherson’s case, based on jokes and comments he has made, his agenda aligns with the broader African-American agenda: he wants law enforcement to treat blacks fairly. Other racial groups have their own goals. But each strives to set the social framework for the benefit of their community.
But for one racial group to achieve success usually means that another must fail. Consider the current situation in South Africa, where the black-dominated government has seized land from white farmers. Blacks won through this “racial justice,” whereas whites lost. How is that not a zero-sum game?
Or what about the ongoing plight of Asian-American students? Recently, an advocate for this community claimed that Harvard applies discriminatory practices against Asians. For decades, students who underperformed on college-admissions tests got into highly-selective schools at the expense of higher-performing Asians.
Non-Asian students win. Asian students lose. A zero-sum game.
I’m not going to dive into the affirmative action debate. But I can say this: arbitrarily lifting one race is discrimination against the other(s). That’s how a zero-sum game works.
And the resultant damage to our economy and society couldn’t be more obvious: employers will increasingly hire less-qualified workers, or those who lack the capacity to work. On the other end of the scale, those who are more than capable are shoved to the backstage due to college-admissions based discrimination.
The point is, we have to be careful about what we seek. As we’re witnessing in South Africa, well-reasoned intentions can quickly go awry.