One of the most dangerous myths in our lifetime has been that liberalism and the Democratic Party are black America's best friends. For all of us who desperately want African-Americans to prosper, the destruction of this myth may be the single most important step to that end.
The recent Supreme Court decision affirming the centerpiece of liberal policy concerning blacks -- affirmative action -- provides a perfect example of a liberal policy that hurts blacks. If the Ku Klux Klan were given the responsibility to develop social policy to hurt blacks, they could not have come up with something more destructive.
Of course, unlike the Ku Klux Klan, liberals mean well. But that is irrelevant. All decent Americans, not only liberals, acknowledge that America has committed great injustices against its black citizens. Only they were kidnapped from their homelands, shipped like cattle, enslaved, and then subjected to legal racism.
But acknowledging America's historic injustice and debt to blacks doesn't mean that whatever policy such acknowledgment leads to will necessarily help them. Neither guilt nor good intentions necessarily lead to anything positive. Affirmative action is a perfect example.
The first and most important reason affirmative action hurts blacks is that it renders black achievement suspect. Every campus that practices race-based affirmative action places every black student and professor there under a cloud: Did this individual really merit getting in? Or did the university lower its standards?
Anyone who denies this cloud is lying to himself. As is anyone who denies that black students do not know it's there. If I were black, I would weep because of affirmative action. All my work, everything that I have done on my own with no one's help, and sometimes against great odds, is, thanks to affirmative action alone, rendered suspect.
But, defenders of affirmative action respond, what about other students who have gained admission thanks to some form of affirmative action -- such as children of alumni?
The answer is that any student who got in thanks to Dad or Mom having been an alumnus or a big donor to the university would also be under a cloud of suspicion -- if everyone on campus knew at all times who they were. But there is one enormous difference between those students and black students -- few students know which ones have a parent who is an alumnus or a donor, but everyone knows who is black. If children of alumni all had to wear a red hat around campus 24 hours a day just as blacks wear black skin 24 hours a day, the fairness of their admission would also be suspect.