Thomas Sowell

Obama has promoted to the Supreme Court a circuit judge who dismissed a discrimination lawsuit by white firefighters, whose case the Supreme Court later accepted and ruled in their favor.

He preceded this appointment by talking about needing people on the court with "empathy." That is a pretty word but the ugly reality is that it is just another euphemism for bias. For generations, white Southern judges had all kinds of empathy for other white Southerners, which is to say, bias against blacks.

The question is whether you want equal treatment or you want payback. Cycles of revenge and counter-revenge have been at the heart of racial and ethnic strife throughout history, in countries around the world. It is a history written in blood. It is history we don't need to repeat in the United States of America.

Political demagoguery and political favoritism have turned groups violently against each other, even in countries where they have lived peacefully side by side for generations. Ceylon was one of those countries in the first half of the 20th century, before the politics of group favoritism so polarized the country-- now called Sri Lanka-- that it produced a decades-long civil war with mass slaughters and unspeakable atrocities.

The world has been shocked by the mass slaughters of the Tutsis by the Hutus in Rwanda but, half a century ago, there had been no such systematic slaughters there. Political demagoguery whipped up ethnic polarization, among people who had co-existed, who spoke the same language and had even intermarried.

We know-- or should know-- what lies at the end of the road of racial polarization. A "race card" is not something to play, because race is a very dangerous political plaything.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate