The Corner

The Balkanization Administration

If there’s one thing that this country needs more of, it’s racial division.  That, at least, seems to be the view of the Obama administration.

As Mike Gonzalez of the Heritage Foundation writes in this Issue Brief posted yesterday:

On the first day of Congress’s recess, the Obama Administration recommended the most sweeping changes to the nation’s official racial and ethnic categories in decades.  The two most significant proposals were creating a new ethno/racial group for people who originate from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and taking from those who identify as Hispanic the option to identify their race. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Notice asked for comments to be submitted within a month—the shortest window possible—for what it described as a “limited revision” of data collection practices.  Far from limited, the proposals would have long-term consequences for how one-fifth of all Americans are defined demographically and would create more societal conflict over racial preferences and political gerrymandering. The American people deserve more than a month to debate such significant changes, and Congress must weigh in.

Mr. Gonzalez concludes:

The OMB states that America’s increasing ethnic diversity requires more and more group classifications. An equally practical, and much preferred, policy response would work to smooth out these differences by promoting assimilation, which was the policy approach taken for the first two centuries of the Republic. That approach succeeded in achieving what was thought by many to be impossible: It created a cohesive American population out of many and vastly different peoples.

I should add that the administration has also recently announced that it is pushing ahead with its proposal to encourage the creation of a Native Hawaiian “Indian tribe,” despite Congress’s longstanding refusal to endorse this additional balkanization of our country. 

All this in addition to its usual support of racial and ethnic preferences of all kinds, its aggressive use of the “disparate impact” approach to civil-rights enforcement, and its encouragement of racial grievance hustlers in our inner cities.

I remain optimistic about America continuing its remarkable progress toward the realization of its E Pluribus Unum ideal, but increasingly that optimism is possible only if one takes the long view and ignores what’s going on during this administration. 

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