I think the fact that we don't really have the implements to carry out this much ballyhoed conversation were really brought home by Jim Webb's piece "The Myth Of White Privilege" which Sara talked about yesterday. The title, itself, is a device meant to drive conservatives to cheering, liberals to howling, and the whole of them all to page-clicking and reading, In short, it proceeds not from any desire to conversate, as we say, but to provoke strong emotion, and hopefully, page-views. I don't know that I blame the Journal for this. I hate unthinking equivalence, but its quite clear to me that liberals and conservatives both have prominent camps that enjoy yelling.
How much does Affirmative Action actually affect white workers? How much discrimination are they actually suffering? In what spheres is this discrimination most prevalent? Are poor whites actually losing out to "people of color?" Do we have any stats on how many people have been affected by Affirmative Action? How broad is its impact?
The "conversation around race" is, itself, a kind of tribalism, wherein you look for ways to justify--instead of interrogate--your most elemental feelings.