The Irony Of Multiculturalism, Ctd

by Zoe Pollock

Jamelle Bouie takes issue with this post quoting Kenan Malik:

Granted, Malik is speaking to European multiculturalism, but I've heard others make a similar argument for the United States, and for us at least, it is ridiculous. When trying to correct for decades of organized and systemic discrimination, you have no real choice but to think of the afflicted in terms of their group affiliation. For African Americans in the Jim Crow South, the mere fact of their blackness guaranteed political disenfranchisement, economic isolation, and state-sanctioned violence. The rules of white supremacy were brutal, totalitarian, and applied to blacks as a group, with few -- if any -- exceptions for individuals. ...

Now, there's something to be said for treating people as individuals and not "members of groups" in terms of formulating public policy. But group-based discrimination requires group-based remedies, and anything less risks avoiding the inequalities and power differentials that actually hinder marginalized groups.