Your wife, who unlike you is white, and who is expecting your first child, has been receiving the oddest reactions to the news of her pregnancy. Upon finding out, friends can't resist informing her that "interracial children are beautiful." It's said in a tone that suggests deep gratitude and admiration, although the reasons are a little unclear.
The comment may be kindly meant, as a sort of reflexive compliment, but it inevitably suggests that she is being congratulated for her willingness to place the aesthetic enhancement of the populace above the imperatives of racial purity. She's heard the remark, or some variation of it, from a dozen different people if she's heard it from one. And more often than not, your wife tells you, it's the first thing they blurt out, even before asking about gender and due dates. ....
A short time later, at a wedding reception in London, your wife finds herself chatting with a Danish woman she has just met. Back at the hotel, your wife informs you that the woman asked her, "How do you feel about having a baby who will look nothing like you? I have a lot of friends who have interracial babies, and they feel totally alienated from their children." ....
It's no surprise that these comments all came from white people; surveys have long demonstrated that blacks are much more accommodating of interracial relationships. More noteworthy is that in all but a couple of cases, the remarks came from white people parked on the political left, the kind of superior folks who might run you down in their Prius for even suggesting that they harbor racial hang-ups. As liberals constantly tell themselves, only conservatives have race issues.
But you know the truth is closer to the opposite. It is the left's obsession with skin pigmentation--invoking it everywhere and always, regardless of its relevance--that keeps race front and center not only in our public policy debates but even in everyday life. In his latest book, "White Guilt," Shelby Steele tackles this phenomenon with his usual peerless eloquence. He describes the endless frustration of dealing with whites "who have built a large part of their moral identity and, possibly, their politics around how they respond to your color."
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Jason Riley is a member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. His wife is expecting. He finds that his liberals friends have a problem with that: