WaPo’s Robinson Undercuts His Own Case For Preferences

I’ve written about the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson too many times to cite, here (with links to 9 or 10 more) and elsewhere. He seems to spend half his time lambasting Republicans — yesterday’s Opponents of Health Care Law Are Delusional was one of his milder efforts — the other half pushing race preferences, and the third half repeating those points on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

Since these columns are all the same, my criticism of them began to sound repetitive and there seemed little point in taking up more of my and your time with him. Moreover, you can imagine my lack of interest at the news that last fall he published a book, Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America. But the following observations in the recent New York Times review of his book caught my attention: Rich and successful blacks, Robinson argues (he calls them “Transcendent”) “do not belong to the black community, but they’re not the only ones who don’t.

Over the next 200 pages, he demonstrates rather convincingly that no one belongs to the black community anymore. The race-based community that was a fixture of American life for generations — the traditional locus of racial experience and solidarity, the idealized entity that many of us still refer to, indeed still cling to, as an institutional and social reality — no longer exists….

During the past four decades, Robinson persuasively argues, black America has splintered into four subgroups: the Transcendent elite; the Mainstream middle class, which now accounts for a majority of black Americans; an Emergent community made up of mixed-race families and black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean; and the Abandoned, a large and growing underclass concentrated in the inner cities and depressed pockets of the rural South.

Divided by economics and culture, these four groups have little in common and little reason to identify with one another….

If the “race based community … no longer exists,” if it has splintered into disparate groups that are different not only in their economic need but also in their “culture,” in what sense can mere pigmentation continue to provide a proxy for the “diversity” that is the lone remaining weak reed supporting racial preference policies?

Say What?