From the Editor

The Third Wave:
Meditations on a New-Era Synthesis

By Charles Michael Byrd
C. Byrd
(Photo by Lynn Goldsmith)

"To ask larger questions is to risk getting things wrong.
Not to ask them at all is to constrain the life of understanding."

--George Steiner, critic.

In the introduction to his 1980 bestseller, The Third Wave, Alvin Toffler contends that in a culture of "warring specialisms, drowned in fragmented data and fine-toothed analysis, synthesis is not merely useful -- it is crucial." He proffers his book as one of large-scale synthesis, contrasting the old industrial civilization with the new information-age that most could not have imagined just twenty years ago. (The book divides civilization into only three parts -- a First Wave agricultural phase, a Second Wave industrial phase and a Third Wave phase that we are now experiencing.) Toffler continues:

"So profoundly revolutionary is this new civilization that it challenges all our old assumptions. Old ways of thinking, old formulas, dogmas, and ideologies, no matter how cherished or how useful in the past, no longer fit the facts. The world that is fast emerging from the clash of new values and technologies, new geopolitical relationships, new life-styles and modes of communication, demands wholly new ideas and analogies, classifications and concepts. We cannot cram the embryonic world of tomorrow into yesterday's conventional cubbyholes. Nor are the orthodox attitudes or moods appropriate."
Though humans fear transitional change -- opting all too often for the comfort of the prison of their past conditioning -- Toffler correctly argues that there is good reason for long-range optimism, even if the civilizational shift manifests an outwardly stormy appearance. After all, change is not only good but natural.

New York Times corespondent Neil A. Lewis' 05-15-99 article entitled, Silicon Valley's New Think Tank Stakes Out 'Radical Center' focused on a new entry in the public policy community, the New America Foundation. Whereas the conservative Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and the more liberal Brookings Institution and others have for years competed to convert their ideas about taxes, foreign policy and the environment into policy in the real world, New America president Ted Halstead boasts his group will introduce younger voices, break out of the traditional liberal and conservative categories and produce unconventional ideas.

Open up virtually any newspaper these days, and you'll spot an item referencing the "Third Way." You'll usually find a quote attributed to Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair who likes to speak of how best to spread the expected benefits of the 21st century's global economy and technological advancements. Essentially, the "Third Way" is a hot new set of ideas -- still in flux -- about how to achieve economic growth along with social fairness. It seeks a path between the old welfare state and unbridled, survival-of-the-fittest capitalism. Blair, President Clinton, French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Italian Premier Massimo D'Alema and Brazilian President Fernando Enrique Cardoso are members of the "Third Way" club.

On the homefront, Florida Governor Jeb Bush decided last November to bar racial set-asides and quotas in state contracting decisions and to wipe out race and ethnicity as factors in Florida university admissions. While the proverbial devil is always in the details, the governor's move, at least at first glance, certainly appears to be a step in the right direction toward a "Third Wave" mindset vis-à-vis America's utterly stale "race consciousness." The Republican governor said his program -- which trumps rhetoric emanating from both left-wingers ("Put your hands on it, and we'll blow your brains out!") and rightists ("Scrap it altogether!") -- "transcended'' affirmative action and would unite Floridians. The plan guarantees state university admission to the top 20 percent of the state's high school seniors, proposes adding $20 million to the state's financial aid budget and makes it easier for minority businesses to obtain certification to work across the state. Ordinarily, contractors must become certified in each county in which they work.

Predictably -- as surely as night follows day and vice versa -- those most opposed to Bush's plan are the state's "black" politicians who promise to retaliate at the polls not only against Jeb but against his brother George W. in his presidential quest. Interestingly enough, the mulatta and Harvard Law School professor Lani Guinier, hardly a right-winger and certainly not a Republican, in her 04-23-98 New York Times Op-Ed essay, "An Equal Chance," embraced the Texas plan of eliminating SAT scores for the top 10 percent of that state's high school students and automatically admitting them to the two most selective public schools, the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University. Guinier adds:

guinier"So far the Texas plan has produced many winners. As of March of this year, 7 percent more black and 21 percent more Mexican-American applicants were eligible for enrollment under this system than under the old affirmative action guidelines. And access to public education has increased for white high school graduates in rural parts of Texas -- students who also tend not to do well on the SAT, and so had been refused admission to the most competitive public colleges under the old system."
Regarding the thought process behind this coming together of individuals -- professors, community activists and lawmakers -- from differing political philosophies and of all colors, Guinier states:
"No wonder a number of moderate white legislators joined the coalition in supporting the plan. As State Representative Irma Rangel pointed out, the 10 percent plan treats all groups equally, giving them 'the respect they deserve.' Similarly, when Gov. George Bush, a Republican, signed the bill, he declared, 'We want all our students in Texas to have a fair shot at achieving their dreams, and this legislation gives that fair shot.'"
Consider that "black" politicos in Florida are whining about Jeb's plan when it doubles that of his brother's in Texas!

The grand metaphor of Alvin Toffler's book is that of colliding waves of change, colliding and overlapping, and nothing symbolizes that more today than the growing resistance to this government's continuing racial fixation. Here at Interracial Voice, we sought to lend expression to this opposition two years ago when we crafted and posted the "Census 2000 Protest: Check American Indian!" Since then, as well as beforehand, reporters have written myriad stories about America's increasingly multiracial face, yet champions of the current segregated racial classification scheme rant on about their surveys showing a mere two-percent of the population opting for a "multiracial" box if one were available. That is not only highly disingenuous but intellectually dishonest.

With respect to the issue of "racial" identification, few are willing to acknowledge the nature and the scale of the brainwashing visited upon the American mulatto over the decades. (No tale of tragedy, merely the facts.) Today's "black" identity requires the twin elements of fear and ignorance to sustain itself -- fear of long-standing intimidation and harassment if a "black"/"white" person identifies otherwise and ignorance of the one-drop rule no longer being legally enforceable. Many mulattoes genuinely fear being demonized by people who, like well-oiled automatons, repeat the pernicious mantras: "You're running away from your blackness; you're trying to be white; you're confused; to the white man, you'll always be a nigger." The only way to keep "mixed-race" within the "black" clan, particularly since one-drop is not enforceable, is to engage in a form of mindcontrol not unlike something from Orwell's 1984. It persists daily in America, however. Against this backdrop of fear of mental persecution within the "community," it is no wonder that only a small percentage would willingly identify as "multiracial," especially on a sample survey that in no way guarantees the eventual implementation of the category.

(I honestly can't recall any "white" person calling me a "nigger" while growing up in my native Virginia, yet I often heard it come out of the mouths of "black" folk, including a relative here and there. Now, what does that tell you? Similarly, one of the most idiotic things I've ever heard is that "nigger" -- when uttered by a "black" -- is a term of endearment as opposed to it being a term of intense "race" hatred when voiced by a "white.")

At the risk of beating this horse to death, consider what Arthur A. Fletcher, former Chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights (an agency of the Executive Branch), foresaw as the inevitable result of a "multiracial" category. His remarks appeared in the January 1996 edition of Emerge magazine (the issue with Johnnie Cochran striking the pose next to the caption "RACE MAN") in an article on the now-dead census initiative:

"Light-skinned Blacks will run for the door."
Mull those words over, and see if you don't agree that they reflect an overseer's mindset, that of one "duty-bound" to preserve a master-slave relationship. What is it about "blackness" that Fletcher views as so hideous, so odious that he and others must shamelessly embrace the immorality of one-drop in order to place people of mixed ancestry under lock-and-key? Don't Fletcher's words also contradict those two-percent survey results?

William Javier Nelson, in an IV Point-Counterpoint debate, says that hypodescent -- the principle that a person of mixed racial heritage must assume the racial identity of the lowest-ranking racial group of that heritage, a.k.a. the one-drop rule -- "regarding African ancestry has singly been responsible for more human misery in the United States of America than any other so-called 'ordinary' custom I can think of, with the possible exception of (male) chauvinism."

What is the source of the moral authority which "black" leaders attempt to use to enforce this relic of Jim Crow racism on "mixed-race" Americans? Is it the institution of slavery that ended one hundred and thirty-five years ago and under which none of these so-called leaders suffered? No, because it did end one hundred and thirty-five years ago. Does this moral authority somehow reside in the memories of those who perished during the legitimate civil rights struggles of the '50s and '60s? No, because obsessively lamenting the past condemns you -- and those you purport to represent -- to repeat it, condemns you to squander the present, a gift, at the expense of the future. By all means, learn from the past, then get out. The authority to command men and women to perform devotional service emanates from a higher source, and that surely isn't the current leadership of the civil rights industry.

(One can't help being amused, though, upon hearing "black" nationalists claim: "Well you know, Martin was coming around to our way of thinking right before he died." Really? Then the so-called mainstream-moderate "black" leaders proudly assert: "Well you know, Martin would have approved of this current system of racial classification." Really? How do they know? Even those who knew MLK personally could not possibly have duplicated, perfectly, his thought processes. It is impossible because each individual soul is distinct and unique; there are no carbon copies.)

akhnetonAre we to view the current crop of civil rights leaders as the most recent in a preceptorial channel of "Divine Teachers" dating back to the rulers of ancient Africa? Critics of afrocentrism decry it as a fraudulent discipline based on the idea that you can make people feel better about themselves if you give them a glorious history and persuade them that a landmass is worshipable. In fact, the history of ancient Africa is glorious. For instance, many credit the Egyptian king Akhnaton as being the founder of the supreme concept in human thought: One God, One World, One Universal Law -- the harmony of mankind. The real name of this philosopher king -- who lived about fourteen hundred years before Christ -- was Amenhotep IV. He assumed the name Akhnaton, which means "dedicated to God."

The teachings of Akhnaton, however, seem vastly different from the contemporary notion of "reuniting the Diaspora" seemingly in hopes of procreating a worldwide, political-economic power to eventually overtake, dominate and subjugate "whiteness." That mindset is no different from its fascist opposite number that prays nightly for the ascent of a Fourth Reich.

I say without any fear of contradiction that one of the "black" community's biggest problems today is this notion of a "monolithic blackness," this collectivist ideal of only one way to be "black." Presently, if you're "black," you take your cue from the NAACP or whichever individual leader is particularly charismatic (read: in front of the cameras) at any time. Jesse (Keep Hope Alive!) Jackson currently reigns supreme in that regard.

(Inasmuch as "hoping" is the same thing as "postponing" -- i.e., it is not "doing" for oneself -- what is Jackson actually advocating that "black" folk do? Think about that, won't you?)

Contrariwise, a self-realized individual who has discovered that the best source of guidance comes from within may voluntarily opt to be a part of any group, though not because he feels he has to. He does not view membership in a particular group as magically validating the identity he has constructed for himself, nor does he think it will allow him to manifest the changes in his life that he desires, changes that he can effect through his own initiative and free will. Such a person moves freely between different thought-groups sharing diverse interests such as literature, philosophy, politics, religion, spirituality -- sans any coerced considerations of "race," "ethnicity" or phenotype.

If the sages are correct in their assumption that people tend to get the leadership they deserve, since their government or religion is merely an expression of their collective consciousness, then exposing this matter to the glaring light of day is in itself of tremendous benefit to self-identified "black" Americans.

The idea that the only way to remedy the historical discrimination of a bogus racial classification scheme -- and the accompanying racial hierarchy -- is by conserving the same bogus racial classification scheme is patently absurd. A thinking person knows that the result is the same bogus and utterly divisive racial classification scheme. (The resultant system of "federally recognized groups" battling each other over shares of government largesse corresponds to Toffler's warring specialisms, and the absence of official recognition for "mixedness" certainly coheres with his thoughts on our drowning in fragmented data camouflaged as fine-toothed analysis.) The joke is on us, though, if we are fool enough to believe that's the goal, notwithstanding how many times we hear the specious pronouncement: "A multiracial identifier won't do anything to eradicate lingering racism, so we oppose it." My friends, eliminating racism is not the goal; rather, keeping it under control, maintaining it within acceptable parameters, keeping an eye on it, is.

The clamor over hate-crime legislation is a perfect example. In the aftermath of the vicious dragging death of James Byrd, Jr. by three "white" supremacists in Jasper, Texas, NAACP President Kweisi Mfume said the case "clearly shouts across the world for the urgent need of this Congress to move quickly to strengthen and to pass anti-hate legislation." As I wrote in "A Guilty Verdict in Jasper," Mfume's remarks border on the preposterous, as if to say that Byrd would still be alive today if Texas had anti-hate legislation on the books, and his killers knew of it beforehand.

Although anti-hate legislation may result in courts meting out heftier sentences after the fact, unless you know something I don't, these laws won't resurrect the dead. Why is there no emphasis on deconstructing "race," on teaching our children, from first grade on, that it's a social construct, that "differences" between human beings -- whether between "white" and "black" or between Serb and Kosovan -- are largely perceived? The answer is simple; such an educational enterprise would spoil the plans for creating a separate-but-equal "black" nation within the friendly confines of the larger American nation, a "black" nation whose identity is firmly ensconced in a "racial" essence, a "racial" consciousness.

While it is entirely appropriate for us to be mindful that "white" supremacists dream of transforming Idaho and Montana into a "whites"-only Shangri-La, we should not forget that as recently as the 1960s the Nation of Islam petitioned the United Nations to compel the United States to turn over a number of Southern states for the purpose of creating a "black" homeland. Let us also not forget that afrocentric nationalism, with a decidedly Marxist flavor, is the ascendant sociopolitical mindset within the community of self-identified "black" Americans, a mindset that enjoys the wholehearted support of America's most virulent "white" supremacists.

White Aryan Resistance (WAR) leader Tom Metzger, for example, wildly applauded the success of Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March. According to Joseph J. Levin Jr. in his article, "Farrakhan: A Long History of Hate," Metzger pointed to the successfulness of the March and proclaimed 1995 "a banner year for racial separatists." It is also worth remembering that many of the head honchos of the "civil-rights" community, including Jackson and Mfume, eagerly accepted Farrakhan's invitation to speak at MMM.

Mis amigos, the game plan is not to eradicate racism, itself the by-product of the belief in the existence of separate "races" and a "racial" hierarchy, but merely to control it as much as possible. You don't have to take my word for it, though. Allow me to point you in the direction of a paper by Cornel West, now professor of Afro-American studies and philosophy of religion at Harvard University, entitled "Toward A Socialist Theory Of Racism." Once you circumnavigate wave after pounding wave of West's unabashed embrace of the mindset that says "Marxist theory is indispensable for grasping the complexity of racism as a historical phenomenon," you'll doubtless pause and fix your gaze on the essay's admission that the strategy of coerced membership into mutually exclusive "racial" and "ethnic" categories does not lead to an eradication of racism. West writes:

west "We must frankly acknowledge that a democratic socialist society
will not necessarily eradicate racism. Yet a democratic socialist
society is the best hope for alleviating and minimizing racism,
particularly institutional forms of racism."
Over the decades, we've all heard the exhortations to fight for Racial Equality! This begs the question: since "races" don't exist to begin with, how do you make them equal? In the specific case of the "white race" and the "black race," how do you make these two nonexistent entities equal? (Indeed, why spend the effort of trying to equate zero with zero?) Do you do it by keeping race-based statistics that leave the construct of "race" and all of the attendant "differences" between the "races" in place at day's end? How does this approach ensure that tomorrow's executives and officials at Texaco, Denny's, Adam’s Mark Hotels, New Jersey State Police, et al., won't be as racist as their predecessors may be today if we're unwilling to attack the actual belief system that spawns racism, race-hatred and race-based violence? A cynic might suggest it provides an inexhaustible supply of future targets to charge with "institutional racism." That's unthinkable, though. Uh, isn't it?

(In the New Jersey case, the Department of Justice reached a settlement with that state over allegations that state police engaged in a pattern of stopping motorists based on their race, also known as racial profiling. New Jersey will now prohibit state troopers from relying on race or ethnicity when making traffic stops unless they have information at least partially identifying a suspect by race. The state must also document the race and gender of all motorists the state police stop as well as the reason for the stop or search. Is something wrong with this picture? Forget that guessing someone's "race" is problematic at best; a trooper might peg me for a "white," "Latino" or, since mixed-race doesn't exist in America, a "light-skinned black"! Forget, too, that the reporting process mandated in the agreement is itself ripe for the fraud and deceit it is supposed to correct. The deeper issue is that this does absolutely nothing to change the troopers' racial consciousness; if anything the requirement that they document the race and gender of all motorists they stop will reinforce it! Again, the idea is not to eradicate racism but to, as in this case, place it under the watchful eye of Big Brother.)

Contrary to what West and others try to convince us of, the problems facing Americans in 2000 and beyond are not "racial," but economic and class-based. "Workers of the world, unite!" and other hackneyed slogans from a long-ago, discredited era, however, will not improve the lot of those who need help most. Democratic governance, unfettered global trade, vigilant monitoring of labor standards and economic growth will increase the workingman's compensation -- no Marxist-Leninist-inspired "race" struggles required, thank you.

In Jonathan Tilove's article for the Newhouse News Service, entitled "Tracking Race: 2000 census offers opportunity and challenge," David Bositis from the D.C.-based Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies made the following statement:

"The decennial census is totally and completely about the law; it's mandated in the Constitution. Race in the law is almost entirely about discrimination. If the discrimination comes with one drop, the protection of the law ought to come with one drop."
Since the United States Supreme Court overturned not only America's remaining anti-miscegenation laws but one-drop racism itself in the landmark "Loving vs. Virginia" decision in 1967, Bositis' comments pose a rather intriguing question. If federal, state and local agencies reassign multiple "race" checkers on the 2000 Census back to the "traditional" racial categories (i.e., re-employing one-drop ideology as the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is strongly urging), then exactly who is doing the one-drop discriminating to which Bositis alluded -- the dominant "white" power structure or the "black" political intelligentsia?

If any agency of government at any level applies one-drop racism to the numbers compiled, tabulated and presented by the Office of Management and Budget and the Census Bureau (e.g., the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is on record as planning to use a formula to reassign multiracial people to one of the minority race categories), how is that not a direct and deliberate violation of the High Court's '67 ruling? (George A. Winkel, Esq. provides us with a more detailed critique of Mr. Bositis' remarks as well as the relationship between "Loving" and the decennial Census. I strongly urge you to read it.)

Now, against this setting, you might wonder why the media never report on this contradiction between "Loving" and civil rights law, and the answer is simple -- fear. No newspaper, magazine or television or radio program will report on this for fear that Jesse Jackson or the NAACP will issue clarion calls for "black" folk to boycott the "offending" entity. The fear of such boycotts, more reminiscent of old-fashioned Cosa Nostra shakedowns than old-fashioned civil rights activism, paralyses the media. If not for the advent of the Internet's worldwide web, you wouldn't have been able to receive even this much information about it.

While people certainly have and should enjoy the right to call themselves what they want, no agency at any level of government should be in the business of imposing a "racial" or "ethnic" identity upon anyone. That not being the case in 2000 and since I have come to the conclusion that Americans must dig deep and muster the courage to scuttle these stupid boxes once and for all, I still plan, as a protest against this government's continuing fixation with identity politics, to check American Indian: Cherokee division on the census.

Before last September's Picnic in Central Park, Pearl Gaskins reminded me that there were many people within the civil rights bureaucracy who wondered which way the "mixed-race" community would or should go in terms of supporting either "whiteness" or "blackness." My answer to her then is the same today, and that is a resounding "Neither one." It is not inconsistent to embrace and love self-identified "white" people while simultaneously rejecting the notion of a particular group eternally occupying the top rung of a phony racial hierarchy predicated on the writings of Johann Blumenbach. It is also not inconsistent to embrace and love self-identified "black" people (or "people of color" for those who have a fondness for that queer construction) while simultaneously rejecting the fanatical obsession with identity politics -- the belief that membership in this or that "racial" or "ethnic" group, often a group cultivating its sense of solidarity by nurturing its grievances and "permanent victim" status, adequately defines a human being.

To paraphrase the esteemed Jean Toomer, a certified "Third Wave" practitioner in his own right, we should meditate on liberating ourselves and others from the entire machinery of verbal hypnotism. We owe no allegiance to these mundane abstractions we've come to know as "whiteness" and "blackness." Consequently, we are neither "light-skinned blacks" or "dark-skinned whites" or any of the other "people of color" (Asians, Native Americans, "Hispanics" -- each busy perfecting or constructing its own version of a nation within a nation) who supposedly occupy intermediate positions along the political color continuum. We are simply of the human race, and, since energy follows thought, this multiracial synthesis will be the turning point for the return of mankind, now divided into hostile "races," to one unified race, namely, to the human race.


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