In his Nov. 24 op-ed, “The left’s white working-class problem,” Charles Lane perceptively noted some of the difficulties the Democrats will have if their recently discovered need to woo the white working class tempts them to modulate the “identity politics” they have purveyed for years. He did not, however, mention what is perhaps the most formidable obstacle, one which undermines Mr. Lane’s concluding recommendation — “to appeal to the public on the basis of our common American identity, and aspirations, rather than our overlapping grievances — cultural, racial, economic or otherwise.”
The problem is not that blue-collar white males have been overlooked by the Democrats in their zeal to appeal to other groups based on their race, ethnicity, sex and gender identity. The larger problem is that bestowing benefits in the form of preferential treatment of those groups — the purpose and effect of affirmative action — imposes actual burdens on whites and Asians.
The best way to appeal to “our common American identity” is to endorse the once-core principle that all Americans should be treated without regard to race, creed or color. Democrats, however, will be unable to make that appeal as long as so-called social-justice warriors remain a vocal and important part of their base and accuse anyone who advocates colorblindness of being a white supremacist.
John S. Rosenberg, Crozet, Va.