THE BLOG
01/28/2016 12:07 pm ET Updated Jan 28, 2017

Stacey Dash and Whoopi Goldberg Are Both Right About BET

Stacey Dash confuses me. For that matter, so does Ben Carson. They are both voices for the conservative political caucus, Dash on Fox and Carson as a presidential candidate. What I cannot grasp is their staunch advocacy on behalf of extreme conservatives given the history of that movement.

The conservative caucus, historically, fought to keep blacks from possessing equal voting rights. We might explain that by blaming racism. The conservatives also fought to keep women from voting, and we might blame misogyny for that. However we assign blame in either case, had conservatives called the shots for the last 200 years, Ben Carson, rather than becoming a neurosurgeon, might be shining Donald Trump's shoes, and Stacey Dash, rather than becoming a pundit on Fox talking about Trump, might be grooming him, perhaps devoting extra time to his hair. But make no mistake, in that conservative scenario, the likelihood that Carson and Dash would have zero voice in today's government is exceedingly high.

Had conservatives made policy for the past 200 years, it is doubtful that Ben Carson and Stacey Dash would have risen high enough to serve the whites at the table, let alone have a legitimate place alongside whites at the table. I cannot help but become confused when people pledge fealty to an ideology which, if it were followed to the letter and according to history, would segregate, marginalize, and enslave them.

That being said, Stacey Dash is not always wrong.

Regarding the BET Awards comment made by Dash on Fox - that blacks can't have it both ways, that they can't establish institutions which, by their very nature, separate blacks from whites, and then, in the next breath, complain whenever people are spoken of as different based upon race - I have to admit that, strictly speaking, she is right.

Regarding Goldberg's response to Dash's comment - Whoopi says that blacks were not getting the recognition, so these kinds of institutions are good and necessary simply to gain any exposure at all - I assert, without any reservation, that what Whoopi said is also right.

They are both right. Please bear with me - it isn't as contradictory as it seems. I believe I can explain why they are both right.

When Major League Baseball excluded blacks from playing the game, the blacks created The Negro Baseball League. What a brilliant idea! Some of the best baseball players of all time - Satchel Page, Josh Gibson, and Cool Papa Bell - played in the Negro Baseball League. How smart of Rube Foster to build that institution.

When Jackie Robinson broke into the big leagues in 1947, what happened to the black league? Even the black players understood that the Negro Baseball League would not only pass away, but that it would be glorious when that happened. They were cheering for Jackie. Most of them gladly lost their jobs in the black league so that blacks could play where they had always belonged, in the big leagues with the whites.

Eventually, through sheer talent, baseball did become color blind. Black players are now often our heroes. It should have always been so.

So, then, why have black baseball today? Wouldn't that be counter-productive, even in a racist way?

In the Bible, oddly enough, we can find another strong analogy to help describe this process of progress in society.

The law, according to the Apostle Paul, was given to teach us and lead us to the perfect gospel of God. It isn't that the law was bad, it just isn't necessary any longer. Now, instead of following hundreds of rules, I can simply love my neighbor as myself and God is happier than when I tried to follow the law. In fact, if I try to obey the old law, it messes me up. I can never live according to any perfect gospel of peace if all I ever do is stress out trying to obey so many laws I can't keep track of them. And then, of course, I can't obey them all, so I feel guilty - it just doesn't work. But love my neighbors? That will work. I can keep track of that.

It isn't that we never needed the law. Mankind was emerging out of barbarism, and we needed some rules. Rather, it is that we are outgrowing the law - we know more about love now. From a Pauline, biblical perspective, we don't need nor should we follow the law any longer. Once we live as we were always intended to live - according to love - the reasons for the law and the fulfillment of what the law requires are accomplished. Therefore, following that old law becomes counter-productive. According to the scriptures (and my father, because they had such long hair, might be rolling over in his grave as I say this), the Beatles were right: All you need is love.

It isn't that we never needed The Negro Baseball League. It is that we outgrew it. Once baseball was living the way they should have always lived - welcoming everybody based upon merit and talent - keeping the black league became counter-productive.

It isn't that we have never needed institutions like BET - Whoopi Goldberg is right about exposure. I am also sure that Whoopi would prefer a world in which color doesn't matter at all because it truly doesn't matter at all.

Once history includes everybody, once history remembers to talk about everybody, then we don't need 'black history' or 'white history' any longer, we only need our history. Once everybody is fully included in the 'big leagues' in the entertainment industry, institutions like BET are probably counter-productive. If race truly doesn't matter, then such measures should be rendered irrelevant. They may even do harm - Stacey Dash is right about that.

But also, it is probably more complicated than that. It isn't segregating to learn with pride about one's heritage, as Black History Month seeks to accomplish. Not only that, we do not yet live in a perfect world, racism is still real, blacks may sometimes still be excluded, and staunch conservatives, while they will not say it openly, probably still want to bring about a government where Whoopi Goldberg and Stacey Dash cannot vote because they are black and women.

So, I must admit that I am still confused about Stacey Dash in a general sense - my brain must not work like her brain. She is fighting on behalf of her well-documented malefactors, whereas I believe I would never do that, not even for a lot of money.

But the truth, uncomfortable though it might be, is this: Regarding the controversy surrounding Stacey Dash's comment about black institutions and Whoopi Goldberg's response, they are both right.