… sincere activism and playacting, out of a desire to join the civil rights struggle in a time when the problems are so much more abstract than they once were.
The true fault here lies with the school’s administration, whose deer tails popped up as they bolted into the forest, out of a fear of going against the commandments of what we today call antiracism, which apparently includes treating Black people as simpletons and thinking of it as reckoning.
True wokeness would have been to awaken to the tricky but urgent civic responsibility of, when necessary, calling out Black people on nonsense. Yes, even Black people can be wrong. As the Black professor Randall Kennedy of Harvard Law puts it in his upcoming “Say It Loud!”: “Blacks, too, have flaws, sometimes glaringly so. These weaknesses may be the consequence of racist mistreatment. But they are weaknesses nonetheless.” To pretend this is never the case where racism is concerned is not to reckon but to dehumanize.
I know — you thought, based on what people of a certain charisma are telling you, that the idea is that where race or racism is concerned, Black people are always right. What matters is not what someone meant, but how the (Black) person says he or she feels about it. Anything less is blaming the victim.
The problem is that to subscribe to this etiquette requires consideration beyond what logic dictates. For example, according to the tenets of critical race theory that has such influence on so many these days, each Black person represents a race-wide narrative of oppression that we need to think about regardless of pesky details such as empiricism or even coherence. Or perhaps Black infallibility is just complicated?
Right. All of us, on some level, know that this is nonsense, and readers who think I am making this point only to white people are quite mistaken. I mean all of us. Neither slavery nor Jim Crow nor redlining renders a people’s judgment of where racism has reared its head infallible.
Treating a people with dignity requires not only listening closely and sympathetically to their grievances, but being able to take a deep breath and call them on aspects of those grievances that don’t make sense. And there will be some, unless those airing the grievance are fictional creations instead of human beings.
On race, we should assess, look ahead rather than backward, channel our thoughts and feelings with cortex rather than brain stem, think slow rather than fast — and the notion that this counsel is “white” is science fiction. That goes for both protesters as well as those whom they protest at. Instead, too much of what passes as enlightenment on race these days involves merely pretending that something makes sense out of fear.
When surveying the tremendous complexity of racial disparities, it’s simply wrong to presuppose all whites are “privileged,” let alone racist. Using the despicable actions of a few to judge an entire group of people is never sound reasoning. Just because some white people (who were kids) weaponized their whiteness and harassed me for the color of my skin, doesn’t mean I view all white people as racist or privileged.
None of the statistics in this piece discount racial prejudice, unequal opportunities or the privilege of not experiencing racism. They simply point to the glaring fallacies of the all-consuming white-privilege narrative which has degraded our national discourse into identity politics and racial tribalism. White people are now one-dimensionally seen as an undifferentiated mass of privilege and wealth whereas minorities are seen as powerless victims oppressed by a society ingrained with white supremacy and racial bigotry.
…the task of social justice advocates should be obvious: to convincingly argue and demonstrate to threatened white Americans that it is possible to preserve or even improve their condition and at the same time raise up marginalized groups. Not only have activists miserably failed at this task, their message and tactics regularly alienate impoverished whites while confirming racist narratives. It should be no surprise then that ethnic nationalist and separatist movements have been rapidly expanding in America (and across Western democracies), while their ideology and methods are growing increasingly extreme, and increasingly effective. If the current dynamics continue unchecked, we should expect the problem to grow worse.
Musa al-Gharbi, Progressives: It’s Time to Stop Patronizing White People –
Yes, personal bigotry and social pressures most certainly have their influences in any society, but the fact that racial segregation in the South needed the power of the state to assure its preservation strongly suggests that if those laws had not been in place, racial divides socially and economically would have been undermined, reduced, and been on a path to fuller racial harmony and integration that was kept on hold for a century after the Civil War.
If people “naturally” want to separate themselves on racial lines, if they “naturally” do not want to associate or do business with each other, or share common goals and visions simply as “Americans,” then why did the Southern legislatures have to impose the segregation laws in the first place? Why did they have to so forcefully and sometimes brutally enforce them?
The answer is: without such laws and auxiliary “pressures,” the race-separating walls and biases would have come tumbling down. Overnight? Of course not. Human beings far too often can be stubborn creatures, but faster or slower, in an environment of traditional American preaching and practicing of individual liberty and freedom of association inside and outside the marketplace would have cured the racial scares and attitudes that were able to persist for so long because of what lasted for an additional one hundred years in the South.
Source: Richard M. Ebeling (AIER), “Systemic Racism” Theory is the New Political Tribalism – AIER
We must transform how antiracism work is carried out. An important first step is to actually listen to the people one is advocating for about their priorities and concerns, rather than simply assuming one can infer others’ interests or preferences from their demographic backgrounds, or selectively elevating (often non-representative) spokespeople who say what one wants to hear. History the U.S. and abroad is replete with examples of grievous harm caused by well-intentioned technocrats and ideologues when they fail to sufficiently consult and collaborate with the populations whose interests they are ostensibly seeking to advance. Antiracist campaigns are no exception.
Source: Musa al-Gharbi, Who Defines What ‘Racist’ Means? – Musa al-Gharbi
How, then, might one live an authentically anti-racist life? In my view, the crucial first step is to renounce the scapegoat mechanism, which has been an important driver of white identity politics and of white radicalization. This requires serious self-reflection and the development of habits that make for peace. That is, it requires the cultivation of virtue.
Musa al-Gharbi argues that “the most meaningful act of resistance to systemic racism would be for its primary beneficiaries to seek ways to give of themselves… rather than attempting to blame, coerce, cajole or expropriate from others under the auspices of anti-racism.” Such an “ascetic anti-racism” is at once simpler and far more demanding than anything on offer from Robin DiAngelo. Anyone desiring to live an authentic, rather than performative, anti-racism should take al-Gharbi’s recommendations to heart — and then make mulch out of books like White Fragility, which have only served to poison our culture.
Without question, the trust between police and their communities, especially those based in low-income areas, has broken down, bringing about a call for comprehensive reform. However, the unfortunate truth is that many of the reform proposals as they currently read will not heal decades of immediate pain, trauma, and violence, not to mention centuries of social, economic, and educational failures in governmental policy. Since there are approximately 12,000 local police departments in this country, each tasked with enforcing a different slate of local and state laws, thousands of community-specific variations on the theme of reform will be necessary for impactful and lasting change.
We want to inspire our communities to move forward and revisit ways to exist as interdependent networks of social actors. The recognition of and appreciation for human dignity is crucial, as is a mutual social covenant that affirms the rule of law while practicing reciprocal neighborly care. Transitional justice in communities emerging from egregious and tragic social conflict, police misconduct, or systemic violations of human dignity must replace today’s insufficient vision of justice. Rather than seeking to deconstruct or dismantle the rule of law, transitional justice aims to restore it to support robust social growth, development, and prosperity.
[Robin] DiAngelo isn’t the first person to make a buck pushing tricked-up pseudo-intellectual horses**t as corporate wisdom, but she might be the first to do it selling Hitlerian race theory. White Fragility has a simple message: there is no such thing as a universal human experience, and we are defined not by our individual personalities or moral choices, but only by our racial category.
If your category is “white,” bad news: you have no identity apart from your participation in white supremacy (“Anti-blackness is foundational to our very identities… Whiteness has always been predicated on blackness”), which naturally means “a positive white identity is an impossible goal.”
DiAngelo instructs us there is nothing to be done here, except “strive to be less white.” To deny this theory, or to have the effrontery to sneak away from the tedium of DiAngelo’s lecturing – what she describes as “leaving the stress-inducing situation” – is to affirm her conception of white supremacy. This intellectual equivalent of the “ordeal by water” (if you float, you’re a witch) is orthodoxy across much of academia.
Read the rest: On “White Fragility” – Reporting by Matt Taibbi