Of the myriad things our nation needs, reverse racial discrimination isn’t one of them. Yet race has become our de regueur bright shining lie, just as John Paul Vann wrote about the Vietnam War. Race is presently the most-searched Google term, yielding more than 3.8 billion results. The vast majority of universities around the nation advance Critical Race Theory (CRT). They also produce research and training programs on “how to be non-racist.” These must-have training programs go by names like, “Research Task Force on Understanding and Addressing Blackness and Anti-Black Racism in our Local, National and International Communities.” The casual observer would conclude that the only kind of racism that exists is targeted at black people.
Anti-White racist (AWR) training has commenced top-down in our society. For example, all members of the federal government’s Executive Branch have been required to attend anti-racism training. Here they are told that “virtually all white people contribute to racism” or at minimum “benefit from racism.” Hard work and luck are disregarded. The same top-down training approach has enveloped corporate America and the academy. But as Thomas Sowell concludes in The Quest for Cosmic [Social] Justice, “Like so much that is done in the quest for cosmic justice, it makes observers feel better about themselves—and provides no incentives for those observers to scrutinize the consequences of their actions on the ostensible beneficiaries. As in other cases, human beings are sacrificed to the tyranny of visions because those sacrificed are not the same as those exhilarated by the vision.”
One can reasonable ask how this accusatory movement against White racism came about. It is easy to trace the anti-racism movement’s origins back to the theme of “when the servant becomes the master” where the privileged become transposed into serfs and serfs into the privileged. It began ironically around the time America was founded with the birth of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the progenitor of modern communism–Marxism and Leninism. Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit was known as the slave-master dialectic–when the slave becomes the master. Today’s AWR organizations like BLM, Antifa, Black Visions Collective, Campaign Zero, Justice Collaborative, Justice Coalition and Reclaim the Block are all directed by communist tenets.
What happens if you are not, nor ever have been a racist? Because you’re white it will be treated as a prevarication, and you, as exercising your mistaken white privilege. If you were against President Obama’s policies, this is prima facie proof of your racism. Mr. Obama certainly encouraged today’s AWR movement. In his new book, The Promised Land, Obama says, “Trump promised an elixir for the racial anxiety of millions of Americans spooked by a black man in the White House.” His support of the racism narrative after the Ferguson shooting of an unarmed black man who had stolen $50 worth of cigarillos from a convenience store, and his close association with Al Sharpton, race-baiter extraordinaire, speaks to his role in sparking the anti-White racism movement. Obama even advanced the now debunked narrative that Michael Brown had yelled to the police, “Hands up, don’t shoot” which was awarded one of the most media ‘Pinocchios’ of 2015.
As opinion columnist Michael Brown penned about Obama, “This very eloquent, charismatic, and gifted leader who could have helped unite our nation only divided us further, promoting identity politics and playing the race card… But that is not why more than 70 million Americans voted to elect (or, reelect) Donald Trump. And that’s why Lawrence Jones, himself Black, was right to say, ‘I feel like President Obama has started to demonize some of the very people that voted for him… I don’t like his demonization…to paint 70 million people as just these cold-blooded racists… when you take the highest office in the land, you’re going to receive criticism and you can’t just say that it is deeply rooted in race.’”
David Horowitz, once a proud American leftist and now the progenitor of the Horowitz Foundation, FrontPage Magazine, and many more conservative projects, recalls, “The ‘social justice’ radicals still have the best slogans. They call themselves progressives but are actually reactionaries. They call themselves liberals but are actually bigots. They say they’re for peace when they are organized for war. It is always the same war: to bring down the United States of America.” Regarding the left’s accusations of systemic racism, white privilege and police oppression, Horowitz says, “Democrats control 100% of every major inner-city in America and have for 50 to 100 years. Every killing field–Detroit, Chicago, Baltimore, St. Louis–is 100% in the hands of the Democrats. Every injustice in these inner cities– real or imagined–that policy can affect, Democrats are 100% responsible for.” And now we have them calling the shots for our country’s racial intersections.
The Anti-Racism Vocation
Robin DiAngelo, a white woman, took the nascent “Only Whites Can Be Racist” movement and brought it crashing into to the mainstream with her book, White Fragility. She began her career as a university professor but has now followed the money, becoming a diversity consultant. Black scholar John McWhorter argues, “White Fragility was published in 2018 but jumped to the top of the New York Times best-seller list amid the protests following the death of George Floyd and the ensuing national reckoning about racism. DiAngelo has convinced university administrators, corporate human-resources offices, and no small part of the reading public that white Americans must embark on a self-critical project of looking inward to examine and work against racist biases that many have barely known they had…I have learned that one of America’s favorite advice books of the moment is actually a racist tract.” Could this actually be true of the entire Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) industry?
DeAngelo believes the impulse to individualize is in itself White privilege–a method for playing down the societal racism all white people have assimilated. For a price, these authorities are there help you repent for your sins. They offer working documents and experiential resources to facilitate white folks’ emancipation to become allies for anti-racism and belatedly the communist ideology undergirding it. But there are several assumptive problems with these anti-White racism programs.
First, such programs assume the guilt, not innocence, of White people. Americans are all granted, white people included, through a Supreme Court decision in Coffin v. United States, 156 U.S. 432 (1895) the presumption of innocence of persons accused of crimes. Yet you can now lose your job, fail to get promoted, be placed on probation, and uninvited to important social gatherings because of accused racism. Since employees are urged to attend anti-White racism training based solely on the color of their skin, that may also be racist. Persons of color need not participate.
Second, trying to prove a negative is a logical impossibility. It won’t stand up in jurisprudential court and if it is the cornerstone of an ideologically-motivated social program, that program is falsely premised, on fallow land. CoEqual, formerly Center for Talent Innovation released a statement saying, “White cis straight men hold the majority of power in corporate America and in our society. If we want equitable workplaces, we need them to be involved and engaged in DEI action.” Much of corporate America is falling all over itself trying to demonstrate its anti-racism bona fides. Whether it impresses customers or shareholders remains to be seen. Elsewhere I have opined that such behavior bears no real product or service value and is simply corporate virtue-signaling by those in charge.
Third, it is important to distinguish charges of White racism from disparate outcomes. Thomas Sowell has written eloquently on this subject in his Discrimination and Disparities, “No one who looks at the facts of life can look very far without encountering not only extreme disparities in outcomes but also the pervasive reality of luck…wholly fortuitous factors, from the standpoint of the individual, can have a major influence on how one’s life turns out.” The anti-White Racist movement has never been able to identify a societal issue (except anti-White racism) that was not worthy of repute.
Assuming Something Is Really Broken, How Not to Fix It
Perhaps the most lucrative consulting gig is to offer AWR training to employees. An example of the reach and influence of this leftist doctrine can be seen by the depth and breadth of its reach. For example, the Florida Supreme Court established in 2008 a Standing Committee on Fairness and Diversity. This included continuing racial indoctrination programs for attorneys like “Recognizing and Eliminating Bias from Court Operations”; one of its chapters is titled “Institutionalizing Fairness and Diversity.” This example is mirrored nationwide. The unproven assumption for which there is little if any empirical evidence is that there is strong racial bias in our state and federal legal system against, not for, defendants of color. As Kenneth L. Marcus urged in the Wall Street Journal, “The focus should be on invidious discrimination, not statistical disparities and social change…The problem with much of today’s antiracism is that it doesn’t really oppose invidious discrimination and may even foment it.” This is because those researchers allow their passion and/or ideology to create what is termed a “demand characteristic” in the study design—wherever they look AWR will appear. Gary M. Galles analyzes much of this research concluding, “these studies employed sleight of hand to characterize conservatives as condoning inequality while implying that others do not.”
On September 22, 2020 President Trump issued an executive order halting the use of CRT in federal training programs and in one chorus he was condemned by everyone to the left of Mitt Romney.
The origin of AWR is viewed by progressives as white people’s original sin. This argument embeds into White consciousness that most black people are the same, facing impossible barriers, wounded and perpetually oppressed. It is what Peter DeWitt terms the stigma of low expectations. The fact that there is abundant evidence of black success across America, including electing a mixed-race President, either means AWR wasn’t powerful enough to keep these individuals down or it is useful political fiction used to give them moral high ground.
Lloyd Pettegrew is a Professor Emeritus of Marketing Communication at the University of South Florida.