Racism, 'White Violence,' and the Left
Isn't the message in the banner below a perfect expression of racism? ("WHITE People: What will we do TODAY to change our legacy of violence?")
It's hard to understand this, because these self-described "anti-racists" seem to be fighting racism by being...racist. Yes, they're tying "violence" to skin color (i.e., to what's often called "whiteness") and even to DNA and genes.
So how, exactly, does that work?
The statement also disregards the fact that violence has occurred in every culture at every time since the beginning of the human race. (In the 1960s and beyond, left-wing anthropologists tried to deny this by citing spurious examples that were quickly discovered to be bogus.) Indeed, this "anti-racist" position is so blatantly racist itself that it must surely end up being counterproductive.
In basic terms, why does that banner mention "white people" at all? And why do other anti-racists, Critical Race Theorists, activists, etc. also mention "whiteness"? Why don't they simply point the finger at "the West," culture, history, institutions, or certain states or governments?
Fighting racism with racism seems to be either dumb or deceitful.
The many people who don't understand "anti-racist theory" may need things clearing up for them. Or as one self-described "leftie" put it to me: "okay, I'm a leftie, an analytical Marxist, and a history and politics student. Let me clear a few things up for you..."
Let's start by saying many left-wing political theories can be pure, which is to say they hardly reflect – or coincide with – reality. That's not a surprise, because the theories discussed here aren't designed to reflect reality or the facts; they're designed to advance specific political causes.
Thus, if the anti-racist political cause comes first, then it doesn't matter if the theories that advance it are absurd or simply false. As Karl Marx happily admitted, truth, correctness, and accuracy are secondary to "revolutionary" or "radical" change. Or to use Marx's own words, "the philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it."
So it's not a surprise that left-wing or Marxist theory has it that it's literally – yes, literally! – impossible for anyone to be racist against whites. (Alternatively, no non-white person can ever be a racist.) Some left-wing anti-racists may qualify this statement by saying it's actually the case that no black person can be racist "within a white society." The large-scale black racism against whites (as well as against Asians) that occurs in various African countries, for example, is also excused by British and American (white) left-wingers.
Some anti-racist novices may not understand how pure such "race theory" actually is. For example, this is one person's take on the issue: "of course non-white people can be racist. That's very much a faux argument that's often stated by people who don't know what they're talking about. Pro-white racism is, however, institutionalized, unlike other forms."
This person clearly hasn't read her Marxist academic papers or her Critical Race Theory. It would be easy to provide countless links and quotes that explicitly state such things as "blacks people can't be racist" (even if sometimes stated in a roundabout way). There have also been multitudes of Marxist articles and papers that argue the same. (I mention the word "Marxist" because much academic anti-racist theory developed from Marxist beginnings.)
This surreal or absurd position is the result one of two things:
i) A theory that has simply disappeared up its own backside.
ii) Theories specifically designed to advance anti-racist political causes.
This means that the idea that "blacks can't be racist" (for example) isn't meant to be true or even accurate. It's simply meant to be a weapon in a (usually white) political war.
Indeed, one anti-racist (almost) agreed with this when he stated the following: "If it is designed to combat racism, then yes, generalizations about whites have some leeway. To a limited degree, fighting racism often involves generalization."
Does that mean that generalizations that are ideologically correct – and that further a correct political cause – are okay? And does it also mean that generalizations that are ideologically incorrect are not okay?
After making such points about the racism of much anti-racism, one student said I "sounded very confused." More specifically, he said I was "incapable of understanding white privilege theory."
Of course, many people are "confused"! They haven't read the theory. And many of those who have read at least some of the theory still don't understand it. Others see it as being a pile of BS.
Theory also accounts for the prejudice-not-racism cliché that excuses blacks and other non-whites of racism. Indeed, there are legions of middle-class students and political hipsters who recite this mantra without bothering to argue for it.
This is how one social-media user put the prejudice-not-racism position: "Saying 'white people can't experience racism' doesn't mean 'black people can't be mean to white people'. It means you aren't going to be hassled by the police because of the colour of your skin, for example."
So blacks can be "mean," though they can't be racist.
In any case, there are many examples of white people who've been "hassled" (or worse) by the police because they are white. Take these:
White people can be hassled by the police for noting blacks being racist toward whites or for noting the racism of Muslim gangs. The latter example often occurred during the mass abuse of specifically white girls by Muslim grooming gangs in the U.K. In this case, because many whites noted the ethnic identity and religion of the mass abusers, the police often simply assumed that they must have been racist. That is, the police (just like well trained anti-racist activists) displayed racist thinking and actions (against whites) in order to combat the largely fictitious racism of whites against Muslims.
Taking Ownership of Historical Racism
In response to a debate about the "white guilt" issue, one person said: "It's not about white people's guilt, it's about ownership. We need to own up to the destructive nature of colonialism and capitalism and the effect it's had on minorities[.]"
You're right! That does sound like inane jargon. (The notion of "ownership" can be found in much Critical Race Theory as well as elsewhere.) You may wonder if the person who said this had bothered to think through this theory for himself.
The word "ownership" (in this context, at least) was coined at some university or other. Now it's filtered down to the streets and to university activists, who obediently use it as gospel truth.
In any case, if it's not about "white people's guilt," then how can there be "ownership" for the bad things that happened in the past? In order for anti-racists to demand that all whites take ownership for the past sins of Evil White People, there must also be some present-day guilt. Otherwise, why should present-day whites "take ownership" in the first place? How can present-day whites own something they don't have? And how can present-day whites own things they didn't do?
The other thing about the quote above is that it ties (firmly!) anti-racism to anti-capitalism.
In other words, there's more to much anti-racism than...well, "fighting racism." In the case of radical leftists, anti-racism is just one part of a much larger political package. This means that anti-racism is a weapon (or tool) in the "revolution" or a perfect means of "radicalization." Indeed, many communists (or "radical socialists"), for example, have often explicitly admitted this. After all, if capitalism itself is responsible for literally all racism (i.e., "Capitalism cannot exist without racism" – Malcolm X), then capitalism (not racism) must be the primary target.
Yes, anti-racism is often about middle-class left-wing whites advancing their own (politics-based) careers, their own political causes, and their own political power.
This taking "ownership" (of past racism and colonialism) meme is also elaborated upon in the following quote: "There has been a theft, a historical theft that we (as the white community) have ultimately benefited from and is reflected in our relations today."
Of course, it hardly needs to be said (though I'll still say it!) that many examples can be given of non-white cultures, traditions, and states that have benefited from countless wrongs and have also – despite left-wing theory – been racist. However, none of these examples will be given a strictly racial reading by those who've studied "analytic Marxism" (as the guy quoted above claimed he had done) or Critical Race Theory.
Again, the position discussed above is essentially one of anti-white racism. Left-wingers may dress this racist position up with references to "praxis" or with other academic terms. However, it all still comes out of the wash in the same way – as (anti-white) racism.
Paul Austin Murphy writes about politics and philosophy. He's been published in New English Review, The Conservative Online, Philosophy Now, Human Events, Intellectual Conservative, Brenner Brief (Broadside News), etc. Murphy writes the blogs Paul Austin Murphy on Politics and Paul Austin Murphy's Philosophy. His Twitter account can be found here.