Academia’s Obsession with Racism
For the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, the English department at the University of Chicago only admitted graduate students committed to working in Black Studies. At the other end of the city, at Evanston’s Northwestern University, white students took to social media not only to confess their racism but also to pledge to do better.
Throughout America, faculty at colleges and universities are being required to enroll in modules (courses) on race relations, written with an eye toward critical race theory and the epistemology of Black Lives Matter.
These modules have various names, but among the most common is an oxymoron titled “inclusive excellence,” as if everyone can be excellent by being included. The object, of course, is for colleges and universities to enroll greater numbers of those who already receive preferential treatment based on ascribed characteristics.
Meanwhile, sacrosanct suppositions that represent critical race theory are increasingly becoming the norm on the college campus. Among these are: All whites are racists; systemic racism is the cause of a vast black underclass, and the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow explains every pathology to be seen in the black community.
Seldom, if ever, has a single factor explained such a complicated set of social forces.
To raise the question of free will and individual responsibility is a manifestation of racism or white privilege. Nothing shuts down a conversation faster than “check your privilege” or “your white fragility is showing.”
Millionaire black celebrities are pointing out the privilege gap to many white Americans who live from paycheck to paycheck. The absurdity is only lost on those white people who are mired in their own guilt.
When challenged, the inanity is justified in that privilege is not what you’ve accomplished, experienced, or how many homes you own, but what you won’t experience, like being abused by the police or not being able to find a band-aid the color of your skin.
Of course, white people also get killed by rogue cops, and no one has the skin color of a band-aid.
But what really undermines this nonsense preached from the gospel of political correctness is that the fundamental divisions in post-industrial society are not based on race, but on distinctions that come from the division of labor or class.
Our wants, needs, aspirations, and fulfillments are anchored in social class. There exists an association between racial/ethnic groups and social class as a function of history and culture, but people have class interests that transcend race. The objective of the BLM movement and its Marxist progenitors is to convince America that all social, political, and economic issues are grounded in race.
Why? Because in America, a hundred years of trying to bring about a Marxist takeover based on class has failed miserably. Not because class is insignificant, but because in America social mobility, not societal destruction, is the aspiration of every generation.
If you want to see true multiculturalism, turn on CNBC in the morning, where skin color takes a back seat to the ability to run a company, investment fund, or be a successful analyst. The only color people are interested in is green.
The purveyors of chaos and destruction have been unsuccessful in organizing assaults on the social order by ideologies based on class. Marxism in America never took root because social mobility is higher than any place in the world.
Then along came the death of George Floyd, and the race-baiters and their leftist allies saw a divisiveness that would spread into virtually every institution in society, especially in the educational system, where guilt and self-flagellation have become a substitute for rational inquiry.
The simple class dichotomies of Marxism did not work, so the disseminators of chaos have replaced class with race. Ironically, to solve the race problem in America, the race-baiters would have you believe that you must eventually get rid of capitalism.
This hijacking of race to promote class warfare is a piece of political incongruity evidenced by white radicals identifying with Black Lives Matter in face-offs against police lines that often comprise more blacks than do the agitators indulging their pubescent revolutionary fantasies.
As the reaction infiltrates our colleges and universities, the rest of us might find ourselves caught in the middle between the purveyors of two different hatreds, neither of which bodes well for our future.
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science and a distinguished fellow with the Haym Salomon Center.
Image: Montecruz foto
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