Antiracism: A new religion
A major theme in 2020 is the supposed killing of black Americans on a disproportionate scale by law enforcement across the nation. The death of George Floyd at the hands (or knee) of Derek Chauvin rekindled the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, leaving its mark not only on city streets, but also in media and entertainment. In relatively short order, our culture has largely embraced, or at least tolerated, a set of ideas based on a false premise and tactics inspired by a Marxist revolutionary philosophy.
The details and origins of BLM are easily discoverable online and on its own website, so I won't get into them here. Rather, what I want to emphasize is our amazing ability as a nation to pretend and mentally train ourselves to view BLM, including its founding claims and tactics, as completely uncontroversial. This has become such a big echo chamber that our major professional sports leagues have all endorsed the movement, displaying BLM messaging and encouraging athletes to engage in activism during games. It's as if BLM is as apolitical and unifying as the phrases "support our troops" and "we fight breast cancer."
Clearly, this is not the case. However, the culture of radical antiracism has silenced dissent so thoroughly that any attempt to criticize it is instantly perceived as racist. In fact, this is textbook antiracist strategy — control or define the language, narrative, culture, and intensity surrounding an issue so as to take center stage and indoctrinate the vast majority of the population into accepting its creed. This strategy targets those who normally wouldn't endorse an antiracist crusade against white people and the police but are subliminally trained into obedience and implicitly supporting its agenda over time. This is exactly how dictators — even those who are unpopular — brainwash their subjects into accepting their agendas, which is contrary to the American principles of free expression and the rational exchange of ideas.
Unfortunately, the latter are American principles only in spirit. In reality, America has increasingly fallen victim to a toxic brand of politics that Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, in their 2015 monograph "Inventing the Future," coined as "folk politics," which has been on the rise since the 1960s and includes the latest strains of antiracism that now plague our discourse. Folk politics represents a shift away from the politics of policy, planning, and consensus to the politics of identity, victimhood, and oppression.
This strain of politics is also "folk" in its religiosity, and this explains how today's antiracists, whom linguist John McWhorter calls "third-wave" antiracists, seem to worship their ideology. According to McWhorter, "[t]hird-wave antiracism is a profoundly religious movement in everything but terminology. The idea that Whites are permanently stained by their White privilege, gaining moral absolution only by eternally attesting to it, is the third wave's version of original sin. The idea of a someday when America will 'come to terms with race' is as vaguely specified a guidepost as Judgment Day."
If the fight against third-wave antiracism is a fight against the de facto establishment of a new religion, I fear that it will be very difficult to stamp out. When movements maintain their following despite being in contradiction to the facts, data, and evidence at hand, they have a very good chance of standing the test of time.
Robert Dimuro is a blogger for TheLatest.com and resides in Queens, N.Y.