April 10, 2010
TDK directs us to Jonathan Kay’s account of his visit to a “Thinking About Whiteness” anti-racism workshop, where he struggles to learn the rules of cultivated lunacy. Among the teachings on offer are,
Racism is an outgrowth of capitalism.
To ignore race is to be more racist than to acknowledge race. I call it neo-racism.
Ah, very clever. Guilt in all directions. It almost sounds like a trap. And the way to get past small differences in physiology is to continually fixate on small differences in physiology.
Mr Kay’s expectations of fair play soon reveal a pressing need for his own re-education:
I was guilty of “democratic racism” - by which we apply ostensibly race-neutral principles such as “due process,” constantly demanding clear “evidence” of wrongdoing, rather than confronting prima facie instances of racism head-on. “It seems we’re always looking for more proof,” said the instructor, an energetic left-wing activist who’s been teaching this course for several years. “When it comes to racism, you have to trust your gut.”
Because, as regular readers will know, “perception is everything” - that’s the perception, or misperception, of one party only - and the more serious the accusation, the less need there is for evidence. I do hope you’re taking notes. There’ll be a test on Friday.
Now imagine for a moment that you’re a certain kind of sadist, one skilled in passive-aggression and troubled by urges to impose your will on others. It might be quite... rewarding to make young people say, even believe, things like this:
Canada is a white supremacist country, so I assume that I’m racist. It’s not about not being racist. Because I know I am. It’s about becoming less racist.
Armed with tendentious or imaginary “scholarship,” perhaps you’d tell students that “embedded whiteness” is an impediment to music teaching. Or, like Jane Elliott, maybe you’d tell your victims that, “white people invented racism” and have “stolen” their culture and innovations - even their language - from other, more noble people. You could copy Noel Ignatiev, whose students learn that “whiteness is a form of racial oppression” and should therefore be “abolished” because “treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity.” Or, like Caprice Hollins, you could dismiss punctuality, grammar and long-term planning as “white values” and expectations thereof as “cultural racism.” Like Peggy McIntosh, you might define “white privilege” as the ability to find publishers for articles on “white privilege.” Or perhaps you’d do as Shakti Butler does, and tell your students that, “the term [racist] applies to all white people living in the United States.”
Yes, you might find pleasure in such emotional malice, if you were a certain kind of sadist.
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