“We’re demonizing white people for being born,” a private school principal lets the truth slip out, while Mr. Perry steals the Oscars and Ms. Gabbard trends on Facebook. Will speech be enough however? It’s also time to consider using the courts: Discrimination doesn’t have a color, demonizing kids for being born is wrong and likely illegal whatever the goal.
Let me start by saying that I’m middle of the road regarding most social issues. I went to art school at one of the most liberal universities on the planet and I’ve worked for and with every race, color, and creed imaginable. As a general rule, I have no opinion on people’s lifestyle choices, as I expect them to have no opinion on my own, and I firmly believe in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous quote about the “content of their character.” I know I’m not perfect, but I don’t believe I’ve ever judged someone by their race, sex, or sexual orientation, and I strive to maintain that standard everyday. I also believe that racism and bigotry exist, and there are things we as a country can do better.
In short, I believe we should be pursuing a colorblind society while addressing issues in education, policing, and other areas as they occur, and continually working on acceptance and understanding. This used to be the goal of fair-minded people on both the right and the left, but unfortunately it’s been subsumed in recent years by a new kind of racism, the anti-racists of the woke. In the exact same way that slaveholders, segregationists, and other bigots sought to divide America by race, these new culture warriors see everyone and everything based on their skin color. The only difference is the roles are reversed: Rather than elevating white people at the expense of black people, they seek to do the opposite.
Of course, they’ll never say it that way. They believe, or at least insist they believe, they are righting historical wrongs, and the only way to achieve that goal is to completely reorganize society with white people at the bottom rung of the latter. Thus, the idea that America was founded on the original sin of slavery and remains systemically racist to this day. This is the logic that informs everything from propaganda like The 1619 Project to the insistence that the only possible causal factor in the higher incidents of police violence against black people is system racism.
Hence, we get rants like this one from Meggie Abendschien writing for Newsweek last week. “I am not OK knowing that I benefit daily from our nation’s systemic racism, while Black people have to work so much harder to survive in this framework that was never meant to include them and other people of color. None of us should be OK with that. White people, these killings are cruel and urgent reminders that we must sprint, not walk, to dismantle white supremacy. Black lives are an inexcusable price to pay for our unwillingness to act.” She continues, “We need to deeply embed anti-racism into our identity, our purpose and every facet of our life. This work requires our full-throttle empathy and total commitment to dismantling an archaic, dangerous white supremacist system.”
Rarely mentioned, however, is what this “full throttle empathy and total commitment entails.” We got a peek at it recently in a recorded phone call with a school principal. In this case, the head of an elite Manhattan school fired a teacher for objecting to anti-racist intruction. An audio recording then surfaced of a call between the fired teacher, Paul Rossi, and the Grace Church Head of School, George Davison, that occurred on March 2.
Mr. Rossi says to Mr. Davison, “Let me ask you something, George, because I think there is something very different about having a single experience where you make sense of it, and having a teacher, an authority figure, talk to you endlessly, every year, telling you, that because you have whiteness you are associated with evils, all these different evils. These are moral evils, it’s not the same as taking a physical thing, because it doesn’t affect your moral value. That’s the problem.”
Mr. Davison responds, “The fact is, I’m agreeing with you, that there has been a demonization that we need to get our hands around, in the way in which people are doing this understanding.” To clarify, Mr. Rossi says, “OK, so you agree that we’re demonizing kids.” Mr. Davison agrees, “We’re demonizing…ki — we’re demonizing white people for being born.” Mr. Rossi then goes one step further, “And, are some of our students white people?” “Yes.” “Ok, so we’re demonizing white kids. Why don’t you just say it?” Mr. Davison concludes, “We are using language that makes them feel less than, for nothing that they are personally responsible for.”
Let that sink in for a moment, “language that makes them feel less than, for nothing that they are personally responsible for.” Can you imagine if that was said about any other racial group? As I alluded to earlier, it’s the exact language that was once directed at black people by white people. Now, it’s the other way around and even some white people are getting in on the act.
Fortunately, a few prominent voices are starting to speak out. The big news from the Oscar’s wasn’t the award winning films, the utter catastrophe of the production, or the increasingly horrific ratings, but Tyler Perry’s speech. “I refuse to hate someone because they’re Mexican or because they are Black or white, or LGBTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they’re a police officer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian. I would hope that we would refuse hate.” He continued, “I want to take this Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and dedicate it to anyone who wants to stand in the middle, no matter what’s around the walls, stand in the middle because that’s where healing happens. That’s where conversation happens. That’s where change happens. It happens in the middle. So anyone who wants to meet me in the middle, to refuse hate, to refuse blanket judgment and to help lift someone’s feet off the ground, this one is for you, too.”
It was a powerful message, well and sincerely delivered even if the Hollywood crowd had no idea how to react when he said “I refuse to hate someone because they’re a police officer.” Tyler Perry wasn’t alone in speaking out, either. A few days later, Tulsi Gabbard issued a similar statement.
The former Democrat Presidential Nominee and current member of the House of Representatives took to Facebook. “My dear friends and fellow Americans, please, please let us stop the RACIALIZATION of everyone and everything—i.e., racialism. We are all children of God and are therefore family in the truest sense, no matter what our race or ethnicity. This is aloha. This is what our country and world need.” “The mainstream media, propaganda, media and politicians, they want us to constantly focus on our skin color and the skin color of others because it helps them politically or financially,” she continued. “Aloha means respect and love for others. It’s what enables us to see beyond our skin color and see the soul, the person with them. So, let’s do our best to cultivate this Aloha in our hearts and see and treat others through this prism of love, not through the prism of race and ethnicity. Please let us not allow ourselves to be led down this dark and divisive path of racialism and hate.”
These are both powerful sentiments, and I commend Mr. Perry and Ms. Gabbard for speaking out. We need more people like them to do the same, but I fear even that will not be enough. The middle is real, but the woke are not simply going to disappear because people call out their bigotry. Their warped ideology is already embedded in many institutions, and it will take something more than speech to excise the stain. In addition to influential voices, we need a new weapon in the war. Fortunately, we have one that has been used many times to advance progressive positions: The legal system.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to white people as easily as it does black people and other minorities, though it is commonly only referenced regarding minority groups. Passed on July 2, 1964, the long title is worth a read: “An Act to enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States of America to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the Attorney General to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education, to extend the Commission on Civil Rights, to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to establish a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and for other purposes.”
Note that there is no reference to the race of the discriminator or those discriminated against. Further, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment declares that “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
These two legal landmarks combine to provide a framework to pursue anti-discrimination cases against any public or private body mandating anti-racism. What is “demonizing white people for being born” other than discrimination? What is mandated corporate training, much less government sponsored training, that singles out white people in the text and in the activities except discrimination? These practices have been outlawed for decades, for good reason. A resurgence in the name of ending white supremacy, however noble the advocates find the goal, is as immoral as it is illegal.
We know this because we already fought this battle at a great cost in blood and treasure, first in the Civil War and then in the Civil Rights movement. If we were to do any of these things to black people or another minority today, there is no doubt every fair minded person would agree on the amorality and the illegality. Simply because it’s now directed at whites, supposedly in the service of righting historical wrongs, more likely in the service of some radical leftist ideology, doesn’t make it any more right.
It’s time for good people on both sides to speak out, loud and clear, and also to consider using the courts to protect everyone’s rights.