For argument’s sake, let’s assume that everything the Critical Race Theorists and their anti-racist allies claim about institutional racism in America is true. The question is whether or not their goal of establishing a new racial hierarchy with white people on the bottom would truly solve the problem. Hint: It won’t.
For argument’s sake, let’s assume that everything the Critical Race Theorists and their anti-racist allies claim about institutional racism in America is true. For example, Ibram X. Kendi believes that “The signposts of racism are staring back at us in big, bold racial inequities.” He finds these inequities everywhere, in every conceivable sphere of American life, among almost every minority group, “Black babies die at twice the rate of white babies. Roughly a fifth of Native Americans and Latino Americans are medically uninsured, almost triple the rate of white Americans and Asian Americans (7.8 and 7.2 percent, respectively). Native people (24.2 percent) are nearly three times as likely as white people (9 percent) to be impoverished. The life expectancy of Black Americans (74.5 years) is much lower than that of white Americans (78.6 years). White Americans account for 77 percent of the voting members of the 117th Congress, even though they represent 60 percent of the U.S. population.”
He wasn’t done yet, either. “Black college graduates owe an average of $25,000 more in student loans than white college graduates. Native Americans die from police violence at three times the rate of white people; Black people die at 2.6 times the rate; and Latino people die at 1.3 times the rate.” Nor was even that enough, “Asian New Yorkers experienced the highest surge in unemployment during the pandemic…Black and Latino people are the least likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19…Black girls are six times as likely to be expelled from school as white girls…” From there, Mr. Kendi concludes that “Just as you can recognize an impoverished country by its widespread poverty, you can recognize a racist country by its widespread racial inequity…To say that there is widespread racial inequity caused by widespread racism, which makes the United States racist, isn’t an opinion, isn’t a partisan position, isn’t a doctrine, isn’t a left-wing construct, isn’t anti-white, and isn’t anti-American. It is a fact.”
If this is truly the case, I think most fair-minded people would agree something should be done about it and therein lies the difficulty. Declaring the country racist is the easy part, what precisely to do about it is the real challenge. Alas, Mr. Kendi and others tend to provide much less detail regarding their solutions as opposed to their condemnations. We can, however, glean a few things based on how this thinking has manifested in American life so far and use that to consider what alternatives might be better.
Generally speaking, the Critical Race Theorists seek a reorganization of the United States around racial fault lines. This reorganization would occur across three primary spheres, social, economic, and political with two primary goals, implicit awareness of race in all decisions and the redistribution of power based on race. The belief that these approaches are necessary comes from two of the basic tenets of Critical Race Theory itself. First, that the legal system in America is designed to serve the interests of white people, even when it’s being used to address racial inequities like the Civil Rights Act. Second, only “voices of color” can be trusted to speak on racial issues. These are some of the unavoidable conclusions implicit in Critical Race Theory, the paradigm through which Mr. Kendi and his allies now view the world.
In the social sphere, they seek widespread “anti-racist” training across the educational system and corporate America coupled with a strict adherence to rules of decorum in the public sphere that privilege minority positions. The goal is for all of us to “do the work” to understand why anti-racism is the only rational and moral position. Thus, this “training” is markedly different from encouraging awareness and respect of different races and cultures, something I think most people believe would be a positive thing. Contrary to what Mr. Kendi and others claim, this isn’t merely about helping “the American people to stop and see” or teaching our kids “about the racism causing racial inequity.”
Instead, it centers around establishing an immutable new racial hierarchy with white people at the bottom. This is why companies like Coca Cola conduct seminars where employees are told that to be “less white” is to be “less arrogant,” “less ignorant,” and “more humble.” This is why schools are asking children to identify their racial heritage and ultimately rank their privilege, as well as seek out unspecified injustices. This is why Evergreen University has declared that white people aren’t allowed in class on certain days and Yale University conducts continuing education lectures about how white people are sociopaths. This is also why the 1619 Project declares that slavery was the reason for the founding of the country itself.
Turning to the economic and political spheres, we see the same desire to implement a new racial hierarchy, one where a person’s race is used to determine the benefits they should receive from both private companies and the government. This was made manifest by the Biden Administration, both in Executive Orders and in legislation. On the Executive Order front, Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice said Biden plans to put “racial justice and equity at the center of our agenda,” building a “whole of government approach to racial justice.”
The executive order will “define equity as the consistent and systemic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals,” with a special focus on “underserved communities such as Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and other persons of color; LGBTQ+ persons; people with disabilities religious minorities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise affected by persistent poverty or inequality.”
While some of it may sound good in theory, in practice it means doling out cash and perks based on race. We see this in the much-touted coronavirus relief bill, where restaurants that were owned by government-approved minorities were able to receive benefits denied to those owned by white people. Fortunately, the practice was recently struck down by an appeals court, but for our purposes now, it’s worth considering what this new racial hierarchy actually looks like in practice.
First, one needs to determine which racial groups are more disadvantaged than others. In the coronavirus relief legislation, for example, Democrats chose to favor black, hispanic, and Native Americans plus women of any race above all others. Then, they identified certain groups of other minority Americans as presumed disadvantaged and others that needed to prove it. The presumed disadvantaged group included India, Pakistan, China, Japan, and Hong Kong. It did not include Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, or Morocco, a strange state of affairs given that Japan, in particular, is a wealthy and formerly imperialist country and that Indian-Americans earn far more money than white Americans. In addition, it was also necessary to determine what constitutes a minority owned business: If a business was owned jointly, 51% of it needed to be owned by a disadvantaged party, meaning that if a business was owned 50-50 by a mixed race couple, they would not qualify, but if the paperwork was 51% in the minority party name, they would.
Imagine, for a moment, what this might look like applied to mixed race people, an increasing segment of the American public. Are they eligible for half a benefit? No benefit? Benefits sometimes, but not others? Further, how do the social justice warriors plan to address varying inequities? Asian Americans, for example, form a crucial piece of the intersectionality puzzle, they are subject to hate crimes, and often under-represented in certain industries like entertainment. At the same time, even Mr. Kendi concedes that they have higher health insurance rates than white people, largely because they tend to make a lot more money than any other ethnic group. Is the plan to offer them affirmative action when casting a movie but not when applying for a job at Facebook? If you are a minority and you disagree with the new racial hierarchy, can you appeal it?
Clearly, as Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “It is a sordid business, this divvying us up by race.” There has to be a better way to resolve racial inequities, and in my opinion there certainly is: Rather than blame the hazy spectre of systemic or countrywide racism, how about we divide the problem into smaller, more manageable pieces by tackling each individual inequity separately? Putting it another way, why is assumed without any evidence, by Mr. Kendi and others that the same phenomenon is responsible for such radically different outcomes as infant mortality rates and black student expulsion or debt rates? What possible mechanism would connect such disparate data points?
In my opinion, the answer is none. Therefore, each issue is better addressed separately based exclusively on the contributors to the problem we are trying to solve, if one of those contributors is in fact racist policies or people, find them and root them out. For example, infant mortality is likely connected to lack of health insurance, access to quality doctors, and overall economic status. Unless Mr. Kendi is going to assert that white doctors are intentionally killing black babies, the main drivers are likely not racial, but economic: A good job means good health insurance, being able to afford to live in a nice neighborhood, and go to a good doctor. Moreover, solving the problem doesn’t require the implementation of a radically new racial hierarchy with white people at the bottom. Rather, we can look at the people affected and provide targeted help. Once upon a time this was considered a wise idea, hence Obamacare and subsidies for health insurance for people that couldn’t afford it.
Black student expulsion rates, on the other hand, are likely to be driven by a different set of factors entirely, as is black student debt. Black student debt in particular is an odd phenomenon to attribute to racism. For years, we’ve been told the problem is that financial institutions won’t loan money to black people, but now the issue is they’re being loaned more money for education than white people. Moreover, looking at the total dollar value tells us nothing about how the debt was accumulated. It could simply be related to white people having more wealth and being able to spend more on their children’s education. It could be black students taking longer to graduate or spending time at school and not graduating at all. It could be all of the above, meaning calling it racism adds absolutely nothing to the discussion.
Mr. Kendi is an intelligent man. He is surely aware of this, and yet he is adamant that racism and only racism is the right root cause. He rejects any other explanation outright, saying “Many Americans search for nonracial explanations for racial inequity, particularly class and its proxy, education. But presenting class as the answer avoids the question of why people of color are unduly poor and white people are disproportionately wealthy. It ignores the fact that in New York City, college-educated Black women suffer more severe pregnancy-related complications than do white women who haven’t completed high school. It ignores the fact that white Americans who haven’t graduated high school have more wealth than Black college graduates. The cause of racial inequity is either racist policy or racial hierarchy. The racial problem is the result of bad policies or bad people.”
Note the leap in logic: He doesn’t even attempt to actually explain how racism can cause pregnancy related complications or why it might be that white people have more wealth, like, perhaps they inherited it. Instead, he simply says any other explanation “ignores” these facts, though he is doing exactly the same himself. This leads me and others to believe the ultimate goal is not a harmonious, productive, wealthy, colorblind society with equal opportunity for all, nor are any of these initiatives intended to educate Americans about our racial history or raise awareness of racism.
They have a much more sinister goal in mind, and they aren’t afraid to say it outright: “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.” This is Mr. Kendi’s true objective, discrimination against white people, forever, or, put another way, a new racial hierarchy with black people on top. If you’ve ever wondered why many conservatives connect Critical Race Theory to Marxism, this is the mainline: Marxism is based on the workers of the world uniting to overthrow the capitalists. Critical Race Theorists merely substitute race for class, and seek to unite minorities to overthrow white people. The end result will be the same, a new world order without either equal rights or equal opportunity. Perhaps needless to say, I don’t think this is the best means to resolve the racism conundrum…