I’m getting very frustrated with the constant drumbeat of commentary from left-wing, progressive elements of US politics that accuses anyone not – or not sufficiently – on their side of being “racist”. It’s a lie, but that doesn’t stop them proclaiming it loudly and frequently to all and sundry.
The latest example of this idiocy comes from the Washington Post.
The alarming rise of white-power violence, from Charlottesville to Pittsburgh and now to Poway, Calif., has left many Americans scrambling to make sense of the toxic stew of racism, anti-Semitism and nativism that is swamping the United States and that has claimed yet another life in a house of worship. Given the Unite the Right rally’s fascist symbols and the swastikas appearing on synagogues, it’s hard not to wonder: Didn’t we already fight — and win — this war?
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After Charlottesville, too, social media echoed with variations of the line: “My grandpa didn’t fight the Nazis only for them to return.” And it’s possible that a good many of our grandfathers might have fought the Nazis expressly to oppose their race supremacy. But it’s worth putting this plainly: The Allied leadership did not fight the war over fascist race-nationalism. That was the historical path not taken.
As it’s once again on the ascent across the globe, this historian imagines where we might be today had the Allies fought on the basis of eliminating the racial supremacy of the Germans (and, in their variation, the Japanese). What if that principle had been, through the greatest global struggle of humankind, woven into our social DNA? And how can we make that principle central to our societies today?
There’s more at the link.
This is moral blindness and stupidity at its worst. Stopping the Nazis was good in and of itself. Whether or not it explicitly invoked racism is irrelevant. Besides, all combatant societies espoused racism to a greater or lesser extent. The USA became infamous for its handling of Japanese-Americans, its shoddy treatment of African-American servicemen, and so on; but that didn’t stop it learning from its experiences during the war, and changing those negatives over the following decades. Similarly, Britain exploited its non-white colonies shamefully during the war (including causing a mass famine in India that killed millions of people, because Churchill initially refused to redirect badly-needed war shipping to carry food to the subcontinent), and other European colonial powers did likewise to their outposts of empire. All found after the war that they could not continue along that path, because they’d effectively educated their own colonial populations to demand greater freedom and refuse to be taken for granted any longer. Thus, Allied wartime racism contained the seeds of its own destruction. War is a great egalitarian leveler, when it comes down to it.
To call America “racist” today is to betray one’s own complete and utter lack of understanding of that term. I’ve spent years working in the Third World, and I can promise you, there are millions upon millions of impoverished residents there who would cheerfully commit any crime, up to and including murder, to be able to enjoy the lifestyle that the poorest of our poor must “endure” from day to day. Those Third World residents know the meaning of racism, tribalism, cronyism, corruption, and every other evil one can imagine. They live it every day. They wouldn’t find our system racist at all.
Alyssa Ahlgren points out:
When you turn on the news, listen in class, or overhear a political conversation you would think that racism is mainstream. You’re probably so sick of the words “racist,” “hate,” or “bigoted.” These terms used to carry weight, as they should. However, they are now being so loosely applied your eyes start to roll back when you hear them. We have one side of the aisle claiming our nation is plagued by evil racism that reaches the core of the system as well as all of its individuals. You have the other side of the aisle pointing out that America has become the least racist multi-racial society in history.
Which one is it? Are we so rooted in racism as a society that we don’t even realize it, or have we evolved since the Civil Rights Movement and the abhorrent Jim Crow era? Let’s look at the facts. When we hear the words “systemic racism” it is often in reference to America’s “racist” police force. This claim alleges that cops specifically target and discriminate against black people. Statistics, however, do not support this notion. According to FBI data, white people are twice as likely to be killed by cops than black people. Not only that, but police are 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black person than an unarmed black person is to be killed by a cop. Black and Hispanic police offers are more likely to fire upon a black individual than a white officer. On top of that, black people are underrepresented in stop-and-frisks by police when compared to the percentage of black people that commit crimes. Racism is not the reason for racial disparities, crime is.
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Propagating a false narrative that the United States and everyone in it is inherently racist in order to continue to fight for a cause that has been long won is regressive. The unspoken reality is that if we all admit that racism is an issue that is only seen in the execrable fringe of society then the left loses. Leftism thrives on victimhood. Leftism thrives on racism. Without it, the basis of their talking points and policy falls. Without it, political figures who have established their careers on racial division are out of a job.
Again, more at the link.
Are there elements of racism in US society? Sure there are. Are there elements of racism inside each and every one of us as individuals? Probably. The old saw about “Would you want your son/daughter to date one of them?” isn’t just a cliché, but an uncomfortable truth. We’re all at least uneasy about, if not suspicious of, anyone who “isn’t like us”. It’s an instinctive, inherent reaction. I have it, just as I’m sure almost every one of my readers does. It’s part of the human condition. However, that’s not racism as such. It’s one’s instinctive adherence to one’s own kind. It would be very nice if that meant all Americans adhered to each other as a nation, irrespective of race, but that’s not going to happen. Our loyalties are on a smaller scale, to family, to clan, to tribe. That’s a survival mechanism that’s been honed over millennia of experience. We’ve learned it the hard way. The very liberals who are so upset about racism have it, too. Just wait until their sons or daughters want to date a conservative, and watch them froth at the mouth!
That doesn’t mean we’re automatically, instinctively racist. It means we have to learn – also, the hard way – that some people out there, even though different from us, are good, while others are bad. That has to do with ethics and morals, not race, language, skin color, etc. We have to learn to identify who’s who among them, and deal with each group accordingly. Under stress (e.g. war, civil conflict, and so on) we tend to automatically lump the “other” into a potentially threatening group, and treat them accordingly unless and until they’ve proved otherwise. Again, not racist – just very, very practical.
After the Paris terror attacks in November 2015, I wrote:
The terrorists haven’t thought about it, I’m sure, but they’re going to produce a similar and even greater tragedy for their own people than they’ve inflicted on France. The reaction from ordinary people like you and I won’t be to truly think about the tragedy, to realize that the perpetrators were a very small minority of those who shared their faith, extremists who deserve the ultimate penalty as soon as it can be administered. No. The ordinary man and woman on the streets of France is going to wake up today hating all Muslims. He or she will blame them all for the actions of a few, and will react to all of them as if they were all equally guilty.
One can’t blame people for such attitudes. When one simply can’t tell whether or not an individual Muslim is also a terrorist fundamentalist, the only safety lies in treating all of them as if they presented that danger. That’s what the French people are going to do now. That’s what ordinary people all across Europe are going to do now, irrespective of whatever their politicians tell them. Their politicians are protected in secure premises by armed guards. They aren’t. Their survival is of more immediate concern; so they’re doing to do whatever they have to do to improve the odds in their favor. If that means ostracizing Muslims, ghettoizing them, even using preemptive violence against them to force them off the streets . . . they’re going to do it.
I’ve written before about how blaming all Muslims for the actions of a few is disingenuous and inexcusable. I still believe that . . . but events have overtaken rationality.
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That’s the bitter fruit that extremism always produces. It’s done so throughout history.
In that sense, the extremists who’re peddling the “Everything and everyone is racist!” lie are effectively making that more of a reality every time they scream it. By pushing such an extreme, manifestly untrue perspective, they’re radicalizing those who don’t share it. This causes the latter to reject it – and those pushing it. “Every action begets an equal and opposite reaction”, as Newton pointed out – and it applies in politics as much as in physics. However, I suspect they haven’t thought about that.