American Universities and Racism

The ideas that Martin Luther King Jr. died for, seem to be dying.


I mentioned to a friend a few days ago that I was afraid to write about racism. Mostly because you know people are going to attack you, and they are the violent type of people. It doesn't really seem like I should need to be involved anyway, I have other things to do. But, then I was thinking about the rise of the Soviet Union and the Nazis. How many good people sat on the sidelines while the society crumbled? How many people thought someone else would handle it? How many people thought that it wouldn't get so bad?

Appeasement to violent people doesn't work well. In the beginning these movements require appeasement. Later, they only require compliance in the face of threats, intimidation, and violence. So, if you aren't willing to stand against racism now, there won't be a point in the future that you will be able to.

The trend reminds me of "The Gulag Archipelago" by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. In that book Solzhenitsyn talks about how the culture and society transformed as the Soviet rule was established. It's an insightful book. Here's one piece.

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The permanent lie becomes the only safe form of existence, in the same way as betrayal. Every wag of the tongue can be overheard by someone, every facial expression observed by someone. Therefore every word, if it does not have to be a direct lie, is nonetheless obliged not to contradict the general, common lie. There exists a collection of ready-made phrases, of labels, a selection of ready-made lies. And not one single speech nor one single essay or article nor one single book - be it scientific, journalistic, critical, or "literary," so-called - can exist without the use of these primary cliches.

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One of the first things that is needed for the destruction of a society is the elimination of free speech and civil discourse. That's what is happening in universities now. Videos abound of speakers being shouted down and threatened. People like Ben Shapiro require large police forces just to provide for safety from the "protestors."

At first free speech is limited mostly by self-censorship. You become afraid to speak the truth because people will accuse you of being a horrible person of some sort, people won't want to employ you, or they will fire you, people threaten you. The issue with backing down to those things is that the next step is that they will be put into law. Once that happens then freedom has lost. The Soviets and the Nazis are not extreme examples, they are perfect examples.

Racism is on the rise again in the United States. It's been growing lot over the last decade. It's part of a larger movement, the post-modern equity movement. Equity is a modern code-word that includes racism and other forms of discrimination based on such group identities.

Martin Luther King Jr. had a different ideal, one that has mostly been forgotten to history. Here are a few selections from him.

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Let us be dissatisfied until that day when nobody will shout "White Power!" — when nobody will shout "Black Power!" — but everybody will talk about God's power and human power.

I have a dream this evening that one day we will recognize the words of Jefferson that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

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The United States made a lot of progress in that direction for a long time. But now, it is reversing. Often it's the universities that are a sign of what is to come in the near future. Here's a good example of one of the leaders of the modern racism movement. These are from her website.

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Robin DiAngelo

Academic: I received my PhD in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2004. Dr. James Banks was my dissertation Chair.  I earned tenure at Westfield State University in Massachusetts. Currently I am Affiliate Associate Professor of Education at the University of Washington. I have taught courses in Multicultural Teaching, Inter-group Dialogue Facilitation, Cultural Diversity & Social Justice, and Anti-Racist Education. My area of research is in Whiteness Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis, explicating how whiteness is reproduced in everyday narratives.

Professional:  I have been a consultant and trainer for over 20 years on issues of racial and social justice. I was appointed to co-design the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative Anti-Racism training (with Darlene Flynn).

Personal: “I grew up poor and white.  While my class oppression has been relatively visible to me, my race privilege has not.  In my efforts to uncover how race has shaped my life, I have gained deeper insight by placing race in the center of my analysis and asking how each of my other group locations have socialized me to collude with racism. In so doing, I have been able to address in greater depth my multiple locations and how they function together to hold racism in place. I now make the distinction that I grew up poor and white, for my experience of poverty would have been different had I not been white” (DiAngelo, 2006).

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She also has a number of books on why only white people can be racist and how all white people are racist. These quotes from a USA Today interview sum it up pretty well.

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[The mainstream definition of] a racist is always an individual who consciously (must be conscious) does not like people based on race, and intentionally (must be intentional) seeks to hurt them. As long as that is our definition of a racist, virtually every white person is exempt from the system we are in.

While everyone has racial bias, I reserve the word 'racist' to describe the bias that white people have — our collective bias is backed by institutional power.

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The basic message is that white people are bad for being white. She actually says that by a logical definition of racism then almost no white people are racist. It's ironic that the people that call themselves anti-racists judge people as a group based on... race.

DiAngelo is just one of the most famous people judging people based on the color of their skin rather than the content of their character. It's a pervasive movement in American academia. Earlier this year at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis they had an event called the White Racial Literacy Project. At that event they actually separated the people according to race. They had sessions that were just for white people. And they had sessions that were for non-white people. That's right, segregation is a thing at colleges and universities again. You would think that something like that would never come back, but it's becoming more and more common at colleges across the country.

DiAngelo is a genius at working to promote racism. She even invented the term white fragility. It means that white people who disagree with the idea that all white people are racist shouldn't be allowed to talk because they're white. 

DiAngelo even says that people who don't judge people based on their race are dangerous. An idea obviously directly opposed to Martin Luther King Jr.

Racism is a political tool, always has been and always will be. DiAngelo and the other leaders of the racism movement in the United States have been able to use it to gain power in academia. Others are using it to gain power in other parts of society. And, they're winning.

One of the most insane examples is the riot that occurred at Evergreen State College.

There was a day designated at the college where no white students or faculty were allowed to come on campus. (Now remember, by the new definition of racism you can do any bad thing you want to white people and it's not bad because all white people are considered inherently bad based on their race. The ideal of universal individual rights that Martin Luther King Jr. was seeking to achieve, and that the country was founded on, has nothing to do with the equity/social justice movement. Judging people by race is good, as long as you're not white.)

Professor Bret Weinstein is one of those rare individuals who has strong principles and stands for them. One thing he will stand against is racism. So, he said he was going to show up that day to teach his class. Things at Evergreen State College had been bad for awhile, but they got worse. The police chief ended up telling Bret that not only could they not protect him on campus, they couldn't protect him off campus either. Some of the students were hunting him down at one point. Weinstein's testimony to U.S. Congress about the riots and this three-part documentary are good examples of how bad it has become. (I would not be surprised if Youtube bans these at some point in the near future.)

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Bret Weinstein Testifies to Congress on The Evergreen State College riots, Free Speech & Safe Spaces
https://youtu.be/uRIKJCKWla4

PART ONE: Bret Weinstein, Heather Heying & the Evergreen Equity Council
https://youtu.be/FH2WeWgcSMk

PART TWO: Teaching to Transgress
https://youtu.be/A0W9QbkX8Cs

PART THREE: The Hunted Individual
https://youtu.be/2vyBLCqyUes

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Here's the personal moral question. If you saw the Nazi political movement when it was small and growing, would you just ignore it? If the Soviets asked you to keep your mouth shut, would you? Would you just keep your head down and hope that these people don't turn their attention on you?

The problem with keeping your head down when the society is being destroyed is that it will get to you at some point, probably sooner than you would like. The longer that it grows without people speaking up then the more powerful and dangerous it becomes.

The Nazis are a perfect comparison to this movement. Identity politics was exactly what their program was about. They used intimidation, threats, and violence to first silence their opposition through self-censorship. Then, when they gained power because of that silence they were able to use more intimidation, threats, and violence to take identity politics and racism to the logical end.

The equity movement is using the same means to the same ends: intimidation, threats, and violence to enforce silence and gain power.

I've read and thought about the Nazis and the Soviets quite a lot. They are such clear examples of evil. I've often wondered if I would be able to stand up to intimidation from evil people. Would I speak the truth or would I remain silent? Everyone likes to think that they would have fought the Nazis. Surely they wouldn't have complied, they're good people. But, in reality, almost everyone complied. Almost everyone was silent.

It's only reasonable to be afraid of these equity/social justice warrior/anti-racist racists because they advocate threats, intimidation, and violence, but I couldn't allow myself to be one of the people that saw the rise of evil and remained silent.

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You can find more of what I'm doing at http://www.JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

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