This is an excellent read. The following is from the article.
“In the critical social justice paradigm, Jews, who have never been seen as white by those for whom being white is a moral good, are now seen as white by those for whom whiteness is an unmitigated evil.”
Another language difference between conservatives and progressives is the distinction between “discrimination” and “racism.” The way many progressives use the words, people of all walks of life can be discriminated against. It may happen more or less to different groups of people but it can happen to anyone and it is a bad thing whenever it happens. On the other hand, racism is when society discriminates; think Apartheid. The statement “Only whites can be racist” is pointing out that in the USA (and in much of, though not all of the rest of the world), people of color don’t have… Read more »
Basically you’re arguing for a REDEFINITION of the word “racism”. It might be handy to have a term which means hatred backed by society – but we don’t yet have one, and for me, I don’t accept your redefinition of “racism”, period. For me, racism means any persistent hatred of others based on perceived or attributed characteristics (such as skin color) by individuals in one subgroup of society against another, or others. A good example of this would be the Rwandan genocide. Two different black ethnic groups shared power in that unfortunate land, and then one group decided to slaughter… Read more »
There’s no law that says that you must (or even should) use the word “racism” the way I do. I point out the difference only in the hopes that by translating between our languages, a better understanding can be achieved.
I believe that we are in complete agreement: what you call “racism” and what I call “discrimination” are bad regardless of what we call it.
It’s not really a “redefinition” except for White folks – Lee’s definition of “racism” has been used by Black folks and, I assume, other folks of color, for decades, if not centuries. Presumably if more Black folks were dictionary writers, this would be a common dictionary definition of “racism.”
I wholeheartedly agree.
Perhaps we should say racism does not necessarily involve “hatred” but only words or actions based on rejection of the belief that all individuals in a given society, should have the same rights and responsibilities and be treated with the same respect regardless of their racial backgrounds?
Another language difference between conservatives and progressives is “Critical Race Theory.” Conservatives have heard all about it from conservative sources and there is an immediate dog-whistle effect. Very few progressives know what it is. I am sure you can find some progressive who supports Critical Race Theory and has said something stupid too. However, you should know that this is the exception not the rule. If the goal is to rouse the conservative base then beating on Critical Race Theory is the way to go. If the goal is to change minds, then you will get mostly blank stares in… Read more »
Labels are often best omitted though we all tend to retreat to them in particular cirumstances. I’m a JFK, Eugene McCarthy classical liberal from the 1960s, and have seen an awful lot of redefinition of labels over the years. But I am certainly neither a bona fide “conservative” nor a bona fide “progressive.” Critical Race Theory is a real highly ideological set of ideas, and in recent years, as a matter of tactics, its proponents have been tending to merely promote the ideas without using the label. They are widely approved by the the K-12 and higher education establishments in… Read more »
Yes, a lot of bad stuff has happened to a lot of people. Sometimes it is individual tragedies and sometimes it has to do with the demographics of the victims. I empathize with those who are suffering regardless of this distinction. Sometimes it helps to note the distinction between the past and the present. One measure that is used in the present is whether a particular demographic group is doing as well economically as the average. Unless you think it is nature (e.g., genetics cause certain groups to underperform economically), the conclusion is that it must be nurture. Something about… Read more »
Scholars of all races acknowledge that the “Something in society” doing much of the damage, especially in the black community, is very bad parenting, including child abandonment.
My impression is that persons calling themselves “anti-racist” feel no obligation to address that issue in a serious way. Instead they add to the burden borne and felt by, e.g. fatherless children, by emotionally abusing them in making them think that “the system” and all or most whites are “white supremacists” or “racists.” And so we reap the whirlwind.
So you’re saying that what’s damaging our society are largely due to “very bad parenting” “in the black community” according to “scholars of all races.” Those myths were disproven long ago. Why are you perpetuating them?
Not at all. But large numbers of black sociologists and economists in particular (and many others) are in strong agreement it is a major factor. Start checking out the bibliography offered in my earlier comment. It is disconcerting to me how many UUs are so dismissive of so much black scholarship. Provide me with unlimited lobster, and I’ll travel 3000 miles to lead a retreat at Star Island!
There are many oppressed people who are not under the umbrella of the current push to end hatred. Women, children and Indigenous people come immediately to mind.
The fact that the current anti-racism efforts don’t address all oppressed people doesn’t bother me. We have to chip away at the white male Christian Anglo-Saxon edifice somehow. I hope that awareness of the humanity in all people, an appreciation of our shared struggle and love for the world will one day prevail.
Sure, I absolutely agree. However, what concerns me is: to what extent are examples of bad anti-racism education being used to discredit anti-racism education in general? In the initial article, the author’s focus was not simply on fighting anti-Semitism but to discredit anti-racism education more broadly. For example, the author takes issue with anti-racist education’s criticism of the statement “We’re all one race – the human race.” Of course context matters, but typically I hear that statement used by White people to minimize the reality of racism that negatively affects people of color. Explaining how its use could be kinda… Read more »
David, I must spend more time around White racists than you!
Sure. Context is important. If a Black woman was telling me about discrimination she faced as a Black woman and I responded by saying, “I don’t see race. We’re all one race – the human race,” the context and meaning would be very different than a Black woman in the 1950s saying the exact same thing while advocating for integrated schooling.
Thank you for your thoughtful comments, lifting up these other demographics. The matter bears on our current discussion in UUA about the Eighth Principle, which mentions racism explicitly, and then provides for “other” areas of concern. Taking a systems view of systemic injustice, I see race as part of a larger universe of injustice. (See Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson and The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.) I had my concerns about the proposed Eighth Principle as stated, but I am now thinking that it is probably better to have an Eighth Principle with room for improvement than the alternative… Read more »
Of course, Teresa, as a “Dr” you will know that it was that particular “edifice” that was primarily responsible for the elimination of slavery, at least in the “white” parts of the world, and for passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in the U.S.
But “chip away” at the white beasts of your imagination. If any break there are lots of politically invigorated anti-Marxist old and new immigrants from Asia rising to take their place.
Stuart, why would you say “as a Dr’ to Theresa? I’m curious about the purpose of those quotation marks you’ve used around someone’s professional title.
Her recourse to the overused “toxic white male” trope seemed worth countering in a mild way, and also suggests she is poorly informed on these issues. I also an a “Dr.” (in the environmental sciences) but regard it as unethical to imply that anything other than the accuracy of my facts or logic should carry any weight with anyone.
Stuart Hurlbert wrote, “I also an a ‘Dr.’” Yes, I see your CV at SDSU. Claiming that someone who is expressing an opinion you wish to counter is “poorly informed” does not strike me as an intellectually honest way to make a point. And claiming that “white male Christian Anglo-Saxon edifice” was “primarily responsible” for the elimination of slavery and “for passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in the U.S.” is a breathtaking way of describing US history. Is this “accuracy of facts”, or “logic”? Also, what is your intention in your reference to “immigrants from Asia rising” supposed… Read more »
This is a good companion piece.
I see criticism of anti-racism work. I’d like to ask you, Frank: how do you work against racism and anti-Blackness in your day-to-day life?
For sure, anti-Semitism is real and is a serious problem and we under-estimate it at our peril. To be completely honest, what I sense here is not a concern about anti-Semitism, but a concern about anti-racism work. Because, on this website, I see lots of criticisms of anti-racism work, but only one article about anti-Semitism, and that article is within the context of criticizing anti-racism work. I would like to ask Frank again how he works against racism and anti-Blackness in his day-to-day life?
In everyday life? By voting, supporting education, homelessness, poverty, and constantly working towards better laws. However, one encounters bias and discrimination in many areas. Above article is about Jews. What about Appalachians, rural populations in general. Except for the Jews the intersection is poverty (basic income to sustain a level of dignity). In the last 200 years (Enlightenment again) worldwide poverty reduced from 90+ down to about 15-20%. This lower threshold appears to be difficult to budge down. The primary reason seems to be simple demographics. Meritocracy is actually not new to humanity. If one has bad eyesight or a… Read more »
Very cogently stated, Chuck. Ibram Kendi tells that if we don’t declare ourselves “anti-racist” as he defines it, then we are “racist”. So I suppose this generalizes. I must be “sexist” because I have no “anti-sexist” manifesto or project to proclaim. Kendi, perhaps reflecting his evangelical (I believe) upbringing and belief in original sin, operates on a presumption of guilt. It is quite amazing that a denomination noted for the high level of education (or at least years in school!) of its members has been receptive to this deceptive and damaging rhetoric. Maybe I shouldn’t have dropped out when I… Read more »
This doesn’t sound at all like Kendi’s work to me. He urges us to resist “racist” as a blanket term for ourselves and others, instead noting that in one moment a person may do something racist, in another something anti-racist.
Could you cite the passage you’re referring to?
Did you see my question?
Thank you, Frank, for lifting up the voice of Christopher F. Rufo, founder and director of Battlefront, whose speech at Hillsdale College was published in their house organ Imprimis. However, I do not think his opining contributes much to a discussion of what anti-racism should be.
Instead, he is carrying water for the reactionaries that run Hillsdale. And recruiting support for his own revenue stream. He self-identifies as an investigative journalist. In the final analysis, he possesses little intellectual or moral authority that I can see.
Thanks Arthur. I will look into it. But if you have links that will help I’d certainly appreciate it.
Christopher F. Rufo Hope you find this helpful.
Yes, excellent selection, Frank. Here’s an 18min Rufo video that just went up a week ago:
Critical Race Theory (18min video), Christopher Rufo, ChristopherRufo.com, June 14, 2021
I believe Tom Clowes is making an important point. Is the piece’s author (and also 5PP) truly concerned about anti-Semitism. Or simply “concern trolling” as a way to attack social justice activism? This is a fair and important question. One can find numerous articles by conservative pundits attacking Black Lives Matter, Palestinian rights activists, and Democrats in general as being “anti-Semitic,” while giving a total pass to the Charlottesville demonstrators chanting “Jews will not replace us.” So it’s totally fair to call for clarification. This piece is far more slickly written than most. But its editor, Bret Stevens–while not a… Read more »
My problem here is that you criticize people and not their ideas. While I don’t often agree with Bret Stephens, I always consider what he writes/says and evaluate those ideas on the merit of his arguments.
I don’t see that my previous question got answered or addressed. I understand. There’s a lot going on. While we wait, though, I have another article that’s an easy read–not too time consuming. https://www.salon.com/2021/06/15/why-the-panic-over-critical-race-theory-is-the-perfect-right-wing-troll/?fbclid=IwAR1P8CXUpf0zcKw8k9TeFxip5318cUqP2uwd-CUf1sSSfdbqIuJtSnOawfo And another question, which comes from the article: “What can liberals do to fight back against the spread of conspiracy theories about ‘critical race theory’ that misrepresent both what critical race theory is and what is actually being taught in public schools?” Mister Kiskel, would it be possible for you to address that–either answer it or explain how the “conspiracy theories” are not conspiracy theories. Which… Read more »
On the website of Californians for Equal Rights there is a 300+ item bibliography of online resources on this issue that support the California Constitution and the 1964 Civil Rights Act and opposes “identity politics” and “cultural Marxism” in all their guises. Check out:
The Deceptions of “Systemic Racism,” “Antiracism”, and “Critical Race Theory”
A compilation of online resources on the ongoing unpleasant dumbing down and racialization of society. Please help get this resource in the hands of more people!
A 50% expansion of this bibliography will be up soon.
I came here with a serious desire to understand what Critical Race Theory was and why it was being lifted up as an issue germane to the UUA.
But instead I find the backers of Californians for Equal Rights using this website to publicize their program to repeal Californias Proposition 209, which was on the ballot in the November 2020 election.
I do not think that this political campaign has any connection to a discussion of UU’s Fifth Principle. And does candidate for UUA board Jay Kiskel consider opposition to Critical Race Theory to be germane to the Fifth Principle?
I read this and was profoundly unimpressed. To take just one example of many, what is anti-Semitic about the question, “How did Jews become white,” or the assertion, “Jews are white”? I’m Jewish, I never considered myself any “race” but white, and I am fascinated by exactly this question. My great-grandparents were part of the influx of the Jewish, Eastern European “teeming masses,” considered vermin in the Old Country and oftentimes in the United States upon their arrival. How did we move from that status to one of being generally regarded, and to regard ourselves, as white? Would the author… Read more »
Thanks, David. See, this is fascinating stuff. Admission to whiteness is a loaded issue, for sure. I was raised to be proud that Jews, generally wealthier and at less risk of discrimination than African-Americans (at least where my family lived and in my parents’ lines of work), voted almost down the line for the same candidates as African-Americans did. Part of this was a sense (however simplistic and incorrect–I was just a kid) that we were refusing to side with the oppressors, what I would call today declining our white privilege). The author’s knee-jerk opposition to any exploration of where… Read more »
Two things. First, you clearly have not understood the article that you now claim is posted here just to “play you,” or to “enlist the enmity of Jews.” That’s not only ridiculous, but incendiary, smacking of an accusation of anti-Semitism on the part of 5PP when the clear agenda of the article is exactly the opposite. Which leads to the second thing. I think you have failed to understand the article because you’re trying hard to twist it into something it is clearly not.
I should be specific. I agree with some of Paretsky’s article, and I haven’t read White Fragility so I won’t judge her assessment of that book. However, here are some of the problems I have with the article. (This is so long that I should post it on my own blog. But if you are willing to bear with me, I think I answer your concerns.) “You wonder whether it’s a microaggression to deny being antisemitic. You look on the list for examples of microaggressions against Jews. There aren’t any.” It is true that there are no examples of… Read more »
Yes, this is long. Reply forthcoming.
No, I’m done after reading your (quite aggressive) response about anonymity. I talk to anonymous people on the net all the time, but when I’m on a site about my religion and the community in which I have my vocation, that’s not okay with me. Take care.
Which explains your long reply. Goodbye.
Well, I don’t particularly imagine them, and I certainly wouldn’t imagine conspiracy no matter how bad I thought their intentions (conspiracy to do what, exactly?!), but it is a bit hard to share your confidence when I don’t know to whom I’m talking. My name is Amy Zucker Morgenstern; AFAIK I am the only person on the planet by that name; and by using it, you can find my blog, my employer’s website, etc. From there you can quickly learn the following facts, but I’ll tell you anyway: I’m a Unitarian Universalist minister, a parent, a wife, a left-wing activist,… Read more »
I administer this page. Until rather recently, that is all I did pretty much. But as of late, my role has morphed into defending the integrity of the Fifth Principle Project, its founders, and if need be, its supporters. You posted something that called on that role and I responded to it. You don’t have to reply to my posts. But when you make the kind of insinuation you did, you will hear from me. That is all you need to know.