As soon as the verdict was delivered in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, MSNBC and like-minded news outlets pushed a consensus summarized most succinctly by Colin Kaepernick: “We just witnessed a system built on white supremacy validate the terroristic acts of a white supremacist.”
In a segment representative of MSNBC, host Tiffany Cross on Saturday called Rittenhouse “this little murderous white supremacist” and said that it was disgusting to see “white supremacists” in Congress celebrate Rittenhouse.
When Cross asked “What are we to make of” the celebration of Rittenhouse by “white supremacists” in Congress, her guest, Elie Mystal, responded, “Welcome to the modern Republican party. This is what these people want, and this is what a majority of White people vote for.”
It may seem illogical to cast Rittenhouse and his defenders as white supremacists, seeing as he shot three white men. But Kaepernick, Cross, and Mystal have an ideological conviction behind their words. To them, to be white is to be inherently privileged over people of color, and unless a white person actively combats that privilege through anti-racism, they are white supremacists.
Rittenhouse, they believe, positioned himself on the other side of the Black Lives Matter movement, making him and anyone who defends him a white supremacist. For example, MSNBC columnist Ja’han Jones on Friday attributed guilt to Rittenhouse because he “set out to patrol pro-Black protests.”
That’s why President Joe Biden won’t back down from calling Rittenhouse a white supremacist. When asked by Fox News’ Peter Doocy whether or not Biden would apologize for the statement, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “The president believes in condemning hatred, division, and violence.”
This is nothing new. For years, people who distance themselves from the Black Lives Matter movement or critical race theory have been labeled racists and white supremacists. The logic comes from the conclusion of Ibram X. Kendi’s book, How to Be an Antiracist: “One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist.” Translation: you’re either all in on the project to make race the defining feature of society and to use all means possible to break down structures of white privilege, or you’re a racist. And similarly, Kendi later says, “The claim of ‘not racist’ neutrality is a mask for racism.”
CNN’s Brianna Keilar attributed Youngkin’s win to “dog-whistle racism.” MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace said that “critical race theory, which isn’t real, turned the suburbs 15 points to the Trump-insurrection endorsed Republican.” And Joy Reid of MSNBC said that “education” is “code for white parents don’t like the idea of teaching about race.”
There have also been efforts by leftists and the media to link all Trump supporters with white supremacy. In October, it was reported that the education company founded by Attorney General Merrick Garland’s son-in-law had issued a resource which said that “the Ku Klux Klan and MAGAs at half-empty Trump rallies” are “examples of white supremacy.”
And Google’s diversity, equity, and inclusion lead issued an internal document made public in September which said that “Make America Great Again,” “Colorblindness,” “Bootstrap Theory,” “Celebration of Columbus Day,” “Exceptionalism,” and “Meritocracy Myth” are examples of “covert white supremacy.”
Trump and his supporters are white supremacists, Garland’s son-in-law and Google’s executives believe, because they don’t support the anti-racist ideology. During the 2020 presidential campaign, the media similarly melted down over Trump’s supposed racism because he issued an order banning critical race theory trainings in federal agencies. For example, Eugene Robinson argued in the Washington Post that the order demonstrated that Trump was “running the most openly racist national campaign since that of George Wallace in 1968.” (READ MORE: Rittenhouse, Racism, and Gun Control)
The irony in all of this is that the real racists are the people who advocate anti-racism. Anti-racism makes race the defining characteristic of a person, discounts the value of people of the supposedly privileged race, encourages racial hysteria and obsession, and perpetuates the belief that people of one race are inherently racist. The people truly fighting racism are the Virginians who voted to keep racial obsession out of their schools and the parents who attend school-board meetings to stop critical race theory.
While today Kyle Rittenhouse is labeled a white supremacist by the likes of Nikole Hannah-Jones and Missouri Rep. Cori Bush, tomorrow it will be any average person who is not allied with the likes of Ibram X. Kendi. But “white supremacist” won’t mean what they say it means: the only racism comes from those uttering the slur.
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