Caucasian culture has become academia’s boogeyman du jour.
“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.”
Those were the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963, words that have become so entwined into the American fabric that they are among the most memorable ever uttered in a country itself built on brave oratory.
Yet despite its gravity and relevance to this country’s Civil Rights struggle, King’s dream is being increasingly ignored by a more modern, and more militant, “equality” movement.
The Reverend’s once-iconic message of tolerance has been eclipsed by a narrative that more closely mirrors that which King so visibly fought against; one that judges others not by their character, but rather by the color of their skin.
Across the country, particularly in higher education and the arts, the concept of “whiteness” is becoming a one-size-fits-all scapegoat for society’s ills, a universal punching bag for the misdirected anger and confusion of indoctrinated youths. Demonizing America’s largest demographic has become acceptable, in vogue even, at institutions tasked with molding the minds of up-and-coming citizens and that, ironically, claim tolerance as their highest ideal.
From Hunter College’s “Abolition of Whiteness” to Yale University’s “Constructions of Whiteness” to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s “The Problem of Whiteness,” college campuses from coast to coast are promulgating the idea that white culture is, at its root, inherently evil.
It’s a fine scheme, and one that has been tried before. For the current anti-white zealotry is merely another ill-disguised ploy to institute socialist policies under the camouflage of racial righteousness.
Given academia’s unapologetic affinity for socialism and the fact that black liberation’s relationship with Communism goes back nearly a century, the attempt to use race as a Trojan Horse by today’s far left should come as no surprise.
Just as Communists and socialists have sought to divide Americans in the past, particularly via Russian support of the “peace” and “nuclear freeze” movements, the current crusade to demonize the pale seeks to do the same.
And it is only the latest evolution of socialism’s obsession with race as a means to combat capitalism.
Used to be the boogeyman was the more confined “white privilege,” a rhetorically milder form of hatred predicated on the idea that white skin in itself wasn’t necessarily evil, but rather it bestowed on society’s Caucasians a sort of intangible magic that made navigating life’s complex straits little more than a walk in the park.
The very act of being born white was a first-class ticket to prosperity; those born with shades of yellow, brown, green, or red skin faced a lifetime under the thumb of a system built by whites for whites. Among the numerous blessings bestowed upon whites by the privilege gods: white flesh-colored Band-Aids for cuts and access to travel-sized shampoo bottles.
Such simplification, of course, bears little resemblance to reality.
The ancestors to today’s white Americans likely felt little privilege as they stepped off the boat at Ellis Island, and certainly the nearly 20 percent of impoverished Appalachia (4 percent above the national average) feel excluded from such a birthright. Even today, there are more white children in poverty than any other demographic in America (while whites represent the largest domestic population, such a statistic does little to reinforce the idea of systemic minority oppression).
On the flip side it’s unlikely that Filipino and Indian Americans, who enjoy a poverty rate less than half that of the national average, feel victimized.
Nevertheless, the left’s reliance on identity politics and its stranglehold on academia have concocted a fine myth worthy of a Bulfinch’s volume. Such idol worship has empowered the most left-leaning academic departments to attempt to erase Caucasian influence from college curricula. Their reasoning: Western colleges are dominated by, well, Western thinkers.
Even if such claims have merit, teaching up-and-coming citizens the very principles upon which their society is based isn’t racist, it’s common sense. America’s legal and cultural foundations are the result of centuries of Western thought and trial and error, not African or Asian.
None of this is to say that other cultures shouldn’t be studied, but rather that the idea that American students should focus more on the Bhagavad Gita than the Magna Carta is so absurd that only Che Guevara’s acolytes in higher ed could think it sane or just.
But America’s ivory tower was hijacked by revisionists long ago, and “education” has become a four-letter-word.
There are currently concerted efforts underway to eliminate such works as To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, among others, from college reading lists due to language that is considered unsavory today.
Demanding that statues of Confederate generals be removed is one thing; censoring classic works of literature that genuinely depict the culture of their time is quite another. In fact, it’s nothing less than a 1984-esque attempt at censoring history.
Such tactics, not surprisingly, bear an eerie resemblance to the Communist heroes of yesteryear. Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge famously restarted history with its “Year Zero” proclamation, and Fidel Castro was fond of deleting the achievements of his detractors.
The left, it seems, is wholly incapable of learning from history, be it foreign or domestic. Current anti-whiteness zeal is such that segregation, that great dragon slayed by King and his cohorts, is stirring once again.
From “people of color only” roommate ads to no-whites allowed retreats to entire days in which faculty and white students and encouraged to avoid the college campuses where they teach and attend classes, the condoned separation of whites and people of color is rapidly becoming normalized.
Such policies are simply incompatible with a free and tolerant society, a point that just a few years ago was a universal rallying cry for a more sober equality movement.
But justice has taken a back seat to revenge, and the mob has been mobilized.
In the mob’s defense the alleged justification for the current anti-white angst, namely slavery, was an unimaginable horror for which America should be gravely ashamed.
Few, if any, of her scars are quite as gruesome, and the past’s horrid commerce continues to play a role in the economic plight of African Americans and, to some extent, Latinos and Asians.
Yet slavery was never a solely American, or even Anglo, enterprise. Rather, it’s been a worldly one that has haunted humanity since mankind’s first forays into civilization, and its victims represent every color of the rainbow; by some estimates more than 1 million Europeans were sold into slavery in North Africa.
And it was white Christians who led the resistance to human servitude, a fact inconvenient to the far left’s efforts to fundamentally divide and transform America.
Efforts that now infiltrate every nook and cranny of the American educational experience.
Consider Edina, Minnesota, where the district’s curriculum focuses primarily on social justice and white privilege, in some cases as early as kindergarten. Edina’s “racial equity” effort was the focus of a report at the Weekly Standard, which documented the district’s predictable failure:
Math scores for black students in 11th grade at Edina Senior High dropped from 31 percent proficiency in 2014 to 14.6 percent in 2017. In reading, scores for black students in 10th grade at Edina Senior High dropped from 51.7 percent proficiency in 2014 to 40 percent in 2017.
As one Edina student’s father, Orlando Flores, put it: “relentlessly obsessing about race — pretending it’s the only thing that matters — is counterproductive and harmful to everyone.”
None of this is to say that white Americans today are persecuted as severely as their earlier African-American brethren. Such a claim would be laughable.
But if America is truly a melting pot, then “whiteness,” whatever that means, is a major ingredient. It should be celebrated and criticized appropriately, not damned across the board for the sake of social justice and the advancement of an economic philosophy that has proven a massive historical failure.
Like it or not, the Founding Fathers were white, as were many of the people who built this country. To be clear African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and others also played huge roles that should likewise not be unfairly criticized or erased.
And if Dr. King taught us anything it’s that no child should be indoctrinated to believe their skin color affects their self-worth. Rather, it’s their character that counts.
Elvert Barnes/Creative Commons