These are some interesting times we’re living in. We’ve swung from one extreme to another. Newton’s Third Law of Motion says that for every action there is a reaction, equal in force, opposite in direction. I reckon that’s what we’ve got: the actions of the former administration and his supporters created this reaction in the current administration and its followers. There is one difference, however, and that’s the fact that Joe Biden is an establishment man. He is not truly the opposite of Trump, it’s just that his popular supporters are the opposite of Trump supporters. His puppet masters are those from the Bush/Clinton Dynasty (which includes Obama). They pander to public emotion while, behind the scenes, doing the bidding of the oligarchy. Only one paragraph in and I’ve already gone off topic!
Today’s topic is about the idea of “antiracism,” a term popularized (and possibly coined) by Ibram X Kendi in his book How to Be An Antiracist. In this work, Ibram posits that the only way to not be racist is to actively be antiracist. In order to be antiracist, one must do things, take actions, which attack all things that he deems to be racist.
I read Ibram’s book several moons ago at the recommendation of a would-be friend with an epic beard, which brings me closer to the topic du jour. Mr. Epic Beard, Esquire, has recently landed himself in some hot water for using his influential media platforms to allegedly accuse another Howard County resident of being a racist bigot. The latter is now fighting back in a court with a defamation lawsuit. I find it a shame on all accounts, but I don’t plan to take a side in the argument, as I honestly do not know all of the facts.
My guess is that the plaintiff in the lawsuit has said or done things in the past which ran contrary to Mr. Kendi’s views, and Mr. Epic Beard was motivated to act. Since Mr. Epic Beard has read How to be an Antiracist, he knows that anything that is not promoting Mr. Kendi’s vision of the ideal political system is racist. So, Mr. Epic Beard was merely being a good disciple and following the orders of Mr. Kendi. I imagine it to be a lot like how those people from the Districts stormed the Capitol, listening to the calls of Mr. Trump.
In the latter half of Mr. Kendi’s book, he pushes for socialism, something that the Black Panthers also fought for. There is a new movie out now called Judas and the Black Messiah, which is an entertaining film about Fred Hamptom, the chairman of the Chicago Black Panthers, who was, it seems, murdered in his bed during a law enforcement raid. The movie takes some liberties with its assertions about the motives of the other side, along with glorification of socialism. That said, I did enjoy the film for its artist meaning and the story it told of a man who was simply fighting for what he thought was right. Daniel Kaluuyah did an excellent job playing Hampton. Anyway, Mr. Kendi’s book suggests that capitalism, as he defines it to be, is inherently a racist system. We know that to not be racist one must actively be antiracist, so one must then be anticapitalist. Based on his logic, all of those who support capitalism, as he defines it, are racist.
If it was indeed this line of thinking that Mr. Epic Beard was following, then I feel a bit sorry for him. He was led, like a little boy in the town of Hamelin, by the Pied Piper of Anti-Racism. He was told that he must do and say these things, otherwise he, too, would be racist. Mr. Epic Beard does not want to be a racist, so he read the book. If you don’t read the book, love it, recommend it to friends, and then accuse those who don’t read it of being racist, then you, too, in Mr. Kendi’s definition, are a racist. Such a genius model for selling books!
The Department of the Navy, not wanting to be racist, has recently updated its reading list. Appearing on the list of must reads is Mr. Kendi’s work (https://freebeacon.com/national-security/navy-reading-list-includes-anti-racism-book-for-sailors/). It won’t be long before it is mandatory reading in Howard County Schools, replacing the works of that evil Dr. Seuss. Instead of Green Eggs and Ham, “How to Be an Anti-Racist” will be read allowed to little children while they sit in a circle, criss-cross applesauce. They won’t know what any of it means, but they’ll certainly leave the circle with feelings. The white children will leave with shame, the black children will leave with resentment, or perhaps anger. I’m not sure if this is the best way to be anti-racist.
I recently saw a piece of press about Mr. John Brennan, a former CIA Director, who said that he is, “increasingly embarrassed to be a white man.” (https://nypost.com/2021/03/02/ex-cia-chief-john-brennan-embarrassed-to-be-a-white-man/) Somewhere, in there, he is suggesting that there is something inherently wrong with being a white man, two characteristics which are naturally assigned at birth and beyond the control of the bearer. This would seem to be a racist and sexist notion. Perhaps what he is really saying is that, deep down in his own heart, he has over his life been a racist misogynist. He then is simply assuming that others with a similar skin color and sex organs also feel the same way. Instead of taking responsibility for his own mental illness, he decided to include others, racially profiling and parroting the stereotype that whites, especially white men, are racist. I’m pretty sure this is not the most effective way to be anti-racist.
One of my favorite economist authors, Dr. Walter E. Williams, passed away recently. He was a professor at George Mason, and one of the greatest black scholars of our time. He had the courage to buck the trend of pandering, and instead spoke truth to power as he saw it. I’m currently working my way through his book Race & Economics, in which he tells the history of racism in economic policy, but it’s quite the opposite of what the establishment (Mr. Biden and his ilk) tell the masses. Take minimum wage, for example. He provides quotes from those politicians who pushed for minimum wage a century ago, when it was openly known and acknowledged that the minimum wage was designed to protect white laborers from black labor competition. The result of these policies, which people at the time knew would happen, was increased black unemployment. Today, of course, they spin it quite differently, claiming that increasing the minimum wage will help our poor youth; the reality is, instead, that it will provide greater job protection for unionized workers and hurt those on the outside (youth, unskilled labor, immigrant labor, and sometimes black labor). What does the establishment get in exchange? Inflation, it loves inflation. Minimum wage, it seems to me, is not an effectively antiracist tool.
Now that the pendulum has swung from one extreme to another, we also see the U.S. Department of Defense “addressing extremism in the ranks.” This is a reaction to the prior administration. I find this to be a scary precedent, as it suggests that “extremism,” in the current administration’s definition, is anything that supported previous policies. It seems that it is an overt attempt to silence all forms of dissent: you either agree with the party line, or your are a heretic. Just as Socrates was executed for “corrupting the youth” by asking questions, so too will anyone who questions this march of “antiracism.” If you support the idea of free markets, for example, you must be a racist. If you’re a racist then you are an extremist. If you are an extremist then you have no place the U.S. military.
But, if we are to accept this extremist witch-hunt as necessary and proper, wouldn’t that mean that every 4 to 8 years we might potentially need to redefine who the extremists are? It was only a few months ago when there were extremist hippies, hooligans, and soccer moms burning down cities and private businesses in the name of equity. Was that not a form of extremist dissent? If it was, then should we not have expelled all of yesterday’s extremists from the ranks of the military? Imagine, having nothing but Trumpians in the military when the Capitol was swarmed!! May the odds forever be in your favor, Speaker Pelosi!!! Not sure if this is a proper way to be an antiracist.
Labeling people who look, act, and think different as racists, extremists, and all other sorts of insulting names seems ineffective to me; it’s certainly not constructive. It further expands the divide. Wasn’t it Dr. King who said that he dreamed of a day when men would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin? Not that the he gets the final say, for he was not without his own demons, but I do believe this idea has merit. It seems to me that Mr. Epic Beard, Mr. John Brennan, and Mr. Ibram X Kendi are, instead of judging each person on his or her own merit, grouping them by class, gender, or race and stereotyping them. Is that what it is to be an anti-racist?
Mr. Kendi’s book will be read by many (notice that on Amazon it has more than 20,000 reviews), mostly whites who claim they’re trying to help us. Please, stop trying to help us! Like Marshall Mathers (also now facing cancel culture), we’re victims of Munchausen syndrome. For the majority of those many “helpers”, it will make them feel good, like earning a boy scout badge. They will wear this badge with honor. The badge will say, “Anti-Racist,” and they will be proud that they have done their part. They might also write “BLM” on their car windows. They will tell their friends about the book and, like a Prius driver, nod at passersby who acknowledge the “BLM” graffiti. This is how they will do their part. It’s how they will stop the spread of racism. They won’t fully understand Mr. Kendi’s position, nor will they understand history or economics well enough to critically analyze his points. Instead, they will subconsciously associate socialism with good and white men with evil. Perhaps, if Kendi has done everything right, they’ll be ready to pounce like, Sirhan Sirhan, when called upon to attack the target.
One thing that I would like to circle back to before closing is this: the FBI had been targeting Fred Hampton and the Black Panthers for their extremist, dissident ideology. This led to Mr. Thompson’s eventual assassination. It would seem that what was yesterday’s extremist ideology is today’s fashion. With this notion, I can’t help but belly laugh over the current administration’s plans to target extremists and the popular support he is getting for taking such anti-freedom actions. I don’t fault the Biden administration though, all administrations do it; remember when the Bush administration shamed anyone who didn’t support his adventures in Iraq?
Having said all of this, allow me to also say that life seems to be far easier if one just goes along to get along. It’s hard work fighting hypocrisy and irrational thought. As a independent thinker, my beliefs are often insulting to both sides of the political aisle. I’m well-hated by most people. This is why I take such long breaks between blogs these days. It zaps my energy…and I’m pretty sure that it gets me nowhere. Are we ever truly free to think and question? Probably not if we want to be anti-racist.