Wednesday, June 23, 2021

White Wokeness Patronizes People of Color

It feels charitable to call them the gang that couldn’t think straight. It seems more accurate to say that they are the gang that can’t think at all. Funnily enough, it does not seem to matter. In the world of condescension, it will certainly count as a seminal moment-- writers who can’t write and who can’t think are being showered with praise. They are effectively being lied to, the better to pay them off, often with cash and rewards. In time, things will return to normal and the rest of us will go back to ignoring them.

The point is clear enough. People like Ibram X. Kendi and Ta-Nehisi are being patronized. They are being lionized, not for having contributed anything significant to the national conversation, but for their race.

At the least, as John Murawski writes for RealClearInvestigations, the discourse of wokery is filled with thought that does not qualify as thought. (via Maggie’s Farm) It is crooked. It makes no sense. It is riddled with contradictions. Yet, to the woke white mind this seems to represent the best that blacks can do-- as I said, it is grossly patronizing and demeaning. 

Take this example, offered by Murawski:

In Ibram X. Kendi’s best-selling book, “How to Be an Antiracist,” the celebrity professor writes that cultural relativism is “the essence of cultural antiracism. To be antiracist is to see all cultures in all their differences as on the same level, as equals.”

Taken literally, Kendi’s dictum would mean that the antiracist culture he envisions is no better than the racist culture he blames for racial disparities in health, wealth, education and other measures. Yet it’s impossible to read Kendi’s work as anything but a critique of racist culture, and by extension, gun culture, rape culture and consumer culture.

Kendi is a great culture hero these days. His books sell in the millions. The United States Navy has recommended his book to sailors. And yet, the sentence quoted would not pass muster in a Freshman composition class. It is both illiterate and ignorant. Keep in mind, it was edited. Imagine what it was like before it was edited. The nightmares will keep you up at night.

And Murawski is quite right to point out that if all cultures are equal-- so much for the clash of civilizations; so much for competition between cultures and between political economic systems-- then a racist culture must be equal to a non-racist culture. 

Sadly for him, Kendi seems to believe that all people are equal in all ways. 

And that all cultures are equal in all ways. James Madison warned against such a misreading. Martin Luther King warned against it. Kendi does not care. Either his readers are so stupid that they believe whatever he says, or they are patronizing him, praising him for no good reason but to placate his fragile and frail ego.

That is, to avoid hurting his feelings. We would not want to trigger someone who is obviously very thin skinned, who lacks confidence, who probably suspects that he is conning us, even though he holds a chair at Boston University. 

And then there is also the much praised Ta-Nihisi Coates, another purveyor of what Shakespeare called-- sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Murawsky explains the Coates contradiction when it comes to gentrification:

The famed antiracist writer Ta-Nehisi Coates has described gentrification as a crime, and others have denounced whites moving into black neighborhoods as ethnic cleansing, colonization and genocide.

Yet the reverse of gentrification—white flight from increasingly black neighborhoods—is also deemed a racist reflex by some, Coates among them, because it abandons once thriving schools and communities to neglect and disrepair. Hence the paradox: Condemning gentrification and white flight seems to leave no room for movement in any direction, inducing a moral paralysis.

Gentrification is a crime. White flight is a crime. If you are white, whatever you do is a crime. Because Coates, who does not know how to think, is reduced to name-calling, slander and defamation. If you are white, you are a racist, no matter what you do. So, you should not do anything but should undergo some serious therapy to rid our minds of our sinful thoughts and feelings. Disengage from reality and get lost in your mind. In the meantime buy his books, lots of them.

The problem is more acute than we think. When companies make decisions about who to hire or fire; when people make decisions about who to invite to the dinner party, one’s ability to think straight and to speak clearly counts. When you tell people who are barely literate that they are great geniuses, you are telling them that they do not need to improve their thinking or their language. And then when they are not hired, are not respected or invited, they will feel that you have lied to them. Surely, they are not going to be happy.

Obviously, when black people are called out for logical inconsistencies, they insist that logic is a function of white privilege, or some such. Some thinkers have even decided that if blacks do poorly at math the only reason must be that math was invented by white people to oppress people of color.

No one really believes this. One would like to think that no one believes a word of it. And yet, in place of enhancing educational programs that allow children of color to excel, they would prefer to side with the illiberal forces that have dumbed down the educational system and that refuse to support the charter schools that offer these children a chance. 

As you know, American corporations are all-in with hiring new employees and brain-dead consultants to show the white staff how to understand black experience, or some such. They want everyone to hear from people who have diverse viewpoints. That this practice is completely flawed has not crossed anyone’s mind:

In the antiracist consulting world, it is a truth universally acknowledged that organizations should hire people of color to promote diverse viewpoints and insights from those employees.

But according to materials from The Walt Disney Co., recently leaked to City Journal, there is a limit on exploiting black wisdom. “Do not rely on your Black colleagues to educate you. This is emotionally taxing”; “Do not call on your Black colleagues to represent the voice of their community”; and “Be aware of tokenism, when Black professionals are expected to be representative for their entire race.”

Critical race theorist andré douglas pond cummings (who writes his name in lowercase letters), said this is actually sound advice for an organization that has hired one or two token black employees. The problem of tokenization disappears when organizations have true diversity with many black colleagues representing multiple black perspectives, said cummings, a business law professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock who has taught courses on corporate justice and “Hip-Hop & the American Constitution.”

What is the conundrum here? What about hiring people to do a job? Aren’t these corporations saying that they are hiring black staff that cannot do the job, that cannot contribute to the bottom line, but who can only amuse the rest of the team by recounting how badly they feel about being mistreated? At the very least, blacks who are hired to testify about black experience are being marginalized. They are being identified according to race. They are not being given the chance to earn their way.


Sam L. said...

What comes to mind is a lyric: "Hey, hey, what's that sound; everybody knows what's goin' round", which I am not remembering or finding the rest of that song.

Anonymous said...

That would be For What It's Worth by Buffalo Springfield, 1967. Written and sung by Stephen Stills.

IamDevo said...

"If you are white, whatever you do is a crime." Bingo! CRT in a nutshell, or if you prefer, "CRT for Dummies." This is the Rosetta Stone of woke, "anti-racist" philosophy.

Sam L. said...

"Some thinkers have even decided that if blacks do poorly at math the only reason must be that math was invented by white people to oppress people of color.

No one really believes this." How about Black racists?? (There must be some.)