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Yesterday, I told you how schools are lowering educational standards in the name of fighting systemic racism.   Today, I delve more deeply into systemic racism as a theory.

As I wrote 11 years ago, “The bootstrapping quotient in structural racism advocacy is very high.  The fewer overt racist acts there are, the more systemic and subtle racism exists.  Denying you are racist means you are racist. When you don’t see yourself as manifesting racial problems, you are.  You can have racism without racists.  Color-blind thinking is racist. Unequal outcomes are intrinsically racist.  Disparities are ipso facto proof of racism, even when no proof of motive can be shown.  Refusing to acknowledge the existence of structural racism means the problem is worse than ever.  The fact that many people of color have succeeded in this country proves nothing and is to be ignored.  People of color who disagree with the Liberal-Left line on race, or who are not fixated on racial justice issues like their civil rights masters, suffer from internalized oppression.  Structural racism advocates must think that, if they sprinkle enough fairy dust, people will start to believe them.”


Unfortunately, people did start to believe them.  But there are several more reasons why that belief is misplaced.

First, systemic racism theory breaches the principle of individual responsibility.  We are no longer talking about proving discrimination or seeking justice in individual civil rights cases.  It dispenses with the need to prove racism as the cause of an act or disparity.  Instead, systemic racism indicts society as a whole without any proof.  It is original sin that need never be proven and can never be removed and, thus, its demands are never-ending.  But great mischief begins when you breach the principle of individual responsibility.  Like a liberal friend of mine once put it, ‘you want reparations, OK, but just wait for the counterclaim against all blacks for making inner cities unlivable.’  You might protest most blacks have nothing to do with inner city conditions and I will answer: you reap what you sow.  That’s what happens when you breach the principle of individual responsibility and trade, instead, in guilt by association.  Whites alive today had nothing to do with slavery or the Jim Crow laws that followed yet, under systemic racism theory, they are guilty by association, anyway.  To which I say what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.  Careful what you wish for.  The counterclaims are coming.

Second, systemic racism theory is coercive.  All disparities are racial at root, so public policy must be changed to coerce total equality of outcomes with respect to income, education, healthcare, and all other social indicators.  This is what the new-fangled word ‘equity’ really means.  Racial quotas for suburbs in the Obama administration.  Racial quotas for COVID treatments in the Biden administration.   Racial quotas so too many Asians don’t get into Harvard.  ‘Equity’ means forced equality of outcomes, not opportunity, and it’s pretty ugly.  Wrong direction.

Third, to the professional advocates, systemic racism is just a business.  A pretty good business, at that, if the net worth of race activist Ibram X. Kendi is any guide.  Start preaching the gospel of systemic racism, get some training gigs, and you, too, can become a millionaire.  Systemic racism theory pays and it pays very well.

Fourth, systemic racism theory is just a game; it’s not for real.  Eleven years ago I wrote, “The Left is misusing race under the banner of ‘systemic racism’ as a weapon to advance its collectivist, redistributionist agenda.”  I will add, today, that systemic racism theory is just club.  The Left will beat people over the head with it as long as the Left thinks it’s getting somewhere with it.  If it stops working, the Left will drop that club and pick up another club.  That’s what the Left does.  The issue is never the issue; the issue is always beating you over the head until you comply with their demands.

Finally, systemic racism theory is reductionalist.  It purports to explain everything.   It explains disparities in housing, education, and healthcare.  It explains the tax code.  It explains the road system.  It even explains why blacks don’t enjoy the great outdoors.  It purports to explain everything, and therefore explains nothing.   It reduces all of life, the entire universe, and the totality of the human condition down to one narrow factor – race.  It’s just a model and, like every other model, it fails to capture large pieces of reality.  Like every other model, it ignores other important factors and considerations.  Maybe some people don’t do well in life because of the bad choices they make.  There’s that pesky individual responsibility thing, again.

I was taught mostly by Marxists in college.   Just about every course had great heapings of Marxist class analysis in it – the bourgeoisie this, the proletariat that.  It explained all disparities.  It divided the world into oppressors and oppressed.  It became ubiquitous and was applied across the board.  Class analysis explained everything, according to my Marxist professors.  Systemic racism is the modern-day American equivalent of Marxist class analysis.  It explains all disparities.  It divides the world into oppressors and oppressed.    It has become ubiquitous and is being applied across the board.  It is invoked to explain everything, and therefore explains nothing.

Systemic racism theory is just as myopic and limiting as Marxist class analysis was.  Lenin couldn’t figure out why workers were patriotic and would fight for their own countries instead of uniting across borders for world revolution.  Marxist class analysis fails to account for workers who own stock.  Systemic racism theorists can’t explain why so many black people succeed as professionals, paid athletes, CEOs of Fortune 500 corporations, musicians, entertainers, corporate empire builders, etc. in what is supposed to be such a horrible rotten racist country where all whites are supposed to be oppressors and all blacks are supposed to be victims.  This failure to explain most of reality is what will eventually toss systemic racism into the dustbin of history, just like Marxist class analysis before it.  Systemic racism theory has become predictable and by rote.  Therefore, just like Marxist class analysis before it, systemic racism theory has committed the ultimate sin: it’s boring.

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