Recently, Michael Tesler commented on “The Rise of White Identity Politics.” Tesler’s analysis draws on years of research into racialized politics, and he shows convincingly that there is a rise in white identity politics and that this rise is tied to “perceptions of anti-white discrimination.” However, when trying to explain why perceptions of anti-white bias might also be on the rise, his analysis falls flat. Supposedly, it has something to do with Republicans and Donald Trump.
Never once does the author speculate whether “perceptions” of such discrimination might be on the rise because anti-white racism is becoming increasingly common. In other words, perhaps white Americans are accurately perceiving a real phenomenon that is now pervasive in schools and the workplace.
Anti-White Racism, by Definition
As any student of George Orwell knows, no authoritarian government can ever gain complete control unless it commandeers people’s thinking through the manipulation of language. Thus, the dystopian powers in “1984” deliberately turned the meaning of words upside-down in a process known as double-think.
The same process is happening today with the words used to discuss racism. In true Orwellian fashion, Ibram X. Kendi (pictured) insists that the only way to fight racism is to embrace racial discrimination in perpetuity. This “anti-racism,” as he calls it, is as likely to stamp out genuine racism as Orwell’s Ministry of Truth was apt to stamp out falsehoods.
In order to understand what is going on, we must call to mind the traditional definition of racism: the stereotyping, denigrating, marginalizing, or excluding of persons on the basis of race. Look up any definition of racism prior to the racial awokening taking place in the last decade, and it will be: 1) race neutral; and 2) involve some act of free will—relating to word, deed, or belief.
The definition of racism has undergone a radical change in a short time. According to the new eighth-grade curriculum for the Albemarle County (Va.) School District, racism now means: “The marginalization and/or oppression of people of color based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people.”
Perhaps the most jarring aspect of this new definition is that it is no longer race-neutral. It is now impossible, by definition, for white people to be the victims of racism. The definition itself constructs a “racial hierarchy” whereby only people of color may be victimized, and only “white people” may marginalize or oppress.
But there is something even more insidious about the new definition. Since the “marginalization and/or oppression of people of color” is no longer committed by word, thought, or deed — but is based instead on an inescapable “socially constructed racial hierarchy” that always “privileges white people” — it means that white people are engaging in racism simply by being white (and hence privileged) within this impersonal system of marginalization and oppression.
A person of color is a victim of racism, by definition. A person identified as white is a racist, by definition. Therefore, not only does the new definition fail to capture the full meaning of racism; the definition is itself an example of the anti-white racism being taught to our children.