Conservatives must recognize liberals’ radical race rhetoric as the power grab it is.
Liberals are expanding the definition of racism to silence their political opponents and justify their expansive claims on power. Despite America’s penchant for comeback stories and apology tours for celebrities and politicians — especially those involving sexual and financial scandals — racism remains one of the few political mortal sins. Mainstream politicians recoil at the charge and defend themselves vigorously, anticipating the accompanying widespread condemnation. Liberals have thus found a powerful weapon in critical race theory, whereby they view society’s problems through the lens of race and presume structural racism.
Starting with the disparate impact theory — which can identify racism even in the absence of intent — liberals have now expanded racism to include microaggressions individuals are not even aware they are committing because of implicit bias. Rather than first eliminating the far more real and harmful effects of explicit bias, proponents claim a majority of Americans evidence inherent bias. Shifting the focus from the evil acts of individual racists, liberals now assign culpability to society at large and millions of unwitting Americans. They’ve even changed the definition of racism to include recently lauded behaviors (e.g., rewarding effort in a meritocracy), allowing liberals to keep their political opponents in a constant defensive crouch and demand increasingly intrusive remedies such as reparations, mandatory corporate training sessions, and repressive speech codes.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture created an online portal discussing how America has normalized whiteness, where minorities are seen as inferior and white people enjoy privilege. The Smithsonian responded to the resulting controversy by removing a chart defining aspects of white culture and whiteness. Among these defining characteristics were rugged individualism, self-reliance, the nuclear family, “children should be independent,” the scientific method, “hard work is the key to success,” delayed gratification, “progress is always best,” and majority rules.
Sandia National Laboratories sent its white male executives to mandatory taxpayer-funded training at a luxury resort to counter their “white privilege,” “male privilege,” and “heterosexual privilege.” Participants learned a “can do attitude,” “hard work,” and “striving towards success” are “devastating” “white male traits.” Poor white families trapped in multi-generational poverty might wonder what privilege they enjoy over liberal wealthy academics and diversity consultants. This lab tests and designs the nation’s nuclear weapons; it’s the last place one wants this political correctness nonsense. Thankfully, President Trump recently signed an executive order ending federal funding for such training in critical race theory.
Imagine the rightful condemnation of any white supremacist who claimed that hard work, the scientific method, and self-reliance as inherently white attributes. While rich white liberal protesters decry delayed gratification and nuclear family in theory, they teach these universal values to their own children. This is yet another example of liberal hypocrisy hurting the very people they claim to champion. Liberals fought in the 1960s and 1970s against traditional family structures, but since the 1980s college-educated liberals have embraced family stability and “intensive parenting,” and exhibit declining divorce rates. Families with lower incomes and education attainment levels were the ones most hurt by the liberal assault on marriage. Today liberals demand smaller police forces, confident that their neighborhoods won’t be the ones impacted by rising crime rates.
Black Lives Matter serves as both a radical slogan and anodyne corporate branding. The problem of course is that many merely see the organization as highlighting the self-evident need to address African Americans’ poorer health, incarceration, education, income, and wealth outcomes. A smaller contingent, though, takes seriously the fact two of the three top BLM organizers are “trained Marxists,” and that BLM’s stated core beliefs include disrupting “the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure,” fostering a “queer-affirming network,” dismantling “cisgender privilege” and uplifting “Black trans folk.” The movement describes itself as decentralized, with the D.C. chapter calling for defunding the police, no new jails, decriminalizing sex work, and ending cash bail. The common theme is a belief in systemic racism that delegitimizes American society and requires structural changes.
Following the lead of BLM protesters defacing statues across the country, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser formed a committee to re-examine the names of local schools, statues, and parks. Later, the panel recommended removing Franklin, Jefferson, and other founders from the nation’s capital. Rather than judging individuals in the context of their times or overall accomplishments, liberals insist on evaluating America’s statesmen’s worst acts against modern liberalism’s ever-shifting standards. Franklin was known for many things, including becoming a leading abolitionist; condemning him denies the possibility of moral growth. Liberals insist on seeing the worst in America, justifying their efforts to tear down and replace society rather than striving to improve it.
The 1619 Project, developed by the New York Times Magazine, centers American history and its founding around the arrival of the first African slaves in Virginia, as opposed to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The project frames American capitalism and slavery as inherently intertwined, and recasts the American Revolution as a fight to “protect the institution of slavery.” Prominent historians have pointed out numerous factual errors, but accuracy is beside the point to the project’s many establishment promoters. The radical Left rejects a view of America as an imperfect nation striving to live up its founding ideals of equality for all. Whereas previous civil-rights leaders saw the abolition of slavery and the passage of civil-rights laws as evidence of progress, and appealed to the nation’s conscience to live up to America’s promises, today’s liberals see America as irredeemably founded in slavery and racism. Yesterday’s liberals fought America’s hypocrisy; today’s liberals fight its very nature. Their goal is not simply to fight for inclusion within the existing paradigm, but to level it, and entirely restructure the nation’s economy, laws, and politics.
Conservatives must recognize liberals’ radical race rhetoric as the power grab it is — which allows them to enact otherwise unpopular policies and demand lucrative diversity training contracts — and also condemn actual racism that persists in the United States. Conservatives should continue challenging liberals to work across party lines on policies such as school choice, bipartisan criminal-justice reform, and pro-growth economic policies that actually benefit disadvantaged Americans of all races.