Anti-racism crusade built on dubious triad of beliefs
A white minister in the small all-White (99.8% non-Black) Connecticut town of Lyme-Old Lyme (pop 10,000) claims to be collaborating with the local school system “to teach the history of racism and enslavement in the area” as one part of a social justice project launched by his church last summer. Another part involves police accountability.
Surely the nation has been seized with the issues of racism, social justice and policing, if such a project has been launched in this unlikeliest of places.
However, the school superintendent rejected the minister’s claim categorically, “We have no association with the minister.”
Yet, in schooling elsewhere – school staff in Washington State, mathematics in California and in history and civics nationwide, if the Biden administration has its way – a triad of radical ideas is taking hold: that critical race theory (CRT) is the central version of U.S. history; that present-day America is systemically racist; and that police are killing unarmed Blacks indiscriminately.
Facts and common sense debunk this radical triad. The killing of George Floyd seemingly cemented the view of racist police killings and, thereafter, a steady stream of highly publicized incidents of police killing Blacks seemed to confirm it. But wait. Were no Whites killed? None? That’s highly unlikely. Yet where were the national media reports on those killings?
Coleman Hughes, a young Black man, wrote for a scholarly journal just weeks after Floyd’s death, “For every black person killed by the police, there is at least one White person (usually many) killed in a similar way.” In 2016, a Dallas policeman put his knee on the neck of Tony Timpa, pinning him to the street for 13 minutes and killing him. Timpa was White. The day before Louisville police barged into Breanna Taylor’s home and killed her, police in Maryland raided Duncan Lemp’s apartment and shot him dead. Lemp was White.
Sensational and selective national media coverage has distorted reality.
Indeed, sensational reporting by the left-leaning New York Times has popularized CRT. In August 2019, the Times devoted an entire 100-page Sunday Magazine edition to its 1619 Project. According to Wikipedia, “The project was envisioned with the condition that almost all of the contributions would be from African-American contributors.”
When only Blacks interpret, a Black-biased interpretation is likely, if not inevitable. It is only human to interpret the world from the perspective of one’s identity.
Slavery and racism are not the central theme of our nation’s history – nor are they the central theme today.
To say so is to ignore, for example, immigration. Our nation has attracted mass immigration, inspired by America’s unprecedented and unequaled offer of freedom and opportunity and refuge from severely troubled nations of origin.
Moreover, 1619 tells us nothing new. For decades, schoolchildren have been learning about slavery, the Civil War, the KKK, lynching of Blacks, Jim Crow, the Tuskegee experiment, redlining in housing, associated poverty, etc. No doubt, CRT and 1619 bring forth new incidents and events, but nothing inconsistent with history as schoolchildren have been learning it.
Then there is the contention that America is “systemically racist.” Yes, Blacks as a group are much poorer than Whites, with all the associated challenges. But Black poverty does not mean ipso facto that present-day society and White Americans are racist. White ancestors were racist. Their racism has had lasting legacy effects. However, to call present-day Whites racist, is literally to visit upon the children, the sins of the parents.
That is especially inappropriate for schoolchildren. They are innocent in all respects.
Most White Americans are sympathetic to the plight of Blacks. Most Whites want to remediate racism’s legacy effects. Anti-poverty programs have been launched. Affirmative action has been undertaken (though it constitutes reverse-racism). Such efforts may have been ineffectual, but their failure doesn’t discredit the benevolent impulse involved. The nation has elected a Black president and vice president.
Yet, the race-obsessed want to sustain their charge of racism.
So, they have conjured the notion of unconscious or implicit White bias. Of course, one cannot change one’s own subconscious. Logically, then, an outside authority and force must do so. Thus, anti-racism training for Whites, to which some may decide to submit voluntarily. However, when undertaken on a mandatory basis by government, this constitutes totalitarian indoctrination and mind control, a cure far, far worse than the disease.
Slavery and racism are not the central theme of American history. They are one of several important themes. America and Americans are not “systemically racist.” And cops are not killing unarmed Blacks indiscriminately. The triad is false in each part and in combination.
Red Jahncke (Twitter: @RedJahncke) is president of The Townsend Group Intl. LLC, a Connecticut business consulting firm, and a contributing Day columnist.
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My argument is grounded upon a simpler point: Human beings deserve to be treated like human beings. What happened this week on Biden's watch is nothing less than an outrage.
So, where are all those messed-up kids coming from? And instead of spending more on remediating their broken lives, how about trying to identify and stop what is breaking them?