Ob­ses­sion with race is stretch­ing be­yond rea­son

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OPINION - Jonah Gold­berg The Na­tional Re­view Jonah Gold­berg is syn­di­cated by Tri­bune Me­dia Ser­vices.

Some re­cent head­lines: “The Elec­toral Col­lege is an in­stru­ment of white supremacy — and sex­ism,” ex­claimed Slate mag­a­zine.

CNN: “Math is racist: How data is driv­ing in­equal­ity.”

From the NBC af­fil­i­ate in Ok­la­homa: “‘To be white is to be racist’ — Nor­man stu­dent of­fended by teacher’s lec­ture.”

Wow, things are bad here in Amer­ica. Maybe I should move to Canada? Uh oh, from Heat Street: “Ca­noes reek of geno­cide, theft and white priv­i­lege, says Cana­dian pro­fes­sor.”

Is there no place safe from white supremacy? Let me check the Huff­in­g­ton Post. “North Korea proves your white male priv­i­lege is not uni­ver­sal.”

In other words, go­ing by the head­lines, you’d think ev­ery­thing is about race. Or, as the Har­vard Crim­son put it, “Ev­ery­thing is about race.” And over at the Jour­nal of Ap­plied Phi­los­o­phy, we’re told that con­demn­ing racism is — wait for it — racist.

“The mor­al­iza­tion of racism that of­ten per­me­ates philo­soph­i­cal schol­ar­ship re­pro­duces col­or­blind log­ics, which pro­vide in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic ex­pla­na­tions for struc­tural prob­lems, thereby sus­tain­ing white dom­i­nance,” writes Marzia Mi­lazzo in an ar­ti­cle ti­tled “On white ig­no­rance, white shame and other pit­falls in crit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy of race.”

Mi­lazzo’s claim is hardly con­tro­ver­sial in the hot­house al­ter­na­tive uni­verse of higher ed­u­ca­tion. What Mi­lazzo calls “col­or­blind log­ics” hold ev­ery­body to equal stan­dards of fact and rea­son. This wacky no­tion is the well­spring from which we got the sci­en­tific rev­o­lu­tion, the En­light­en­ment, the rule of law, doc­trines of uni­ver­sal hu­man rights, the abo­li­tion of slav­ery, the eman­ci­pa­tion of women, the civil rights move­ment, the con­cept of free speech and un­prece­dented ma­te­rial pros­per­ity.

Rea­son is the tool that brings us con­sen­sus, ap­peals to our con­science and keeps us from re­turn­ing to the jun­gle.

It all re­minds me of that great scene from “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” where a rev­o­lu­tion­ary asks, “What has the Ro­man Em­pire ever done for us?” A com­rade lists a bunch of things, and the man replies, “All right, but apart from the san­i­ta­tion, the medicine, ed­u­ca­tion, wine, public or­der, ir­ri­ga­tion, roads, the fresh-wa­ter sys­tem and public health, what have the Ro­mans ever done for us?”

Ac­tivists to­day are clear-cut­ting vast swaths of civil so­ci­ety to make room for rea­son-free zones where feel­ings out­rank facts — they call them “safe spa­ces.” And if they had their druthers, the en­tirety of the con­ti­nent, if not the globe, would be one gi­ant bean­bag chair-strewn realm of hug­ging and un­apolo­getic whining.

The elec­tion of Don­ald Trump, a man I could not have been more crit­i­cal of, has turned the safe spa­ces into kinds of in­ter­nal refugee camps where the weep­ing del­i­cate flow­ers can wilt in ter­ror.

I did not like how Trump talked about is­sues of race. Some of his most ar­dent sup­port­ers have views on race that I find ab­hor­rent. But they con­sti­tute a tiny mi­nor­ity of his coali­tion.

If you think ev­ery­thing you don’t like is racist, then of course the elec­tion of a pres­i­dent you don’t like has to be racist.

Here’s some free ad­vice for all the lib­er­als in­sist­ing Trump was elected by racists: The more you say that, the more you help Trump.

I can un­der­stand why this is con­fus­ing. There’s a cer­tain breed of guilty white lib­eral who ac­tu­ally en­joy be­ing called racist, con­fess­ing their racial sins and de­nounc­ing less ad­vanced white peo­ple. The hot new term for this is “virtue sig­nal­ing” — a way of com­mu­ni­cat­ing how en­light­ened you are.

But there are a lot more white peo­ple out there who are not racist and there­fore do not like be­ing called racist or be­ing be­rated about how their coun­try is racist. They also sense that the “ev­ery­thing is about race” crowd is us­ing race as a cud­gel to si­lence crit­ics and have their way.

That sort of thing begs for a back­lash. You can call it racist if you want,but it won’t play well out­side the safe spa­ces.

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