The Insidious, Evil Trick of “Anti-Racism”


The push to inject “anti-racism” into education is a terrible evil.  Primarily, it seems a transparent attempt to push divisive, radical politics into schools and elsewhere under the gauzy disguise of humanitarian resistance to hatred.

On the individual level, the whole progressive approach to race and education takes the form of toxic affirmation.  Rather than teaching students how to observe facts, find truth, and cope and thrive in reality as it is, the progressive pedagogy teaches them to deny, recoil, and complain.  The point ceases to be evaluating the complex factors that create discomfort and injustices, thereafter addressing the sources, but becomes destroying any system or institution that doesn’t automatically filter out and silence those discomforts and injustices.

As one protester advocating for “anti-racism” in Rhode Island schools put it: “one of the most important things is to have training for all of our educators, whether they are white or not, on how to be antiracist, not just culturally responsive.”  In other words, it isn’t enough to genuinely understand where somebody is coming from and help them find a place in the universe; one must conform entirely to their narrative of grievance and actively destroy anything that provokes discomfort.

Perhaps the most objectionable aspect of “anti-racism” is that, as a political program designed not to deal with a problem so much as to attack a bogeyman that is not actually the problem, it will inevitably fail to address legitimate complaints.  Consider the testimony of one former Providence student, with which Madeleine List ends her above-linked article:

Black students also need to be given the same opportunities to succeed as their white peers, said Kevin Fofanah, 21, who graduated from Classical High School. Even at Classical, the city’s highest-performing school, Black students, in his experience, weren’t held to the same academic standards as white students, he said.

“The only time I ever saw Black students like myself actually thrive were in classes like gym or afterschool programs,” said Fofanah, who now attends North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. “During English, we weren’t pushed to take the AP [Advanced Placement] courses, AP tests. I’d really like to see that change.”

For decades, we’ve heard that standardized tests were part of a racist system.  Sometimes those statements have gone so far as to place the “systemic racism” label on the supposedly white value of academic achievement.

To the contrary, to the extent that there is actually something like systemic racism, it is in the progressive identity politics that filters everything through the lens of race.  A colorblind system cannot be systemically racist.  In fact, if it highlights outcome disparities between groups, it is helpfully pointing to original sources of difference and, potentially racism.

Even here, the ideology on which “anti-racism” is founded has historically responded to this feature by claiming it is racist to address those sources, as if the identity of the minority group is intrinsically defined by the qualities that lead to failure in the supposedly racist system.  By assuming the racism of the system, this insidious rhetorical trick defines groups of people by the factors that (on average) lead them to fall behind.  That is racism, full stop.

  • ShannonEntropy

    “The only time I ever saw Black students like myself actually thrive were in classes like gym or afterschool programs…

    Some black comedian posed a challenge for White people: would you change places with me, for even one day ??

    My answer is: it depends on the day. If it’s the day I’m applying to Brown U or medical school and my SATs or MCATs are way lower than the average admittee, then yeah! I’d be black for a day !! Or the day I was applying for a job at a Fortune 500 company. Boy I bet I would “thrive” then….

    • Rhett Hardwick

      As a kid, I flunked Phys Ed. Had a tough time with recess too.

  • Joe Smith

    Classical High School continues to engage in a viable recruitment program to attract culturally diverse populations that reflect the demographics of the city.

    According to RIDE – 15% of Classical students are black.
    According to RIDE – 15% of PPSD students are black.

    Thrive is a very subjective term, especially for one student to anecdotally extrapolate.

    • Christopher C. Reed

      According to the NFL, 100% of 960 starting cornerbacks since 2003 have been black.

  • bagida’wewinini

    “The push to inject “anti-racism” into education is a terrible evil. “

    I had to read this twice just to make sure it was not a mistake. I guess anything goes now. Desperation among Republicans going into this election means that the open appeal to white nationalism is going to be the favored strategy for holding power.

    • Justin Katz

      No white nationalism, here. You’re seeing things. I notice you ignore the rest of the post, which offers explanation.

      • bagida’wewinini

        I did read the entire post along with the link to the ProJo article. I think you read much more into the quotes and comments of those that were featured to describe anything that was said as “evil”. As to your statement about color blindness I would point out that any kind of blindness is an affliction. Perhaps being open minded and willing to hear from sources that you may not normally be exposed to may help to understand those who allege systematic racism and what that means. I can suggest a book by Isabel Wilkerson called Caste

      • bagida’wewinini

        Note the questioning of Kamala Harris’s citizenship just days after being named the Democrat’s candidate for the Vice Presidency and tell me that does not fit the mold I wrote of. Do you defend this line of attack?

        • Rhett Hardwick

          It has become a standard line of attack. John McCain, as well as Obama, had their citizenship attacked.

          • bagida’wewinini

            The question of McCain’s citizenship first came up in his presidential run in 2000 in the Republican primaries. With McCain winning New Hampshire the Bush campaign began the racist smear tactic suggesting McCain’s adopted daughter was the product of the Senator’s illegitimate affair with a Black woman. The daughter was adopted from Bangladesh. This is the Republican playbook and it has success with their voters so I think we will see it done again in this election