September 21, 2020

Systemic Racism is Antihuman Bullshit

The assertion of “systemic racism”* is nihilist. It denies both past and future progress.

It is also absurd. Systemic, or institutional, racism is in fact illegal. When institutions are in violation, there are systems in place to address it.

Prejudice (not just racial), of course, remains an inherent aspect of the human psyche — and therefore most people know to suppress it (along with many other things in one’s psyche) or otherwise keep it to themselves when it might adversely affect their interactions with others. This is as true for members of historically subordinate groups as it is for those of historically dominant groups. It is how free people engage with each other to keep society working: treating each other as equals with mutual respect, including in debate and criticism. Above all, we cannot fear each other.

The assertion of systemic racism is a con. Rather than combat prejudice, it exploits it. It follows the model of what it condemns: Instead of racially tarring the victims of economic and social disparities as responsible or deserving of their lot, it tars the entire race to which the historically dominant have generally belonged — all of it, even those who cannot be said to be economically or socially dominant in any way. To those now to blame, it tells them to hate and fear themselves. They are blamed for a past they had no part of, by people who are also long out of that past. It warns them that even their children must have the sin purged from them — before it can manifest itself! And the gullible agree.

And like the most cynical of cults — or totalitarian reeducation — after breaking the spirit of its recruits, and its captive audiences in companies and government offices, utterly infantilizing them, denying them their faculties of doubt and reason, it provides an illusion of meaning by urging them to recruit others (Take a knee! Raise your fist! Say their names!), forcing more institutions — that have, along with the society they reflect, for decades striven against racism and other prejudice — to deny their own experience, to deny reality, and declare, against all evidence, that they are racist. There is no longer any life to be lived except through “The Movement”.

Thus an industry that depends on racism perpetuates itself, by perpetuating — even reviving — racism. By making idiots of everyone it takes control of and those who seek to appease its black-and-white absolutes in any way.†

Asserting that racism is unavoidable is nihilist. It denies individual agency. It makes resolution impossible. There is instead an industry of academics and consultants bent on keeping it that way, on making civil society impossible. In thus reviving racism, it remains “the white man’s burden” to validate “people of color” by means of this industry’s sadomasochistic rites of self-abasement, and of course generous fees and pay-offs like a latter-day indulgence scheme.

This is no way to live. There is no way forward in it, no redemption possible. It not only denies historical progress, it also — by asserting that racism is unavoidably “systemic” even to being “unconscious” — makes future progress impossible.

It necessarily ends in coercion and destruction.

*Also “critical race theory” and “unconscious bias”.

No debate allowed: “An admin turned off commenting for this post.

Dear Putney community,
As a current resident of Westminster and a part of the Putney community for 30 years, I want to thank community members and the Putney Selectboard for the decision to paint a Black Lives Matter sign on the road in front of Putney Central School [and someone’s house — did anyone ask?].
The “BLM is racist” painted on Route 5 in Putney in July was a gut punch. Black Lives Matter was created by three Black women following the murder of an innocent black teenager whose white killer walks free. BLM arose out of the desperation, anguish, and anger of Black Americans, who repeatedly and disproportionately experience death and brutality at the hands of police, who are stopped, arrested, and sentenced at much higher rates than white people [
in roughly the same proportion as Their commission of violent crimes], whose health outcomes and life expectancy severely lag those of whites. It’s a call to all of us to face the racism embedded in our society and ourselves and to work to change it.
I do not want to stand by at this critical time in our town and nation. Please, let’s honestly [
sic] confront our nation’s racist history and present and take concrete steps to show that all Black lives matter. Painting this affirming mural is a first step. Seeing it every day will give me and others the inspiration and strength to advocate for a more just nation. I need that reminder every day to keep up the work of outing the racism that’s inherent in me, as a white person in a system that purports to uphold justice for all but fails to deliver it.
Thank you,
Evie Lovett

“Olaf Errwigge” commented elsewhere on Facebook:

That essay makes a lot of good points, but I just realized another aspect: the rhetorical dodge of the "loaded question", ie, one that has an assumption built into it so that it can't be answered without appearing guilty. "What are you doing to combat racism?" First, it reduces all of life and society's issues to one (and because of countervailing evidence, insisting that it's "hidden, unconscious, historical, systemic, etc"), and second, it implies that you need to do something about racism ("Silence is Violence!"). It is impossible to answer without completely accepting all the premises built into it.