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E-Pluribus | February 7, 2022
Keep your pronouns to yourself, the anti-semitism in anti-whiteness, and teachers should knock it off with 'white supremacy culture'.
A round up of the latest and best writing and musings on the rise of illiberalism in the public discourse:
Colin Wright: When Asked ‘What Are Your Pronouns,’ Don’t Answer
Arguably pronouns have never had a more prominent place in society than at the present time, but Colin Wright argues at the Wall Street Journal that simply giving in to the fad is not the answer. While some see the whole thing as silly or a harmless acquiescence to the ultrasensitive, Wright says that cooperation conveys tacit agreement with the principle behind the new custom, and granting any level of legitimacy to it is harmful.
The clear message of gender ideology is that, if you’re a female who doesn’t “identify with” the social roles and stereotypes of femininity, then you’re not a woman; if you’re a male who similarly rejects the social roles and stereotypes of masculinity, then you’re not a man. Instead, you’re considered either transgender or nonbinary, and Planned Parenthood assures you that “there are medical treatments you can use to help your body better reflect who you are.” According to this line of thinking, certain personalities, behaviors and preferences are incompatible with certain types of anatomy.
So when someone asks for your pronouns, and you respond with “she/her,” even though you may be communicating the simple fact that you’re female, a gender ideologue would interpret this as an admission that you embrace femininity and the social roles and expectations associated with being female. While women’s-rights movements fought for decades to decouple womanhood from rigid stereotypes and social roles, modern gender ideology has melded them back together.
Coercing people into publicly stating their pronouns in the name of “inclusion” is a Trojan horse that empowers gender ideology and expands its reach. It is the thin end of the gender activists’ wedge designed to normalize their worldview. Participating in pronoun rituals makes you complicit in gender ideology’s regressive belief system, thereby legitimizing it. Far from an innocuous act signaling support for inclusion, it serves as an implicit endorsement of gender ideology and all of its radical tenets.
Read it all.
Andrew Sullivan: The Anti-Semitism In Anti-Whiteness
Whoopi Goldberg’s strange earnestness in her statement that the Nazi’s treatment of the Jews “[wasn’t] about race” (which she later backed off on to some degree) leads Andrew Sullivan to address how the one-way concept of racism that focuses only on “whiteness” as the source of racial hatred has obscured the true nature of anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism is seen as not racism, because for Whoopi, and critical theorists, “racism” is defined as an essentially Euro-American social construction, which didn’t exist before the colonial era, and only applies to powerful whites (and fellow travelers) vis-a-vis powerless blacks. Racism is not, for them, a universal, instinctual, tribal, evolution-rooted suspicion of different-looking others that is always with us, and can happen anywhere. It is solely rather the deliberate, historically contingent oppression of the non-white by colonial “white supremacy.” However much truth this contains about American history (and it does contain a lot of it), it’s a terribly parochial view that misses a huge amount in the world, throughout history, and in America.
As Adam Serwer explains, this parochial view of racism also “renders the anti-Semitism that led to the Holocaust illegible.” Well, yeah. Any theory of racism that cannot explain the Holocaust is not just illegible, it is untenable. It would mean that the conflicts between, say, Tutsis and Hutus, Germans and Slavs, Jews and Arabs, Burmese and Rohingya, or Han and Uighur, are not instances of racism — because they are not examples of “white targeting non-white.” It wouldn’t include the Bible’s description of the Jewish people’s own enslavement by the Pharaohs, for goodness’ sake. And that’s a problem for any concept of racism — let alone one that now controls much of American culture.
Here, for example, is the Anti-Defamation League’s woke definition of “racism” the day Whoopi made her remarks (a definition swiftly changed after the contretemps): “The marginalization and/or oppression of people of color based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people.” But since Jews are deemed “white people,” by this definition, how could the Nazis have been racist? The same would also have to be said, would it not, about Louis Farrakhan today? He may sound like a Nazi about Jews, but his skin color means he cannot be racist.
Whoopi’s gaffe helps explain why the mainstream media now describes young black men assaulting Jews and Asians as expressing … “white supremacy”! This is what the WaPo op-ed page, referring to growing Latino support for Trump, called “multiracial whiteness.” If they are non-white and bigots, they miraculously become white. And notice how bigotry is exclusively ascribed to a single “race”: whites. Without whites, we’d have no racism at all.
In my view, racism is first and foremost a human impulse: it can infect anyone, of any race, at any time. Tribal identity goes very, very deep, and resisting it requires work. It’s also true that, over time, systems emerge which institutionalize racism — slavery, segregation, the legal restriction to certain professions, the denial of religious freedom, bans on intermarriage, Jim Crow, affirmative action etc. Those systems do indeed need dismantling (and have indeed been dismantled in America) if we are to move forward together.
Read the whole thing.
Robby Soave: Educators, Please Stop Teaching the Characteristics of 'White Supremacy Culture'
Yet another program ostensibly promoting racial understanding has come to light, and Robby Soave at Reason takes the opportunity to again beg educators to end the collateral damage that comes with trying to define the characteristics of “white supremacy culture.”
The entire presentation is available online, and it's just as cringeworthy as its conservative critics expected. Notably, the presenters cite the antiracist educator Tema Okun's "White Supremacy Culture" a body of dubious work that makes all sorts of unfounded and frankly racist assumptions. Indeed, the presentation includes a slide, "15 Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture"—though the slide only mentions five—that claims possessing a sense of urgency, preferring quantity over quality, wanting things to be written down, perfectionism, and becoming defensive are aspects of white supremacy.
Defensiveness and perfectionism, when taken to excess, can contribute to unpleasant work, school, and social environments. But there is nothing that connects them to whiteness. A boss who sends too many memos may annoy his employees; it doesn't mean he is a white supremacist, or is propping up whiteness as a construct.
In fact, there's a danger in ascribing to "white culture" qualities that are, in many cases, positive. Similar work by Judith Katz, another antiracism expert, lists timeliness, planning for the future, self-reliance, being polite, and respect for authority as "aspects and assumptions of white culture." Timeliness and politeness are good things that have nothing to do with whiteness. Moreover, it would be wrong—and, again, racist—to teach kids of color that if they work hard and plan for their futures, they are betraying their heritage.
Read it all here.
“Personally offended” is a curious metric for a university president when determining whether or not art, particularly political art, may appear on campus. Via Isaac Fish, and the artist, Badiucao:
Noam Blum on corporate manipulation of cancel culture:
Conor Friedersdorf highlights some of Karen Stenner's thoughts from her book The Authoritarian Dynamic, specifically regarding libertarians as it relates to cancel culture:
Finally, via Peter Boghossian, colleges as cults: