E-Pluribus | June 24, 2021
Pushing back against CRT, vacuous corporate diversity workshops, and performative anti-racism.
A round up of the latest and best writing and musings on the rise of illiberalism in the public discourse:
George Will: A teacher pushes back against K-12 critical race theory indoctrination
George Will uses his most recent column to praise the courage of Dana Stangel-Plowe, a teacher who refused to bow to the ruling woke philosophy of education. The desire of some to fight fire with fire as a corrective to the racial injustices of the past (in part by arguing that those injustices continue largely unabated) is leading to a remarkable intolerance against those who dare to question the modern orthodoxy.
A compilation of faculty members’ Pavlovian statements during a “training” session makes nauseating reading. Responding to prompts such as “In the last year, I have learned _____ about race and racism,” and “One way I will work for racial equity in my work,” teachers say:
“American society makes it hard to have high hopes.” Racism infests the nation’s “entire fabric.” Everyone must “lean into the discomfort.” “Older millennials are disappointingly racist.” “Aspects of the anti racist movement have been co-opted by neoliberal corporations, and reactionarily [sic] opposed by many even mainstream conservative thinkers.” Racism is “layered into everything we do at school.” We must “share the harsh reality of the BIPOC and LBGTQI communities with our students.” “Discuss issues of equity as arising in most every book I teach.” On and on they go, bleating like sheep who have been liberated from “false consciousness.”
Progressives, who are selectively aghast about “politicizing” education, do not object to those state and local governments that are mandating the CRT indoctrination that other governments are forbidding. Would progressives object to legislatures’ banning the teaching of, say, creationism?
Read the whole thing.
Andrew Stiles: What I Learned From the Bloomberg Equality Briefing on Driving Inclusive Transformation in Corporate Equity
The ever-earnest Andrew Stiles at The Washington Free Beacon recently attended an online Bloomberg-sponsored “Equality Briefing” on corporate diversity in an effort to get his mind right, but, alas, the briefing fell short of its lofty goals. Speaker after speaker seemed to be using their buzzword handbooks to fill in the gaps in their remarks, resulting in a disappointing but predictable waste of time.
Dalana Brand, vice president of people experience and head of inclusion and diversity at Twitter, discussed the social media giant's efforts to ensure compliance with its diversity initiatives by closely monitoring its employees.
"We've recently launched an ‘inclusive manager' badge, which essentially is a program of recognition for managers who get this right," Brand said. "They've got to make sure that they're creating the right sort of cultural environment as measured by the inclusion index that we have as a part of our engagement scores, and we're sort of tracking that, if you will."
James Momon, senior vice president and chief equity officer at 3M, the Scotch™ tape corporation, used the phrase "critically important" over and over again to emphasize whatever point he was trying to make about his company's efforts to promote diversity. "Senior leadership is critically important, but how we cascade that accountability and that leadership throughout the organization, especially at middle-management level, is critically important," he explained.
Next up was an insightful discussion between Pamela Hutchinson, Bloomberg's global head of diversity and inclusion, and Shari Slate of Cisco, the event's corporate sponsor. "Wow, what a title that is," Hutchinson said after introducing her guest, and she wasn't wrong. Slate's official titles at Cisco are "Chief Inclusion and Collaboration Officer" and "Vice President, Inclusive Future and Strategy." She has clearly earned it, given the amount of corporate jargon she could cram into a single sentence.
Read it all at The Free Beacon.
Jesse Singal: The Market For Religious Rituals That Can Scrub White People's Souls Of Racism Is Red-Hot
Mark Twain wrote that “Everybody talks about the weather, but no one ever does anything about it.” In his latest at Singal Minded, Jesse Singal writes that “fighting racism” has become a bit like this. A cottage industry has grown under the flag of “fighting racism” but in reality is more about introspective than concrete solutions.
Will Wilkinson, among others, sees whiteness-awareness as a springboard, at least potentially:Why have you adopted the Lindsay/Rufo canard that awareness of socially constructed racial identity and its attendant attitudes is "racially essentializing"? It isn't. Also, bad laws won't be fixed unless majorities agree that they're bad.
I find this questionable for two reasons: First, this sort of material is always very light on actual policy suggestions and anything else not having to do with the soul and thought-patterns and individual-level behaviors (and, more often than not, microbehaviors) of the white person reading or watching the content in question. Robin DiAngelo’s book “White Fragility” really is the Bible of this genre, and I unfortunately read the whole thing. Readers will not come away with much of a plan for fighting racism more substantive than Do more work interrogating your whiteness and white fragility.
In fact, some anti-racist entrepreneurs are explicit about the fact that their goal is to provoke inward-looking exploration, not to change out there in the world. At least not yet. Here’s the end of a recent Molly Fischer article about Race2Dinner, a program run by the anti-racist entrepreneurs Saira Rao, Regina Jackson, and Lisa Bond that allows white women — these interventions tend to target women, who I think are socialized to be less likely to flip the bird when someone tells them they are morally lacking — to pay to host or attend dinners in which they can be viscerally confronted about their white supremacy by people of color:
For white women who wish to continue the work begun at Race2Dinner (and for those who might not wish to attend), they have launched a new program called Race2-Community. An eight-week seminar led by Bond, it costs $750 and focuses on whiteness specifically. “The actual work is for you to deconstruct the things within you: whiteness,” Rao said. “Whiteness harms people of color, but worry about yourself. Stop worrying about us — that’s paternalistic, too.” Bond echoed this sentiment. “This idea that we, as white people, need to go out and make these big external actions — that’s just white supremacy,” she said. “This internal work is the hard work; it’s the work that never ends.”
They see the deconstruction of whiteness as a prerequisite for true anti-racist work. Jackson explained, “Until you deal with your inner stuff — until you can say, ‘I’m coming from a place where I recognize that I have these thoughts, and I’m working on it’ — everything else is performing.”
This is a bit self-contradictory — does the work never end or can you get to that ‘place’? No matter. The point is you have a shitload of work to do before you can be a good, true ally.
Not all of these trainings and interventions are quite so explicit about their goal of sparking a torrid love affair between white liberals and their own navels, and I can’t honestly say none of them ever point white people out into the real world (I can only read so much of this material before I risk needing to be institutionalized), but from what I’ve seen, they really are fixated on introspection, on soul-scrubbing and archaeological expeditions into the far expanses of one’s own guilt.
Read it all here.
Thomas Chatterton Williams, Andrew Sullivan and Bari Weiss comment on Christopher Rufo’s appearance on Joy Reid’s show:
Brandeis University has a new incredible Oppressive Language List:
Some actions of Republicans against progressive influences may go too far, but does Gov. Ron DeSantis’s recent action in Florida fit the bill? Jonathan Adler and Charles C. W. Cooke say no: