Trigger warning: this column may contain period outbreaks of objective, rational linear thinking, cause-and-effect reasoning and possibly even quantitative analysis. People of color may feel targeted because this article was delivered on time, sort of, because I am an individual who follows rigid time schedules and believes that hard work is the key to success. Later, I shall revel in white privilege by eating steak and potatoes in the company of my 2.3 children. I shall enjoy the bland flavors so much that I won’t wonder what happened to the other 0.7 of my third child. This is how white culture operates in the United States, where nonwhite persons are seen as inferior or abnormal.
These theories are not the paranoid ramblings of a pink-eyed white supremacist. Everything in italics is from the ‘Talking About Race’ section of the website of the National Museum of African American History & Culture (MAAHC). The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution. This, then, is the official African American account of American society, issued by a flagship museum, endorsed by our greatest cultural institution, and heading to a schoolroom and an office near you. And it is dangerous and false.
It is dangerous because it color-codes the values of a multiracial democracy. It teaches that proven accelerators of social mobility such as the King’s English, the scientific method and the nuclear family are for whites only. It endorses the black idea that the black child who works hard at school is ‘acting white’. It infantilizes black Americans by depicting them as permanently incapacitated by past suffering, and incapable of succeeding except by complicity with structural racism.
It is false because it imputes innate racism to all white people, and eternal victimhood to all black people. The MAAHC is supposed to teach all of us the truth about African American history: not just slavery and Jim Crow, but also African American achievements despite the facts and legacies of unimaginable degradation. The MAAHC is falsifying the history that it is charged to protect and teach.
The ‘anti-racism’ industry propagates its dangerous falsities by applying the Marxist analysis of class war to race relations. This is dangerous in even the most homogenous societies; it didn’t work out too well when the Germans tried it, did it?
In a multiracial democracy like the US, the doctrine of racial conflict will be fatal to society, and rapidly. Incredibly, African Americans’ flagship museum is implying that African Americans are uniquely unfit for American life — as if there is a gene for the scientific method and common law. The beneficiaries of this folly will not be African American: they will be white racists. Them, and the bizarre industry of race-obsessed pseudo-academics.
There is a good living to be made from preaching the gospel of racial guilt as a ‘social-justice educator’ or ‘diversity consultant’. Curiously, its preachers advertise their credentials from the white supremacist system they attack.
‘I received my PhD in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2004,’ Robin DiAngelo, the author of the specious White Fragility, tells us on her website. ‘I earned tenure at Westfield State University in Massachusetts. Currently I am Affiliate Associate Professor of Education at the University of Washington, Seattle. In addition, I hold two Honorary Doctoral Degrees.’
By DiAngelo’s own reckoning, this isn’t a résumé: it’s a catalogue of complicity with the structures of racist exclusion. This, however, is part of her pitch: in a perversion of secularized Protestantism, she offers her confession as a model for the redemption of her community, in this case the apparently limitless supply of gullible, guilt-stricken and lawsuit-averse managers in our departments of human resources.
The same goes for the author of the bilge promoted by the MAAHC, Judith H. Katz. She is the executive vice president of the Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group. This group, almost all of whose managers appear to be white, sells ‘strategic culture alignment’ to companies seeking ‘organizational success’. The Group holds the copyright on the meaningless phrase ‘Inclusion as the HOW’. If you chant it enough, you will be free of racist thoughts. In fact, you may be free of any thoughts at all.
Katz tells us that she currently sits on the Dean’s Council, College of Education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the Board of Trustees of Fielding Graduate University of California. The libel laws prevent me from offering my opinion on Fielding Graduate University. But you can work it out by using cause-and-effect white logic.
The American Psychological Association has put Fielding’s accreditation ‘on probation’ twice in the last decade. Distinguished faculty include Jeremy J. Shapiro, who studied under Herbert Marcuse and Theodor Adorno and now teaches ‘zen socialism’ and ‘mindful enquiry in social research’, which means meditating on opinion surveys; and Four Arrows, who used to be Don Jacobs, PhD, EdD, and teaches ‘counter-hegemonic education; social justice; contrasting Indigenous ways of knowing with Western ones’. Fielding’s entry on the Online College Reviews website contains numerous allegations of sharp practice, institutional arrogance and the bait-and-switch game common among online universities.
And let’s not forget Peggy Macintosh, the author of White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack (1989). From what I can tell, the contents of Peggy’s invisible knapsack appear to be a large dollop of invisible horseshit. That hasn’t stopped New York City public schools from putting it on their curriculum. And who would dare to stop the agit-educators, with their professionalized talent for spotting and denouncing invisible racism? As in Salem of old, everyone knows a denunciation is a career-killer.
But there is, as they said in Salem, more at stake here than losing a career. Losing your history, for instance, or harming the prospects of the very people you seek to uplift, or piling on the kindling and fanning the flames of racial hostility. The surrender of the MAAHC, and by extension the Smithsonian to a false doctrine of racialized class war shows that America’s institutions are voluntarily dismantling themselves, and turning against the society they are supposed to serve. Why is the MAAHC, one of America’s most important museums promoting Katz’s loony-left, ahistorical race-grifting? Come to think of it, why didn’t they get a black person to do it?
Dominic Green is Life & Arts editor of The Spectator US.