Dividing Americans by Race to Keep America From Democracy

On June 9, NPR carried this piece by Ari Shapiro, “‘There Is No Neutral’: ‘Nice White People’ Can Still Be Complicit In A Racist Society.” It’s an interview with Robin DiAngelo, author of the popular “White Fragility.” Robin DiAngelo is a functionary of the bourgeoisie. (See my The Psychological Wages of Antiracism and Not All White People Are Racist.)

What racists and anti-racists have in common - spiked
Racialist Robin DiAngelo

DiAngelo claims that racism is the status quo in the United States. Speaking for herself, she says that “it is comfortable for me, as a white person, to live in a racist society.” That’s why white people don’t see it, she contends. She wants to, in Shapiro’s words, “sustain the momentum of these protests” by making it (again, in Shapiro’s words), “uncomfortable for white people to continue to benefit from racist systems.”

Let her speak for herself. “We’ve got to start making it uncomfortable and figuring out what supports we’re going to put in place to help us continue to be uncomfortable,” DiAngelo says. “Because the forces of comfort are quite seductive.”

Exactly. The twenty-five million white Americans who live in poverty, and tens of millions more working class people at its margins struggling daily to make ends meet, are seduced by their comfort. It sounds like DiAngel’s comfortable existence is being mapped onto all whites, doesn’t it?

Who does she think she is? Not a nice white person, she will have you know. “Nice, white people who really aren’t doing anything other than being nice people are racist,” DiAngelo says, “We are complicit with that system. There is no neutral place.”

Get that, white people? You are a monolithic group, all enjoying comfort, and guilty of racism. DiAngelo is racist, too, but at least she’s trying. What are you doing?

According to DiAngelo, “Racism is what happens when you back one group’s racial bias with legal authority and institutional control.” Like the apartheid system in South Africa or Jim Crow in the United States South.

As I have reported on Freedom and Reason—what I thought was old news, but apparently not—the United States dismantled its system of apartheid more than half a century ago.

Undeterred by this fact, DiAngelo says, “When you back one group’s collective bias with that kind of power, it is transformed into a far-reaching system. It becomes the default. It’s automatic. It’s not dependent on your agreement or belief or approval.”

What collective bias? Backed by what power?

Plainly these claims are false. So why is DiAngelo so popular? Why is a person with a cracked theory of the United States being interviewed with such a degree of unconditional positive regard? It’s almost as if the bourgeoisie is distracting the working class by sowing racial division. Why would it want to do that?

DiAngelo says that black people have an understanding of racism that we, as white people, can never understand. Yet she presumes to speak for black people. And for white people.

There are lot of DiAngelos out there. Tim Wise hops in like an unwelcome toad in your potato salad. The white progressives on my Facebook newsfeed. The white progressives on corporate media. The white progressives in the administration and humanities and social science departments at our nation’s universities.

“Racism is the foundation of the society we are in,” DiAngelo says. “And to simply carry on with absolutely no active interruption of that system is to be complicit with it. And in that way, we can say that nice, white people who really aren’t doing anything other than being nice people are racist.”

Let’s not mince words. The slogans DiAngelo and her ilk are rehearsing are more than bullshit. They’re racist. If you buy into this argument, then you are buying into racism.

This is what racism is apart from a pseudoscientific theories of racial inferiority or institutional structures that systemically privilege some over others on the basis of race: supposing that certain attitudes and actions are intrinsic to all individuals abstractly grouped by skin color and holding all of them responsible for the actions of a few.

To say that all white people are complicit in racism—especially white people who do not subscribe to DiAngel’s cracked theory about white fragility—is a racist smear. It’s like saying that all blacks are violent criminals because some blacks are violent criminals. Its like saying that all blacks are complicit in violent crime even when they are not complicit in violent crime.

DiAngel’s claims are not true. America is not a racist society. America is a country that overcame racism. In a long Civil War, white people killed other white people to win freedom for black people. Americans amended their Constitution to forbid chattel slavery, a system of involuntary servitude based on race. Americans passed a historic law—the Civil Rights Act of 1964—to end segregation in public institutions and places of public accommodations. Americans instituted a comprehensive program of reparations in the wake of that law. Today, black people move in all spaces of American society. They are in academia, business, entertainment, government, and sports.

Robin DiAngelo is a purveyor of racism. She is the worst of the worst. Okay, maybe the loathsome Tim Wise is worse. But DiAngelo is the current hack cult leader. She is the Richard Spencer of the left (see What racists and anti-racists have in common, at Spiked).

That the media has taken up the line of race identitarianism announces an agenda at work. What is it? It’s simple, really. The cultural managers in academia and in mainstream media perpetuate the myth of racism to keep working people from thinking and talking about what really matters: CLASS. If it’s not intentional, it’s functional. It’s a tried-and-true strategy of divide and rule.

The ruling class has used racism to divide the people for centuries. Racism was invented to fracture the proletariat. It will always serve that purpose. Its new form exploits the narcissist desire of progressives to appear virtuous. The only way racism doesn’t fracture the working class is if we reject it. Therefore, we must reject race merchants like Robin DiAngelo, Al Sharpton, and Nancy Pelosi.

And we need to reject it now. When I wrote a moment ago that America is not a racist country, I meant that it is not right now a racist country. But if we allow DiAngelo and her crowd and their hysterical ideas to worm their way more deeply into our culture and society, it will be.

Want an concrete example of the agenda? The matter with which progressives are now most obsessed is demonstrably false—the claim that lethal officer-civilian encounters are systemically racist. The science shows that, not only are blacks not disproportionately killed by the police, but that, controlling for crime and context, it’s whites who are disproportionately killed by the police. But truth doesn’t matter in the postmodern multiverse.

#BlackLivesMatter rests on a false premise. The elite know it. They’re neither ignorant or stupid. They push the false narrative systemic racism—what Kwame Ture, aka Stokley Carmichael, notorious opponent of nonviolence and racial integration, called “institutional racism”—to confuse the people about the real situation facing them: global corporatism and the neoliberal reorganization of social life.

The establishment is dividing America by race to keep America from democracy. Don’t let them.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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