The Political Function of Selective Condemnation of Hateful Ideology

Update May 24: Glenn Loury published a note on his substack, “An Argument for Border Control,” that originated on his show, The Glenn Show. I direct you there for more info. But for your convenience, here’s the relevant clip:

From The Glenn Show, May 24, 2022.

* * *

Remarks condemning white supremacy are easy and obvious. Any president, governor, or mayor can be counted on to condemn white supremacy. Trump did it all the time (he was constantly asked to do so in a strategy to manufacture the perception that he is a racist). Actions and systems rooted that ideology are wrong and should be punished and dismantled. Indeed, the United States has done both. Almost sixty years ago the United States abolished systems of racial segregation wherever they existed and outlawed discrimination based on race. What emerged from that experience is the near universal recognition that violence rooted in racial antipathy is contrary to the humanist values that have always resided in the heart of the American spirit.

President Biden delivers remarks in Buffalo on the problem of white supremacy

So where was President Biden when a black nationalist ran over white people at a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin? Darrell Brooks, Jr., a black man, intentionally targeted participants based on his racist beliefs. Unlike Payton Gendron’s actions, which were immediately acknowledged as domestic terrorism (Attorney General Merrick Garland has announced that Gendron’s actions are being investigated “as a hate crime and an act of racially-motivated violent extremism”), authorities just as quickly denied that Brooks’ actions were and the media stopped reporting the story (see Waukesha is Scheduled to be Memory Holed). 

On November 22, 2021, in brief comments before discussing other matters, Biden referred to Brooks’ actions as a “horrific act of violence,” but there was nothing in his remarks about black nationalism, racism, or domestic terrorism, even though the facts known to him then clearly indicated that these were all features of the attack that had left five people dead (another person, a child, died later). In a press briefing a week later, Press Secretary Jen Psaki effectively skirted a question by Peter Doocy of Fox News asking about whether Biden was going to Waukesha, steering the conversation back to the government’s campaign to foment panic over the new wave of COVID-19 infections.

However, President Biden, the First Lady at his side, traveled to Buffalo, New York, yesterday afternoon to meet the families of the victims of Saturday’s mass shooting. In his speech, Biden described Gendron, “who massacred innocent people in the name of hateful and perverse ideology rooted in fear and racism,” “a hate-filled individual who had driven 200 miles from Binghamton, in that range, to carry out a murderous, racist rampage,” as the embodiment of “evil.” “What happened here is simple and straightforward,” Biden said. “Terrorism. Domestic terrorism. Violence inflicted in the service of hate and the vicious thirst for power that defines one group of people being inherently inferior to any other group. A hate that, through the media and politics, the internet, has radicalized angry, alienated and lost individuals into falsely believing that they will be replaced. That’s the word. Replaced by the other. By people who don’t look like them.”

As the speech unfolded it became clear that Biden’s visit to Buffalo was an opportunity to tie the populist-nationalist movement upending the Washington establishment to the actions of a handful of extremists (yesterday’s blog, Payton Gendron, the Black Sun, and the Great Replacement Smear, anticipated this tack). Biden essentially told his audience in Buffalo before checking himself (or perhaps somebody flashed him the sign to move on) that his motivation to run for president was to hang Charlottesville 2017 like an albatross around the neck of the populist-nationalist movement. “We heard the chants—’you will not replace us’— in Charlottesville, Virginia. I wasn’t going to run, as the senator knows, again for president. When I saw those people coming out of the woods of the fields in Virginia, in Charlottesville, carrying torches, shouting, you will not replace us, accompanied by white supremacists and carrying Nazi banners, that’s when I said, ‘No, no.’ And I, honest to God, those who know me—Chuck, you know, I wasn’t going to run for certain. But I was going to be darned if I was going to let—, Anyway. I’ll get going.”

“Hate and fear are being given too much oxygen by those who pretend to love America, but who don’t understand America,” Biden said moments later. This is the same man who, during his 2020 campaign for president, gave oxygen to the hateful ideology that inspires black nationalist violence (see Rittenhouse’s Real Crime and Corporate State Promotion of Extremism). That ideology, known as critical racist theory, pushed by organizations such as Black Lives Matter, preaches that all whites enjoy a racial privilege that systematically advantages them at the expense of all blacks, their collective suffering justifying antipathy toward white people and demanding that they collectively atone for sins of their fathers. (I have blogged about this extensively. Here are a few examples: Critical Race Theory: A New Racism; What Critical Race Theory Is and Isn’t. Spoiler Alert: It’s Racist and Not Marxist; Crenshaw Confesses: Critical Race Theory is About Racial Reckoning; Awakening to the Problem of the Awokening: Unreasonableness and Quasi-religious Standards; The Problematic Premise of Black Lives Matter; What’s Really Going On with #BlackLivesMatter; The Wages of Victimism: Leftwing Trauma Production for Political Ends; Bad Comparisons and the Call for Racially Differentiated Law Enforcement; Is There Systemic Anti-White Racism?; Establishment Myths About Race and Violence.)

“White supremacy is a poison,” Biden told the families in Buffalo as the nation listened in. “And it’s been allowed to fester and grow right in front of our eyes.” He implored Americans “to say as clearly and forcefully as we can that the ideology of white supremacy has no place in America.” He then picked up and ran with a slogan from the social justice movement, clearing his throat with an Obama tick: “Look, failure to saying that is going to be complicity. Silence is complicity. It’s complicity. We cannot remain silent.” Biden continued: “I call on all Americans to reject the lie, and I condemn those who spread the lie for power, political gain and for profit.”

In case my words at the start of this blog didn’t reach you, we must condemn white supremacy. In one sense, Biden had no choice but to go to Buffalo and make this speech. The problem is that he chose not to go to Waukesha and make this speech. The problem is that, while Biden marked the first anniversary of George Floyd’s murder with a private Oval Office meeting with members of Floyd’s family (as congressional negotiators sought a deal on a bill named after Floyd aimed at reforming policing practices across the nation), we all know that Biden would never have invited the family of Tony Timpa, a white man who died in the same manner as Floyd, suffocated with a Dallas police officer’s knee on his neck, while other officers held him down, all of whom returned to active duty after seeing the criminal charges against them dropped. We all know that Democrats would never take a knee for Timpa.

It’s too easy to replace words in Biden’s speech to highlight what ought to be immediately understood as a double standard. Black nationalism is a poison, one that has been allowed to fester and grow. The ideology of black nationalism has no place in America. Yet progressives promote the ideology. By the lights of social justice, failure to condemn black nationalism is complicity in it. Black nationalism is based on a lie, the lie of systemic racism, a lie told for power, political gain, and profit. Democrats peddle the lie. They give oxygen to it. An so on. That I have to rehearse what should be obvious to everybody but isn’t speaks volumes about the moment.

Democrats wearing Kente scarfs while genuflecting to Black Lives Matter

It should also be obvious what lurks behind the double standard. Biden links criticism and opposition to mass immigration and multiculturalism (this is what he means by attributing to his political opponents “fear”) to the actions of a white supremacist who shares the same hateful ideology as the soldiers the United States is arming in Ukraine—the same hateful ideology the United States has been weaponizing since the end of WWII when the CIA and the NSA recruited Nazis in the struggle against world communism. Yesterday, knowing full well the answer to the question, the establishment media wondered out loud, “What is Ukraine’s Azov Regiment?” This is a tactic in the strategy of organizing ignorance. Biden goes about how terrible are weapons of war serving as chief salesman of the military industry worldwide.

Bannon explains to his audience who is being replaced.

Biden accuses the Americans he falsely associates with racism and terrorism of not understanding America, as if understanding American means agreeing with his transnationalist ideology—or being associated with neo-Nazis. As I noted in yesterday’s blog, the establishment means to make it impossible for you to criticize mass immigration. The political function of selective condemnation of hateful ideology is strategic. We have to call it out.

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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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