“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.” Fifty-five years after Martin Luther King’s plea to end racial discrimination a new kind of prejudice has become quite the fashion. At the recent announcement of a Mugabe-style initiative in South Africa to seize properties owned by white farmers, a chorus of Western media sites, from the Atlantic to our Sydney Morning Herald, condemned the president—not of South Africa but the United States. Donald Trump’s alarm about state-sponsored racial discrimination was denounced as an adoption of “a white nationalist narrative”. Not even when the leader of South Africa’s so-called Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema, spoke of “cutting the throat of whiteness” did our commentariat seem bothered. White-hatred, according to the pseudo-science of contemporary left-wing theory, is nothing more than a demand for social justice.
This essay appears in the October edition of Quadrant.
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Significantly, the “theory” of anti-Semitism was devised in 1879 by an intellectual of sorts, Wilhelm Marr, who wanted something more scientific-sounding than Jew-hatred (Judenhaß) to express his bigotry. Jew-hatred was thus reconfigured along bogus biological rather than traditional religious lines, and Hitler took it from there. Nazi race-theorists were hardly conventional scholars, at least not in the sense of critically evaluating their sources or troubling themselves with historiography. Hans F.K. Günther’s “re-nordification” concept, to take one example, had its origins in a fantasy fabricated by the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus. Germany, according to Günther, would commence the journey towards a harmonious people’s community (Volksgemeinschaft) once the state intervened at the expense of “the degenerate” and re-created the racial integrity attested to by Tacitus in Germania. Trouble was, Tacitus made the whole thing up about Germanic racial purity. The Germanic tribe’s courage “to hang or drown in the marshes those who were inferior or predisposed to perversion” was a figment of his imagination, and yet almost two thousand years later that tall tale metamorphosed into reality. Not only was the ideology of racism spurious, it also conjured up diabolical consequences.
The ideology of white-hatred, then, demands our scrutiny, and we might begin with the case of the tech writer Sarah Jeong, lately hired by the New York Times. Instead of sacking Jeong after a history of ugly tweets about “dumbass f-ing white people” came to light, the NYT defended her. In the opinion of this once reputable newspaper, “dumbass f-ing white people” failed to appreciate that their “fab” new editor had been “imitating the rhetoric of her harassers” with “counter-trolling”. Tweeting out #cancelwhitepeople, the NYT explained, constituted satire. That might have been (almost) plausible had not further tweets emerged showing Sarah Jeong “counter-trolling” everything under the sun, including the NYT itself.
Prominent conservatives, not least out-of-work actress Roseanne Barr, complained that satire as a defence was only permissible in the court of public opinion when the offender was leftist. A fair point, but the challenge facing conservatives and libertarians, and everyone in the end, might be something more than hypocrisy. Today’s middle-class leftists give every indication of being indoctrinated by postmodernist and post-colonialist racial theories courtesy of latter-day Wilhelm Marrs and Hans F.K. Günthers. African-American Studies blames whites for the suffering of blacks, Islamic Studies blames whites for the sufferings of Muslims, Whiteness Studies blames whites for the suffering of everyone, and so on. Pointedly, intellectual apologists for Sarah Jeong did not even bother with the “counter-trolling” furphy, since “reverse racism”, that is, racism against whites, is a theoretical impossibility.
“Whiteness”—according to our leftist intelligentsia—is both the cause and the consequence of world domination by a conspiratorial elite. In short, you can’t be a racist for merely speaking truth to power, a proposition jarringly reminiscent of the premise of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Accordingly, Manisha Krishnan’s 2016 article for VICE magazine, “Dear White People, Please Stop Pretending Reverse Racism is Real”, dispenses with Martin Luther King’s moral compass and provides a directory of rationalisations for anti-white bigotry. Here is one example. The co-founder of Toronto’s chapter of Black Lives Matter (BLM), Yusra Khogali, sparked some controversy when this old tweet surfaced: “Plz Allah give me strength not to cuss/kill these men and white folks out here today”. Krishnan cites a Toronto-based civil and human rights lawyer, Anthony Morgan, to brush aside any suggestion of racism on Khogali’s part: “But Morgan said even if all people of colour straight up said they hate white people, it wouldn’t affect a white person’s ability to get a job, an education, or increase the odds that they’d get carded or charged for a crime.” Institutionalised racism, apparently, means people of colour never having to say sorry to the melanin-challenged.
The melanin-challenged, however, might be the least of the dangers facing the inhabitants of African-American communities. Heather Mac Donald’s The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe (2016) makes the case that most homicides of African-Americans are committed by African-American gangs (and internecine splinter groups) who currently enjoy free rein thanks to the “Ferguson effect”, a reduction of active policing in the aftermath of the riots in Ferguson, Missouri. Responsibility for this non-interventionist strategy should go to both the BLM movement and Barack Obama, community-organiser-in-chief for eight long years. Recently in Chicago, after a weekend in which seventy African-Americans were shot, the Reverend Gregory Livingston was not the only African-American voice calling for President Trump to send in the National Guard to protect the imperilled people of the South Side: “If I’m drowning in the ocean and somebody throws me a lifesaver, I don’t look to see who is on the other end of the rope.”
The PC brigade, in both the Democratic Party and the GOP, failed to grasp that a great many Americans, of all ethnicities, ages, denominations, genders and political persuasions, felt as if they were “drowning in the ocean” in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis and the tepid recovery on President Obama’s watch. Candidate Donald Trump, playing the role of a conservative-populist, and Candidate Bernie Sanders, in the guise of a left-wing populist, garnered support by rejecting the orthodoxies of the Republican Party and the Democrats respectively, orthodoxies that insisted on business-as-usual policies. The rules of the political game changed overnight, leaving the commentariat blind-sided. Through ignorance or malice, or both, pundits continue to insist that Trump is a bigot rather than an economic patriot, and regard “America First” and “Make America Great Again” as nothing more than ethno-nationalist dog whistling. Leading Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi still refers to Trump’s populist mantra as “Make America White Again”. The President’s insistence, on Inauguration Day, that a burgeoning United States would be good for all Americans—“When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice”—was dismissed as fraudulent.
President Trump likes to remind the world that the US economy is, as he promised, burgeoning and that this is good for all Americans. He often repeats the claim that the unemployment rate for African-Americans has fallen to historic lows, although technically speaking this means going back only as far as 1972. The anti-Trumpers are not wrong to point out that African-American unemployment improved during the Obama years, starting at 12.7 per cent in January 2009 and down to 7.8 per cent eight years later. It is also true that unemployment for African-Americans remains higher than for the rest of the population; the same, to be fair, could be said about the Obama years. Statistics can be manipulated by both sides of the political aisle. As an anti-Trump opinion piece in the Trump-hating Washington Post put it: “The economy’s great. That doesn’t mean Trumponomics is.” Time will tell. For the purposes of this discussion, nonetheless, it is enough to say that Trumponomics—which involves plying tariffs, restructuring trade deals, reducing taxes, cutting regulations and generally promoting economic patriotism—aims to revive local manufacturing, mining and so forth in order to provide gainful employment (and personal wealth and security) for as many Americans as possible, which obviously includes African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and every other kind of American. Trumponomics is not racist but populist.
If Donald Trump has been pursuing an anti-black agenda, then he has made a hash of it. What was Trump thinking when he posthumously pardoned Jack Johnson, the legendary black American boxer? And why commute the life sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, sixty-three, a black American woman who had already served twenty-one years for a non-violent crime? The naysayers will dismiss this as tokenism, and yet Trump has also signalled his intention to reduce the excessive number of life sentences meted out for non-violent crimes, something disproportionally affecting African-American families. Bill Clinton exacerbated the situation with his 1994 Crime Bill and its draconian emphasis on “truth in sentencing”, “mandatory minimums” and “three strikes”. President Clinton’s 1990s crackdown could not be more different from President Trump’s 2019 proposed budget for the Bureau of Prisons which, according to Ledyard King in USA Today, would “provide $739 million for re-entry programming, including funding for education, career and technical training, substance abuse, and residential re-entry centers”.
Nevertheless, the high priests of white-hatred have branded Donald Trump a white supremacist, even if The Donald and Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke were not two names commonly associated together before Trump ran for office. Now leftists can chortle knowingly in Spike Lee’s new film BlacKkKlansman when a black policeman from the 1970s says to his white sergeant: “America would never elect somebody like David Duke President.” And leftist celebrities can award BlacKkKlansman the Grand Prix award at this year’s Cannes Festival.
Perhaps the most amusing thing about BlacKkKlansman is Armond White’s review of it for the National Review. White recalls that thirty years ago Spike Lee’s film Do the Right Thing frightened American-style liberals at New York magazine so much they “predicted the film would incite black rioting”. Thereafter, argues White, “Lee’s entire career has been built on appeasing guilty white liberals”, with each new “muddled” film accompanied by “always-fawning reviews”.
White absolutely nails it when he describes Lee’s attempts at social satire as “sophomoric sarcasm, displaying the profanity-laden bitterness of a street bum with a media pundit’s frame of mind”. You can imply, as Lee does towards the end of his film, that Charlottesville and all the tensions leading to it should be blamed on Donald Trump’s Ku Klux Klan sympathies but (a) that would be idiocy and (b) America’s #Resistance, consisting of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party, the establishment media, sports stars, Hollywood celebrities, television personalities, popular musicians, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Deep State, Big Tech et al, long ago beat our celluloid provocateur to the punch. They were already calling Trump a white supremacist and champion of the KKK eighteen months ago. Is Spike Lee today just another not-so-special member of #Resistance, the most remunerated and pampered revolutionaries in history?
It is hard to disagree with Christopher Lasch’s assessment, in The Revolt of the Elites: And the Betrayal of Democracy (1994), that Spike Lee’s 1992 biopic of Malcolm X served as a “retrospective canonization” of the Nation of Islam firebrand who referred to whites as “green-eyed devils” and “promised, in effect, to restore his people’s self-respect ‘by any means necessary’—that is, by means of racial intimidation”. Today, as a consequence, Black Lives Matter elevates the violent, criminal and intimidatory posturing of Malcolm X while diminishing the integrationist message of Martin Luther King. The Baptist minister’s Christian entreaty is caricatured as that of the domestic slave unable to distinguish between respect and fear. Malcolm X himself started to rethink his position on King once he broke with Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam to form Muslim Mosque, Inc and the Organisation of Afro-American Unity. Elijah Muhammad had the last word, as gang leaders usually do. The leader of the Nation of Islam coolly remarked, after his former protégé was gunned down in February 1965 for his act of treachery, “Malcolm X got just what he preached.”
Malcolm X, paradoxically given his seminal role in the propagation of ethno-nationalism, was murdered for tempering his own anti-white ideology. The man who had previously advocated the separation of black and white Americans belatedly disavowed racism (if not black self-determination and self-defence) and paid the price. The Nation of Islam’s current leader, Louis Farrakhan, once snapped at a prying white reporter: “Was Malcolm your traitor or ours? And if we dealt with him like a nation deals with a traitor, what the hell business is it of yours? A nation has to deal with traitors and cutthroats and turncoats.” The irony of ironies, perhaps, is that Malcolm X re-thought his anti-white enmity only when he discovered the universalism in traditional Islam, a universalism mostly absent in today’s Islamic revivalism, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s Council on American-Islamic Relations.
What—we have to ask—does the creed of white-hatred ultimately hope to achieve? At its most ambitious, perhaps, white-hatred would achieve the Nation of Islam’s goal of independent black states on American soil. Something a little less grand might be an autonomous black education system, police force, business class and legal and political structures co-existing alongside the constitutional republic founded in 1776—not so dissimilar from the goal of Islamic revivalists in many Western nation-states.
Take the anti-white rhetoric down a notch or two, to the level of #Resistance, and we find ourselves in a very different political landscape. Latter-day leftists believe a harmonious people’s community, based on equality for all identity groups, will see the light of day only when white privilege and institutionalised racism are abolished through the strict implementation of affirmative action or, if we can be a little more honest about it, positive discrimination. This is an interpretation of whiteness that is more metaphorical than literal. The obstacle to a harmonious people’s community is not white people per se but the United States and Western civilisation writ large and all who would defend them. We should not have been surprised, then, when the professoriate at the Australian National University cried “Racist!” at the prospect of the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation insinuating itself into their hallowed halls.
Don Trump Jr therefore, had it about right when he tweeted that Sarah Jeong’s appointment to the editorial board of the NYT came not despite her racially-charged missives—quite the opposite. Her invective signified to the powers-that-be that she possessed the right—I should say left—political sensibilities. Meanwhile, Don Trump Jr, and anyone else associated with the conservative-populist uprising of 2016, can remonstrate all they like but #Resistance, the Left Power Elite, has already tarred conservatives with the KKK or Alt-Right brush (see “Alt-Right v Alt-Left”, Quadrant, March 2017). Their lack of genuine concern about the lingering existence of the KKK and neo-Nazis in America is obvious from their determination to vilify everybody on the other side of the political divide (#NeverTrumpers excepted, naturally) as a white supremacist or at least a white-supremacist enabler, even though the modern-day conservative champions racial integration and is maligned by anonymous online trolls in white robes, pointed hoods and slippers. Instead of giving a spotlight to inconsequential characters such as the white supremacist Richard Spencer, not to mention other fringe dwellers (and so I won’t), enlightened patriots on the Left ought to band together with enlightened patriots of the Right and laugh whatever remains of the KKK off the stage. Leftists, of course, would answer that the “basket of deplorables” are racist—or, in any case, benefit from institutionalised racism—and do not wish to laugh the KKK off the stage.
The only way out of this circular argument is if enough minority voters, including African-Americans, refuse to play the role assigned them by the PC brigade and its Democratic Party. Martin Luther King pointed out a way forward, a path to human liberation that was not predicated upon black nationalism or anti-white hatred but to be found right there in the DNA of the Republic:
When the architects of our Republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men—yes, black men as well as white men—would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
For Spike Lee, and the #Resistance who have fawned over his latest clueless and belligerent discourse on the country that has given him so much, the DNA of the Republic is not a Christian-inspired promise waiting to be kept. It is, rather, an original sin of the politically-correct Whiteness Studies kind: “The United States of America’s foundation is genocide of native people and slavery.”
For any African-American hoping to escape the “monolithic thought”—as Kanye West describes it—of modern-day tribalism or PC identity politics, the only choice open is to become an identity traitor. West, the most revered American recording artist this century, committed something akin to apostasy by daring to express support for President Trump while noting that eight years of Barack Obama had done nothing to curtail crime in inner-city neighbourhoods. The “celebrity-intelligentsia industrial complex”, as David Whitley terms it, took unkindly to West’s diversity of thought. Other prominent blacks who happen to be pro-Trump, such as political commentator Candace Owens, have also marked themselves out for retribution. In early August, Owens was accosted in public by an Antifa crowd blowing whistles and shouting profanities at her. Footage of the assault shows the protesters chanting “F*** white supremacy!”
Whiteness, as we have noted, is both a skin colour and a defective state of mind or, to borrow from Tacitus, a form of degeneracy. It is unsettling to recall that, in Nazi times, a white Jew was a German who displayed sympathy towards Jewish people—an Aryan on the outside, a Volksfiende within. Must Martin Luther King’s descendants look forward to being judged not only by the colour of their skin but by their fealty to the Democratic Party?
Daryl McCann has a blog at http://darylmccann.blogspot.com.au, and he tweets at @dosakamccann.