Wednesday, December 6, 2023

The warped, demented world view of racial polarization


Ibrahim X. Kendi, darling of the "Everything is raaaaaaaaa-cis!" crowd, recently spoke at the launch of a new Netflix production, "Stamped from the Beginning".  Here's an excerpt from his talk.

“I don’t think white people worldwide have really reckoned with how much their own personal identity is shaped by constructions of whiteness, and how much that construction of whiteness prevents white people from connecting to humanity. In other words, recognizing that — when you — when you recognize that you are part and parcel of humanity — in other words, you’re not over humanity, right? It allows you to really be able to connect to people who don’t look like you, who have kinky hair, who have dark skin, and to see yourself in them. And it’s whiteness that prevents that, right? And when you’re not able to see yourself in other human beings, that creates all sorts of problems, but not just societal problems, personal problems that I think, hopefully, this film and this work will liberate those folks from.”

I couldn't disagree more with Mr. Kendi.  Let's look at a few examples of why he's so very, very wrong.

  1. In my experience of racism (which is, I daresay, considerably more extensive and a whole lot more violent than Mr. Kendi's), "whiteness" has little or nothing to do with the problem.  It's any person who thinks in terms of his or her race versus all the others.  To cite just a few examples, there's black African resentment and hatred of Indians and Asians, frequently taking violent form, as in Uganda in 1972;  Chinese contempt for all gwailos, all other races, but particularly for blacks;  colonial attitudes of racial superiority by whites against blacks;  tribal hatreds between black groups and individuals, which can be far bloodier and deadlier than any merely interracial conflict (witness the Gukurahundi in Zimbabwe between 1982 and 1987 [which I saw for myself], or the Hutu massacre of hundreds of thousands of Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994 [ditto in the aftermath], or the ongoing tribal and religious conflict in Nigeria);  and so on ad infinitum.  Yes, white people have perpetrated such hatred and discrimination.  So has almost every other race on earth, including black people.  "Whiteness" as such is no more a factor than is "blackness" or "Chinese-ness" or any other "-ness".
  2. Mr. Kendi claims, "that construction of whiteness prevents white people from connecting to humanity".  I can't help but think of the millions upon millions of white people who routinely conduct business and/or tourism with people of other races in many other countries, on many other continents, all over the world.  Is that not "connecting to humanity"?  If not, what is it?  What about a person like myself, raised as part of a privileged white minority in a racially governed country, but able to live and work among black people of many tribes and cultures throughout sub-Saharan Africa?  Am I not "connected to humanity"?  I certainly don't regard myself as special, or somehow "super-connected" for any reason.  I'm just an ordinary guy who recognizes a common humanity with every other regular guy (and gal) out there.  I'm not conscious of any "construction of whiteness" that has prevented me from living like that.  If it had been there, I daresay my (many) black colleagues, friends and fellow workers would have pointed it out over the many years we spent together.  Also, I was (and am) far from unique.  There were, and are, many like me.
  3. As for seeing myself in some others who don't look like me, that's no hardship or problem at all.  We all do it, all the time, with those with whom we associate.  It's not innate behavior, but learned.  Look at small children - toddlers.  Put them together with others of the same age group, and there's instant affinity and communication.  They don't see each other as white or black or brown or yellow, but as fellow infants, and they communicate, and play, and carry on like that.  So do puppies and kittens, or baby chicks and ducks.  Even a predator-to-be like a lion cub can (and, in the absence of its mother, will) play gently with a prey-to-be like a fawn, and not try to kill or eat it.  It's an automatic, instinctive identification of young to young.  In the same way, people are good or bad regardless of the color of their skin.  Their goodness or badness is the result of their own choices, the decisions they've made that have shaped their personalities.  (As a prison chaplain, I had plenty of opportunity to see that up close and personal.  A bad guy was a bad guy, regardless of his skin color.)
  4. On the other hand, I certainly don't see myself in some other people, irrespective of their skin color.  Again, I have very extensive personal experience of this.  When I encountered genocidal Interahamwe militia in Rwanda, or "blood in, blood out" prison gangs in the USA, you may rest assured I did not see myself in or as part of them.  They had made choices and espoused views that set them apart from the rest of humanity.  I had little or nothing in common with them, and apart from trying to be as polite as possible in order to facilitate communication, I didn't want to "see myself in them".  I don't think any person in his or her right mind would want that.  Again, my "whiteness" had damn all to do with it.

I suspect Mr. Kendi, like so many others of his ilk, has invested himself so heavily in the racism paradigm that defines his (and their) world view that he's literally incapable of seeing beyond it.  The truth is, of course, far more varied than any one such perspective can encompass.

When speaking to groups about trying to see things from a wider perspective, I often use the example of white light.  When it's shone through a prism, out comes the entire rainbow spectrum of colors, something with which I'm sure we're all familiar.

I usually say that each of us is standing in one of the colors on the right of the image.  Someone standing in the red will exclaim, "Look!  Light is red!  You can see it for yourself!  It's obvious!"  On the other hand, someone standing in the purple segment will say precisely the same about what he sees - and both of them will accuse the other of being wrong.  Only when they both realize that the light each of them sees is coming from the same source, but filtered through the prism, will they be able to accept that the light is white to begin with.

The same applies to those fixated on racism.  Mr. Kendi is clearly determined to maintain that the light he sees is (pick any color).  A Chinese racist might see a different color, and a Caucasian racist yet another.  The reality is that humanity is a mixture of all of them.  Our common humanity is the white light.  Trouble is, so few of us will step out of our "comfort zone" in one of the rainbow colors, and see that for ourselves.  (And if it troubles some that the source light is white, I'm sorry about that, but that's science!  It's got nothing to do with the color of our skin!)



Aesop said...

Another racist and race-baiting self-entitled black, trying to peddle more white guilt for the slaves his forefathers sold to outsiders, and each other.

And to top it off, he was born in NYFC, in 1982, thus never saw a day of the racism he decries in his entire born life, nor had to struggle against anything but the claws of his fellow hoodrats, and has degrees through PhD from Florida A&M and Temple University, probably on any number of scholarships and affirmative action rides not available to white folks. And worse, he thinks it's fair, and is nonetheless a total ingrate.

The liar doth protest too much.
This is my shocked face.

The White Guilt Bank has collapsed, and no further draws upon it can nor will ever be honored.

The faster the pendulum swings back, and the harder it punches race-hustling pimps like him in the mouth, ideally dislodging a few teeth in the process, the better for race relations in America.

Alternatively, ship him and any other dissatisfied members of his entire race back to Africa forthwith, let them found Wakanda, and show the world how it's done.

The latter should be begun in earnest, starting with Kendi. The mean IQs on both continents would go up twenty points in a year, and that'd be the last we heard of that nonsense on this one in anyone's lifetime.

Anonymous said...

There is another good example to illustrate, similar to your prism example. In the opening of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” the author discusses paradigm shifts using three versions of an optical illusion. It’s the one that looks like either an old lady or a young woman, and two modified versions which exaggerate toward one version of the illusion. The exaggerated versions are passed out to participants, 50/50, and then the original version is put on screen and the crowd is asked what it depicts. I have watched people argue and yell “How could it possibly be an old woman? It is obviously a young woman!” Until someone literally goes up and points out the other way of seeing it on the screen. Used it in a college 400level course on literary criticism to illustrate reader response, paired with having everyone write down what they though Robert Frost’s “stopping by woods on a snowy evening” was about. In both cases, past experiences colored how they saw the current item. I’ve also used these optical illusions when teaching hermeneutics in adult Sunday school to show the difference of original meaning versus individual application colored by our past experiences.

kamas716 said...

I suspect that Mr Kendi, along with all of the other race hucksters, is being deliberately obtuse. The older I get, the more I become convinced that, at least in the US, what they're referring to is not racism but rather culture. If he was honest about it, he'd acknowledge that nearly all cultures refer to themselves as, "The People," which distinguishes everyone else as some sort of "other" to be dealt with according to the threat they pose to "The People."

Anonymous said...

Africans have almost no neanderthal DNA. Everyone else has 2-3%. You might describe blacks as the "purest" humans with everybody else being an ever so slight hybrid. Maybe this explains some things.

The dude is still an idiot.

Rick T said...

Kendi requires racism to keep his graft going. End of story.

Old NFO said...

And don't forget the Japanese and everybody else, or the Hawaiians and 'houlies' among others!

Anonymous said...

Dont forget dem reperations

Anonymous said...

Just another leftist grifter pushing an issue that doesn’t exist, par for the course

Anonymous said...

I am white and from a lower middle class family and worked my way through college in the mid 70s in south central Los Angeles (Black Slums) on a multiracial crew for the phone company. The area was dangerous and we got hazard pay. Daily there were shootings and the area had not recovered from the riots of 10 years before. There were murders weekly.

I learned that the Blacks cared nothing of race. Overtime Blacks committed crime worse Black on Black, then Black on other races. This is per the FBI and this is through time and is consistent. The media does not report it.

nick flandrey said...

“I don’t think white people worldwide have really reckoned with how much their own personal identity is shaped by constructions of whiteness."

-- I don't think Blacks understand how few of them there really are, or what an outsized voice they currently have in the US. If demographic trends continue, once the US is predominantly hispanic, the grift will stop. My experience living in border states for the last 35 years is that hispanics in general don't particularly like or respect Blacks, and since they lack white guilt, cannot be pressured into kowtowing to Blacks.

Hispanics will see to their own interests first, and they don't overlap with black interests much.

Or the chinese will end up running things, and they have a deep seated cultural bias against dark skin. Blacks in china are objects of curiosity. Blacks in the satrapy of Michigan will be objects of derision and scorn.

If those futures didn't also mean that mine was over, I'd be looking forward to some schadenfreude.

Until those or some other thing happens, I'm taking the advice of many people, expressed in many forms, but most lately by Scott Adams.*


*yes, I am using skin color as a proxy for what is really culture, ie. mostly nurture, but there sure seems to be some nature there too.

Anonymous said...

"Racism" is his grift, it is where he makes his living. You can't expect him to be factual or rational about any of it.

Billll said...

Take Mr Kendis paragraph, and flip some of the words: black<-->white, Kinky<--> straight, brown<-->pale, etc. It then sounds like a rant from the Klan, which is pretty much is, and Mr.Kendis credibility drops to zero.

Timbotoo said...

When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything will look like a nail to you.