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Anti-white racism is alive and well on college campuses

Professors and other academics know how to spout racist belief while getting away with it

It is the height of fashion on campus these days to lecture and harangue students about white people and “whiteness,” almost to the point that every new instance of this low-grade racism feels vaguely like a man-bites-dog story. It’s not—racism is racism, and it is a stupid and repellant ideology no matter how often it happens and to whom—but surely many college students are more or less inured to it at this point.

A large part of the problem is in the modern academic’s rather subtle, low-incline approach to the business of campus racism. Old-style racists—be they anti-black, anti-white, or anti-anybody else—were both unambiguous about their racism and enthusiastic about racist ideology in general: “The [x] race is bad, and here’s why” was the rough formula that bigots followed more or less as a rule. The new racism, at least in college classrooms and lecture halls and breakout groups, is a bit more discreet about its prejudices, approaching the whole subject on tiptoe, so as to not really let anyone know what is happening.

Hence we have, say, professors teaching students about “the problem that is whiteness.” In this instance, a professor claims that “whiteness means a specific power apparatus that exists at the expense of the disempowerment of black people.” You can see the linguistic trick at work here: we have taken what is, at its most reduced level, a color-neutral phenomenon—power structures that disempower people—and appended it with a specific race: in the professor’s eyes, this “power apparatus” is explicitly a white phenomenon, bound up with and inextricable from the white race.

If you have ever challenged such a stupid and baseless academic doctrine—as this editor has, with no joy taken in the experience—then you will have likely been confronted with an explanation more or less along these lines: “We’re not saying that all white people are attempting to disempower black people. We’re just referring to a specific ‘power apparatus’ that we call whiteness.” This is, of course, a distinction without a difference. Imagine a professor attempting to associate a deeply negative and oppressive set of behaviors with the term “blackness,” and then trying to explain away the inevitable backlash with similarly dumb rhetorical gibberish. Nobody would buy such claptrap. The point would be obvious: linking the term “blackness” with a set of unpleasant associations would be an attempt to degrade black people generally.

So it is with “whiteness,” and the professors who espouse it. It is to their credit that these academics have figured out how to avoid any consequences of spouting such dull-witted and insulting philosophy: they simply blubber some meaningless academic jargon that obscures clarity and confuses people. We should not be fooled. Racism is alive and well at American universities; what’s more, it is generally treated as a respectable and commendable academic endeavor. It is a wonder that we ever got to this in the first place; it is imperative, however, that we attempt to move away from it.

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