There are two lessons to be learned from the post-Charlottesville political hysteria recklessly fueled by media. Firstly, for liberals, racism is a term, the definition of which is infinitely elastic and mutable, altered whenever necessary to support the preferred progressive Narrative of oppressor and oppressed. Second, one of the principal reasons liberals have enjoyed great success employing this tactic with impunity for years is because establishment Republicans act far too often as unwitting dupes or useful idiots by paying homage to the progressive commissars of political correctness.
Consider how the concept of racism has evolved. In the late 1970’s racism was no longer viewed or defined primarily as acts of intentional discrimination by individuals, but rather, by the existence of what was characterized as “institutionalized racism”, an amorphous concept that was pristinely undefined. Since bigotry was redefined to mean racism by society at large, all that was required to show discrimination was evidence of a statistical anomaly: if a practice had a “disparate impact” on minorities, it was deemed by the law as discriminatory and hence, racist.
A racial/gender class of oppressed and “historically disadvantaged” require an oppressor. Since diversity concerns itself solely with skin pigmentation and gender, the natural and only bogeyman in the entire equation has to be white men. Not white men as individuals, but simply white men as a group. No instances of individual discrimination are required, because it is group attribution that affords one the exalted status of membership in an oppressed or “protected class.”
Once intent to discriminate was severed from the concept of racism, identity politics filled the gap by making race or gender the primary and determinative factor that immutably shapes one’s political beliefs. The racialization of politics is now the lifeblood of 21st century liberalism and it requires that new forms of racism be created or imagined or redefined to meet its need to foment perpetual grievance and strife along racial lines.
In the 1960’s, there was no confusion over the term “racist” because the opprobrious behavior of the offender fit the dictionary definition. All reasonable people understood and accepted this characterization. Over time however, the term was subject to further refinement and continued to evolve. The latest incantation of bigotry was revealed during the 2016 election. For the Left, not only was Trump’s victory due to his racism, but all those who voted for him were racists as well. Thus, in one fell swoop, the progressive Narrative stigmatized nearly 40% of the population as beyond the pale. How some members of the white working class who voted for Obama twice could magically become racists was never addressed nor explained.
In terms of defining racism as a concept that can have but one meaning, progressives, like Alice in Wonderland’s Humpty Dumpty believe that, “When they use a word,” “it means what they choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
Academics continue to create novel concepts that embrace the view of Whiteness as an ominous threat to minorities: microaggressions, white privileges, etc. Although many of these ideas were birthed in academia, they have found a welcoming home in the Democratic Party. The Democrats seem to have embraced the demands of the post-Charlottesville mob. Most of the country knows where this hysteria over White Nationalists and removing statues of the Confederacy will lead. Apparently, the Democrats do not or don’t care.
For the identity politics true believers, the fact that the White Nationalists movement is comprised of a tiny band of miscreants is of no consequence. Racism lurks in places where one least expects it. The clamoring of left wing commentators and academics in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy has given us a new version of racism: Whiteness, as a menacing and incipient force that needs to be carefully monitored and restrained. A recent picture of a 3-year-old white girl with a ACLU shirt waving a flag was decried by some on the Left as a new and sinister manifestation of White Supremacy. The cynical attempt to unilaterally decide who is racist has now come full circle resulting in monumental silliness: if everybody is a racist, no one is a racist. Yesterday’s opponent of affirmative could be tomorrows White Nationalist. The Democratic Party has finally fallen prey to the Boy Who Cried Racist Syndrome.
No matter how one views the adequacy of the President’s response to the tragedy in Virginia, Trump instinctively understands what many Republicans fail to realize: no matter how much they grovel before the Left for fear of being called racists, it is never going to be enough to satisfy progressives insatiable demands for atonement. Two days after Mitt Romney’s sanctimonious criticism of the president, a number of commentators decried the entire GOP as racist and home to White Supremacists. No amount of chest-thumping is going to cure this fundamental truth: the media and the Left View Republicans not as an opposition party, but as the enemy. Trump instinctively understands this and rebukes liberals and their communications organ the media accordingly. Establishment Republicans and Never Trampers do not. Has anyone heard Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney rebuking the Southern Poverty Law Center’s slanderous characterization of Christian organizations as “hate groups” because they believe in traditional marriage? Did any Democrat speak out when a columnist from the Miami Herald called the entire Republican Party racist and a home for White Nationalists?
The Republican Party ought to cease enabling the media’s incendiary attempts at inflaming the passions of the post-Charlottesville mob.