Antiracism as (Flawed) Religion

852 - Black Lives Matter

John McWhorter continues to really impress me with his political commentary.[ref]I was first impressed by his linguistic books, however, like this great history of the English language: Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue[/ref] His most recent piece is Antiracism, Our Flawed New Religion. In it, McWhorter continues his attack on White Privilege theory, primarily for being (1) practically useless and (2) largely designed to appeal to comfortable white folk.

Antiracism as a religion, despite its good intentions, distracts us from activism in favor of a kind of charismatic passivism… Real people are having real problems, and educated white America has been taught that what we need from them is willfully incurious, self-flagellating piety, of a kind that has helped no group in human history.

Of course, it’s a little interesting–as a religious person–to see religion used as basically a pejorative, but I’m kind of desensitized to the stereotype of religion as pathological irrationality. One thing at a time. And, in this piece, McWhorter does a good job of explaining why antiracism fails to benefit poor black people, and who it really does benefit.

2 thoughts on “Antiracism as (Flawed) Religion”

  1. Reminds me of something Deirdre McCloskey has written (and we quoted in our SquareTwo article):

    “You sit down with a cup of dark coffee and a nice croissant to read the New York Times, venting daily your hatred of the cruelties recorded there, and as a result are yourself saved, regardless of whether policies of “protection” advocated in its pages do the poor and tortured any actual good” (Bourgeois Dignity, 428-429).

  2. I’ve always thought the phrase “Check your privilege” was just a modern version of “But for the Grace of God, go I.”

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