Here we see Eddy Murphy giving the "OK" sign in Beverly Hills Cop [1984]. This is of interest now because politically correct idiots, like the corrupt Anti-Defamation League, say that the sign is used to assert "white supremacy."

This seems to have begun as a joke, someone "trolling" the idiots to demonstrate the principle that "everything is racist." The move was so effective that now news media soberly repeat the claim that only racists sign "OK," ruining some perfectly innocent sign language.

One way to fight back is to repeat the image of Eddy. However, to the idiots, white people repeating images or memes of black people are engaged in "digital black face" -- reinforcing, again, the principle that "everything is racist."

Ἐγκλινοβάραγγος (Enklinobarangus)

Their qualities of character, moreover, are close to those of dumb animals. It has ever been reported that most of the Negroes of the first [climatic] zone dwell in caves and thickets, eat herbs, live in savage isolation and do not congregate, and eat each other. The same applies to the Slavs. The reason for this is that their remoteness from being temperate produces in them a disposition and character similar to those of the dumb animals, and they become correspondingly remote from humanity.

ʿAbd-ar-Raḥmān Abū Zayd Ibn Khaldūn (1332-1406), The Muqaddimah, An Introduction to History, Franz Rosenthal translation, abridged and edited by N.J. Dawood [Bollingen Series, Princeton University Press, 1967, p.59]

Be it known to you, that the Traffic in Slaves is a matter on which all Sects and Nations have agreed from the time of the sons of Adam, on whom be the Peace of God, up to this day -- and we are not aware of its being prohibited by the Laws of any Sect, and no one need ask this question [i.e. whether the trade in slaves be lawful], the same being manifest to both high and low and requires no more demonstration than the light of day.

ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān ibn Hishām, Sultān of Morocco (1822-1859), to British Vice Consul Henry John Murray, 1842

Every individual on earth has his completing causes; consequently an individual with perfect causes becomes perfect, and another with imperfect causes remains imperfect, as the negro who is able to receive nothing more than the human shape and speech in its least developed form.

Judah Halevi (1075-1140), Kuzari (I, 4-6) [A History of Jewish Philosophy in the Middle Ages, Colette Sirat, Cambridge University Press, 1985, 1990, p.2]

The present difficulty, in bringing all parts of the United States to a happy unity and love of country, grows out of the prejudice to color. The prejudice is a senseless one, but it exists.

President Ulysses S. Grant

Numbered among our population are some twelve million colored people. Under our Constitution their rights are just as sacred as those of any other citizen. It is both a public and private duty to protect those rights. The Congress ought to exercise all its powers of prevention and punishment against the hideous crime of lynching, of which the negroes are by no means the sole sufferers, but for which they furnish a majority of the victims.

President Calvin Coolidge, Address to Congress, December 6, 1923.

In August 2009, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer was discussing a tea party rally in Arizona, where it's legal to carry an unconcealed weapon. She said: "A man at a pro-health care rally... wore a semiautomatic assault rifle on his shoulder and a pistol on his hip... There are questions about whether this has racial overtones, I mean, here you have a man of color in the presidency and white people showing up with guns." All that her audience was shown were a rifle and pistol strapped to a man's back. MSNBC concealed the fact that the armed man was black and did not show the interview he gave to the reporter. Brewer knowingly deceived her audience because an armed black man didn't fit the racial narrative.

Walter Williams, "Leftist race-baiters stir up animosity," May 9, 2012

"White Supremacy" in a Japanese toothpaste.

Hollywood has recently made movies, such as Lincoln [2012] and 42 [2013], celebrating great moments in the history of civil rights and social progress. This is not the picture, however, that students receive at American universities, in "multicultural" education, or in much of political and media discourse. There, America today is hopelessly, irredeemably, and unforgivably racist, just as though slavery still existed; Republicans are racist; business is racist; Capitalism is racist; white people are racist; standardized tests are racist; Christianity is racist; any white person who even mentions the "N" word is racist (unless it's Quentin Tarantino); IQ tests are racist; Israel is racist; the criminal justice system is racist; "meritocracy" is racist; the drug laws are racist (well, yes); voter ID is racist; Korean convenience stores are racist; fiscal responsibility is racist; the idea of "terrorism" is racist; clocks are racist; academic standards are racist; tax cuts are racist; and so forth. But of course black nationalism, black supremacy, Friedrich Nietzsche, celebrating la Raza (i.e. "the Race"), racial preferential policies, voter fraud and intimidation, and all things attributable to Islām are not racist. In other words, everything that the Left hates is racist, and everything it likes isn't. The same people, of course, typically deny that there is any objective basis or content to moral judgment.

Ἐγκλινοβάραγγος (Enklinobarangus)

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School was established in 1870 in Washington, D.C., as the nation's first black public high school. From 1870 to 1955, most of its graduates went off to college, earning degrees from Harvard, Princeton, Williams, Wesleyan and others. As early as 1899, Dunbar students scored higher on citywide tests than students at any of the district's [three] white [high] schools. Its attendance and tardiness records were generally better than those of white schools. During this era of high achievement, there was no school violence. It wasn't racially integrated. It didn't have a big budget. It didn't even have a lunchroom or all those other things that today's education establishment says are necessary for black academic excellence.

Walter Williams, "Educational excellence initiative," August 15, 2012

"These blacks expect too much [says the Ghanan taxi driver, Elolo]. When you go to a new country, you can't expect to belong to that place. Here, everybody knows where they are from, but these American blacks are lost here. They will hire me to be their guide in Africa, but truly they intend to guide me to become a better African. They should not come in here thinking that they are on a God-given mission to change Mother Africa. They want us to love them, not as our neighbors but as our superiors. So I ask you this:  How can we weep with them [about slavery]?"

The [slave transit] castle hove into view. "We are seriously approaching," Elolo remarked. "Slavery is not the only story about black people. It's only a small story! Don't they know that if tomorrow a slave ship arrived at Elmina to carry us to America, so many Ghanaians would climb on board that this ship would sink to the bed of the ocean from our weight?" he laughed. I couldn't help laughing, myself. But who was the butt of the joke?

Emily Raboteau, Searching for Zion, The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora [Atlantic Monthly Press, 2013, p.223]

To Marx there were class enemies. To the Nazis there were race enemies. The modern enlightened academy has achieved the epic combination of these, and added gender to complete the unholy "race, class, gender" trinity. Thus, white males, regardless of their economic status (in fact poor rural rednecks, the kind who fly Confederate flags, are obviously worse than the urban bourgeois) are at once race and class enemies. The political crime of being what they are warrants death, just like Stalin's kulaks; but the sentence can be commuted, to slavery, as long as they abase themselves sufficiency and never demonstrate in word or deed any criticism or disobedience for "progressive" principles or policies, however manifestly pointless, incoherent, vicious, or self-defeating those might be.

Ἐγκλινοβάραγγος (Enklinobarangus)

First, weaken the black family, but don't blame it on individual choices. You have to preach that today's weak black family is a legacy of slavery, Jim Crow and racism. The truth is that black female-headed households were just 18 percent of households in 1950, as opposed to about 68 percent today. In fact, from 1890 to 1940, the black marriage rate was slightly higher than that of whites... In New York City, in 1925, 85 percent of black households were two-parent households...

Disgustingly, black politicians, civil rights leaders, liberals and the president are talking nonsense about "having a conversation about race." That's beyond useless. Tell me how a conversation with white people is going to stop black predators from preying on blacks. How is such a conversation going to eliminate the 75 percent illegitimacy rate? What will such a conversation do about the breakdown of the black family...? Only black people can solve our problems.

Walter Williams, "A case of black self-sabatoge," July 31, 2013

All I want for Christmas is white genocide[!?]... To clarify: when the whites were massacre[d] during the Haitian revolution, that was a good thing indeed.

George Ciccariello-Maher, Associate Professor of Politics and Global Studies, Drexel University, Philadelphia, December 25, 2016

We recognize that urgency is a white supremacy value that can get in the way of more intentional and thoughtful work, and we want to attend to this dynamic.

Danielle Droppers, "Regional Health Equity Coalition Program Manager -- Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Office of Equity and Inclusion," July, 2022, about the cancellation of a scheduled "conversation" between OHA officials and relevant members of the public.

Man, it just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man. Yíall better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation. And DC keep talking about, ďWe a resilient city.Ē And thatís a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful.

Trayon White, Sr., District of Columbia Councilman (D, 8th Ward), and former D.C. Board of Education Member, 16 March 2018

White people need to be checked, Zach. End of discussion... Ain't no white person earning my trust unless they admit to being racist and apologize on behalf of their ancestors.

"Ivy League Historian," quoted by Zachary Wood, "The Cudgel of 'White Privilege'," The Wall Street Journal, April 9, 2018, A17

Visiting Africa, President Bill Clinton apologized for slavery and the slave trade. He was corrected by the President of Uganda, who said that Africans had sold other Africans into slavery. They should be apologizing. And of course, the slave trade in West and East Africa was started and run by the Arabs and then other Muslims, right into the 19th and 20th centuries. Even now. Are they apologizing? Did they abolish slavery like the British, Americans, and other Europeans? No they didn't. Have they ever apologized? Not that I've ever heard. Instead, ISIS and Boko Haram exult that Islamic Law allows slavery and sex slavery. And it does. Does Louis Farrakhan apologize for this? Certainly not.

Τηλεπατητικός (Telepateticus)

Für jede hohe Welt muß man geboren sein; deutlicher gesagt, man muß für sie gezüchtet sein: ein Recht auf Philosophie -- das Wort im grossen Sinne genommen -- hat man nur Dank seiner Abkunft, die Vorfahren, das »Geblüt« entscheidet auch hier. Viele Geschlechter müssen der Entstehung des Philospohen vorgearbeitet haben; jede seiner Tungenden muß einzeln erworben, gepflegt, fortgeerbt, einverleibt worden sein...

One must be born to any superior world -- to make it plainer, one must be bred for it. One has a right to philosophy (taking the word in its greatest sense) only by virtue of one's breeding; one's ancestors, one's "blood," decides this, too. Many generations must have worked on the origin of a philosopher; each one of his virtues must have been separately earned, cared for, passed on, and embodied.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, translated by Marianne Cowan [Henry Regnery Company, 1955, p.139; translation modified]; Jenseits von Gut und Böse [Philipp Reclam, Stuttgart, 1988, p.130; emphasis in German; muß retored for muss], color added; so who "bred" Nietzsche for philosophy?

...wir vermeinen, daß Härte, Gewaltsamkeit, Sklaverie, Gefahr auf der Gasse und im Herzen, Verborgenheit, Stoicismus, Versucherkunst und Teufelei jeder Art, daß alles Böse, Furchtbare, Tyrannische, Raubthier- und Schlangenhafte am Menschen so gut zur Erhöhung der Species »Mensch« dient, als sein Gegensatz...

We imagine that hardness, violence, slavery, peril in the street and in the heart, concealment, Stoicism, temptation, and deviltry of every sort, everything evil, frightful, tyrannical, raptor- and snake-like in man, serves as well for the advancement of the species "man" as their opposite.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, translated by Marianne Cowan, Henry Regnery Company, 1955, p.50; Jenseits von Gut und Böse, Philipp Reclam, Stuttgart, 1988, p.51 [daß restored for dass], color added.

τάδε λέγει Κύριος· ἐξαπόστειλον τὸν λαόν μου.
Haec dicit Dominus: Dimitte populum meum.
This the
LORD says: Let my people go.

Exodus 8:20, Septuagint 8:16

Marching Through Georgia
by Henry C. Work
So we made a thoroughfare for Freedom and her train,
Sixty miles in latitude, three hundred to the main;
Treason fled before us, for resistance was in vain,
While we were marching through Georgia.

"Hurrah! Hurrah! We bring the jubilee!
"Hurrah! Hurrah! The Flag that makes you free!"
So we sang the chorus from Atlanta to the sea,
While we were marching through Georgia.

Who's more racist: black people or white people? Black people. You know why? Because black people hate black people, too. Everything white people don't like about black people, black people don't like about black people.... Every time black people want to have a good time, n****rs mess it up.... Can't keep a disco open more than three weeks. Grand opening? Grand closing? Can't go to a movie the first week it opens. Why? Because n****rs are shooting at the screen.

Chris Rock, quoted by John McWhorter, Nine Nasty W*rds, English in the Gutter: Then, Now, and Forever, Avery, Penguin, 2021, pp.188-189; McWhorter does not disguise the "N-word"; Rock may have been thinking of the opening of the movie New Jack City [1991]; Larry Elder has his own take on "black people are more racist," q.v.

My school, like my city [Oakland, California], was predominantly black, increasingly Asian and Hispanic, and barely white. Racism, which had been a minor issue in elementary school, was a constant presence in junior high. Numerous black students regularly screamed racial epithets at their Asian counterparts. "Ching Chong," "Chinaman," and "Chow Mein," became our names. Sometimes our tormentors imitated the way in which we spoke our native tongues. On other occasions, they physically assaulted us or threatened to do so. No one ever doubted who would win in a fight.

Ying Ma, Chinese Girl in the Ghetto, 2011, pp.105-106.

I'm looking to combat anti-black racism in the Asian community at at my daughters' mostly Asian Am school.

Many Asian S[tudents]s and T[eacher]s I know won't engage in critical race convos unless they see how they are impacted by white supremacy.

I grew up in mostly Asian Am schools and know this experience all to well. Many Asian Am. believe they benefit from the "model minority" BS.

Talk to many @thelowell [Lowell High School] parents and you will hear praise of Tiger Moms and disparagement of Black/Brown "culture".

In fact many Asian American Ts, Ss, and P[arents]s actively promote these myths. They use white supremacist thinking to assimilate and "get ahead".

Commissioner Alison Collins, San Francisco Unifiedís School Board, Twitter, December 4, 2016, color added; removed as Vice-President of the Board because of these Tweets, March 25, 2021 -- see Ying Ma's recollections above.

I had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, burying their body, and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step. Like I did the world a fucking favor...

White people are out of their minds and they have been for a long time...

This is the cost of talking to white people at all. The cost of your own life, as they suck you dry. There are no good apples out there. White people make my blood boil...

We are asking a demented, violent predator who thinks that they are a saint or a superhero, to accept responsibility. It ainít gonna happen. They have five holes in their brain. Itís like banging your head against a brick wall. Itís just like sort of not a good idea...

We need to remember that directly talking about race to white people is useless, because they are at the wrong level of conversation. Addressing racism assumes that white people can see and process what we are talking about. They canít. Thatís why they sound demented. They donít even know they have a mask on. White people think itís their actual face. We need to get to know the mask.

Aruna Khilanani, MD (University of Illinois at Chicago), MA (Humanities University of Chicago, Critical Race Theory), BA (English University of Michigan), Forensic Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst, "The Psychopathic Problem of the White Mind," Child Study Center Grand Rounds, Presented by the Yale School of Medicineís Department of Child Study Center, April 6, 2021.

Both "Aruna" and "Khilanani" seem to be names of Indian origin. Is Dr. Khilanani aware of the racism built into the Caste system in India? Does she want to shoot in the head, say, Brahmins? Others think she is Iranian, a people proudly self-identified, as in India, as "Aryans" -- the Buddha taught the Four "Noble," i.e. "Aryan," Truths, , Āryasatya. So who is it that is actually "out of their minds" here? Who has the fantasies of being the "violent predator"? Talking directly about sanity to this person "is useless."

Critical Race Theory is a clear and present danger to our American way of life and our Constitution. Don't take my word for it. Take the word of Ibram X. Kendi, director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston Univerity.

Kendi has put a serious and troubling proposal on the table: "To fix the original sin of racism, Americans should pass an 'anti-racist amendment' to the U.S. Constitution." Kendi's amendment would make "racial inequity" unconstitutional. It would enshrine as a constitutional principle, "Racial inequity is evidence of racist policy." In other words, if there are any differences in outcomes between any racial groups, that would be conclusive proof that racism is to blame. In Kendi's words, his amendment would:

...establish and permanently fund the Department of Antiracism (DOA) comprised of formally trained experts on racism and no political appointees. The DOA would be responsible for preclearing all local, state and federal public policies to ensure they won't yield racial inequity, monitor those policies, investigate private racist policies when racial inequity surfaces, and monitor public officials for expressions of racist ideas. The DOA would be empowered with disciplinary tools to wield over and against policymakers and public officials who do not voluntarily change their racist policy and ideas.

In other words, "trained experts on racism" like Ibram X. Kendi himself would have totalitarian power over every public agency, every public official, and every law. That is the ultimate goal of Wokeism in America...

And consider the ultimate goal of Ibram X. Kendi for his "Department of Anti-racism." He once said, "In order to truly be antiracist, you also have to truly be anti-capitalist."

Carlie Kirk, The College Scam, How America's Universities are bankrupting and brainwashing away the future of America's Youth, Winning Team Publishing, 2022, pp.177-178.

Kendi, , born Ibram Henry Rogers, obviously wants to create a communist dictatorship in America. That is what his "Department of Antiracism" would amount to. As with so much, the "antiracism" business is just a pretext for Stalinist totalitarianism, a police state, and absolute power for the ruling class. Whatever goods a crushed economy might be able to produce would be seized by the government and "equitably" distributed to politically favored groups and elite individuals -- like Kendi himself, who has already become rich. No proper Constitutional rights would be left for Americans. Since "DOA" has always meant "dead on arrival," Kendi's purpose is obviously to kill America, if not all Americans (or at least the white and Asian ones).

CRT [Critical Race Theory] ideas can't withstand factual scrutiny. After years of flattering mainstream media coverage of Black Lives Matter, a large recent study revealed that the majority of "very liberal" Americans believes that in a typical year, police kill anywhere from "about 1,000" to "more than 10,000" unarmed black men. The real figure last year: 18.

Wilfred Reilly, "Give Us Truth, Parents have had it with CRT apologists' lies," The New York Post, October 14, 2021, p.27.

Editorial Note, 2021

The Banjo Lesson, 1893, Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937), Hampton University Museum
The painting The Banjo Lesson, by Henry Ossawa Tanner, is celebrated as an iconic statement about black life in America. With a dignified elderly man teaching a boy, assumed to be his grandson, how to play the banjo, this is seen as a rebuke to popular depictions at the time of clowning Negros playing the banjo, and to "minstrel shows," in which white actors in black-face performed what was presented as music and dance from Southern and black culture. Since "dignity" was a prime feature denied to black people in popular white culture, Tanner's painting, as a quiet study redolent of love, caring, and family, stands in contradiction to all the stereotypes. Another painting by Tanner, The Thankful Poor [1894], features these same two figures saying grace as they are seated ready to start their meal. To the sense of dignity, love, and family, this picture adds the feature of religion.

Despite the iconic standing of these paintings, they are the only such works by Henry Tanner. He does not seem to have been interested in portraying black life in America. He had escaped black life in America, and he never returned to it. And he escaped in great measure because he had felt the sting of its evils. But, we might wonder, if so, why did he not continue with such paintings as The Banjo Lesson? Wasn't there a political goal to be pursued there, which he would have known all about from his family, his own experiences, and his father's friend, Frederick Douglass? However, Tanner did not want to be thought of or remembered as a black painter. Yet he is remembered as a black painter, often among people to whom the quiet prayer of The Thankful Poor is contemptible. That in itself is a clue.

Tanner was born in Pittsburg in 1859. His mother, Sarah, had actually escaped slavery on the Underground Railroad. His father, Benjamin (d.1923), was a bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Tanner's middle name, Ossawa, commorates the battle in Osawatomi, Kansas, in 1856, between John Brown, with only 40 men, and a group of more than 250 pro-slavery raiders from Missouri. The raiders burned the town and killed five people, but Brown, against overwhelming force, actually didn't lose any of his men.

Tragic Prelude, 1938/1940,
John Steuart Curry (1897Ė1946), Kansas State Capitol

Tanner early conceived a desire to be an artist, and at age 17, self-taught, he was already fulfilling an ambition by painting accomplished and dramatic seascapes. His ability was recognized when he was admited in 1879 to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, in Philadelphia, where his family had already moved.
Portrait of Henry O. Tanner, 1900, Thomas Eakins (1844Ė1916), The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, New York
He came under the instruction and patronage of Thomas Eakins, who later would himself do a portrait of Tanner.

All was not happiness at the Academy. Tanner was the only black student, and he was the brunt of insults and pranks from other students. Once he was even tied to a easel and left in the street. Since this might suggest a crucifixion, it may have helped suggest the direction of his later work. But the support of Eakins and other teachers was unstinting.

Tanner tried his hand at some business in Atlanta, but this didn't work out. An exhibition of his paintings there sold none, except that one collector, James Joseph Haverty (d.1939), bought the entire stock, later to be contributed to the High Museum.

In 1891, Tanner moved to Paris, financed in great measure by the sales to Haverty. Apart from some short trips back to the States, Tanner lived the rest of his life there. Paris was the contemporary center of the art world, and Tanner was pleased to be free of the insults and danger of black life in America. Joséphine Baker (1906-1975) later moved to France for similar reasons. The French never conceded an inch to what now would be called "multi-culturalism," but anyone willing to assimillate to French culture, except perhaps for Jews, was accepted as fully French.

Tanner's painting, Daniel in the Lions' Den was shown at the 1896 Salon in Paris. This began to make his reputation. It also established what would be a constant theme of his painting:  Biblical subjects. Tanner continued with landscapes, and seascapes, and Daniel displayed his interest and mastery of painting animals,
Portrait of the Arist's Mother, 1897, Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937), The Philadelphia Museum of Art
but these all could be combined with Biblical scenes.

Tanner was also an accomplished portrait painter, and he did portraits of his mother and his father, but, unlike Gustav Klimt, this genre does not look like it attracted him that much, despite the chance for rich patrons, although portraiture would be put to good use in the Biblical paintings -- often using as models his wife and son. Tanner's reputation for religious art became so great that patrons financed trips for him to North Africa and Palestine, so that he could familiarize himself with the culture and actual landscapes and the sites of Biblical events. A painting of the Wailing Wall I feature here in my treatment of Jerusalem.

Why did the focus of Tanner's work settle on religion, to which his mastery of other genres contributed? Even now, his paintings of Biblical subjects draw attention and special treatment for their religious meaning at YouTube, such as The Annuciation [1898], The Flight to Egypt [1899], and The Holy Family [1909/1910]. These are all subjects that he painted more than once, as he did with repeated treatments of Daniel in the Lions' Den, after the successful original. So, clearly, this all held great meaning for him. But in line with modern concerns, if not preoccupations, we must ask:  Did it have anything to do with his experience of racism?

Thus, I see The Thankful Poor as providing the clue. The remedy to the evils of racism is God. I don't think that Martin Luther King would have disagreed.
The Raising of Lazarus, 1896, Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937), Musée d'Orsay, Paris
And this is fully in the tradition of Abolitionism. Go Down, Moses, which we are told Harriet Tubman used to call to slaves ready to escape, represents a stark Biblical theme very much to the point of liberation and freedom.

In turn, something like the Flight to Egypt, or Daniel in the Lion's Den, is about people who are oppressed and in danger. If America was Egypt, the House of Bondage, in Go Down, Moses, Tanner's move to Paris may have been much like the Flight of the Holy Family to Egypt, at that point becoming a refuge. Of course, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus returned to Judaea, where they had been in danger, and Tanner did not return. The problem, indeed, had not been remedied, as it would come to be at the hands of Martin Luther King and others.

But the fashionable idea now is that religion is irrelevant, or even part of the evil. Indeed, what we see with many modern atheists is absolute scorn and contempt, not just for religion in general, but for prayer itself, and for all those who devoutly engage in it or invoke it for any purpose. Instead, we know that religious people are healthier, wealthier, live longer, remain married with children, and avoid trouble with the law. In the case of those without religion, and especially in single parent households, all the indicators are the opposite, especially when it comes to poverty and crime. But ideology overrules all this. This ideology itself has become a religion, one that is far more dogmatic and destructive than any traditional religion.

In 2020 there was kind of ideological breakthrough, where the Frankfurt Marxist doctrine of "Critical Race Theory," already well entrenched in "education," with its illiberalism well on display in the culture of American colleges, suddenly exploded into the larger culture, achieving a kind of dominance, not just at all levels of education, and in the media, but even in corporate America, to the point where employees are being told in "seminars" that they are racist oppressors. As this involves racial discrimination, and a doctrine of racial superiority, it violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But little notice seems to be taken of this illegality, since Critical Race Theory itself abolishes conventional civil rights. Much of American culture now acts like civil rights, including free speech, have been abolished.

The immediate occasion of this was the death of George Floyd, apparently at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin, in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. I say "apparently" because it then turned out that Floyd had already ingested a fatal dose of the drug Fentanyl. Floyd had been arrested for passing a counterfeit $20 bill. Placed in the police car, he was in distress and so was put out on the ground. Unfortunately, Chauvin then kneeled on his neck, to hold him still. This looked like it could cause a fatal injury, and the medical examiner ruled that it caused suffocation.

However, the autopsy may not have shown injury to the neck, and Floyd was going to die anyway from the Fentanyl overdose, which suppresses breathing and itself causes suffocation. Chauvin was convicted of murder, but between the court being threatened by mobs and politicians, one juror apparently lying during the voir dire, and the medical examiner himself perhaps having been threatened, there is a good chance, as affirmed by the trial judge himself, that the verdict might be overturned.

The result of George Floyd's death, predictably, was riots. These were actually promoted by the Attorney General of Minnesota, Keith Ellison, who deliberately suppressed the autopsy finding of Floyd's Fentanyl overdose. In every city in the country, except Detroit, the police were instructed by political leaders to back off and let the rioters, looters, and arsonists destroy large parts of their cities -- after all, it wasn't their property. In Detroit, the Police Chief, James Craig, had seen this happen in the Rodney King riots in Los Angles in 1992. He wasn't going to tolerate it, and he didn't. Now he is running for Governor of Michigan.

However, the targets and slogans of the rioters betrayed a long ideological preparation for the business. Just as the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014, set off riots, but turned out to be a justified shoot by the police officer (Brown broke the officer's eye stocket in an attack), the death of George Floyd was used as a pretext for attacks on the police and a whole movement to "defund" the police, release criminals, abolish prisons, and even abolish the police. The claim was that the police were systematically killing black men and that a "genocide" was being effected.

This was all lies. Young black men were and are indeed being killed in disproportionate numbers, but they are being killed, predominately, by black criminals, not by the police. But the effect of "Critical Race Theory" ideology was to unleash criminals on the public, where the crime, the criminals, and the victims tend to concentrate in minority, especially black, neighborhoods -- with Chicago as the paradigmatic leader, often involving children sitting at home, in cars, or out playing. Thus, crime, shootings, and murders have been spiking across the country, with especially dramatic increases in cities we would have thought of as low crime and peaceful, like Portland, Oregon. But Portland is now effectively run by masked Fascist thugs.

The child at right was in a demonstation in Los Angeles; and he, or the person who gave him the sign, was asking if he was going to be killed by the police. I am not even aware of the police recently being accused of killing such children. But the boy would be in real danger just living in a neighborhood in Chicago. He could be shot by gangsters just while eating dinner.

Thus, the slogan of "Black Lives Matter" has itself been a lie ever since Ferguson. "BLM" doesn't care about all the black lives lost to crime, about whom it says nothing, only about the few lost to police action, even when the police action is justified. Since the organization was founded by ideological Marxists, their lies and callous indifference to actual black lives is predictable. Meanwhile, a founder of BLM was exposed as buying multiple homes around the country, with at least one valued in seven figures (in the predominately white area of Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles Country). This reveals the ambition of such activists, not to improve life for their "community," but to themselves join the ruling class in its privilege and self-righteousness.

But the actual principle of "Critical Race Theory" is to explain everything as the result of racism. If black students do less well than others, this is because of racism and "white supremacy." However, since students of Asian derivation and ancestry do better at all levels of American education, while white students don't do nearly as well, it is a little hard to explain this as a matter of "white supremacy" or "white privilege." Indeed, there is systematic discrimination against Asian students at elite universities, like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. This is illegal, but craven and biased judges have so far allowed the practice to continue, often in the same language that was used to justify discrimination against Jews at the same institutions before World War II.

There are also violent attacks against Asians. This is also explained as the result of racism and "white supremacy." However, most of the attacks are by blacks on Asians, often elderly Chinese women. This is the result of racism, but it is black racism against Asians, such as we see in the quote above about the experience of Ying Ma in the inner city schools of Oakland, California. Also, the beatings inflicted on reporter Andy Ngo by "Antifa," whose members seem to be mostly white (as far as we can tell under their masks and hoods), don't get reported as "anti-Asian violence." Violence by the Left just isn't ever really violence.

Yet, as in so much of this, the truth is ignored, lies are repeated, and Asian Americans are presented as the victims of "systemic" white racism. Well, they are the victims of white racism at Harvard, but that is just fine with the Left, which never wants to admit that Asian academic and economic success falsifies their whole ideology.

"Critical Race Theory" is exploded by the facts of what enable Asian success. It is all based on virtues. Chinese, Japanese, (India) Indian, etc. students and families do well because of hard work, prudence, honesty, entrepreneurialism, sobriety, and solid family life. But to "Critical Race Theory" all such virtues, including even showing up to work on time, are themselves "white supremacy." Even the achievement of Asian students in mathematics can be condemned as "white supremacy," since everything demanded by mathematics by way of logic and rigor is itself "white supremacy." Why Chinese students do better than white students then doesn't need to be explained -- since none of this ideology needs to be explained or actually justified.

And that is the next trick. "Critical Race Theory" is self-evident and any attempt to question it, refute it, or even ask for evidence is itself a function of "white supremacy." It requires blind confession to what is no more than dogma. This is because Marxism does not believe in free speech or reason. Indeed, it does not believe in any conventional civil rights. All of the discourse about race is simply a smoke screen. Behind it is socialism, a socialism that is about as "democratic" as East Germany, which means totalitarian dictatorship.

Thus, organizations like "BLM" and "Antifa" are in fact Communists. At this point, there is no fact, argument, or sensible theory that justifies their ideology. They simply want power, probably so that they can exploit the productivity of society for their own benefit. It does not occur to them that their whole ideology is intent on destroying the productivity of society, as we have lately seen effected in Venezuela. They don't care. This in itself demonstrates to us their militant ignorance and stupidity. But they are at the same time violent and dangerous; and things like their slogan, "Silence is violence," means they can justify their own violence even against those who simply acquiesce, let alone actually oppose them. It is an evil so stark that attributing it to demonic influence might not even seem out of bounds. I think Henry Tanner would weep.

Original Essay on Racism

One of the most conspicuous of morally charged terms of political condemnation, and certainly the most explosive in its dimension for political passion and even civil violence, is "racism." Racism is now generally regarded as such a heinous moral evil, and is so closely identified with the acts of violence that tend to result from it, that people often talk as though racism is not only a great moral wrong in itself but is or ought to be illegal, both as a belief and in its merely verbal expression ("hate speech"), often with the justification that racism as such is violence, or an incitement to violence, and so can be sanctioned like any other act of violence or incitement. This case against racism seems so strong that its form gets borrowed to characterize parallel conceptions of moral and political evils like "sexism," "classism," and "homophobia."

We must be clear, however, about just what racism is that would make it a moral issue. If racism at root is just the belief that some races or groups of humans are genetically and intrinsically less able (i.e. less intelligent, healthy, or physically able) or less worthy (i.e. more violent or less trustworthy, hardworking, conscientious, provident, etc.) than others, then these are not only simply beliefs about certain matters of fact, but it is not impossible or incredible that in some cases, or in some possible universes, they might actually be true [note]. So if racism is morally objectionable, it must be because of intentions and actions that can be judged morally good or bad. If the moral law is that we must allow the free exercise of the innocent, competent will of others in regard to their own interests, then it is perfectly possible that someone with racist beliefs might actually follow this rule and even have the best of intentions.

We might even say that at one time, if not even now, that kind of thing was rather common: many Abolitionists, who were morally outraged over slavery and morally anguished over the lot of the slaves, nevertheless had trouble believing that Africans really were as morally or physically able as Europeans. They thought of Africans as the practical and moral equivalent of children -- which actually added to their outrage and their anguish since mistreating children (the incompetent) is more morally culpable than mistreating competent adults. We cannot hold the Abolitionists morally liable for not holding the "right beliefs" about race, unless we believe that such right beliefs are so obvious that only a kind of intellectual negligence could be the cause of their believing them.

Looking at the received knowledge of the age, however, it would be surprising if they believed anything else. As Stephen Jay Gould says, about the ridicule often heaped upon Bishop James Ussher (1581-1656) for his determination from Biblical chronology that the world was created in 4004 BC, "The proper criterion must be worthiness by honorable standards of one's own time... Models of inevitable progress, whether for the parorama of life or the history of ideas, are the enemy of sympathetic understanding, for they excoriate the past merely for being old (and therefore primitive and benighted)" [Stephen Jay Gould, "Fall in the House of Ussher," Eight Little Piggies, Reflections in Natural Hisory, W.W. Norton & Company, 1993, p. 186].

We don't have to be too "sympathetic" with ideas that we now associate with terror and genocide, but self-righteousness today is not a virtue in relation to a period when many things seemed different [note].

Hume's views are a good indication of the opinion of the age among informed men. In a 1748 essay, "Of National Characters," he says:

I am apt to suspect the Negroes to be naturally inferior to the Whites. There scarcely ever was a civilized nation of that complexion, nor even any individual, eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences. On the other hand, the most rude and barbarous of the Whites, such as the ancient Germans, the present Tartars, have still something eminent about them, in their valour, form of government, or some other particular. Such a uniform and constant difference could not happen, in so many countries and ages, if nature had not made an original distinction between these breeds of men. Not to mention our colonies, there are Negro slaves dispersed all over Europe, of whom none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity; though low people, without education, will start up amongst us, and distinguish themselves in every profession.

If we expect Hume to have known better, we must ask what information he can have had. We cannot just say that he should have assumed, as a moral axiom, that everyone is the same. There is no reason why Hume, or anyone else, should ever make such assumptions. That is not a question of morals, but of facts. And if we think differently, it should be because we are better informed. In contrast to Hume, however, we may consider Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was very concerned with this issue, since he advocated the emancipation of black slaves. In the end Jefferson by no means disagreed with Hume, but he seems far less certain about it. He carefully considers all the evidence known to him (in his Notes on Virginia) and, after arguing that there is no evidence of the moral inferiority of blacks (rather different from more recent racism), then concludes:

The opinion that they are inferior in the faculties of reason and imagination, must be hazarded with great diffidence. To justify a general conclusion, requires many observations, even where the subject may be submitted to the anatomical knife, to optical glasses, or analysis by fire or by solvents. How much more then where it is a faculty, not a substance, we are examining; where it eludes the research of all the senses; where the conditions of its existence are various and variously combined; where the effects of those which are present or absent bid defiance to calculation; let me add too, as a circumstance of great tenderness, where our conclusion would degrade a whole race of men from the rank in the scale of beings which their Creator may perhaps have given them.....I advance it, therefore, as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind. It is not against experience to suppose that different species of the same genus, or varieties of the same species, may possess different qualification.

It is now odd to note that Jefferson was under the impression that blacks were physically inferior to whites. That was a rather common belief, even as late as the time of the 1936 Olympic triumphs of Jesse Owens, when Adolf Hitler was sure that the Olympics would demonstrate German physical superiority over everyone. The last thing Hitler expected was for an American Negro to scoop up a bunch of gold medals, and he refused to shake Owens' hand. (Owens later said he wasn't sorry that he didn't get to shake Adolf Hitler's hand; but now it is also said that Hitler didn't shake any non-German's hand.) Now, when many people have the impression that in many areas blacks may be physically superior to whites, the old belief seems comical.

Later in life Jefferson was eager to receive such information of black intellectual achievement as would contradict his conclusions [note]. On the other hand, it is often held against him that he was a hypocrite who continued to own slaves even while he supposedly advocated their emancipation [note].

But the complication was that Jefferson always believed that whites and blacks, for various reasons (including his opinion about their abilities, but also because of the tension created by black memories of indignities and oppression), would not be able to live peacefully together on grounds of equality. He thought it would thus be better and happier for all for freed slaves to return to Africa, and his continued holding of slaves was a consequence, at least in part (he also had financial problems), of his sense that they could not and should not simply be freed without some provision for their return to Africa.

The project for such a return was started in Jefferson's lifetime with the founding of an African colony in 1822, Liberia, for freed American slaves. Its capital, Monrovia, was named after Jefferson's protégé and successor, James Monroe. Jefferson's views that free blacks should return to Africa can easily be held against him, but even Abraham Lincoln believed much the same thing, for much the same reasons. In his debates with Stephen Douglas in 1858, Lincoln was delabored with accusations that, since he was against slavery, he must be for citizenship and equality for freed blacks. Lincoln replied:

He [Douglas] shall have no occasion to ever ask it again, for I tell him very frankly that I am not in favor of Negro citizenship....

I will say then, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way, the social and political equality of the white and black races -- that I am not, nor have ever been in favor of making voters of the Negroes, or jurors, or qualifying them to hold office, or having them marry with white people. I will say in addition that there is a physical difference between the white and black races, which I suppose will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality and inasmuch as they cannot so live, that while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior that I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white man...

I have said that separation of the races is the only perfect preventative of amalgamation... Such separation...must be effected by colonization.

Colonization was Lincoln's preference right up until the day that a delegation, consisting of Frederick Douglass and other black leaders, with Emancipation at hand, told him they actually did not want to go back to Africa. When it came right down to it, that was the end of that. Whatever Lincoln's views about citizenship and political equality may have continued to be, the Constitutional issue was settled after his death with the passage of the 14th Amendment, though "equal protection of the law" was never properly enforced after Occupation forces were withdrawn from the South in 1877.

Neither Hume nor Jefferson had the opportunity to meet a black man of the intelligence, education (self-taught!), and eloquence of Frederick Douglass. Lincoln did, and historical events made a difference in people's opinion in this respect. Where Hume may have appealed in vain, as he thought, for examples of black valor, in Lincoln's era the matter was settled on July 18, 1863, when the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, the first black unit raised in the North for the Union Army, assaulted Fort Wagner outside Charleston harbor. (Other black units had been organized in the South from escaped slaves, and one had originally been raised in Louisiana by free blacks for the Confederate Army and then went over to the Union!) This was a foolish frontal assault, common in the Civil War, that resulted in the regiment being shot to pieces and a great many of its men, including its white colonel, Robert Gould Shaw, the son of Abolitionists, killed.

A very good movie, Glory [1989], details the history of this regiment; and a monument, paid for by subscription from the veterans of the unit, and made by one of the greatest sculptors of the 19th century,
Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial,
1897, Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907),
Boston Common, Beacon Street
Augustus Saint-Gaudens, stands in Boston, across the street from the State House.

That a black regiment could withstand such punishment and acquit itself nobly vindicated those who, like Douglass (two of his own sons were in the unit), had been arguing that blacks would make as good soldiers as whites. Sergeant Carney, who returned the regimental flag to the Union lines, saying that he never allowed it to touch the ground, although suffering from five serious gunshot wounds, lived to receive, although belatedly, the Congressional Medal of Honor -- the first black soldier to be so honored.

The result was that by the end of the Civil War, 10% of the Union Army was black -- mostly escaped and liberated slaves since blacks were only about 2% of the population of North at the time. When the war was over, and four new cavalry regiments (among other kinds) were added to the six of the regular United States Army, two of those, the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments, were black (as were the new 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments, originally authorized as the 38th, 39th, 40th, and 41st Infantry Regiments). All the way down to World War I, mostly in West Texas and in the Philippines, those units distinguished themselves. It was a tough life, but the 9th and 10th Cavalry had the lowest desertion rate and highest reënlistment rate in the United States Army. They became known by the name given to them by the Indians whom they fought (mainly Comanches and Mescalero Apaches): the "Buffalo Soldiers." black units persisted until President Truman integrated the armed services in 1948 -- although the 24th Infantry, still segregated, fought in Korea until deactivated in 1951 -- effective integration took place under President Eisenhower.
Statue of Frederick Douglass with author at the New-York Historical Society

As it happens, when black units were authoritized for the Union Army in 1863, the Navy had already been accepting black sailors for more than a year. This sometimes involved some remarkable adventures, as when a black pilot in Charleston harbor, Robert Smalls, loaded a group of his family and friends onto the Confederate dispatch boat Planter and on the night of May 12/13, 1862, boldly sailed it out of the harbor to the Union blockading fleet. Well informed about the defenses of Charleston, Smalls then became a pilot of the Union Navy.

By the end of the War, 17% of the United States Navy was black. The acceptance of blacks into the Navy was eased by two circumstances. One was that at the time the position of a common sailor was less a military station than it was, under the ordinary discipline of the sailing ship, simply that of being a sailor. Second, as readers of Moby-Dick [1851] will know, sailors were already such an ethnically, racially, and internationally mixed lot that it was not always easy to classify by race anyway. Exactly what race is Queequeg? Well, he's not white, and he is evidentally from some cannibal island in the South Pacific, but otherwise it is rather hard to say. As a harpooner in Moby-Dick, he is one of the most important, and best paid, persons on board. Another harpooner is Daggoo, a black African. With this background, experienced Union sailors might not have batted an eye about someone like Robert Smalls. However, the later influence of Segregation (meaning in Woodrow Wilson's Administration) would purge the U.S. Navy of blacks; and by World War II, the only non-whites in the service were Filipino stewards. In 1939 author Alex Haley (1921Ė1992) was able to join the Coast Guard as a steward, which then was combined with the Navy during the War.

It is noteworthy how in many respects the last decades of the 19th century were an era of racial progress in the North, even while they were an era of steadily increasing racial oppression in the South. W.E.B. Du Bois (1868Ė1963) was the first black student to earn a Ph.D. at Harvard, in 1895. From 1886 to 1895, Michael Healy (1839Ė1904), "Hell Roaring Mike," was the Captain of the Cutter Bear, whose annual visits to Alaska constituted the entire governmental and judicial presence of the United States in that territory. Although often identified at the time as Irish (from his father), Healy was of mixed-race derivation, which meant, of course, that he was black by the laws of most Southern States.

These hopeful signs, and the actual integration of the black community in places like Philadelphia or Detroit, were swamped by two trends (1) the Terror of the imposition of Segregation in the South, which reached a height of violence in the 1890's, led to an exodus of poorly educated and low skilled blacks from the South to the North, and (2) an idealization and romanticization of the South and its Cause among historians and intellectuals otherwise influenced by the sort of neo-racism made possible by Darwinism -- as when we find Nietzsche saying, "the negro represents an earlier phase of human development" ["The Genealogy of Morals," The Birth of Tragedy and The Genealogy of Morals, Doubleday Anchor Books, 1956, p.200; "der Neger (diese als Repräsentanten des vorgeschichtlichen Menschen genommen --)," which is literally more like "the Negro respresents prehistoric man," Zur Genealogie der Moral, 1988, 2003, Reclam, p.58].

The reality of such a sentiment in Nietzsche, let alone such influence from Darwinism, is deeply embarrassing and generally ignored or explained away by modern intellectuals who idolize Nietzsche and can allow no evil influences from Darwinism. The exodus from the South swamped the more successful and acculturated blacks of the North, creating an impression that played into the hands of the neo-racists.

This led to an era when the Ku Klux Klan itself whas revived, during the administration of the Southern racist Woodrow Wilson. Southern Democrats were able to defeat a Republican federal voting rights bill in 1890 and anti-lynching bills in 1922, 1935, and 1938. President Calvin Coolidge, who asked for another anti-lynching law in 1923, noted about World War I, in an commencement address at Howard University, on June 6, 1924:

The propaganda of prejudice and hatred which sought to keep the colored men from supporting the national cause completely failed. The black man showed himself the same kind of citizen, moved by the same kind of patriotism, as the white man.

General John "Black Jack" Pershing (retroactively made a General of the Army in 1976) got his nickname after commanding the 10th Cavalry (1895-1897), although originally the sobriquet was a much more hostile "N****r Jack," assigned by cadets while he was an instructor at West Point (1897-1898). In World War I, where Pershing was the American Commander in Europe, France had actually requested Buffalo Soldier units, of which they had heard good things. Woodrow Wilson did not want black American units in the American Expeditionary Force. Pershing found a compromise by providing the black 92nd and 93rd Infantry Divisions to fight under French command, which they did for the rest of the War.

Especially characteristic of common belief in the eras of Hume, Jefferson, and Lincoln was that the differences between human communities resulted from innate qualities -- not just innate differences between the races or the sexes, but innate differences between different nationalities and ethnic communities. The 20th century has witnessed a great assault on all such views, so that now the evidence is overwhelming that most of the qualities that people in the 19th century, 18th century, or earlier thought were inherited are actually culturally constructed and transmitted through example and learning. Nevertheless, the old views cannot be retroactively condemned, with moralistic anachronism, as though everyone should have known better; and even today it is becoming clear that not everything is culturally transmitted. The debate between culture and inheritance consequently must still be carried on, with factual reasons and evidence, not with moral self-righteousness [note].

The notion that we should believe some questionable matter of fact just because it is supposed to be morally edifying is to confuse matters of value with matters of fact. Specifically it is to confuse the moral identity of persons with some sort of identity of nature between persons. The moral identity of persons is simply what all persons have in common by virtue of which they are persons protected by the principles of morality. This does not make all persons identical in their natures. Indeed, some people really are less able or less worthy than others; but as Thomas Jefferson himself said, just because Isaac Newton was more intelligent than most people, or even all people, he did not thereby have rights over the lives and property of others.

Entirely apart from worries about racism, it is instructive to see the attraction for moralistic theorists of the notion that everyone is just as able or just as morally worthy as everyone else -- and that believing this is morally enjoined and edifying. No matter how sincere or earnest such views, there usually is someone set aside who actually isn't all that able or worthy -- e.g. racists, sexists, homophobes, capitalists, red-necks, Christians, Republicans, etc. The truth is that the identity or non-identity of persons in their natures and characteristics is irrelevant to what morality requires. To respect rights and avoid wrongs is all that is moral, and this works the same whether everyone has the same body and personality or are as different as Joseph Stalin and Mother Theresa. The moral respect due to persons is not the same as respecting them in general. As Nelson says:

The value of a person is determined in positive terms by considerations other than the moral law. The moral law is not a principle of positive valuation of persons, but only a negative principle, according to which a person's value is subject to the condition of fulfillment of duty. We do not assert that all persons are equal in value, but only that they are equal in dignity, that is to say, in their right to restrict the freedom of action of other persons whose actions affect them by the condition that these other persons respect their interests in accordance with the principle of equality of persons. [System of Ethics, Yale 1956, p. 112.]

The trickiest part of judging the morality of racism is the way in which moral actions depend on a frame of factual beliefs. If certain people are judged child-like and incompetent and are treated accordingly in the sincere and reasonably informed belief that they really are that way, then there may well be error, tragedy, and judicial wrong, but it is not clear to what extent the agents are morally culpable. What is worse is when people may be judged, not just child-like and incompetent, but simply not rational beings, leaving them unprotected by the moral law altogether. That may give us a proper definition of a kind of racism that we would expect to be morally pernicious as such: where beliefs about the natures of other persons are so extreme that they simply dehumanize those persons and free the agents from all moral scruple in dealing with them [note].

It is not too much to expect that kind of racism to lead to violence and other judicial wrongs. Nevertheless, this is still just a certain kind of belief; and although it is tempting to attribute malice and ill will to racists in this sense, it is really too much to assume that such individuals may not actually be deceived in good faith and good will by what seem to them reasonable beliefs about the boundary between the human moral community of persons and the things and animals that lie outside it.

In terms of human history, it is clear enough that traditional cultures draw the line of moral respect quite tightly: the Bible lays down moral commands such as "Thou shalt not kill," but these clearly only apply within the community of Israelites, who are otherwise positively enjoined to kill Canaanites, Jebusites, Philistines, etc. If it is the moral progress of humanity to extend the idea of moral personhood beyond a narrow community, we must recognize that change as an innovation that was never self-evident. If moral protection is to extend to all humans or to all rational beings, there must be some determination about what, in fact, a human or a rational being is.

In the 19th century, even before Darwin's theory of evolution opened the possibility that certain races were not human because they might have descended separately from a common primate ancestor, there was already a debate about whether different human races were separately created species -- and both side of that argument were taken up by equally reasonable and responsible scientists [note].

Now we can shake our heads over those scientists and lament their racism, but we congratulate ourselves with an anachronistic self-righteousness. The determination that all human races have one origin of descent was an empirical matter that needed to be seriously substantiated, not just assumed. Today the frontier of this very same debate is still unsettled since some people wish to include all sentient beings, all animals, into the community of morally protected persons. This does not seem reasonable to most people who enjoy omnivorous nutritional habits and keep pets (who, no doubt, are in bondage), but it does highlight the vagueness of the criterion that we have for the community of moral respect.

The simplest criterion for a rational being with moral rights and duties may be just that someone is able to claim to be such and can substantiate the claim by actually entering into contracts and respecting the rights of others.

Again, however, this simplicity is not self-evidence. We must allow that reasonable persons may disagree; and if we credit animal rights people with good faith for wishing to extend the moral community, we cannot deny a priori the good faith or the reasonableness even of racists. This does not mean that we regard what they may do as right: both groups may commit great judicial wrongs in the course of what they regard as a good cause. The polynomic independence of the values of intention and action means that moral good will does not make for an automatic judicial right. Our task is to condemn actions that are judicial wrongs with all legal powers of retribution; but we can only answer with persuasion, knowledge, and an appeal to truth, not with force and dogmatism, the beliefs that may underlie the judicial wrongs.

No treatment of racism would be complete without some note taken of the manner in which the political Left uses the issue. As the far Left prefers to lump all opposition to them together as equally Fascist, Nazi, racist, etc., I will return the favor. I don't think this is unfair. Since mainstream Democrats do not denounce the fascism, racism, and anti-Americanism of the extreme Left, I will take their silence as agreement.

Viewing the Right as Fascist and Nazi, of course, does not mean there is any objection by the Left to totalitarianism or a police state as forms of government. No, these are essential to a radical Leftist agenda. Instead, "fascism" and even "racism" are simply synonyms for "capitalism" and are used pretty interchangeably. Thus, one does not need to hate or even dislike other races, or hold false or stereotyped views about them, or object to equal rights for them, to be a "racist." One need merely support a free enterprise poltical system, limited government, a free market, etc.

Indeed, if one actually supports equal rights to the extent of objecting to racial or ethnic preferences or quotas, then this also makes one a "racist." What one believes or feels about other races is thus entirely irrelevant to whether one is a "racist." But this is consist with a Marxist class analysis. It is what one is, as a member of what class, not what one believes or feels, that determines one's political position. "Racism" is, after all, not a matter of mistaken beliefs or even moral failings, but a political crime.

Hence the preference for ad hominem attacks in Leftist rhetoric, and the suitability of using "racist" as a smear and a slur rather than anything with a background of ad rem argument. As much as the use of the "N" word by genuine Neo-Nazi racists, the use of "racist" by the Left signifies pure hatred for what people are. The reductio ad absurdum of this may have come when actress Janeane Garofalo (and others) said that Conservatives, who have opposed socialism their entire lives, only reject Barack Obama's socialized medicine plan because he is black, they are racists, and they therefore reject all of his policies. Including Afghanistan?

Capitalism itself (or equality before the law) is "institutional racism" because it does not "distribute" wealth in a racially "equitable" fashion. Since capitalism has a habit of distributing more wealth to the Chinese and Japanese than to other groups, in America and elsewhere, it is not clear which race is controlling things; or, if capitalism is necessarily controlled by white people, why it would make a racial exception to East Asians (or South Asian Indians). Perhaps they are being bought off -- although sufficient fear has been expressed by white people over the Chinese and Japanese to make it rather puzzling why they should not be kept down like other races, as they were in the 19th century (before Japan defeated Russia, anyway).

Where charges of racism seem to go with a great deal of racism emerges in debates about illegal immigration. Mainstream Democrat politicians feed this tendency when they consistently characterize objections to illegal aliens as objections to immigrants as such -- with objections to all immigrants based on a racial dislike of Mexicans, Central Americans, or other immigrant "people of color." This dishonest and incendiary accusation is then coupled with the cooperation of much of the press, which seeks out remotely offensive signs at Tea Party rallies but compeletely ignores the sort of vicious signs at Leftist rallies that illustrate this section of the essay.

Thus, above left we see a masked person (although popular with anarchists, this is illegal in jurisdictions that passed laws against masked demonstrators, because of the use of masks by the Ku Klux Klan) demanding that "white racists" get off "our continent." One wonders to whom the "our" refers and who this person thinks he is. We may get the answer above right, where a sign says that "all Europeans are illegal on this continent since 1492." Since these signs are at rallies for illegal aliens, I may hazard the assumption that the demonstrators often have Hispanic surnames and would prefer the use of Spanish over English in their schools, government, etc. They may not have paused to reflect that Spanish surnames and the Spanish language are European in origin (names such as Rodriguez and Fernandez are not even Latinate but ultimately Germanic, from the Visigoths, while García, Sanchez, and Echeverría are Basque).

Indeed, many people with Hispanic surnames consider themselves "white," as would anyone from Spain itself. It is a political decision to affirm a racial identity as "brown" -- a deeply problematic move, not only given its use to create racial animosity, or in light of the actual history of racial distinctions in Spanish America, but also given the charged use of the Spanish expression La Raza, "the Race," a curious label for people supposedly opposed to racism. The equivalent of "native Americans" in Mexico, i.e. Mexican Indians, still have little political power there and have often been badly treated. Hispanic political activists in the United States rarely look like pure Mexican or Central American Indians -- they would be of Spanish descent or mixed race mestizos. Their objection to "Europeans" must involve either ignorance, self-deception, or self-hatred about their own origins.

But we see what a lot of this adds up to in the sign at left:  "Borders are lines drawn by racist imperialists." There is no nation on earth with such a complacent or hostile attitude towards its own borders. Certainly not Mexico (or, for heaven's sake, the "anti-imperialist" Soviet Union), whose measures against illegal aliens are quite draconian in comparison to the United States (at least Mexico doesn't shoot people trying to leave, as "anti-imperialist" East Germany did).

Instead, we get the words "racist," used as a generalized smear, and "imperialists," which politically gives away the game. Thus, while there are isolationists -- paleo-conservatives and liberatarians -- who regard United States foreign policy as "imperialism," the accusation is usually more indicative of a Leftist -- indeed Leninist -- orientation, as in this case. The context here, of course, is not foreign policy but domestic issues of immigration and naturalization. Since the free movement of labor is not exactly a Marxist talking point, the issue may be regarded as "imperialism" because some of the ideology at these demonstrations regards the Southwest United States as properly a part of Mexico -- we also see the slogan, "We did not cross the border; the border crossed us."

Unfortunately, most Mexicans or Central Americans have no historical connection to the native peoples of the American Southwest, from the Chumash to the Navajo to the Apache, and the area was possessed briefly as part of Mexico (1822-1848) in the same imperial and colonial manner as it then came under the jurisdiction of the United States. The border may have "crossed" the Navajo Nation or the Californios, but not most modern Hispanic immigrants to the United States.

Such attitudes, however, display hostilities and loyalties that are adverse, not just to certain positions in American politics, but to the existence of American politics, and even America itself. The idea that the area from California to Texas should be part of Mexico is also puzzling in that the illegal immigrants left places like Mexico because economically and politically they are not very good places to live. If the American Southwest did not exist under different economic and political conditions than Mexico, there would be no reason for immigrants to go there, especially if the revolutionaries want to kick out all the "Europeans." One wonders, consquently, how sincere much of the rhetoric and ideology is, given its degree of irrationality and ignorance -- although Cargo Cult Economics, where we could imagine the wealth of the American Southwest as something just piled up on the ground, is common in American politics.

The fundamental problem, as in the modern dilemma of Islam, is perhaps envy and resentment over the economic failures of Latin America. The dimension of pure envy emerges in the racial hostility to "Europeans," while the only explanation available, consistent with the envy, to substantively explain the economic failures, is the Marxist critique of capitalism and "imperialism." It doesn't matter if all these ideas are long exploded and discredited -- after all, they are alive and well in American universities, where they are taught to Hispanic and other political activists, and they figure in much of the background ideology of the Democratic Party.

The problem of the use of "racism" by the political Left is thus at root an internal problem of the political culture of the United States. Leftist activists, while they may admire Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, or the Sandinistas, do not admire the government or social system of Mexico. If they think that the American Southwest should belong to Mexico, either they have forgotten what they think about Mexico, they exhibit a pure loyalty to Mexico that is inconsistent with allegiance to the United States of America, they are confused to a remarkable degree, or all of it is a smoke screen for the sort of profoundly anti-American Marxism or Communism that dare not honestly confess itself in mainsteam American politics. Or, indeed, it may be some incoherent combination of all of these. Whatever it is, any genuine meaning of racism has been left far behind.

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Copyright (c) 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, 2023 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved

Racism, Note 1

For a long time the most famous (or infamous) case for profound racial differences in intelligence, which we might regard as a prima facie form of racism, had been made by William Shockley (1910-89), an American physicist and Nobel laureate (for the invention of the transistor), who went outside his field to study racial differences as might be revealed by IQ tests. More recently, public controversy revolved around a book, The Bell Curve, Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, which examined IQ in relation to economic success and also addressed the question of racial differerences in intelligence.

On IQ tests, blacks overall do much worse than whites, as East Asians (Chinese, Japanese, etc.) do much better. Shockley took this to reflect the genetic inheritance of intelligence -- high for Asians, middling for whites, low for blacks -- and Herrnstein and Murray ended up agreeing with him. Explanations for these results and criticism of these views have focused on the notion of "cultural bias" in the tests, e.g. that questions are about things like the proper dress for yachting, which is mostly not part of the experience of non-whites, etc. However, such explanations don't work for many Asian groups (especially refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia) that score well on IQ tests and have little more knowledge than blacks of the kinds of cultural bias that might be expected to relate to middle class WASP culture; and, in any case, although for more than twenty years great efforts have been made to eliminate any possible cultural bias in the tests, the characteristic level of scores among blacks, whites, and Asians has continued.

This has resulted in a certain silence falling over the issue, except for political manifestations such as a prohibition of the California public schools giving IQ tests to black students. Even black parents sometimes object to this. A stronger response to such IQ theories, however, may be found in the works of Thomas Sowell, such as Ethnic America and Race and Culture, which examine the history of IQ results among various American and International ethnic groups. Sowell's argument is a relatively simple one:  "innate" mental abilities do not develop spontaneously but must undergo development, which is differentially fostered by different cultures, even when the abilities are general and abstract and do not consist of items of cultural knowledge.

Thus the difference between black and white IQ scores in the United States is comparable to the difference between Protestant and Catholic scores in Northern Ireland, or Ashkenazic and Sephardic scores in Israel, where the question of racial differences is trival to meaningless. Acculturation has actually meant that scores have changed over time, as they have for both Poles (who are now at the national average but were as far below that in the 20's as blacks are now) and Jews (who did poorly on tests given by the Army in World War I but now rank as the most intelligent of all whites) in the United States. Sowell's approach splits the difference between "nature" and "nurture," and can easily be characterized as a "developmental" approach, but it is mostly not heard in the press or in politics, let alone in education circles, because of its implications for other political and economic issues. The implication, indeed, is that differences in cultures not only make for differences in economic success but even for differences in intellectual success. This is hard to accept for anyone persuaded by cultural relativism, or who thinks that capitalism is based on exploitation rather than on hard work and entrepreneurial imagination. Much the same point is made by Dinesh D'Souza in The End of Racism.

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Racism, Note 2

Just as Gould has a chilling quote from Ussher:

The religion of the papists is superstitious and idolatrous; their faith and doctrine erroneous and heretical; their church...apostatical; to give them therefore a toleration, or to consent that they may freely exercise their religion...is a grievous sin. [p. 183]

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Racism, Note 3

Jefferson's doubts and desires are no more clearly stated than in a letter of February 25, 1809, to the French Senator Henry Grégoire. The letter also contains a famous statement that even inferior natural understanding would not deprive one of human rights [emphasis added]:

SIR, -- I have received the favor of your letter of August 17th, and with it the volume you were so kind as to send me on the "Literature of Negroes." Be assured that no person living wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a complete refutation of the doubts I have myself entertained and expressed on the grade of understanding allotted to them by nature, and to find that in this respect they are on a par with ourselves. My doubts were the result of personal observation on the limited sphere of my own State, where the opportunities for the development of their genius were not favorable, and those of exercising it still less so. I expressed them therefore with great hesitation; but whatever be their degree of talent it is no measure of their rights. Because Sir Isaac Newton was superior to others in understanding, he was not therefore lord of the person or property of others. On this subject they are gaining daily in the opinions of nations, and hopeful advances are making towards their re-establishment on an equal footing with the other colors of the human family. I pray you therefore to accept my thanks for the many instances you have enabled me to observe of respectable intelligence in that race of men, which cannot fail to have effect in hastening the day of their relief; and to be assured of the sentiments of high and just esteem and consideration which I tender to yourself with all sincerity.

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Racism, Note 4

Jefferson introduced a bill to the Virginia legislature in 1778 to end the importation of slaves. It passed. In 1777 Jefferson had worked on a revision of the Virginia criminal code, and he intended that an amendment be offered to consider any children born to slaves after a certain date to be free and for them to be colonized somewhere once they came of age. The result, he says in his Autobiography, was this:

But it was found that the public mind would not yet bear the proposition, nor will it bear it even at this day [c.1821]. Yet the day is not distant when it must bear and adopt it, or worse will follow.

The era of the Revolution was when the Northern states did begin to end slavery. Vermont ended slavery outright in 1777, Massachusetts in 1780, and New Hampshire in 1783. The other Northern states started a phase-out, like Jefferson contemplated for Virginia: Pennsylvania in 1780, Connecticut and Rhode Island in 1784, New York in 1799, and New Jersey in 1805. New York's phase-out was complete by 1818. Since Jefferson hoped that the process might simply continue in the South, he was alarmed by the Missouri Compromise in 1820 -- "a firebell in the night" -- because it signaled the permanent division and hardening of the country into slave and free and the end of the gradual process that had worked in the North. Jefferson's fear about the polarization of the county and his consequent opposition to the Missouri Compromise is now sometimes given, by historians who delight in trashing the heros of American history, a distorted representation as an advocacy of the expansion of slavery.

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Racism, Note 5

Rosewood, Florida, was a prosperous almost entirely black town that was attacked and destroyed by neighboring whites, mainly from Sumner, Florida, in 1923, in the "Rosewood Massacre," in an era when the Ku Klux Klan had some national respectibility. There were 344 blacks in Rosewood at the time, and 294 whites in Sumner, who were joined by other whites to create a mob of almost 800.

Trouble began when a married white woman in Sumner was beaten by her white lover but then blamed the assault on an anonymous black man. A white mob lynched an innocent man from Rosewood and then, when Rosewood residents tried defending themselves, burned down the town and killed many. The authorites did nothing about this, and Rosewood was abandoned.

A 1997 movie, Rosewood, recounted the events of the Massacre, slightly fictionalized. Jon Voight played a white who actually owned a store in Rosewood. Ving Rhames had a fictionalized role as an outsider who intervened to help Rosewood residents.

Part of the interest of the Rosewood Massacre is the element of envy in the white towns around Rosewood. After all, racist ideology was that black people were simply unable to achieve economic success like white people. They were congenitally too stupid and lazy. Part of the irony of this is that the South was economically the poorest part of the United States, which meant that white residents were doing no better economically than most blacks. Jefferson already understood the reason for this. Southern whites saw hard work as servile: something for slaves. But then a prosperous black town like Rosewood was a living reproach and falsification of the racist ideology. Sooner or later, the Deep South might strike back, especially with the spark of a bogus rape accusation (such as we see in the book [1960] and movie [1962] To Kill a Mockingbird).

But not all black towns in the South suffered the fate of Rosewood. Singer and actress Jenifer Lewis grew up in Kinloch, Missouri, a black town that had incorporated in 1890, and so was the first black municipality in the country. Rosewood, on the other hand, was not incorporated and did not have its own government -- let alone its own police. Kinloch, with perhaps three times as many people as Rosewood, had its own police. However, Kinloch does not seem to have been as prosperous as Rosewood, in Lewis's time relying on one bus a day for public transport, while Rosewood was a whistle stop on the railroad. However, earlier, trolley cars from St. Louis had come close enough that Kinloch commuters could use them to reach into the city, perhaps like Lewis's own mother. Also, Kinloch was not originally all black, but it was divided from its white part, which became the town of Berkeley, in 1938.

Lewis originally lived in a house in Kinloch without plumbing, hot water, or central heating -- as Thomas Sowell did in North Carolina, before moving to New York City. At age 9, however, her family moved into a better house, with plumbing and even electricity, and television. By then, of course, she was living in a different era from Rosewood in the 1920's; but we might nevertheless note that Kinloch survived unmolested from 1890 to the present. This may have been due to the more moderate culture of Border State Missouri, or Kinloch may not have been conspicuously better off than the surrounding white communities. Also, Kinloch was essentially a suburb of St. Louis, adjacent to the now more infamous Ferguson, Missouri. As such, it was not conspicuous in rural isolation, although the area must have been a lot emptier in 1890.

Kinloch's recent history, however, has not always been good. In the 1980's most of its land was bought up to clear the flight path for the nearby St. Louis Lambert International Airport. The much reduced city then experienced serious crime and political corruption problems. Efforts have been made to revive its fortunes, but I am not aware of how this is progressing.

Jenifer Lewis was profiled, with her story of her life, in "A Star Whose Voice Soared From Humble Roots," The Wall Street Jounral, February 8, 2019, M3. She now lives in Sherman Oaks, where I lived until 2013.

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Racism, Note 7

e.g. Louis Agassiz (1807-1873), who as a young man almost singlehandedly proved that great glaciers had once covered Europe, originally maintained the view that all humans were one species; but he changed his mind and became an advocate of "polygenesis" after moving to America and actually meeting black people in Philadelphia (of all places).

That is a case where his prejudice now seems more humane and enlightened than the result of his actual experience -- a sobering circumstance if we believe that prejudice is always the result merely of ignorance.

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Racism, Note 6

That was the most outrageous thing, then and now, about the Dred Scott Decision (Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1857): the case of Dred Scott, a slave suing for his freedom, was actually dismissed by the United States Supreme Court on the grounds that black people, not just slaves, had no legal standing as persons to sue -- they were not human beings in any way that need be recognized in federal law. That certainly seems contrary to the text of the Constitution, which consistently refers to slaves as "Persons" -- first of all just as "other Persons," i.e. other than free. As a response to a slave suing for his freedom, it was also contrary to principles going back to Roman law, which held that slaves were indeed merely property and did not have standing before the law except when they brought action to sue for their freedom.

The Southern racism that the Dred Scott Decision embodied was an innovation that came out of recent Southern rationalizations in defense of slavery, that Africans were no better than animals, and out of evolving Southern laws that progressively limited or removed the rights of slaves to own property, to become free, to vote, or even to be free in various Southern States. That kind of racism was not something that any Abolitionist agreed with. The Abolitionists ended up sharing one aspect of Southern belief, however, that the condition of slavery was sub-human. To the Abolitionists that meant that slavery itself was morally intolerable, while to Southerners that meant that the slaves must actually be sub-human.

Since we tend to remember only these extreme views now, it has become astonishing to discover that right down to the Civil War there were in Louisiana (and elsewhere) a considerable number of free blacks who actually owned slaves themselves and even organized a black regiment, with black officers, for the Confederate Army (later they fought for the Union Army, which only allowed white officers for black units). Louisiana, however, was the great exception, ironically because of the conservatism (from its French law) in its views of slavery and race in comparison to what developed across the South; for Roman law, although generally denying slaves the status of persons, nevertheless recognized the customary process by which slaves saved money for themselves and eventually bought their own freedom.

If there was a more "humane" conception of slavery than what developed in the South, it is then a good question whether ultimately there is something actually morally wrong about slavery. For centuries all around the world, most people didn't think so. But the problem with the concept of someone being both a person and property is that it really can't work. Since the person and labor of a slave belong to someone else, even if a slave has the right to own property and have, in a sense, his own affairs, he does not have the right to tend to his own affairs, which requires some minimal control over his time and labor. He is therefore useless to his property, as his property is useless to him, except by the leave of his master. Thus in a practical sense he cannot be a person unless he does actually own his own person and labor. That makes "humane" slavery ultimately self-contradictory. Roman law in that respect was actually consistent, for no master needed to grant to any slave the chance to save money or work for himself. By law, everything a slave was or had was owned by his master. The mitigation of this by legal custom, which provided for slaves purchasing their freedom, is what racism eroded in many places in the South.

An extraordinary judgment of Roman Law itself should be the final word on slavery: that although it was the "custom of nations," slavery was nevertheless "contrary to nature." A "natural law" jurisprudence would therefore rule out slavery as intrinsically unjust and illegal.

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