Category Archive 'Critical Racial Theory'

24 Jul 2022

The Leftist Radicals Are Still “Waving the Bloody Shirt*” A Century And a Half Later

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1880 Frederick Burr Opper Cartoon from Puck, titled: The Bankrupt Outrage Mill (showing bloody shirts, lynchings, and other forms of racial violence).

* “Waving the Bloody Shirt” was a phrase used by their opponents to mock efforts by post-Civil-War left-wing radicals to sow national division and stir up animosity against the defeated South by invoking memories of the war, and particularly through painting emotional images of black victimhood.

Coleman Hughes quite brilliantly analyses the bizarre role of metaphor as identity underlying the contemporary psychodrama participated in by complaining blacks and pious white liberals.

Though the question seems naïve to some, it is in fact perfectly valid to ask why black people can get away with behavior that white people can’t. The progressive response to this question invariably contains some reference to history: blacks were taken from their homeland in chains, forced to work as chattel for 250 years, and then subjected to redlining, segregation, and lynchings for another century. In the face of such a brutal past, many would argue, it is simply ignorant to complain about what modern-day blacks can get away with.

Yet there we were—young black men born decades after anything that could rightly be called ‘oppression’ had ended—benefitting from a social license bequeathed to us by a history that we have only experienced through textbooks and folklore. And my white Hispanic friend (who could have had a tougher life than all of us, for all I know) paid the price. The underlying logic of using the past to justify racial double-standards in the present is rarely interrogated. What do slavery and Jim Crow have to do with modern-day blacks, who experienced neither? Do all black people have P.T.S.D from racism, as the Grammy and Emmy award-winning artist Donald Glover recently claimed? Is ancestral suffering actually transmitted to descendants? If so, how? What exactly are historical ‘ties’ made of?

We often speak and think in metaphors. For instance, life can have ups and downs and highs and lows, despite the fact that our joys and sorrows do not literally pull our bodies along a vertical axis. Similarly, modern-day black intellectuals often say things like, “We were brought here against our will,” despite the fact that they have never seen a slave ship in their lives, let alone been on one. When metaphors are made explicit—i.e., emotions are vertical, groups are individuals—it’s easy to see that they are just metaphors. Yet many black intellectuals carry on as if they were literal truths.

One such intellectual is Michael Eric Dyson, who recently shared the stage with Michelle Goldberg in a debate against Jordan Peterson and Stephen Fry. Though the debate was ostensibly about political correctness, it ranged everywhere from Marxism to ‘white privilege.’ Around halfway through the debate, Dyson said:

    If you have benefitted from 300 years of holding people in servitude, thinking that you did it all on your own…”Why can’t these people work harder?” Let me see…for 300 years you ain’t had no job! So the reality is for 300 years you hold people in the bands…you refuse to give them rights. Then all of a sudden, you ‘free’ them and say, “You’re now individuals.”

Taken literally, Dyson’s claims make no sense. No person has ever suffered 300 years of joblessness because no person has ever lived for 300 years. Of course, Dyson wasn’t speaking literally. His ‘you’ refers not to identifiable, living humans, but to groups of long-deceased individuals with whom he shares nothing in common except a location on the color wheel. But by appropriating a grievance whose rightful owners died long ago, and by slipping between the metaphorical and the literal, Dyson was able to portray himself as a member of an abstract oppressed class and Peterson as a member of an abstract oppressor class. In his reply, barely audible over Dyson’s sanctimonious harangue, Peterson put his finger on this rhetorical sleight-of-hand: “Who is this ‘you’ that you’re referring to?”

Many black progressives use the myth of collective, intergenerational transfers of suffering to exempt themselves from the rules of civil discourse.


29 Jun 2021

Poor, Poor, Pitiful Arianne!

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Dr. Arianne Shavisi, on the left (in more ways than one).

In Britain, there has recently arisen a patriotic, Feel-Good movement calling itself: “One Britain, One Nation.” It was founded in 2013 by one Kash Singh, a Punjabi who immigrated to Britain with his parents at the age of six and who grew up to become an Inspector with the West Yorkshire Police.

One Britain, One Nation (OBON, for short) has called for “schools across the UK to celebrate One Britain One Nation Day on 25 June, when children can learn about [British] shared values of tolerance, kindness, pride and respect”, and in particular for children to sing a patriotic song written by school children at St John’s CE Primary School, Bradford titled “We are Britain and we have one dream / To unite all people in one great team.” (Gag me with a spoon!)

All this goody-goody, goo-goo-ism has attracted the support of Boris Johnson, Joanna Lumley, Brandon Lewis, Lord Tebbit, Lord Steel of Aikwood, and various religious leaders, including bishops and imams.

What can one say? It’s not my kind of thing, but it is obviously true that human beings differ in all sorts of tribal ways in every society and need to tolerate one another’s differences and get along, and recent immigrants ought to be grateful to be where they are and should be endeavoring to assimmilate, not complaining.

I came across an editorial this morning in the hoity-toity London Review of Books by one Dr. Arianne Shavisi, who is a Senior Lecturer in Medical Ethics & Humanities (Clinical and Experimental Medicine) at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, a specialist in feminist bioethics, gender studies, global health ethics, social determinants of health, and the philosophy of mind, and a Free Speech opponent.

Dr. Shavisi has degrees like a thermometer from Oxford and Cambridge, and in addition to her university position sits on editorial boards, publishes in prestigious venues, and even advises the British Government on Abortion and Women’s Health. Pretty darn good for a first generation British subject fresh off the banana boat.

You would think this young woman would be grateful to Britain and the British people for letting her parents in, doubtless as refugees from the crazed mullahs’ fanatical regime. Dr. Arianne gets to swan around Decolonize STEM Symposia in overalls and a t-shirt, instead of burying herself in a voluminous black Chador. She can walk down the street or even drink wine without worrying about getting arrested by the Morality Police. She can abuse and attack the country lives in and she is not thrown into a dungeon.

But, no, she is not grateful. In fact, she confusedly considers her Aryan/Arianne self to be a person of color and some sort of victim of Racism, simply because she is a person of foreign, and therefore minority, origin and not a member of the native majority. How terribly, terribly racist and unfair!

She is also a fountain of Marxist CRT nonsense.

From the London Review of Books editorial opposing OBON:

White children experience white privilege regardless of their household income. That doesn’t mean their lives are a piece of cake, it just means that race isn’t part of their burden. Whiteness inoculates them against certain forms of social marginalisation, but it provides little protection against poverty and its variegated effects. (By contrast, wealth fortified with whiteness is practically a superpower.) The problem is therefore not that poor white children are being taught that they’re privileged along the axis of race, it’s that they and others are not being told they’re oppressed along the axis of class. Rather than subtracting conversations about white privilege from our classrooms, we need to ensure that children also learn that the system is designed to keep them poor.

That nefarious system obviously failed to stop her Persian immigrant self.


You can’t demand that children be proud any more than you can ask them not to be ashamed. Poverty and racism pose material barriers, but they also fill people with a shame that is antithetical to their thriving. As Hannah Gadsby put it in her 2018 show Nanette: ‘When you soak a child in shame, they cannot develop the neurological pathways that carry thought.’ Learning is much harder when you’re hungry or humiliated. The government has no place asking children of colour to be proud of a country that fails to recognise racism, and it has no place asking poor children to sing for a country that sells their hunger to private companies which send them half a carrot.

Describing her 2018 talk “Refining the Case Against Free Speech“:

In this talk I counter the claim that free speech is under threat in universities, and instead submit that new opportunities have arisen to make knowledge exchange more inclusive. I argue that there is good reason to demand “political correctness” in the discussion of certain issues, and that far from standing in the way of free exchange, political correctness aims to make that exchange more widely accessible. Political correctness, if judiciously implemented, is a form of censorship whose purpose is to embolden and amplify the voices of the most marginalised and silenced communities within our society, and to bring their experiences and standpoints into collective discourses. I suggest that academics should endorse restrictions on permissible academic speech, with the aim of producing educational spaces within which epistemic outcomes are optimised for all social groups. One concrete strategy is to seriously engage the potent, but currently much-maligned, regulatory functions of “safe spaces” and “no platforming,” which I define and defend against common objections.

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