Anti-racism is a virtue gone mad
Princeton University might lose millions of dollars as a result
In one of the few feel-good stories in a grim year, news that the US Department of Education is investigating Princeton University after its president declared that racism was “embedded” at the institution.
The Washington Examiner reports that President Christopher Eisgruber published an open letter earlier this month claiming that “racism and the damage it does to people of color persist at Princeton” and that “racist assumptions” are “embedded in structures of the University itself”:
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It’s funny, of course, because it means that either the elite university loses millions of dollars because of its racism, or it admits that its self-declaration of racial bias was no more than an empty gesture, or at best a profession of faith.
There is a form of survivorship bias in which, the more you hear about corruption or human rights abuses in a country, the less widespread the problems are likely to be; so, for example, we hear a lot about bad things done by Israel because it is a relatively free country and reporters are allowed to wander around. Far worse horror happens elsewhere in the region but you don’t get to hear much about it.
Likewise with racism in the US, and especially Blue State America; we hear endlessly about it because, compared to most of the world the United States is unusually anti-racist: certainly compared to China, India, the Arab world, eastern Europe and even much of western Europe. The president of a truly racist university in an actually racist society wouldn’t be interested in taking part in declaring the organisation’s racism or any other variation of the racial struggle session.
(Elite universities do racially discriminate, of course, against east Asians, but when Americans say racism, they tend to mean anti-black racism.)
It would be more accurate to say that anti-racism is embedded at Princeton and other elite universities. Anti-racism is a sort of quasi-religious ideology found almost exclusively in the English-speaking world, and one based on Christian notions of guilt, except with the guilt transferred from the individual to the group. Which is partly why it is so popular with elites, a cynic might argue.
It is a virtue, but a virtue gone mad, as Chesterton would have put it, and as with all powerful faiths, many of its adherents are disingenuous and don’t believe it when they cry mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa. Still, if this investigation does go ahead, we’ll at least get to see how serious Princeton really are about racism, or if it’s just the usual upper-class white narcissism and the need to justify one’s privileged place in society with a declaration of moral self-worth.
Yes, as a pro-anti-racist-anti-racist, I personally attest to the merit of consciously raising self awareness of unconscious racial bias and educating oneself as to the whiteness of supremacy. For me, this has been a rich source of personal self development, ultimately placing me several leagues above any of you and contributing to my vastly superior understanding of ‘the black man’ and his travails. So there.
You forgot the “Ya Boo” on the end!
I tug my forelock in your direction.
Spot on. I had a similar experience the other day. A community garden network that mainly operates in London but also nationally through a sister organisation made the virtue signalling pronouncement that their network was structurally racist and would endeavour to stamp out racism within its network.
Clearly, The Land of the Woke are now permanently unhinged from reality and now live in an unearthly realm of cognitive dissonance.
I wonder what people think they mean when they use the term structurally racist in that kind of context. If they were talking about something real it would have to be actually instantiated in some way – you could point to the structures and say, they are creating racially unequal effects, and perhaps propose changes that might be effective.
Usually this doesn’t happen though, “structural racism” seems to be a sort of hand-waving thing that isn’t to be examined that closely.
They mean “we have the sin of racism”. It’s essentially an Old Testament formulation.
Yes, it’s meaningless. I’ve inquired about the specifics of systemic racism and I’ve received two possible responses: (1) I am cited statistics about unequal outcomes for whites and minority groups (e.g., household income or rates of incarceration); and/or (2) I’m told of the history of racism and it is claimed that vestiges of this sordid past are enshrined in institutions throughout society.
To the first point, I usually note that there are myriad other valid explanations, apart from racism, that explain these disparities. To the second, I typically explain that traces of a racist past have been eradicated from institutions and replaced with an array of statutes, regulations, policies, and procedures designed to ferret out and eliminate racism.
Requests for more specific examples of systemic racism are typically met with silence, as obviously any discernible racism would be met with quick condemnation, cancellation, litigation, and possibly prosecution.
in the eyes of the people who promote and assert the objectivity of systemic racism, usually emotionally, the fact that you dared to enquire about ‘the specifics’ and ask for clarification and examples, means you don’t understand it.
I too have had similar experiences, eg when I asked a friend who declared she saw racism ‘everywhere’ to give me examples. She couldn’t.
Unfortunately the McPherson Report with its discovery of ‘institutional racism’ set the tone, years ago, but still exerts its malign influence.
The false witness of the far left and the identities it possesses must be denounced and routed. They are in the process of actively tricking liberal minded pacifists into supporting violent revolution.
Christopher Eisgruber seems to be your typical bureaucratic coward who cannot help but take the knee when asked, an utter conformist like so many other heads of institutions.
This investigation and Trump’s banning of Critical Race Theory training throughout the federal government gives one reason for hope.
As President of this institution Eisgruber should clearly resign if it is such an awful racist place.
Oh my that’s excellent
Pretty much everything these days is ‘virtue gone mad’. Hence the killing of a priest in Como recently by an immigrant that he had been helping. And there, are of course, many such similar stories. As Sanity4Sweden says: ‘Kindness is an overrated virtue’.
Well, the murdered man (should I say, “martyr”?) did his Christian duty as a priest, I suppose. I’m not a religious man myself, but I think the world would be a good deal worse off if there was nobody left who believed that “He who loses his life shall save it”.
Any priest who helps others is always at risk from the mentally ill. It’s not madness if you know you are risking yourself, but do it anyway out of compassion.
I’m no bleeding heart, and it drives me mad when MSF decide that their new vocation is people trafficking, with no regard for the millions they are harming. But MSF are acting piously with no danger to themselves.
Priests, paramedics, policemen are all on the frontline helping the mentally ill, the drugged up, and so on, at great danger to themselves. They are brave souls.
So tell me – how will we know when systemic racism has been successfully purged from the system? My suspicion is that the answer is never. And where does that lead?
You mustn’t be too hard on poor old Mr Eisgruber.
For years he thought he was of German descent, then in maturity discovered his mother was a Jewess who had fled Berlin and the Holocaust at the age of eight.
Such a traumatic event, must surely play a major party in his current behaviour?
He’s so ashamed of Princeton’s racism he decided to boast about it. It would be hilarious if they had to repay all those millions of dollars for a bit of sanctimonious showboating.
Thank you. “Hoist on his own petard” as they say!
What sort of dynamic would result if this did happen?
Students would start using accusations of systemic racism as a strongarm tactic against their universities. Universities would be forced into major box ticking exercises to protect themselves, not just the lecturers. Although you’d have less onanistic displays than the one we got from Eisgruber, accusations of racismcraft will become more powerful as they get teeth.
Antiracism is most definitely NOT a virtue. Every use of the word “racism” is meaningless in practice.
If by “racism”, one means “the sin of having a special loyalty and preference for one’s own group“, it is trying to define a natural and perfectly moral attitude to be wrong. “Racism” as “the belief that one race is superior in some way to another” may be true or false, but there is nothing inherently wicked in considering the possibility.
If by “racism” one means “immoral acts perpetrated against members of other races“, then we are arbitrarily singling out some instances from others that are essentially the same. If I set out to kill the first black person I see, that is evil. The fact that I would be seeking members of other races rather than my own. or being indifferent to the race of my victims, does not change the evil act one bit.
If by “racism” one means “the inclination that leads people to mistreat those of other races“, then we are arbitrarily joining distinct things, because there is no single such inclination. There are several, and they are very different in quality. For example:
1) Mere selfishness. Slave traders didn’t have to hate blacks to be
willing to make money off of them. In this case, the racial aspect just involves the lack of a restraint. The racially-dependent variable is, in itself, a morally positive thing; what it’s doing is keeping him from doing injustice to some people but not others; not ideal, but not terrible either.
2) A sense that the other race is a threat, e.g. tribal warfare.
3) A belief that another race is an “oppressor”, that is, one of the
evil forces of Leftist demonology. This differs from the previous case of
the natural instinct of loyalty to one’s tribe. Much black-perpetrated
violence against whites is probably of this kind, and I suspect the
state school system has a great deal of culpability.
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