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When the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) gathered in Port Huron, Michigan, it is hard to imagine that they could have anticipated their coming success. On the 56th anniversary of that meeting beside the St. Clair, Americans find that nowhere was the “march through the institutions” more successful than in America’s colleges and universities.
At 25,000 words, the Port Huron Statement drafted on June 15, 1962, is comprehensive. The socialist manifesto touches on everything from the arms race to universal healthcare—but of utmost importance is the doctrine of “black liberation.” Michael Kazin, a Georgetown historian and former member of a militant SDS faction, writes that “the black freedom movement was so pivotal to the birth of a new Left” that it provided the “moral lead, the north star” for radicals. Although written in Spring 2012, the language of black freedom in Kazin’s commemorative column may as well be from the 19th century. Neither the Civil War nor the Civil Rights era succeeded in satiating the radical’s thirst for justice.
On its knees, America must acknowledge that it has always been and remains singularly hostile toward “people of color.” To this end, students across the country are now subject to multicultural studies and to the politics of guilt. Here are the wicked fruits of the New Left’s quest to weaponize American history.
“When I See the Word ‘Trump,’ I See Fear”
Last Fall, Mesa College in San Diego, California, hosted “Colorism and Cultural Humility in the Trump Era,” a lecture presented by San Diego State professor Dr. Nola Butler Byrd. Her field of expertise, of course, is described as “multicultural studies.” What began as a lecture quickly became a “training” session—the speaker’s words—on “colorism.” Students introduced themselves at the outset with tales of white prejudice. This was encouraged, insofar as the lecturer did nothing to curb students negatively stereotyping whites and at times reinforced these feelings.
At first, the lecture touched on usual themes of white privilege and white racism, but then it delved into cultivating a peculiar and accepted prejudice—colorism. In what essentially is a form of institutionalized racism against whites, the ethics of colorism assert that “oppression“ flows in the direction of white to “colored.”
“The culture that it has created . . . I look at that word, when I see the word ‘Trump,’ I see fear,” said one woman. The day after Trump took office, she met with her students and wept. “I was crying, I couldn’t control it. A lot of the students were crying . . . the day this person got into office, it seems like those who had preconceived notions about anyone who wasn’t white was able to run free.”
“Trump equals fear,” that is, “fear of what can happen to my children, to my young brother, sister, being fearful raising a young black male.” Another student ashamedly admitted that she suffered from “unconscious racism.” Next, a woman explained that language is “colored” with injustice, the way we perceive race and culture, “philosophically speaking,” is “externally imposed” upon us to prop up a phony “American value.” In other words, the belief that individuals should not be judged by the color of their skin, or to insist that race is not the most important defining characteristic, is a phony American value.
There were perhaps three or four professors in the room, including the speaker. None of them felt the need to curb the paranoia and animus expressed by students toward whites. If anything, they reinforced it.
From “Racism” to “Colorism”
The speaker was careful to not refer to colorism as racism, thereby extricating the very notion that this prejudice could be reciprocated by non-whites against whites as “reverse racism.” People of color cannot be oppressors, the professor explained, but rather do they internalize the oppression that they invariably experience from whites and externalize that against others. Being “powerless,” people of color are therefore functionally incapable of being oppressors, while whites are incapable of being the victim. Whites, being the very source of oppression, are incapable of experiencing oppression.
Robert D. Hernandez, a professor of Chicano and Chicana studies at San Diego State, put it this way: “To call for white genocide is simply to call on the collective conscious of people to look at themselves in the mirror . . . the call for ‘white genocide’ is not only justified, but rather an important call for a collective self-reflection on concepts of race. . . .”
I would add that when a nonwhite person defends whites, or insists that race isn’t primary, or identifies with anything but their race or ethnicity, they are “acting white.” By writing this column, I am acting white and therefore I’m suffering from a false consciousness that prevents me from realizing the true nature of white oppression. Scary stuff.
“At the intersection of black racism and leftist politics,” writes Daniel Greenfield, “is the dehumanization of white people.”
Tracing colorism back to Aristotle (as a sort of proto-white supremacist), the professor showed in slides that it was from the mind of this ancient philosopher that colorism sprang forth to seep into the foundations of the West. Not merely the United States but the West, the professor argued, is in need of “transformative” social justice—which happens to be her specialty. “Because of the nature of transformative work, you often end up in a little bit of conflict and tension with those in power,” she said. There are “power imbalances” that Americans have a “moral obligation” to rectify, she claimed. Marxists, Mikhail Bakunin observed, “are enemies of the powers-that-be only because they cannot take their places.”
Race and Power, Power and Race
A video presentation snidely informed students that whites get to live through “many of their formative years without ever having to think about race.” Students learned that “hearing about race can be traumatic for your white coworkers.” “White privilege might seem like things are easier all the time, and it is, but it can also be hard, because feelings are hard.” No one, least of all the professors in the room, saw anything wrong with the video. Most attendees laughed with the jabs at whites and nodded along.
Most horrifying, the video ridiculed whites and instructed students to reject any claim that race isn’t relevant. Race is all that is relevant. The idea is to explicitly reject any notion that race should not be the primary characteristic of identity, or that people of color can express racial antagonism.
I asked one question near the end. Without giving away the author, I read an excerpt from the narrative of Olaudah Equiano. “I no longer looked upon them as spirits, but as men superior to us; and therefore I had the stronger desire to resemble them; to imbibe their spirit, and imitate their manners; I therefore embraced every occasion of improvement; and every new thing that I observed I treasured up in my memory.” I explained that Equiano was a black freedman who helped end the slave trade to Britain and her colonies. More to the point, I explained that these were his words on European Christian Westerners. The professor had no idea who Equiano was. Nor was she appreciative of my reading.
Today, the agenda articulated at Port Huron manifests as a sustained war on this nation. It is most pronounced on campus where students are systematically inculcated with a fundamentally anti-Western, anti-American, ideology—paid for by taxpayers. But it’s not just a matter safely ignored because it remains the province of “those crazy kids at school.” Indeed, it is seeping out of the universities and into the workplaces of far too many Americans in the form of diversity training or seminars where these same ideas are presented in distilled fashion for an older cohort of “students.”
Jordan Peterson calls these Leftists dangerous and believes that unless they are stopped, they “will do to America and the entire Western world what [they’ve] already done to its universities.”
I believe he is correct. The question is, what are we going to do about it?
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