Posted on October 29, 2019

Why Conservatives Don’t Understand Blackface Scandals

Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, October 29, 2019

Look out for racist pumpkins this Halloween. Bed, Bath & Beyond was selling black plastic jack-o’-lanterns until a few days ago, but pulled them from the shelves after complaints that they were “offensive.”

Wilbur Aldridge, director of the local NAACP, said that “anything in blackface is offensive.” Bed, Bath & Beyond apologized, and the NAACP can probably expect a fat donation.

Several news stories about the pumpkins brought up Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau’s appearances in blackface (and brownface), pictures and video of which emerged during the recent campaign. Unlike Virginia governor Ralph Northam, who reportedly committed the same sin 35 years ago, Mr. Trudeau blacked up as recently as 2001, at a time when more people considered it offensive. Yet he remains the Liberals’ leader.

Prime Minister Trudeau has repeatedly accused others of racism or insensitivity. He essentially kicked fellow Liberal Party member Karen Wang off the ticket just for pointing out that her opponent was of Indian descent.

The blackface “scandal” didn’t cost him much — though it could cost whites something. Mr. Trudeau promised to fight even harder for a “better world with less discrimination and less racism.” In the election, he lost his majority in Parliament, but will remain prime minister in coalition with an even more left-wing party. The “blackface” scandal was far less damaging to his campaign than Western Canadian outrage over his proposed environmental policies. Conservatives accused Prime Minister Trudeau of racism, but Liberal Party members don’t seem to care. Neither did Barack Obama, who endorsed him. (Sometimes “foreign interference” in elections is OK.)

“Racist” Justin Trudeau

Governor Northam is also thriving, months after his blackface scandal. His approval rating has risen, and Democrats enjoy a seven-point advantage in the upcoming state elections. The Atlantic, in an article that says Confederate statues honor a “disgraced era,” reports that Democrats may soon take full control of the state government.

After some initial horror and shrieking, Governor Northam made the most of the scandal. He appointed new “advisory boards on racial issues” and promised to remove Confederate monuments. Earlier this week, the state attorney general rendered a weasel-worded decision that let Norfolk, Virginia move a “Jonny Reb” statue despite a state law meant to stop removals.

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Claudius, who murdered his brother the king to usurp his crown, wonders if he can obtain God’s forgiveness while still keeping the rewards of his crime. Politicians like Prime Minister Trudeau and Governor Northam see no such dilemma. Meanwhile, conservatives whine that leftists aren’t living up to their own standards.

This complaint about double standards is a mug’s game. The very idea of “racism” is a political weapon against traditional Western society. Most white conservatives have fallen into the trap of considering it a moral failing — a personal sin. This is because Republicans view members of a race as individuals, not as members of a group. White conservatives are probably the last people in America who believe in Martin Luther King’s famous “dream” of a colorblind America.

Of course, King himself didn’t believe in it any more than he kept his marital vows. Republicans are baffled or angry when leftists gloss over their leaders’ racial sins on the way to political victory. And they are right that there is a double standard. According to current racial decorum, President Trump’s most extreme statements don’t come close to dressing up in blackface in 2001. Yet liberals call the president a racist while Justin Trudeau retains progressive credentials.

The reason is progressives see “racism” in political rather than personal terms. A Pew survey earlier this year showed that white Republicans believe America has done “enough” for blacks because they are equal under the law (and in some cases privileged). Democrats believe America has not done enough, because there is still socioeconomic inequality. Thus, “anti-racism” is about destroying “institutional racism,” “white privilege” or any other supposed obstacle to socioeconomic equality. The doctrine of “disparate impact,” now firmly enshrined in American law, means that formal equality under the law is still racist if it leads to unequal outcomes.

Under this premise, it makes sense to believe that “colorblindness” strengthens inequality. Treating people equally lets whites, who are inherently privileged, ignore structural inequality or unconscious bias. If you want to achieve equality, you must constantly focus on race, especially on your own inherent racism. Blackface pumpkins are a danger, because they reinforce racist images. Without a constant struggle, whites are shoring up oppressive mindsets, institutions, and policies.

That’s why Governor Northam and Prime Minister Trudeau’s blackface scandals can be forgiven. All whites are racist anyway. What truly matters is protecting non-whites from oppressive policies. It is the same thinking that led feminists to defend Bill Clinton, a serial sexual harasser and accused rapist, because he supported abortion. On the other hand, any conservative who got himself up in blackface is an unforgivable sinner because he is, by definition, not actively tearing down “institutional racism.”

Republicans, misreading Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, think they are scoring devastating victories when they criticize insensitive or “racist” Democrats, but they’re not holding their opponents to “their own standards” as Alinsky advised. “Racism” is a political accusation, not something about personal behavior. To a liberal, a person’s stance on mass immigration, affirmative action, or reparations is of more moral significance than private behavior. That’s why Joy Reid and Al Sharpton remain respected progressive voices despite “homophobic” comments no conservative could get away with. That’s why big-name Democrats can live in cozy white enclaves and still prattle about “diversity.”

Conservatives joke that if liberals didn’t have double standards, they would have no standards at all. Yet liberals, in their own minds, don’t have double standards. They think they are fighting for social and racial justice on a huge scale. They believe in a grand Sorelian Myth of racial equality, which inspires them to fanaticism and action. Believers are waging an impossible battle, but that makes them fight all the harder.

Conservatives don’t understand that “anti-racism” has an overarching messianic, utopian appeal. It’s not about good manners or being nice.

Thus, conservative attacks on “racist” liberals always backfire. Conservatives are strengthening their foes by accepting their moral framework, acknowledging that fighting “racism” is an important political goal. They let the Left define the terms, and liberals keep redefining “racism” ever more expansively. If conservatives catch a liberal doing something “racist,” all the liberal has to do to escape the trap is push for more extreme anti-racist policies. Politics can substitute for personal atonement or sacrifice.

When the game is rigged, don’t keep playing. After decades of failure, there’s no time left for conservative foolishness of the kind we see on Twitter every day. Non-white identity politics can’t be defeated by appeals to a colorblind creed no one but conservatives believes in.

The only answer is Identitarianism — unapologetic white identity. Truth is on our side, but the best way to fight a Myth is with a Myth of our own: a world brotherhood of Europeans, of homelands, and of a world order in which Western Man can reach for the stars, and beyond.