Racism and the PC Inquisition

John Bennett, American Thinker, May 17, 2012

Monday last week, The Chronicle of Higher Education announced that Naomi Schaefer Riley was fired from their blog “Brainstorm” for writing that black studies programs should be “eliminated” because they are “left-wing victimization claptrap.” The next day, the News & Observer of Raleigh reported that a staggering 54 classes were suspected of academic fraud at UNC-Chapel Hill. Every single one of those 54 classes was within UNC’s Department of African and Afro-American studies, according to a UNC investigation. Is it pure coincidence that academic fraud found such a welcoming and statistically unlikely home in the black studies department? Or is it predictable that the department with the most rigid PC orthodoxy created a cloister for academic fraud?

The incessant pressure of political correctness is not just an academic matter. Any standard of conduct, any law, any test is called racist if minorities on average can’t meet the standard, follow the law, or obtain identical scores compared to non-minorities. The result can only be described as a PC Inquisition, which gives rise to orthodoxy with real-world consequences. In general, any discussion of pressing social problems is silenced if minority groups are described as responsible for their own actions and circumstances.

The current era of intellectual dishonesty and pathological guilt hustling began in earnest with the 1965 Moynihan Report. Senator Moynihan was berated as a “racist” for suggesting that the weakening of the black family would lead to social chaos, even though he blamed family breakdown on joblessness and the lingering effects of slavery. Today, William Julius Wilson, perhaps the most respected sociologist in America on questions of race and poverty, has repeatedly vindicated Moynihan’s report, calling it “an important and prophetic document.” It took decades of tragedy and pious fraud for society to eventually face up to the costs of broken families. Yet the PC Inquisition continues to distort our discussions of key issues like education and crime.

University of Pennsylvania researchers Erling Boe and Suie Shin stunningly concluded that a “major impediment to higher average achievement scores in the U.S. is the performance of its black and Hispanic students.” Boe and Shin note:

If these minority students were to perform at the same level as white students, the U.S. would lead all the other G7 nations (including Japan) in reading and would lead the Western G5 nations in mathematics and science, though it would still trail Japan in these subjects. [1]

Yet the American educational “system” is constantly blamed for the underperformance of certain groups of students. The “system” is also blamed for the false crisis of the “achievement gap” between minority and nonminority students. PC bureaucrats are willing to sacrifice the interests of talented students in pursuit of social engineering projects. The Washington Post reports that honors classes are being abolished from the curriculum in Fairfax, VA, and in many other schools around the country. Schools generally have three tracks of courses: basic, honors, and advanced placement (AP). Honors classes are being eliminated because “traditionally underrepresented minorities” are not taking enough AP courses. {snip}

The topic of race and crime is taboo, especially amongst those who consider themselves daring and broad-minded thinkers. The trend of racial “flash mob” violence by black teens against “random” non-black victims has gone relatively unnoticed, when it should be a national scandal. Several people have died in separate incidents of the “knock-out game,” a race-based and unmentioned disgrace. As for crime rates overall, the picture is stark: the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control lists the homicide rate per 100,000 as 23.1 for blacks, 7.8 for Native Americans, 7.6 for Hispanics, 2.7 for whites, and 2.4 for Asians. The reality of crime in America is that the white and Asian homicide rate is on par with Finland’s. The American black homicide rate is on par with those of Zambia and Rwanda (22.9 and 26.6 per 100,000, respectively). Any discussion of “America’s” supposedly violent culture that does not take race into account and disaggregate the statistics is terribly misleading.

{snip}

Racism is the new heresy. As with every observation about predominantly minority issues, Riley’s remarks represented a heresy. She failed to genuflect to groups that have been officially declared beyond criticism. We are truly in a period where ideology and tribal loyalty have placed free inquiry on the defensive.

Political correctness is proselytized and defended by American liberals with a greater level of zealotry than that found in any form of mainstream Judeo-Christian religious belief. There is no religious institution with the power to rival the combined Holy Office of the media, the academy, and the political soapbox. The noxious incantations of victimization and anti-white hostility echo from universities—more so than from any other source. {snip}

Since left-wing academics encourage drawing lessons from “anti-colonial struggles,” universities should be equally open to scholarship drawing lessons from the experience of whites in South Africa or the former Rhodesia and applying those to our understanding of race relations in modern America. There is a very specific reason why anti-colonial studies are encouraged and rewarded, while the latter is effectively prohibited.

{snip}

{snip} But the Inquisition continues; the left places no limit on the lies, excuses, white guilt, cultural degradation, and bad policy that flow from political correctness. The only limit will come when people of all races confidently stand for colorblind justice and free inquiry. That would mean that individuals and groups are respected—or criticized—based on the content of their character as it is revealed by their actions.

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