by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It’s an American export that prudent Europeans want to keep out. They’ve paid close attention to the product’s development in the United States, and they’ve determined that it’s toxic. They’re afraid it will damage their kids, undermine their society and threaten civilization.
No, it’s not genetically modified food or Velveeta or McDonald’s. It’s “woke” American scholarship on race. And frankly, the Euro-critics have a point.
French President Emmanuel Macron and his ministers view the threat as existential. As the New York Times reported, they think woke-ism “fuels secessionism. Gnaws at national unity. Abets Islamism. Attacks France’s intellectual and cultural heritage.”
Academics disagree, of course. But that’s no more a surprise than seeing manufacturers of synthetic cheese stand up in defense of Velveeta.
The truth is, the woke race theory that has been expanding its influence in the United States in recent years has done a lot of harm, spread a lot of division and contributed to a worsening, not an improvement, in race relations.
Anyone reading the Times can see that much, as revealed in the recent defenestration of longtime reporter Don McNeil over charges that he used the “N-word” in the context of answering a student question over whether someone should have been suspended for making a video containing the slur at the age of 12. As Reason’s Matt Welch commented, “Linguistic intent no longer matters at The New York Times.” (Which is funny, because the New York Times has used the word in its pages 6,481 times.)
But the current flavor of “anti-racism,” as scholar John McWhorter writes in his book “The New Elect,” is, in fact, a “neoracist” construction designed to admit of no excuses or explanations. Guilt is assumed from the beginning.