by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Bruce Bawer writes for the Martin Center about an academic campaign against “whiteness.”
If you had told me a couple of years ago that a book like Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism would be topping the bestseller lists and receiving accolades from all over, I wouldn’t have believed it.
And I’m speaking as someone who, in my 2012 book The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind, warned about the dire ascendancy of identity studies, which are far less about education than about ideological indoctrination and the promotion of social activism.
Although I focused in my book on Women’s Studies, Black Studies, Queer Studies, and Chicano Studies, I devoted a few pages to DiAngelo’s then-fledgling field, Whiteness Studies, which, given the current preoccupation with white racism, is now poised for prominence on a level outstripping even those behemoths.
There is a key difference between Whiteness Studies and other identity studies: to quote David Horowitz, “Black Studies celebrates blackness, Chicano studies celebrates Chicanos, women’s studies celebrates women, and white studies attacks white people as evil.”
Strangely, Whiteness Studies almost didn’t make it.
The election of Barack Obama made it difficult for practitioners to assert with a straight face that black Americans were still victims of brutal systemic white racism—the discipline’s principal claim. …
… Even if you’re a white person who’s been passed over in college admission, hiring, and/or career advancement because of affirmative action, you’re still, in the view of Whiteness Studies, more privileged than a black person who’s benefited repeatedly from racial preferences.
Fortunately for Whiteness Studies advocates, Obama’s presidency proved to be anything but post-racial. He never missed a chance to tell Americans that race relations remained deplorable. That gave Whiteness Studies a shot in the arm.