By Dr. Harold A. Black
Should racism be tolerated? How do you define racism?
When asked that question, the leading proponent of “antiracism” Ibram X. Kendi could not define it. His definition, “A collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity that are substantiated by racist ideas,” is not a definition.
My mother taught me that you do not use the term you are defining in its definition.
Nonetheless, corporations and other gullible groups of mostly white folks have enriched Kendi and Robin DiAngelo, author of “White Fragility,” for proclaiming that everything American is racist. How do you combat something that you can’t define? There is no evidence that “anti-racist” training is effective. Yet the proponents keep enriching themselves because of white guilt – note that few black organizations are paying these people.
Here in Knoxville, a member of the city council wants Knoxville to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy regarding racism for any city employee. She wants to know if any city employee (although she focuses on the police) has given any inking of racism in tweets, Instagram, Facebook or jokes. She states that “because as we’re seeing around the nation, those are the officers that are killing our young, black people unarmed, being murdered.”
Of course, whether this is true or not is beside the point. But as one who does not understand the allure of social media, anyone who posts racist or violent content on social media is a fool and should be fired.
However, what would constitute a racist post?
Today virtually everything imaginable has been labeled as racist. Examples are master bedroom, dress codes, math, homework, Dr. Suess, Trader Joe’s, National Anthem, Founding Fathers, US Constitution and fast food. It’s getting like the little boy who cried wolf.
Again, if the leading expert on racism has trouble defining it, we will be left to define it like Justice Potter Stewart who said that he could not define pornography but knew it when he saw it.
So I guess the city would hire a snoop czar who would be tasked with reading all city employees’ social media posts and trying to determine if a joke were racist.
So no Polish jokes, no jokes about Joe Biden, no gangsta jokes, no redneck jokes and of course no city council jokes because in today’s world we have lost the ability to laugh at ourselves.
The Critical Race Theory crowd say all whites are racist. Well if that were true then by definition every white city employee is prima facie a racist. Do we fire them all and adopt a policy that the city will no longer hire any white applicant? Wouldn’t that be racist? Some people try to argue that only whites can be racists. One “scholar” wrote “Blacks cannot be ‘racists.’ They are not in a position to oppress anyone.” Thus racism involves a structural privilege that an oppressed group can never possess. Of course this is nonsense because it makes racism a group characteristic employed by individuals. Therefore, a homeless white person has a structural privilege not possessed by Barack Obama or Lebron James or Tiger Woods.
Personally, I have not lost any sleep wondering whether white people are racist. I have only been concerned about those few people regardless of color who could impact my life.
So should the city monitor for racism? Define it and apply your standards equally. The question is what happens if you find it because I can guarantee that black employees’ feelings toward whites may not be very different than white employees’ feelings toward blacks.