Anti-racism

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Anti-racism is a political philosophy derived from Marxism. It seeks to address the inherent tension between affirmative action and other forms of discrimination on the one hand and the overall goal of equality and social justice on the other hand. One form of Anti-racism called "anti-black racism" became popular following the death of George Floyd in the summer of 2020. The principle advocate of Anti-racism is the polemicist Ibram X. Kendi who rote a best-selling book How to Be an Antiracist.

According to Kendi, all humans can be divided into racists and antiracists. People who remain silent or do not act to stop racism are by definition racists. In Kendi's view American society is oppressive to black people, and this is the result of systemic racism against blacks. However, if black people seek to exercise power to discriminate non-black people, that is permissible because it is needed to achieve "equity" which is defined as equality of results rather than equal opportunity. If a white person denies or refuses to recognized his racism, then that is evidence of his being racist.

Kendi's proposal was summarized in an article that he wrote for Politico:

To fix the original sin of racism, Americans should pass an anti-racist amendment to the U.S. Constitution that enshrines two guiding anti-racist principals: Racial inequity is evidence of racist policy and the different racial groups are equals. The amendment would make unconstitutional racial inequity over a certain threshold, as well as racist ideas by public officials (with "racist ideas" and "public official" clearly defined). It would establish and permanently fund the Department of Anti-racism (DOA) comprised of formally trained experts on racism and no political appointees. The DOA would be responsible for preclearing all local, state and federal public policies to ensure they won't yield racial inequity, monitor those policies, investigate private racist policies when racial inequity surfaces, and monitor public officials for expressions of racist ideas. The DOA would be empowered with disciplinary tools to wield over and against policymakers and public officials who do not voluntarily change their racist policy and ideas.[1]

As a result of this logic, Kendi argues for reparations for black people to address slavery and historic mistreatment by society. Commentators note that this is the opposite of the philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King and of Chief Justice Roberts. In King's "I have a dream" speech, he advocated for color-blind equality

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.[2]

Similarly, Justice Roberts wrote in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, 551 U.S. 701 (2007),

The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.

In essence, Kendi believes that the ends justify the means and will side step the question of logic or even-handed treatment for all citizens to achieve political outcomes favorable to blacks. Kendi is leading a new Center for Antiracism Research at Boston University which received a $10 million grant from Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter.[3]

On September 4, 2020, President Trump ordered federal executive branch departments to halt employee training based upon critical race theory (and the order probably includes many forms of anti-racism theory). Russ Vought, director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote a memo announcing Trump's instruction to stop using controversial forms of training on “critical race theory,” “white privilege” and “any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either...that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or...that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil.” Vought added, “These types of ‘trainings’ not only run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation has stood since its inception, but they also engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce."[4][5]

References

  1. Pass an Anti-Racist Constitutional Amendment. Politico Magazine (2019). Retrieved on 2020-08-24.
  2. "I Have a Dream," Address Delivered at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (August 28, 1963). Retrieved on 2020-08-24.
  3. "Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Donates $10 Million to Ibram X. Kendi, Who Wants To Make Racism Unconstitutional", August 20, 2020. Retrieved on 2020-08-14. 
  4. "Trump ends 'critical race theory' training for federal employees, calls it a 'sickness'", Fox News, September 5, 2020. Retrieved on 2020-09-05. 
  5. Boyce, Benjamin. "Trump BANS Critical Race Theory!", September 5, 2020. Retrieved on 2020-09-05.