Merriam-Webster defines racism as “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” The racist bromides that blacks are lazy or stupid, Hispanics will steal, or Asians are smarter are blatant examples of attributing traits or propensities to an entire race solely based on skin color. Obviously repulsive, such base overt racism is rejected by the overwhelming majority of Americans, but equally repulsive and perhaps more sinister is the notion that “the primary determinant” of ideas or philosophies is racial or otherwise stated certain races must hold certain ideas or have exclusive ownership of certain philosophies.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC) claims on their web site that “any productive conversation on race must start with honesty, respect for others, and an openness to ideas and information that provide new perspectives.” Sounds reasonable, but that statement leads into a diatribe against “whiteness.” Their concept of whiteness is that most traditional American values are “whiteness” because this country was founded by a majority white population. Over simplified and silly, saying ideas and values are determined by race is the most sinister strain of racism because it denies freedom of thought not just for the individual but for an entire race.
So what does the NMAAHC declare as oppressive attributes of a “dominant white culture?” “Rugged Individualism” leads the list; they say focusing on the individual and “self-reliance” is whiteness and that white’s prize “independence and autonomy.” Who doesn’t want independence and autonomy? If such a concept was exclusive by race, that would be racist, but Americans want independence and autonomy for all citizens. Are they saying blackness embraces dependency?
The second sign of “whiteness” is the “nuclear family;” a household with a father as provider and mother as homemaker with children is somehow racial? Sadly, blacks are more likely to live in a single parent home, but what is more cynical than to justify that unfortunate fact by denying not just thousands of years of human experience but even the black experience prior to the 1960s when blacks had mostly intact nuclear families? To imply that only whites prefer a nuclear family should be highly offensive to every black mother and father.
“Emphasis on the scientific method” is the third mark of whiteness. Whites are “objective,” so does that mean blacks are subjective? Whites engage in “rational linear thinking,” so does that mean blacks are irrational? And whites understand “cause and effect relationship,” so does that mean blacks can’t learn from their mistakes? Are they kidding?! This plank is incredibly racist because in effect the NMAAHC is trying to explain that blacks are dumb! This insanity should infuriate every black American!
The fourth plank of whiteness is “history” in that the dominant American culture is based on the “European immigrant experience.” This canard is just an attempt to create another divisive issue. Most Americans do have European ancestry, so why is it any surprise that they had a large influence on American culture? But it dismisses the fact that cultures borrow from other cultures and the American culture is the greatest hybrid on earth. But the real target is also clearly stated as “the primacy of Western (Roman, Greek) and Judeo-Christian traditions.” They bare their malevolent intent here by claiming ideas and especially faith are racial. Jesus would disagree!
Finally, the last hallmark of whiteness is the “Protestant work ethic;” believing “hard work is the key to success” or “work before play” is somehow a white attribute? That is the most asinine assumption; the NMAAHC is basically justifying indolence for blacks. These are incredibly racist suppositions, but they have gone generally unchallenged because leftists spout them under the guise of exposing whiteness. How are these claims by the NMAAHC different than the hateful insults proliferated by the KKK? Why do leftists get a pass?
The NMAAHC is trying to malign whiteness to explain “white privilege,” but every black American should be incensed that they are trying to cast positive attributes as solely white – they are literally providing fodder for racists to infer the opposite. This covert racism is shameful, but making ideas or philosophies racial is unconscionable. Like Joe Biden declaring “you ain’t black” if you don’t support him, this is identity politics at its worst. While it appears they are assailing whiteness, they are really intimidating blacks that they must remain on the Democrat socialist plantation. These leftist elites are attacking freedom of thought.
It is patently absurd to try to define Americans by race or ethnicity. America is the melting pot of the world. We are bound not by ancestry or skin color; we are bound by the concepts of freedom and the shared love of God and country. Don’t let the race merchants divide us, but rather let’s embrace each other in our mutual quest for liberty and justice for all!
“I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.” Psalm 119:45
Pete Riehm is the host of Common Sense Radio heard 8pm every Thursday on FMTalk106.5 or streaming at fmtalk1065.com. Email him at [email protected] or on Twitter @PeteRiehm or visit http://peteriehm.com.