My Disappointment with the Journal Deepens into Alarm

I shouldn’t be surprised given its affiliation with Fox News, but I am. The state of the media has become inverted. The NYT doesn’t like the president because he’s not liberal enough. But my more pressing concern is this: the WSJ is taking up a battle against woke culture. I’m also against woke culture, but I’m not against what it stands for, which is the dignity of Black people and other marginalized communities. Non-woke culture is just another word for white supremacy culture. But woke culture, also, is developing into its own supremacy. I’m not writing about that though, but will be zooming in on the Wall Street Journal’s recent attacks on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Given the broad and business based readership of the Journal, it is alarming to see how much they’ve clamped down on this in the past weeks.

In a recent opinion piece, Bion Bartning writes about how people are dividing by race, starting in elementary school. The article is about how DEI (diversity equity and inclusion) efforts are penetrating private and public schools alike and how the curricula are making some parents uncomfortable. Particularly uncomfortable, I imagine, are conservative white people and conservative people of color who don’t buy into the progressive discussions on race. Some of those people of color, according to research, have genuinely not yet encountered offenses that they filed as racism and therefore really don’t see America as a racist society. I know some of these folks. Others, however, will have encountered racism, and will have experienced dissonance with white society, and then will have doubled down on assimilation as a way of coping. They shouldn’t be ridiculed for this, although liberal BIPOC and white people often do just that.

My biggest fear, though, is white fear, because white fear can be dangerous for people of color. And now conservative white folks are being trained to be afraid of diversity equity and inclusion work. DEI work is essential for justice and equality. Racism has changed.

Yes, I have been on DEI committees and sized up by people of color on the board who assumed that because I was white I was racist. But I have also probably acted in racist fashion accidentally. I still remember one time committing a microaggression against a fellow student when I was first learning about how racism still existed. I repent of this to this day.

Yes, I have learned woke “in” speak so I can use it around people of color I care about, but this is because not to do so is exhausting for them and shows a lack of care for their genuine daily experience of racism.

And yes, finally, I have been called racist and kicked out of an antiracist meeting for defending conservatives (what happened was I said not all conservatives were white supremacists, which seemed apologist for white supremacy).

All of these predictable things have happened to me in liberal settings. It is bound to continue to happen so long as I separate myself from groupthink of both liberal and conservative sides (a recent commenter called my blog liberal propaganda).

But, in spite of my irritation with liberals who don’t respect conservatives or with those who call conservative Black people “Oreos” and who “make everything about race;” in spite of this irritation, I stand in solidarity with the liberals, especially liberals of color. Because conservative and ignorant white people are being coddled by people of color who aren’t taking a stand in the face of racism, but who simultaneously know exactly what white supremacy is, because they have to get through the racist day and survive. Some workplaces are that inhospitable to people of color that they can’t even feel comfortable saying, “please don’t touch my hair without asking,” “please don’t say the same thing I just said in the meeting and take credit for it as if it was your idea,” or, “please don’t assume all Muslims are terrorists.” This kind of behavior happens to all people of color, only some will see it as a microaggression, but as a white person, I see it happening to people of color all the time. Just because we don’t agree with the liberal agenda doesn’t mean all of the sudden there is no structural racism.

I stand in solidarity with Black people who I see looked through on the street, talked down to in the classroom, bristled against by their teachers for sharpening a pencil, babied and infantilized by liberals, and who, when they are killed in the streets, are 1) blamed as the murderers of their own people, 2) blamed as the reason why other races are killed, and – and it’s and and not or – 3) blamed when they are brutalized by the authorities. And crimes against Black people are not treated as seriously as crimes against white people. By a long shot. Especially when committed by the police.

Honestly, not everything is about race. But a lot more is about race than many conservatives, conservatives of all colors, would like to acknowledge.

Another recent article in the Journal, this time by Tanku Varadarajan talked about equity as a problem. LinkedIn got rid of the DiAngelo course. I think the problem really is that people writing conservative views about race don’t see how racism has adapted. They think that by writing their columns they are getting rid of racism itself.

An odd tangent, however, would be to look at how even in the Bible, in the Old Testament, there were race wars and slavery. We could get scientific and say the concept of race hadn’t been invented yet. But there is all this talk of Canaanites, Samaritans, Jews, etc.. People were mistreated based on their language, religion, modes of worship, disability, etc. etc..

Another odd tangent: slavery itself is related to “slavs” who were the first slaves to be called such, and they were white.

In conclusion, I’m alarmed. No one is entering into the liberal world before attacking it from the conservative side. And no conservatives are listening to people of color who are exhausted and need real change, now, before they write their articles talking about how critical race theory is Maoist and communist and therefore how CRT is the problem and not systemic racism. You can be conservative and still acknowledge systemic racism. Look at all the Black men in prison. It’s not a surprise that this started way back when they banned slavery – the only way to have Black people still work for free was to arrest them. Nothing has changed, and it’s still a system. Take your head out of the sand and find a third way. Not antiracism, but also not anti-antiracism. You all are smart people at the Wall Street Journal.

Published by Seahurst Wellness and Education Center

I’m a skill-building, proficiency-obsessed tutor and consultant who puts relationships first. I am also a certificated teacher with over a decade of classroom experience. Everything I do is geared to facilitate students’ familial and scholarly wellness and their sense of meaningful contribution to society..

3 thoughts on “My Disappointment with the Journal Deepens into Alarm

  1. I don’t read the Journal, or any paper regularly unless it’s linked to me as part of a discussion, and I stand opposed to any muddying of the waters between entertainment/editorial/comedy and actual news. They’re all guilty of it. But, I disagree that non-woke culture is white supremacist. Furthermore, I think woke culture, while sometimes well-intended, is damaging both to the people it’s claiming to want to help and to society as a whole. And the roots of the modern “woke” movements like BLM grow out of a surreptitious and often dishonest Marxist philosophy which has other aims.

    No doubt, race is a problem in America today. For the most part, however, racism isn’t. On a list of things that affects the outcomes on an individual in our society, racism would be many steps below cognitive disability, psychological problems, physical handicaps, peer groups, poverty, geography, parenting and nutrition. I share your experience that the black people I know personally haven’t experienced malicious racism in their lives, outside “microaggressions,” which in the good old days we used to call annoyance. They’re also all successful to one degree or another.

    And this is the root of why woke culture is so dangerous and why even suggesting there is pervasive white supremacy is counter-productive. When you believe there is a immovable object in front of you, you aren’t likely to put out the effort to succeed. This is evident in many aspects of life.

    In psychology, there is a phenomena called learned helplessness. An elephant tied by a chain from birth can be secured by a small rope later in life, even though that rope could easily be broken,

    In sport, when world records that have stood for a long time are finally broken, others realize it’s possible and often the old record (like the 4 minute mile) are broken repeatedly shortly thereafter.

    This is probably an evolutionary trait, because why should we expend effort or risk rejection when there is a low chance for success? It’s a biological risk/reward mechanism.

    Furthermore, I just don’t think most of the claims about racist treatment by police are even true. Multiple examinations have shown that, at least when controlled by police encounters, unarmed black people are not more likely to be killed by police. Only when we look at raw numbers do we see a disproportionate use of force by police. It’s sampling bias.

    https://www.npr.org/2019/07/26/745731839/new-study-says-white-police-officers-are-not-more-likely-to-shoot-minority-suspe

    https://scholar.harvard.edu/fryer/publications/empirical-analysis-racial-differences-police-use-force

    It’s extremely important to look deeply at the statistics before making conclusions about them. For instance, there is a stat going around about “Net Worth” by race, aiming to support the white supremacist America hypothesis. But black Americans are about 10 years younger on average than white Americans and age is a great predictor of Net Worth, because of accumulation, investing and compound interest. If you don’t look at this statistic correctly, you risk misidentifying the problem. Granted, poverty is a big factor in lifespan, but part of that statistic is simply because of birth rates. And much of the gaps in income and wage can simply be explained by factors like age and monetary and cultural inheritance. Racism need not be a key contributor.

    What I believe has happened is that interested parties in academia and the media have casually nudged the statistics that confirm their bias in front of us, and cancelled the rest, calling it “white supremacy.” Academics and the media hold tremendous power over the unthinking. It’s a natural, albeit unprofessional tendency of all people to marginalize ideas they disagree with and put ideas they agree with to the fore.

    Last, I think the academic origin of many of these ideas is important. There is a trope that many academics are leftists or even socialists, and without any statistics I would wage it is true. Certainly in my field of study there were many avowed socialists. But we don’t have to look very deep to find the connections. For instance, a founders of BLM, Patrisse Cullors described herself and co-founder Alicia Garza as “trained Marxists… super versed on ideological theories.” The BLM website said they are set to end the “Western-prescribed nuclear family structure.” Why exactly? Does this have anything to do with black lives, or is it part of a Marxist screed?

    In fact, I would argue that it’s precisely because of a previous iteration of Marxist ideology pushed in the 60’s by academics like Frances Fox-Piven that we have so many single-parent families in the black community today. As documented by Sowell, in the early 1900’s blacks had a higher rate of marriage than whites. In the 60’s Fox-Piven led a push to increase the welfare roles to their maximum in order to bring about a collapse in the system and force politicians to implement a guaranteed living wage. Most of this increase in welfare signups would have to come from the poorest community, which happened to be black in 1960. Also at that time, the law required that one was ONLY eligible for welfare if there was “no man in the house.” This attempt to replace the family with the state only left black men purposeless and it was in the succeeding few decades when we saw prisons burgeoning with black men, further worsening the problem.

    Of course, not all traditions are good ones. But we must remember than traditions, like a family structure are products of a millennia-old evolutionary process in the success or failure of societies. The progressive left too quickly discards the wisdom hidden in tradition and often faces unintended consequences because of it.

    Like

  2. Thanks for this Lars. I enjoy reading your thoughts. I think what it comes down to is that if there wasn’t structural racism and the fact that history happened, and that it happened structurally against Black people as slavery, Jim Crow, Black women couldn’t vote until the 1960s, then mass incarceration and the bias of the legal system… etc etc. I think you’ve given me some good material to respond to here.

    Like

    1. There is no doubt that there have been structural headwinds for many groups in the past, and a few that remain to this day. However, I would argue that those headwinds have diminished by orders of magnitude, and that there are now countervailing forces in effect as well.

      There is no question that the impediments to success you mentioned above are a huge part of the inequality we see today. The question is, does putting our hand on the scales in favor of people who share a skin color with the oppressed right any wrongs? Don’t we necessarily have to cause harm to ancestors of the oppressors to favor ancestors of the oppressed? It’s my view that in Western societies we are very equal in the eyes of the law. Maybe in order to get rid of what remains of racism we should do as Morgan Freeman suggests and “stop talking about it.”

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s