Politics & Policy

Racist Extremism Is Wrong, No Matter Its Color

Washington Post’s piece by Zach Linly (screenshot via WaPo.com)
Why does the liberal media denounce one group of dangerous radicals while embracing another?

Let’s ask a rhetorical question. Can you imagine the Washington Post publishing a piece by a prominent white poet, activist, and performer that contains a gem such as “could it be that black folks are . . . completely full of it”? Would the Post publish a piece that advises white people to “simply disengage with black America in discussions about race altogether, adding: “Let them have their little Black Panther chats in the . . . comment sections”? Would it be pleased to print the thoughts of a white nationalist who said that “most black people . . . [come] from a place of perpetual obtuseness and indifference”?

By now you’ve guessed that I’m quoting a piece in the Post, just flipping the races. Yes, to exactly no one’s shock or surprise, a mainstream American paper — one of the most prestigious news outlets in the world — has published a radical black screed in which the writer, Zach Linly, declares that black Americans need to let white people “cry,” while black people “sit [their] intellectual selves back and enjoy it.” The author revels in a “bottomless open bar of white tears” and advocates “completely disengaging from white America.”

All in all, the piece is disgusting filth. It commits the classic racist sin of collecting all the varied experiences of an entire class of people and then insulting and demeaning them simply because of their skin color. But it’s okay, you see, because the author is a black radical, and when it comes to expressions of pure racial hate, black radicals are justified. Their rage is righteous. When they launch a political crusade, even the truth is optional so long as the cause is just.

The irony of course is that many of the people who are most furious, who seethe with rage at the overpowering white supremacy of our hateful land are people who enjoy world-historical levels of privilege. Indeed, their rage and unreason is itself a path to power and respectability — just ask National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates. And yet they seethe exactly at the time when people of color from across the world are sometimes literally dying in their efforts to reach America, this alleged hellscape of white supremacy.

With my own eyes I’ve seen the Ivy League children of doctors, lawyers, and diplomats sneer about “white privilege” as if their own lives were miserable compared to those of, say, working-class white kids from decaying Rust Belt towns or poor kids from Appalachia. Even a middle-class white kid from an intact family enjoys a fraction of the true “privilege” enjoyed by the elite of all races in Obama’s America.

In the last few weeks, writers left and right have leveled their guns at the alt-right, and deservedly so. It’s a vile movement that’s one part white nationalist, one part malicious trolling, and one part Russian disruption operation. It deserves every syllable of the condemnation it receives. But how is it remotely right and proper to condemn racism on one side while coddling and even encouraging the same level of race-hate from the left?

Black racism isn’t the cure for white racism, and black extremists can be every bit as destructive as their sheet-wearing white counterparts.

People have eyes. They can see. And when they see children of privilege and people with power launching the most over-the-top and vicious attacks — all the while demanding more privilege and more power — they don’t see a struggle for justice. They see the will to dominate.

Black radicals are fond of saying that their opponents refuse to listen. In reality, the opposite is true. People are hearing every word. They hear it when black radicals call cop-killers “political prisoners.” They hear the sneers and jeers when police — black and white — are gunned down in the streets or injured in protests. They see buildings burn, and they smell the smoke in the air. They can read the words that sweep every single person with white skin into the absurd category of “privileged” and then expect that these same people atone for sins they did not commit.

Related: Black Lives Matter — Words Have Consequences

Moreover, people have enough sense to realize that this level of rage is utterly and completely inconsistent with a world that’s changed so much that “microaggression” is now a term of discourse. Unintentional slights are now cause for demonstrations. Unconscious racism is the new evil.

#related#None of this means that racism isn’t real, or that there aren’t ongoing cultural and economic consequences to slavery and Jim Crow. It is, and there are. But black racism isn’t the cure for white racism, and black extremists can be every bit as destructive as their sheet-wearing white counterparts. Shame on every “respectable” liberal publication that celebrates and disseminates the race-hatred it would condemn anywhere else, in any other context. Fashionable hate is still hate, and it is ripping our nation apart.

— David French is an attorney, and a staff writer at National Review.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Most Popular