Phi Beta Cons

Why Must Everything be about Racism?

To a distressing number of leftist intellectuals, virtually everything that happens in society demonstrates its racism — overt racism, covert racism, institutional racism, and probably other sorts as well.
Consider this Atlanta Journal/Constitution piece by a women’s studies professor claiming to see racism in the Michael Vick case. There’s racism here because “white culture” supports activities such as horse racing that can be harmful to animals.
The groupthink here is risible. Many white people don’t go to horse races, dog races, rodeos or any other activities where animals could be injured. Many “minority” people do go to them. This part of life no more deserves the appellation “white” than jazz music deserves the appellation “black.” Some people like it and others don’t. Race has nothing to do with it.
There is also the matter of the law. Vick’s actions violated it. If a white NFL quarterback had done the same thing, the legal reaction would have been exactly the same. So would the outrage, which cuts across all the imagined racial and class lines.
This reminds me of a story professor Dan Subotnik tells in his excellent book Toxic Diversity (which I reviewed here). A black woman who teaches at Harvard Law School wrote an article a few years ago that stemmed from her realization that there was racism in the fact that a store had marked down in price some dark-skinned dolls, but not white dolls. This caused the professor to declaim that she had just seen proof of

“the devalued condition” of blacks in America and “the absolute necessity of a corrective response.” Subotnik asks if she isn’t “showing herself too ready to extract a global message from what she gives no reason to suppose is not a single experience?”
I don’t think there is much racism in America any longer, but those who desire to eliminate what little remains do themselves no favors by crying “wolf” every time they think they spot a Yorkshire Terrier.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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