“The enemy of subversive thought is not suppression, but publication: truth has no need to fear the light of day; fallacies wither under it. The unpopular views of today are the commonplaces of tomorrow, and in any case the wise man wants to hear both sides of every question.”-Sir Stanley Unwin
Not long ago, while visiting a friend, I was in a city where one of the major hospitals runs these ads placed on the side of public transportation saying something to the effect of, “We care for all patients” against a rainbow flag backdrop. This is textbook virtue-signaling. Does the Hippocratic Oath not state that you must care for all patients to the best of your ability anyway? What does the implied “inclusiveness” of gender have to do with it? I suppose there’s some wiggle room; after all, you’re also not meant to perform abortions, but like the Constitution, the Hippocratic Oath is a “living document” I guess. The torturing of language has become so commonplace at this point that people are becoming immune to it, but we need to be very careful not to cede any linguistic territory to the Left. This is one of their key strategies, and if it sounds like I’m talking about a war, well…just look at the kind of language they use: “ally,” “combat,” “agent,” “coalition,” “collusion,” etc.
MSNBC host Joy Reid thinks rural Americans are a “core threat” to democracy. I’m not sure how much of that is posturing, but according to University of Wyoming professors Keonghee Tao Han and Jacqueline Leonard in the article “Why Diversity Matters in Rural America,” published by the Urban Review, “women faculty of color” in particular need to bring the joys of diversity to the last vestiges of America not touched by it through the Trojan Horse of the academy, where not only more faculty (especially women) of color must be employed, but a whole “support team” of people of color must be hired and trained in order to combat “racism” and “bigotry.” The authors summarize their work as follows:
Using critical race theory as an analytical framework to examine White privilege and institutional racism, two teacher educators, in a rural predominantly White university tell counterstories about teaching for social justice in literacy and mathematics education courses… We, women faculty of color, challenge Whiteness and institutional racism with the hopes of: (1) promoting social justice teaching in order to globally prepare (pre-and-in-service) teachers and educational leaders to motivate and empower ALL students to learn; (2) dismantling racism to promote better wellbeing for women faculty of color; and (3) moving educational communities at large closer toward equitable education, which is a fundamental civil right.
This article is a perfect snapshot of where the minds of academia and the “intellectual elites” of this country are. It’s all there: the feminist critique, the inherent racism of (white, rural) homogeneity, the Marxist twist in the form of “equitable education,” the appeals to open borders and globalism, and finally, the self-contained world of academia that continues to perpetuate “knowledge” based on subjective experience and a perversion of formerly respected disciplines. This self-justifying twaddle exists in a “safe space” un-encroached upon by logic, reason, or reality. It’s so easy to write this dross; I could pump this stuff out at a staggering clip. It’s comically easy. Virtually none of it requires any research, and what little there is is either taken out of context, willfully misrepresented, or refers to the similarly-constructed and equally intellectually bankrupt “work” of race and gender “theorists.” Good ideas are good ideas, I don’t care where they come from. There aren’t any here, but there is plenty of Frankfurt School post-modernism and its attendant corollaries such as post-colonialism and gender theory to make up for the lack of original thought. The few definite claims made in this article, after the requisite hemming and hawing about “problematizing” this-and-that, are patently absurd and most are downright harmful.
No terms in the article are precisely defined, the basic framework operates from, as Peter Boghossian has helpfully illustrated, “manufactured epistemology,” and the conflation of a university in rural America with rural America is very disingenuous as they are not even remotely the same thing. And there are questions, so many unanswered questions: What does “challenging whiteness” entail outside of simply existing as a minority in Wyoming and a slew of “raising awareness”-style vagaries? What are some concrete examples of institutional racism? Why do the students need to be “globally prepared”? Why is Han, an “Asian-American,” considered to be a “woman of color” when Northeast Asians otherwise fail to register on the oppression hierarchy? Additionally, I fail to see the pertinence of privilege and racism to literacy and mathematics education, or what the connection is between racism and womanhood, or what, indeed, is meant by “equitable education.”
After reading it in its entirety, and having had to translate it from “academia-ese,” I can confirm that the proposal is, effectively, to use the academy to ferry more diversity into the few remaining pockets of America that are “suffering” from homogeneity, areas that would not otherwise be “enriched” without the academy (or the Section 8 voucher program that has destroyed places like Ferguson, Missouri, by displacing whites with a more “urban” demographic). The two professors do not explain to us why diversity is a good thing—in fact, people in homogeneous areas look far more kindly on the concept of diversity than do people that actually experience diversity on a regular basis. Diversity atomizes communities and erodes trust, health, and well-being in affected areas. Like so much else that suffices for “research” in the “soft sciences” and humanities in the modern academy, this article is almost entirely self-referential and provides the reader with nothing of substance, nothing that could credibly be deemed an argument in the proper sense of the word, and little beyond the hectoring self-righteousness of two people who believe their race imbues them with some kind of inherent superiority over the stump-toothed rednecks they look down their noses at.
As one example of what I’m talking about, many of critical race theory’s earliest touch-stones include the subjective observations of authors (not researchers, not scientists) such as Zora Neal Hurston, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison, post-modernists like Frantz Fanon and Edward Said (the founding father of post-colonialism), and the mixed-race W.E.B. DuBois who is, to use the One Drop Rule the Left strictly adheres to, “African-American.” The “lens” used by Han and Leonard also includes an interrogation of “whiteness,” commonly placed under the critical race theory scholastic sub-heading, Critical Whiteness Studies. As Barbara Applebaum informs us:
“Critical Whiteness Studies is a growing body of scholarship whose aim is to reveal the invisible structures that produce and reproduce white supremacy and privilege.”
Invisible structures. Got that?
Applebaum also says, “For generations, scholars of color, among them Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin (my note: not scholars), and Franz Fanon, have maintained that whiteness lies at the center of the problem of racism” (how exactly is never illuminated with specifics). I wonder if, as “scholars of color,” writing, by the way, during a radically different period in terms of race relations—ie, Jim Crow and the last vestiges of colonialism—they might have drawn conclusions based on their “lived experiences” that may not still be relevant today? I’ve noticed basically every “scholar” of race in contemporary society, when not “de-constructing” “implicit bias” or “invisible structures of ‘racism,’” always dwells incessantly on historical events, events oftentimes beyond any living person’s existence, before ultimately trying to conflate past injustices such as slavery with perceived contemporary injustices by using weasel phrases like “the legacy of which is still with us today,” “the likes of which still exists, albeit in a different form,” or some other imprecise cop-out. Again, no contemporary or non-subjective evidence is ever provided, save fictionalized narratives such as the Michael Brown “incident,” and no argument, other than impossibly broad phrases like “systemic racism” or “invisible structures” (I just love that one), is formulated. Without any kind of specificity, it is impossible to take this kind of “scholarship” seriously.
The basis for “systemic oppression” has now become so broad that, according to Lorraine Code, “Knowing is a political activity.” In Margaret Mead’s terms, “Ignorance excludes groups and individuals from the future by trapping them in co-generational struggles that are prolonged by inherited Western colonialism and enduring political paradigms of what the future should be rather than what can evolve if all voices contribute.” Foucault seemed to believe that there were no absolutes, and that it wasn’t merely a question of knowledge versus ignorance, but of “multiple knowledges.” More on Foucault in a bit. For Kristie Dotson:
Epistemic oppression refers to persistent epistemic exclusion that hinders one’s contribution to knowledge production. The tendency to shy away from using the term “epistemic oppression” may follow from an assumption that epistemic forms of oppression are generally reducible to social and political forms of oppression. While I agree that many exclusions that compromise one’s ability to contribute to the production of knowledge can be reducible to social and political forms of oppression, there still exists distinctly irreducible forms of epistemic oppression.
We are now literally in the realm of the intangible. First “invisible structures,” and now “epistemic oppression.” Epistemic advantage, the inverse of the force of exclusionary knowledge production, is defined by Uma Narayan as “[the oppressed] having knowledge of the practices of both their own contexts and those of their oppressors.” Knowledge production, having received its Marxist bath, becomes another frontier from which to combat “exclusionary practices.” Vanderbilt professor Jose Medina expands:
Foucaultian genealogy offers a critical approach to practices of remembering and forgetting which is crucial for resisting oppression and dominant ideologies. For this argument I focus on the concepts of counter-history and counter-memory that Foucault developed in the 1970’s. In the first section I analyze how the Foucaultian approach puts practices of remembering and forgetting in the context of power relations, focusing not only on what is remembered and forgotten, but how, by whom, and with what effects. I highlight the critical possibilities for resistance that this approach opens up, and I illustrate them with Ladelle McWhorter’s genealogy of racism in Anglo-America.
What he’s referring to is what McWhorter has to say about the most tolerant and open cultural inheritance in human history:
By foregrounding historical material that hegemonic histories and official policies have de-emphasized or dismissed, they [the genealogical researchers] have created an erudite account of scientific racism and eugenics, and in so doing they have critiqued received views and called into question some aspects of the epistemologies that support them.
Though the Left is convinced the study of genetic differences will lead to eugenic policies, which inevitably lead to genocide, they somehow support Planned Parenthood, founded by eugenicist Margaret Sanger. There’s an abortion clinic in practically every inner-city neighborhood. The Left throws their entire weight behind Planned Parenthood and demands federal funding for an organization that specializes in terminating, at a disproportionate clip, the identity voting blocs so coveted by the Democratic Party. Since half of all black babies end up aborted, tell me again how black lives matter, Leftists. Where the Left does not support eugenic policies, they implement ones that are decidedly dysgenic, as the welfare state incentivizes certain partner selection that ultimately has deleterious effects on the gene pool, and the onerous taxes foisted on the middle class renders procreation a luxury. What epistemology are they talking about, the one propped up by the entire academic establishment for disciplines like theirs that are wholly illegitimate? Medina informs us:
“In the 1975-76 lectures, ‘Society Must Be Defended,’ Foucault draws a contrast between ‘the genealogy of knowledges’ and any kind of linear intellectual history such as the history of the sciences: whereas the latter is located at ‘the cognition-truth axis,’ ‘the genealogy of knowledges is located on a different axis, namely the discourse-power axis or, if you like, the discursive practice—clash of power axis.’”
I touched on this a while ago in my articles on Rome, but it warrants further discussion here. Foucault is situating this entirely new paradigm of “knowledge” completely outside of cognition and truth. It is fundamentally anti-intellectual and based on pure subjectivity. The “experiential quality” of “the oppressed” becomes the basis for “legitimate” scholarship. As the Combahee River Collective puts it:
“We have spent a great deal of energy delving into the cultural and experiential nature of our oppression out of necessity because none of these matters have ever been looked at before. No one has ever mentioned the multilayered text of black women’s lives.”
What does that mean? We can see the impact that Foucault and his ilk’s “counter-histories” have had on the educational experience of every American under the age of forty; the primary events in American history were portrayed as Columbus’s legacy of subjugation and destruction of the native peoples of the “New World,” the Civil War (which was, we are taught only about slavery), large-scale immigration via Ellis Island, and the Civil Rights Movement. The little we learn about the Founding Fathers is that they were slave-holders and their legacy is a racist, oppressive country.