Charles Love, the Executive Director of Seeking Educational Excellence (SEE) and the host of The Charles Love Show, has written a beautiful and highly stylized book that can truly be described as death by impeccable logic and reason to Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the 1619 Project. Race Crazy: BLM, 1619, and the Progressive Racism Movement is a brilliant tour de force that identifies, and then destroys with surgical precision, the false claims made by both movements. More importantly, Love has exposed the egregious harm they inflict on the moral reputation of all black Americans, and the nefarious indictment they make against America as an evil country.
In Race Crazy he sets the record straight in debunking these shibboleths and, in the process, restores grandeur and honor to America, and reminds us of the promise of hope, redemption, and prosperity she delivers to those blessed to live up to her name.
I interviewed him recently about the success of his latest book.
Jason D. Hill: Charles, congratulations on your new bestseller. The extant literature on Black Lives Matter, the 1619 Movement and—yes, what we can call Progressive Racism as deployed through Critical Race Theory and woke ideology is gargantuan. What makes your book stand apart from all the other books and articles on the subjects, and why did you decide to write it?
Love: As you know, there is a lot of social pressure behind those who are intent on framing the country as inherently racist, advocating for racism to create equity. I think it’s good that people are writing about this toxic ideology. Each author has a unique perspective in addressing the issue and can help shed light on the problem in his or her own way.
There are a couple of things that make my book stand out. First, it is not political. Several of the books that I’ve read on today’s culture read like an indictment of the Democrat Party. While Democrat politicians are clearly more likely to endorse the Progressive Racism movement, I see the cultural problem as an all-encompassing societal shift – apathetic and emotionally weak people and exacerbated by extremists. These extremists hate the country, so they don’t really like either party. They theoretically want to destroy them both; they’re just attacking one from within.
Second, I’m not an academic. While most of the important books on cultural issues are written by academics like yourself, I felt there was something missing. The problem is so big now that in order to be effective in defeating it, we need to reach a critical mass of engagement, and this cannot be done solely through academics. Many of the books I read, and love, are written for other academics. I wanted to take what wise people like you, [Thomas] Sowell, and [John] McWhorter are saying on the topic and translate it, with my unique additions, into a message for the masses.
Finally, what all these books have in common is a detailed logical summation of what the progressive racists get wrong. I wanted to take the argument a step further. In the book, I give them their argument and say even if we assume every claim they make is true, nothing changes. They offer no solutions, no reasonable changes, and see no positives in America.
Hill: Do you see BLM as an existential threat to America? Or is it parasitic on something much more nefarious for its widespread popularity that we are not looking at?
Love: I think both are possible. It is parasitic and nefarious in its approach to the country’s problems. Nothing can be addressed without adding a racism component. It is the reason for all problems. This can also be seen in their description of America. It’s racist from its inception, and this racism comes in many flavors (systemic, institutional, environmental, medical, and so on). The intent of this argument is definitely nefarious.
Now, as to BLM being an existential threat, that depends on how we respond. Much of its popularity isn’t due to the true believers. They are few in numbers. The problem is the large number of people afraid to denounce their clearly false and racist points or those who support them due to white guilt or because they benefit in some way. If this response continues, it could become an existential threat. Giving in to their foolish demands tears at the fabric of our nation and creates more racists. It makes us weaker and less free.
Hill: You’ve said that you agree with much of the 1619 Project, but that the project is marred by what it leaves out. Please tell our readers what the 1619 Project got right about the facts of American history and its framing.
Love: The 1619 Project describes, in great detail, the ugly truth about how blacks were treated in America in the past as well as issues too many face today. This is often done in vivid detail through storytelling. The problem is there are too many factual inaccuracies, there’s no nuance or context, too much important information was left out (intentionally), and there is nothing positive and no solutions. How can a project designed to teach true history say the founders were slaveholders and never quote their writing on slavery or mention that nearly a quarter of them did not own slaves? How can they mention Reconstruction and the blacks who made political strides but never mention President Grant or the white votes needed to elect blacks to the state legislature?
The Project frequently uses “whites” implying all whites participated in the bad acts they described or were complicit. This ignores the whites who abhorred slavery and spoke out against it. Many who risked their fortunes, reputations, or gave their lives to free blacks are lumped in with [pro-slavery Democrat statesman] John Calhoun by the Project.
Lastly, it’s important to state that pointing out the evils that were done to blacks in America at the hands of whites who did participate is acceptable, but it is an act of racial betrayal to omit the great accomplishments of blacks, often in the face of open hostility. There is no mention of Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Bass Reeves, Louis Latimer, and so on. No black excellence or triumph, only subjugation.
Hill: Give us a few examples from your book about just how “Race Crazy” our country has become and why you think this will eventually further divide our nation rather than, say, bring about a racial reckoning?
Love: There are some completely silly examples: like a judge ruling a black defendant couldn’t get a fair trial because there were photos of white judges on the wall; a college professor being suspended for refusing to cancel final exams for black students because George Floyd died; and a school district stopping the practice of marking tardiness (and reevaluating its policy on cheating) to help black students improve their grades. The bottom line is that there is a growing belief that blacks are different, and, therefore, cannot learn the same as others, even under equal conditions. They must be given extraordinary help or advantages to meet the standards other students are expected to achieve.
This approach all but guarantees animosity among the races. These steps don’t fix injustices; they create artificial equity by giving unfair advantages based solely on race. This will do more harm than good by creating resentment among blacks and other minorities who are somehow means tested out of these newfound “black benefits” while making whites feel cheated as they question the qualifications of every black person in a leadership role or position of power.
Hill: Do you think there is a moment of racial reckoning that needs to be realized in this country, or have we gone beyond that need to bring about some kind of restorative justice for blacks?
Love: To answer the question on racial reckoning I’d like to quote myself from an article I wrote for The American Mind in response to a piece on your book, What Do White Americans Owe Black People?:
There has been a lot of talk of a “racial reckoning,” though it’s really more like an oversaturated, hyper-aggressive, obsessive fixation on race than a reckoning. Race relations are at a low point, and the “reckoning”—a term that evokes “showdown” or a settling of scores—resembles a disgruntled, dysfunctional family quarrel. But the climate has created an opportunity for a “racial reflection.” Rather than an action that is forced on someone or punishment being meted out, this reflection could allow us to pause and think about issues of race—both past and present—honestly, holistically, and in context. It also allows us to think about the ramifications of our actions before we take steps that will irrevocably damage race relations and the country.
As far as restorative, or any other descriptive justice, I think working toward justice is enough. Anytime we try to parse out that justice into some special type, it tends to become more like preferential treatment and less like justice.
Hill: If you were to sit face-to-face with Nikole Hannah-Jones, who is the architect of the 1619 Project, along with major leaders of the BLM movement, what would Charles Love say to them in a brief and succinct manner? How would you communicate that they are wrong in their views and approach and, aside from giving them your book as an antidote—set them on the right path?
Love: I would start by asking, “What is the endgame?” Is the goal to make real positive change in the black community and the country? If so, I would explain how the actions they are taking will not achieve that goal. Simply put, they are not fighting for anything that would bring tangible help to the black community. They are not proposing changes that would raise reading and math skills to grade level, offer mentorship, reduce violence, or assist single parents. They don’t admonish poor cultural models, they celebrate them.
In addition, they make whites the scapegoat for all of black America’s problems. If they are right, they don’t offer a path back. No specific work whites can do to be part of the solution. They are not going anywhere, and they will not be walking away from their jobs and giving away their homes (as much as BLM would like that). Just saying, “whiteness is a problem” won’t do.
Finally, I’d ask how they feel about the country. Do they love it? This is important because it seems like they hate it. That would explain the “tear the system down” rhetoric. If you love the country, you want it to be the best, so you want to fix the bad parts, but you think there are good parts. I’ve never heard them say anything good about the country. I’d like to hear what they like and I’m sure I’m not alone.
Jason D. Hill is professor of philosophy at DePaul University in Chicago specializing in ethics, social and political philosophy, American foreign policy, and moral psychology. He is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center. Dr. Hill is the author of five books, including “What Do White Americans Owe Black People: Racial Justice in the Age of Post-Oppression.” Follow him on Twitter @JasonDhill6.