Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
The release of an NPR poll in which a majority of white people (55%) answered that they face racial discrimination was treated with the media’s usual cocktail of condescension, disbelief and contempt.
But it’s not up for debate.
Racial discrimination against white people today is as real as the discrimination against black people was under segregation. We can talk about subjective experiences and do statistical correlations about differential outcomes until the cows come home. And that’s what most talk about racism is these days.
That and emotional outbursts, cries of, “Hands up, don’t shoot” and “I can’t breathe”.
But only one racial group in America is subject to a system of codes, regulations and laws discriminating against members of its race when it comes to employment and education.
Affirmative action is an inescapably real and racist as segregated water fountains.
Affirmative action is racial discrimination, not as a matter of opinion, but as a hard objective fact. Racial preferences reward and punish people based on their race. These preferences, no matter how they are disguised, pervade not just one region, the way that segregation did, but much of the country. Diversity is a mandate on campuses and in corporations across the country. And it’s the very definition of racism.
Defenders of affirmative action claim that such measures are necessary. And we can have that debate. But it’s really a debate defending racial discrimination by the government, by the educational system and by many of the country’s biggest corporations. And so before we have that debate, we should clarify that we are debating whether racial discrimination is sometimes justified.
And the side arguing for racial discrimination should not be allowed to legitimize its racism through weasel words like “reverse racism”. Racism is racism. No matter who the perpetrators and victims are.
Justifying racial discrimination is a repugnant idea. The defenders of affirmative action feel that they are justified. But George Wallace and Malcolm X felt the same way. Racists generally feel that they are justified. When their views are socially acceptable enough, they don’t even recognize their own racism.
The condescension, disbelief and contempt at that 55% number come from that willful blindness. And from class differences between white college educated elites and the white working class.
Working class white people are much more likely to feel discriminated against. But the perception of discrimination correlates across races with success and wealth. The poorer you are, the more likely you are to feel discriminated against. African-Americans have the highest perception of discrimination while Asian-Americans are the minority group with the lowest perception of discrimination.
But a majority of every racial group now feels discriminated against. And sizable majorities of every racial group blame the “prejudice of individual people” over government laws for their discrimination.
African-Americans blame individual prejudice over government policy by two to one. Asian-Americans blame individual prejudice by an even higher margin. White people and Latinos both blame individual prejudice over laws. Are we really becoming a more tolerant society when everyone is convinced that they are being oppressed by everyone else? Is this what the new identity politics utopia looks like?
We have become a broken multicultural society where most people are convinced that other races have it in for them. And the only answer that the Dems can come up with is more identity politics.
Democrats used to focus on class. Then they went so far down the rabbit hole of identity politics that they discarded white working class voters and became the party of minorities: no matter how wealthy. That 55% number has been used by the media to link white voters to the rise of Trump. And that’s true. But while the media paints nasty caricatures of its cultural enemies, it misses the ugly mug in the mirror.
Opposing Trump was a wealthy white woman who insisted that she was the real victim. Hillary Clinton didn’t come out of nowhere. Her Democrat predecessor was a wealthy black man whose media lackeys insisted that every criticism of him was racist. You can find that same dynamic across the Dem political machine where the real victims are wealthy, urban multicultural elites. The real victims are Linda Sarsour, Cory Booker, Tom Perez, Keith Ellison and a rash of other powerful figures.
The Dems don’t see anything absurd about a coterie of wealthy and powerful people claiming to be the victims on account of their DNA even as they Uber from one Washington D.C. cocktail party to another. But the carpenter in Iowa, the coal miner in Pennsylvania and the steelworker in Michigan do.
The media has diagnosed Trump’s white working class appeal as cultural. And that’s also true. But the left ignores the role of the culture war that it has amped up against white people. Its immediate response is to ridicule the idea. But in the niggling obsession with parsing every cultural product to find racism, white people remain a safe target by default and by ideological orientation.
Go back a few decades and every group was a fair target. Comedians thrived on breaking taboos. And no one was off limits. Today it’s all limits. And only one group is cultural fair game.
When lefty comedians talk about the social justice of comedy ‘punching up’ at the privileged instead of ‘punching down’ at the oppressed: that leaves two targets, wealthy white people and poor white people. And it’s the latter group that remains a safe and popular target for class contempt.
Is it any wonder that group feels discriminated against? Or that the groups doing the discriminating can’t see past their own cultural biases?
But forget about the jokes.
The denunciations of ‘whiteness’ that began on campus and spilled out into politics and the media would be utterly unacceptable if they were directed at ‘blackness’. White supremacy has been redefined to mean that the existence of ‘whiteness’ is itself a form of supremacism that must be destroyed. This destruction encompasses a culture war and regulatory war, but has been known to turn violent.
When Obama endorsed the racial supremacists of Black Lives Matter even as members of the hate group boasted of invading “white spaces” to harass white people, how was that any different than the winking support that the KKK received from Democrat politicians for its campaigns of racist terror?
When that same administration gave a pass to voter intimidation by the New Black Panther Party, how was that anything other than a recreation of the old racist charades of segregation?
Racial discrimination against white people is embedded in laws, it’s reflected in hiring practices and educational opportunities, and pervades the culture. The discrimination perceived by a majority of white people is real. The only counterarguments against it are condescension and contempt by the dominant culture. And that dominant culture is the one that is doing the discriminating.
America isn’t divided racially so much as it’s divided culturally between big, powerful coastal cities and the struggling towns of the heartland. Coastal elites use racial division as a marker of identity. The clash over the anthem is an expression of the struggle between two cultures. On one side is America. On the other kneel the multicultural grievance elites who reject America because they have found the nobler cause of fighting against American racism. Their loyalty isn’t to America, but to diversity.
The elites champion an unceasing battle against ‘whiteness’, yet ridicule the idea that white people might feel discriminated against. They legalize discrimination against white people, yet alternate between dismissing and justifying its existence. And then they act shocked that they lost the white vote.
The media writes up polls such as these as a backlash to a more “tolerant” society. It isn’t tolerance that this is a backlash to. It’s intolerance. Discrimination isn’t tolerance. Not even when you try to justify it as an attempt to balance the scales in order to right an old wrong. It’s the essence of intolerance.
The original sin of civil rights was trying to fight racism with more racism and discrimination with more discrimination. The only thing that trying to fight racism with more racism does is create more racism.
We can have a just society. We can have an equal society. We can have a tolerant society. Or the left can go on fighting ‘whiteness’ and denouncing ‘white privilege’. And then we’ll achieve the Great Intersectional Utopia of living in a society in which everyone feels oppressed by everyone else.