Ibram X. Kendi has decided to weigh in on the blowback against critical race theory with a column titled, “There Is No Debate Over Critical Race Theory”. That’s typical of his arguments which can’t be debated, because if you debate them, you’re a racist.
The title has since been modified to something less crazy, but the column is still full of crazy arguments in which Kendi projects all his sins onto opponents of critical race theory.
“The American people aren’t divided. The American people are being divided,” Kendi insists.
This is what he and the rest of the racial essentialists are doing. They’re artificially dividing Americans by race while inventing a crisis that doesn’t exist. And their response to the people, black and white, pointing that out is to accuse them of being divisive and faking a crisis.
“Pundits and politicians have created their own definition for the term, and then set about attacking it,” Kendi writes about critical race theory.
Kendi is infamous for having created his own definition of racism and attacking it. In Kendi’s definition of racism, everyone is racist, and disagreeing with him is also racist.
Instead, the attacks on critical race theory are based on made-up definitions and descriptors. “Critical race theory says every white person is a racist,” Senator Ted Cruz has said. “It basically teaches that certain children are inherently bad people because of the color of their skin,” said the Alabama state legislator Chris Pringle.
Is that untrue?
There are differing points of view about race and racism. But what we are seeing and hearing on news shows, in school-district meetings, in op-ed pages, in legislative halls, and in social-media feeds aren’t multiple sides with differing points of view. There’s only one side in our so-called culture war right now.
What are those different points of view that Kendi and other black nationalists are willing to tolerate?
Different points of view have led to students being expelled, parents terrorized, people being arrested and fired, and faculty being forced out of universities?
What points of view on racism is Kendi willing to accept and debate?
Instead, Kendi pivots to attacking Republicans. He denies the BLM riots that devastated American cities, pretends cancel culture doesn’t exist, and accuses critics of everything from critical race theory t the 1619 Project of echoing “the rhetoric used to demonize desegregation after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, in 1954.”
In other words, if you criticize BLM or critical race theory, you’re a segregationist.
This idiotic smear is coming from the racialist who attacks black people who supported coexistence with white people as “assimilationist”.
After denying that his only gimmick is calling people racists on the thinnest of pretexts, Kendi proceeds to do just that, “In the 1950s and ’60s, the conservators of racism organized to keep Black kids out of all-white schools. Today, they are trying to get critical race theory out of American schools.”
What ideas on racism is Kendi willing to accept and debate? There’s your answer. None.
If you’re a black parent who wants teachers to stop telling his son that he’s a helpless victim, you’re a “conservator of racism”.
Hilariously, Kendi then claims that he doesn’t bother to debate anyone because they don’t really understand his ideas. ” I have seldom stopped to answer the critiques of critical race theory or of my own work, because the more I’ve studied these critiques, the more I’ve concluded that these critics aren’t arguing against me… What happens when a politician falsely proclaims what you think, and then criticizes that proclamation? Is she really critiquing your ideas—or her own? If a writer decides what both sides of an argument are stating, is he really engaging in an argument with another writer, or is he engaging in an argument with himself?”
This is coming from the same guy who just accused all opponents of critical race theory of trying to reboot segregation.
What happens when a racialist hack falsely proclaims what you think and then criticizes that proclamation? Is he really critiquing your ideas—or her own? If a writer decides what both sides of an argument are stating… is he engaging in an argument with himself?”
The obvious answer then is that Kendi has invented his own definition of racism and is arguing with his own strawman.
When Kendi tries to answer his critics, he shows exactly why he avoids debates.
“Take the journalist Matthew Yglesias. In February, in The Washington Post, he wrote that I think that “any racial gap simply is racist by definition; any policy that maintains such a gap is a racist policy; and—most debatably—any intellectual explanation of its existence (sociological, cultural and so on) is also racist.” But nowhere have I written that the racial gap is racist: The policies and practices causing the racial gap are racist. Nowhere have I stated that any intellectual explanation of the existence of a racial gap is racist. Only intellectual explanations of a racial gap that point to the superiority or inferiority of a racial group are racist,” Kendi complains.
Kendi had written that, “When you truly believe that the racial groups are equal, then you also believe that racial disparities are the result of racial discrimination” and “racial discrimination is the sole cause of racial disparities in this country and in the world at large.”
Any racial gap is evidence of racism. The only explanations Kendi will explain for the gap are discriminatory policies. Any other explanation is an argument that some groups are superior to others, according to Kendi.
To say something is wrong with a group is to say something is inferior about that group,” Kendi contends.
Kendi’s gimmick is to reduce everything to racism and deny the existence and legitimacy of any other possible answers.
Douthat claimed that I have a “Manichaean vision of public policy, in which all policymaking is either racist or antiracist, all racial disparities are the result of racism—and the measurement of any outcome short of perfect ‘equity’ may be a form of structural racism itself.”
Where did he get perfect equity? In How to Be an Antiracist, I define racial equity as a state “when two or more racial groups are standing on a relatively equal footing.” I proposed that an example of racial equity would be “if there were relatively equitable percentages” of racial groups “living in owner-occupied homes in the forties, seventies, or, better, nineties.”
Kendi contends that Douhat is arguing with himself because he accuses him of defining any outcome short of perfect equity as racism, whereas Kendi is willing to accept 43% of white households and 41% of black households as representing equity.
You can see why Kendi doesn’t debate much.
After putting out this really pathetic attempt at answering his critics, Kendi quickly pivots back to complaining about how tired he is of debating.
“Because restating facts over and over again gets old. Reciting your own work over and over again to critics who either haven’t read what they are criticizing or are purposefully distorting it gets old. And talking with people who have created a monologue with two points of view, theirs and what they impute to you, gets old.”
Doing it once and badly for a page really gets old.
This article most likely exists because some people had urged Kendi to answer his critics. This is less of an answer than a whine about why he shouldn’t have to. Kendi would like to influence American policy and intellectual life, so long as he doesn’t have to deal with any tough questions.