Sunday, July 05, 2020

Removing Statues A Distraction That Obfuscates The Actual Structure Of American Racism

gatestoneinstitute |  The idea that in the United States there is "structural racism" (defined by the Aspen Institute as "a system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial group inequity") has led, it seems, to a form of obsessive expiation. Films have been removed from streaming services. Gone with the Wind will now be shown with five-minute disclaimer. (One minute would not have been enough?)

The film is probably just first on a lengthening list. A reporter from Variety recently listed "10 Problematic Films That Could Use Warning Labels". They include Forrest Gump: for a brief moment, the title character is described, in an ironic fashion, as having been named after a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Consumer product brands, such as Uncle Ben's Rice and Aunt Jemima syrup are abruptly having their names and logos changed. Princeton voted to expunge the name of Woodrow Wilson from its public policy school. Demands have been made that universities and corporations show that they are not racist by declaring their support for Black Lives Matter. Many have bowed to the demand.

Of course there is still some racism among individuals, but the idea that the United States today is a society where "structural racism" exists is contradicted by decades of political decisions to repair the damage and, as in, for example, affirmative action programs, to favor equality for all Americans. As Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an American author who fled her homeland of Somalia, wrote:
"The problem is that there are people among us who don't want to figure it out and who have an interest in avoiding workable solutions. They have an obvious political incentive not to solve social problems, because social problems are the basis of their power. That is why, whenever a scholar like Roland Fryer brings new data to the table—showing it's simply not true that the police disproportionately shoot black people dead—the response is not to read the paper but to try to discredit its author."
For many years, American films dealing with racial questions have been explicitly hostile to any racial discrimination, and it would be impossible to find a book put out by a U.S. publishing house supporting racial discrimination, unless it dates from an era long gone. Rewriting history by falsifying it is simply an attempt to replace history with propaganda. Removing films and other information that do not correspond to a predetermined vision of history has long been the practice of totalitarian despotisms. Dictating that universities and corporations face severe consequences if they refuse to bowdlerize the past is simply a fascistic, tyrannical means of coercion. Worse, the submissive attitude of so many universities and corporations is what enables the bullying to continue.