In an age when racism is alternately defined as disagreement with Emperor Obama or the simple misfortune of being white, I dare to proffer a radical and reactionary description: racism is, simply enough, treating a person or a group of people in a particular way on sole account of their belonging to a particular race.
I have some proposals for the University. I will let the reader decide whether or not I mean these seriously, which itself is something of a clue. As part of the next rollout of honorary degrees, I suggest the University committee whittle down the finalists by one and introduce an ‘honorary black degree’, to be awarded to a person of colour.
Furthermore, following the indubitable success of this scheme, the University could start awarding regular ‘black degrees’ to graduating students from ethnic minority backgrounds. This will promote greater understanding of cultures and highlight the benefits of equality and diversity. How better to celebrate the success of minority students than by ceremoniously highlighting this totally superficial difference?
Please tell me, if you have figured out by this point that I do not mean any of this seriously, why any of these ideas are bad and yet Black History Month, which the University is about to finish celebrating, is not? Can we celebrate the achievements of ‘blacks’ at any time of the year and not just October or February? I’m pretty sure we can. Should the achievements of minorities be given a different platform than those of everybody else? As we used to segregate their physical presence, should we now segregate their history too? I think not. Should we treat everybody the same, regardless of their race? I think so. Radical and reactionary, I know…
How despicably condescending and inadvertently racist is it to attempt to delineate the entire history of a group of people – who form a vital and brilliant part of our cultural history – as though it can be identified uniquely, in utter isolation from all other equally inappropriately designated groups, on the basis of a characteristic that people are unable to choose? What’s more, we grant this nebulous concept of ‘black history’ one month out of twelve, for the other eleven months of the year are, by implication, a celebration of exclusively non-black history.
I take great pride in celebrating such figures as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Homer Plessy, James Meredith, Marie Foster and many, many others; not as blacks, but as Americans; not because we differ in accidental pigmentation, but because we share passionate beliefs; and not for one month, but always, forever and whenever racism surfaces and it bears upon me to invoke the memory of their sublime words and noble deeds.
Am I expected to cease at 12.01 on November first? What happens then? Is it Hispanic History Month? Or White History Month? Or White History Eleven Months? Or do we split up the months to reflect current demographics? Do I as a white male get something like 7 and a half months? What of people of multiple ethnicities? What about Obama? How many months does he get?
To be honest, I would rather eschew Black History Month and celebrate Black History Always. If possible, I would like to make a further distinction, celebrating, on the one hand, the history of our racially diverse society and, on the other hand, the historical actions of individuals whose race is irrelevant: who are to be judged not by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.
The entire ordeal frankly reeks of guilt-ridden white liberals who have grown up in upper middle class suburbia and whose first actual encounter with ethnic minorities is during a class on Critical Race Theory at an Ivy League college. This University’s excuse for promoting this racist nonsense is that, “Black History Month promotes greater understanding of culture, celebrating the abolishment of slavery and equality of opportunities amongst people of different cultures and faiths.”
Our culture is comprised of many races. Strike one. Abolitionism was driven by people of all races. Strike two. Equality of opportunities amongst people of different cultures and faiths is best achieved, in my radical and reactionary opinion, by ignoring their race and treating them as individuals. Strike three: common sense closes in the bottom of the ninth.
In reality, though, the ball game is rigged. The University wholeheartedly embraces Black History Month, unwittingly condoning a racist and flagrantly patronizing ‘understanding of culture.’ Nobody dares to object lest they be publicly flogged with the sensitivity whip until deemed by the diversity committee to have been fully politically corrected.
But you should object. Racism, even thoughtless, banal and fashionable, is evil. Nobody deserves to be treated in a particular way on sole account of their being a particular race. Even if they are treated better, even if the treatment falls in line with contemporary and moronic cultural trends, a person’s race should be off the table. But the University disagrees. To them, it seems, there is nothing quite as racist as ignoring someone’s race.