The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, July 19, 2020


The Left has a way with abstractions. As our nation has evolved to become a better place over the last half century, specific instances of person-to-person racism have declined in number; educational and employment opportunities for people of color has increased substantially, and black and brown faces are seen everywhere—in entertainment, in industry, in the professions, in science, in sports. And where work must still be done, the nation has established laws that facilitate the hiring and advancement of people of color. That's something to celebrate, recognizing that work must still be done, but celebrate nonetheless.

But celebration of achievements in the area of race is simply not within the vocabulary of modern leftists. Since they have trouble picking out specific or categorical instances* of "racism," they've decide to fall back on the "systemic racism" narrative—an abstraction that is vague enough to sound serious, but in fact is meaningless, if real societal change is desired.

Scott Nelson comments:
America today is suffering from a tyranny of abstractions. Ostensibly, we’re seeing a mass movement against racial injustice—but what specific injustice are we talking about? Is it the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis? The police officers involved have been fired and criminally charged. Is it a problem of police brutality in the Minneapolis police department? It’s up to the elected district and state’s attorneys to investigate those involved in police misconduct. Is it a problem of anti-black police brutality across the country? A study from August 2019 finds no evidence of anti-black disparities in cop shootings. Is it that black people are being killed in general? In 2018, there were 7,407 black homicide victims; 90% were killed by other blacks.

The problem, then, seems lamentably unclear, and this abstraction is hardly incidental. Racism traditionally referred to acts between individuals; individuals can be held responsible for their actions. But discussing racism as a systemic problem makes everyone responsible—and no one.

The wide berth given to the charge of racism thus allows for great flexibility, enabling Black Lives Matter movements to spread across the world. While other countries may not share America’s particular narrative about slavery, most can point to some act of discrimination in their past. Discrimination of some sort is inevitable, since every community that comes into existence does so with a shared sense of who it is and who it is not. Unfortunately, racial differences are one of many ways that groups have historically distinguished themselves from one another. It was the genius of the American Founding Fathers to lay the framework for a community based on what all humans can believe in—namely, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In this shared conviction there are no masters and slaves; all humans are dignified and partake of true equality.
The real problem is that abstractions—in particular, the systemic racism abstraction, does little to serve the African American community. It does, of course, encourage a sense of victimization, providing a ready excuse that conveniently ignores other structural failures that have occurred and continue to occur within parts of the African American community.

In an odd way, the Left's use of abstractions like "systemic racism" is a form of soft racism itself. It suggests that people of color are unable to overcome "the system" (a canard that has been proven untrue millions of times). The Left argues that the system itself must be dismantled so that people of color, who the Left views as unable to overcome the challenges the system poses for everyone, can get the special help they need. That's arrogant and condescending, but the Left is so caught up in their utopian ideal of "social justice," they just don't see it.

*  Cases like the horrific murder of George Floyd are NOT indicative or everyday police encounters with people of color, despite what the Left wants us all to believe. Their narrative is a lie, intended to inflame racial tensions, not solve problems.