MONDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2021
Three cheers for Eric Levitz: This morning, at New York magazine's Intelligencer site, Eric Levitz stated the obvious.
At this point, doing so is a very rare thing. In our view, Eric Levitz deserves three cheers for actually getting it right.
Levitz's essay appears beneath the headline shown below. We wouldn't put it that way ourselves, but Levitz deserves lots of credit:
When Keeping It ‘Woke’ Gets Racist, Liberals Should Say So
That's the headline which appears above Levitz's essay. Personally, we would phrase it somewhat differently. We agree with the bulk of Levitz's analysis, but the framework we'd offer is this:
When Keeping It ‘Woke’ Gets Stupid and Silly, Liberals Should Say So
A decent, sensible Blue Tribe member could even say it like this:
When Conservative Parents Voice Reasonable Complaints, Liberals Should Say They AgreeIn his essay, Levitz points to some of the "anti-racist" workshop training materials which have been used in the Loudoun County (Virginia) schools. He posts a screenshot of one framework while offering this analysis:
LEVITZ (11/8/21): A key flashpoint in Virginia’s CRT brouhaha came in July, when Loudoun County’s public schools revealed the contents of a training on “culturally responsive teaching” that its faculty had undergone. That training included a slide outlining the distinctions between the supposed individualism of white culture, and collectivism of “color group” culture:
[SCREENSHOT OF TRAINING MATERIAL]
It’s important to put this PowerPoint in context. Contrary to the insinuations of some anti-CRT agitators, this was not used as an instruction material for children. Nor was it meant to teach “that some races are morally superior to others.” Rather, it is a reductive summation of research on the ways that cultural insensitivity can impair educational outcomes for immigrant children.
It is also, by all appearances, racist. The notion that expecting one’s children “to form and express opinions” and “questions elders” is a definitionally white parenting style, while expecting children to “show respect by quiet listening” is a “color group” one, is a racial caricature. As is the broader idea that white families prize individualism over communal obligation. Positing fundamental cultural distinctions between people with different pigmentations—not different class, regional, national, or religious backgrounds, but merely different concentrations of melanin—is a task better left to white supremacists than equity coaches.
We disagree with Levitz on only one point--we wouldn't call that utterly silly Powerpoint slide "racist." We don't think it's helpful—or especially accurate—to turn to the atomic R-bomb on every and all occasions.
We'd call that PowerPoint what it actually is—we'd say it's transparently silly. Along the way, we'd encourage liberals to draw this important lesson from it:
People who play on our own liberal team can do and say dumb things too.
We'll have more on this topic this week. For now, let's close with this:
Within our tribe, we simply love to call The Others "racist." We want to call The Others "racist" every time out.
This is a major problem with Us. It's a moral and intellectual failing. Meanwhile, everyone can see that we're like this—everyone except Us!
This is the way We Look To Others. Everyone sees this but Us.