An op-ed in the New York Times has caught fire because it’s, well, completely nuts. Two 17-year-old boys of Indian descent are alleged to have engaged in some truly awful conduct toward four black middle school girls, including urinating on one of them. What this indicates, beyond two kids engaged in bad behavior, is unclear to any rational person. But Nell Irvin Painter isn’t such a person, so naturally she was given real estate in the Times.
While it’s tempting to see the reported ethnicity of the boys suspected in the assault as complicating the story and raising questions about whether the assault should be thought of as racist, I look at it through a different lens. Instead of asking what the boys’ reported racial identity tells us about the nature of the attack, we should see the boys as enacting American whiteness through anti-black assault in a very traditional way. In doing so, the assailants are demonstrating how race is a social construct that people make through their actions.
Don’t try. You’ll just hurt yourself. Nothing about this paragraph makes any logical sense, and Painter’s position as a professor at Princeton suggests that you might want to send your children elsewhere if they’re into history.
Mind you, the underlying attack, if true, is a very serious, truly disgusting, occurrence, but it’s subsumed in the absurdity of Painter’s compulsion to twist this from reality into her racist psychotic fantasy that committing bad conduct against black people is understandable as “committing whiteness.” Maybe some will laugh at this. Maybe some will cry. But maybe some, like me, will see the potential of such connections filtering into the Executive Branch bureaucracy in its enforcement of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Consider, if you will, what Russlyn Ali and Catherine Lhamon did to college sex tribunals with their legally unauthorized issuance of their “Dear Colleague” letters, spawning an industry bent on expelling male students from college upon the accusation of women without any basis in law or the pretense of constitutional due process. But worse, they created an expectation among their sympathizers that facts and fair process were socially unjust and intolerable, which has since pervaded much of the thinking around the #MeToo inquisition and even how real law should be altered going forward.
And it’s not just these two bureaucratic radicals who abused their positions to achieve their social agenda. There was Vanita Gupta, heading the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Justice, who issued guidance that schools violated Title IX by denying transgender students the right to use facilities, from bathrooms and locker rooms to sleeping accommodations, based on their gender identities. There was no law to mandate this. Hell, Congress rejected it, over and over. She made it up and tried to ram her personal vision of social justice down society’s throat.
The question isn’t whether you agree with these choices. Perhaps you do, and you’re entitled to believe whatever floats your boat. The problem is that these are not policies that our elected representatives in Congress decided to be appropriate, but personal agendas by bureaucrats reflecting their reinvention of society in the manner they, unilaterally, deemed right.
While Democratic candidates for the presidency debate medicare for all and guaranteed basic income, no one is talking about what they will do with the massive bureaucracy built in the shadow of the Civil Rights Law that has the power to fundamentally change the rules by which schools and businesses function so that critical race theory seizes control. This can be accomplished with a pen by a bureaucrat. That’s all Lhamon had, and the destruction she’s caused to lives has been massive, although she couldn’t care less how many young men were ruined so her goal of feminist fragility could be achieved.
Nell Irvin Painter might not end up in charge of some executive agency, with license to issue dictates about “enacting whiteness” and some victim hierarchy with increasing punishments based on how white some evil kid is acting. But then, she could be. And if not her, then someone who shares her delusion that the problem isn’t two kids with problems, but the inherent evils of whiteness.
Unlike the big ticket items like free college and healthcare, the infusion of social justice insanity into society can be accomplished by bureaucratic fiat, and once “guidance” is issued, undoing the damage becomes nearly impossible, as reflected by the many colleges who refuse to afford students due process despite the more than 150 federal court rulings that they must. They don’t care. They believe and agree, or at the very least won’t challenge the passionate feelings of their consumers who demand whatever irrational social justice cure strikes their childish fancy.
While many of us read Painter’s op-ed rejecting personal responsibility for horrible actions in favor of her delusional social justice “enacting whiteness” as outlier craziness, few consider how much support this has within the Academy, within the new progressive Democratic party and in the minds of the people who, should we have a Democratic executive, will be appointed to positions in the bureaucracy where they can, by merely issuing a paper, force this into the functioning of schools and businesses.
You may laugh at Painter’s craziness now, but will you be laughing when this becomes the official guidance issued by an unaccountable bureaucracy and becomes integral to your job and your children’s education? The signs are obvious. We’ve seen it happen. We’re seeing it happen more and more, as the rhetoric ramps up, the outrage machine demands blood of those lower on the victim hierarchy for the sake of the favored identities.
Will there be a “quiet” revolution lurking behind a progressive election that turns “whiteness” into a crime in the workplace or campus? None of this has anything to do with eradicating racism and sexism, but rather taking the untenable ideology of social justice in the hands of bureaucrats and reinventing society by their unilateral fiat. That sound you hear is Painter laughing, but will you be able to challenge her religion without violating the new rules of identity as imposed by the Department of Equity?