Will “Enacting Whiteness” Be The Alternative To Trump?

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?

20 thoughts on “Will “Enacting Whiteness” Be The Alternative To Trump?

  1. The Man Who

    “Enacting American Whiteness”? What the Hell?

    India has its own ugly traditions of prejudice: against darker-skinned Indians, low-caste people, non-Hindus and African immigrants (look at some of Modi’s cheerleaders). Lynching still goes on in India decades after it ended in the US -poor Pehlu Khan was lynched by a group of Hindu fanatics in 2017. And the unfortunate Nigerian student Endurance Amalawa was beaten by a Indian mob in Delhi after he was falsely accused of drug dealing.

    Ms. Painter might find it more productive to look at this aspect of Indian society instead of talking about “enacting whiteness”.

    1. SHG Post author

      There are few things better than a first comment reflecting absolutely no grasp of what the post was about.

  2. The Man Who

    I’m aware that you are concerned that views like Painter’s will enter the bureaucracy, and thus undermine due process by using the undemocratic bureaucrat’s power to railroad innocent people. I’ve read enough Title IX horror stories to know it’s a serious concern.

    That said, since Painter said the Indian-American boys were “enacting American Whiteness”, I thought a brief mention of India’s own history of ethnic /religious prejudice might be germane.

    It certainly wasn’t my intention to derail the conversation about ideology, law and bureaucracy, and I apologise if my first post seemed off-topic.

  3. Dan Grossman

    From the NYT piece: “race is something we perform, not just something we are in our blood or in the color of our skin.”

    You read the correctly: Race is “something we perform.” According to this writer, the definition of a “white person” not someone with white skin, but anyone who does something bad to a black person.

    The writer continues: “Will Latinos of various skin colors come to consider themselves black or white? What about Asians of various skin colors? To find out, we should observe their actions. Or how they perform race.”

    Since, according to this writer, being white means being anti-black, if Latinos or Asians “perform race” in a bad way they will be considered white.

    Think about the consequences of that idea: There can be no such thing as a good white person, because being white, by definition, involves being bad. Being bad is what MAKES someone white.

    Whiteness is no longer skin color, whiteness is being bad.

    White = Bad. Q.E.D.

      1. Jim Tyre

        Or, consider this. If race is something we perform, then a person who, by all metrics to the unwoke is white, could really be black. And black persons can do things such as say the n word with impunity.

        Of course, I’m not being all that serious. But words matter, and Painter’s words opened that door.

  4. Elpey P.

    Screw pronouns. Time for us to start asserting our preferred racial identity. I’m going with emerald.

    Thank God we have all these anti-racists telling us race is a social construction who are working so hard to construct a society around racist principles. They sure do seem to miss the old days.

            1. L. Phillips

              That said, only partly in jest, here is a quote from Budiansky’s epilogue that exactly explains why it should only be a jest and why I keep coming back here regardless of the prevalent attitude toward the job of policing:

              “Even more important, he built his argument for ‘freedom for the thought we hate’ not only on a legal foundation, but on a philosophical one, which tied his own sturdy skepticism to the democratic experiment itself. As (legal scholar Ronald K. L.) Collins observed, Holmes offered a bargain that still scares zealots and moralists, but which embodies what it means to be a “civilized man,” as Holmes would have put it, as well as a citizen in a free land: he proposed giving up the comforts of certainty for the risks of our freedom, trading the dogmas of faith for the wisdom to question even our own beliefs, embracing the courage to have more trust in the democratic compromise of ideas than in the triumph of an ideological cause.”

  5. Seeker87

    There are some parts of Indian subculture that are extremely misogynistic towards women. The sort of behavior here is line with the same subculture. There’s even something called “revenge rape.” This explanation would be at odds with what the author is trying to argue though.

    The author doesn’t want to believe that any subculture can have twisted views. These boys probably grew up in it. it’s their normal. To blame “whiteness” is bizarre, as if every single thing anyone who isn’t white does is because of the said person “being white.” I don’t blame any race. I blame twisted beliefs. Why twisted beliefs take over any group is more of a psychological question to me.

    The whole argument, like you pointed out though, is absurd! What’s even more infuriating to me is this belief that only a “white” person can be racist. Any person can be racist towards any other person. And Princeton…

  6. The Real Kurt

    So, does black person A, who commits violence against black person B, automatically become white as well?

    The Real Kurt

Comments are closed.