Commentary

Beware the 'Anti-Racism' Industry

By Bill Donohue | May 13, 2021 | 2:01pm EDT
Featured are Black Lives Matter protesters. (Photo credit: Noam Galai/Getty Images)
Featured are Black Lives Matter protesters. (Photo credit: Noam Galai/Getty Images)

The Catholic Church regards racism to be "intrinsically evil" and supports policies to check it. It must be noted, however, that today there is no shortage of educators, reporters, activists, and lawmakers who claim to oppose racism while harboring an agenda that sometimes promotes it. 

They do so mostly for ideological reasons, though those in the diversity and grievance industry also profit from it monetarily. Critical race theory, which is an inherently racist prescription—it judges people on the basis of their skin color, not their individual traits—is a textbook example of promoting racism in the name of fighting it.

In my lifetime, never have non-whites been treated more fairly than they are today, yet there is an avalanche of news stories that say just the opposite. While objective conditions have definitely improved, the perception that we are a racist nation is widespread. How can this be?

When Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), an African American, recently said that "America is not a racist country," he was ridiculed, maligned, and insulted. Why the anger? Because he challenged, to great effect, the raging narrative in elite quarters that America is irredeemably racist. 

Vice President Kamala Harris was asked to comment on what Scott said. 

"No, I don't think America is a racist country," she said, but we need to "speak truth about the history of racism." Previously, she went further than that when she declared, "America has a long history of systemic racism."  

President Biden is concerned about racism as well, claiming that "white supremacists" constitute the "most lethal terrorist threat." He took his cues from the FBI which is preoccupied with white supremacists. 

Ask most Americans who qualifies as a white supremacist and the likely answer is someone who belongs to the Ku Klux Klan. But the Klan has actually been in decline. So who are these people who pose the "most lethal terrorist threat"?

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is the go-to site that journalists use to access information about white supremacy and hate crimes. It is a left-wing activist organization that claims to monitor such offenses. 

Last month it sounded very much like President Biden when its president and CEO, Margaret Huang, said, "We're facing a crisis of far-right extremism and deep threats to our democracy." From whom? She identified the mob storming the Capitol in January as being "led by white supremacists and other far-right extremists."

Huang provided no evidence to support her remarks; she simply asserted that white supremacists were the principal culprits. It apparently never occurred to her that these men and women were mostly angry pro-Trump supporters who felt disabused by electoral politics and political correctness, concerns that have nothing to do with feelings of racial superiority. Veterans and former police officers appear to have been overrepresented. If they are white supremacists, we need to see the empirical evidence.

In fact, the SPLC does a lousy job defining who these white supremacists are. Its lengthy report, "The Year in Hate and Extremism 2020," says an awful lot about white supremacists but is noticeably short on identifying exactly who they are. 

For example, it says they track "extremist flyers," reporting that they found about 4,900 "flyering incidents." The worst offenders, it said, were those who promoted the "white nationalist ideology," a train of thought it left undefined. It did not say who these white nationalists were or whether they were responsible for any violence. It did say that the Klan is no longer "a significant generator of white supremacist terror," largely because it "saw its count dwindle to 25 groups in 2020." So who are the new Klansmen? 

SPLC has racism on the brain. In its report, it expresses dismay over the fact that "only 38 percent of respondents" in a survey believed that "systemic racism" accounts for a disparity in health outcomes between whites and non-whites, "even as COVID-19 ravages communities of color." 

It did not say whether white supremacists were to blame for this condition, but it did say that it was unnerved to learn that the majority of Americans thought that Black Lives Matter (BLM) violence in 2020 was a bigger problem than police violence against blacks. With good reason: more than two dozen individuals died during BLM protests, where the group assaulted the police, burned down entire neighborhoods, and engaged in widespread looting. In 2019, police shot and killed 999 people: 452 were white and 252 were black; 26 of the whites and 12 of the blacks were unarmed.

For the record, SPLC regards as "far right" extremists anyone who thinks that boys who "transition" to girls should not be allowed to compete against girls in sports and shower with them. Perhaps they are the new Klansmen. 

Real racism and extremism, as the Catholic Church understands it, must be opposed and defeated. It does not help this noble cause when prominent Americans and non-profit organizations are bent on finding racism under every rock.

Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.

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