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The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Woke racism: how a new religion has betrayed black America

W-Racis_20221203-113703_1 Woke Racism

by John McWhorter, paperback, 201 pages, ISBN 978-1-80075-144-6, Forum, 2022, £9.99.

In this brilliant book John McWhorter exposes the new form of anti-racism as yet another new religion, born in that most religious of Western countries, the USA. The author teaches linguistics, American studies, and music history at Columbia University.

As he points out, "nominally secular institutions have openly advocated religious orientation toward race issues as if they were the divinity schools that all universities once essentially were. A professor at the Steinhardt School at New York University distributed a memo actually stating outright that 'our first guiding principle is that participation in political movements such as Black Lives Matter is analogous to a decision to attend a religious or spiritual gathering' …"

In 2020, during the pandemic which had already killed thousands of people in New York alone, New York city mayor Bill de Blasio allowed mass BLM protests to go ahead, breaching his own quarantine order. The protestors, often maskless, often close together, shouted and chanted, despite the virus being easily spread by water droplets from the mouth. It was like some religious procession from the Middle Ages, when the religious believed that their religion gave them immunity from the plague.

McWhorter cites Andrew Sullivan, a journalist hounded out of his job at the New York magazine: "They seem to believe, and this is increasingly the orthodoxy in mainstream media, that any writer not actively committed to critical theory in questions of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity is actively, physically harming co-workers merely by existing in the same virtual space."

Just as fundamentalist Christians see the devil everywhere, the new anti-racists see racism everywhere. White privilege is the new original sin. As New York Times film critic A. O. Scott put it, "racism is what makes us white."

McWhorter calls them these anti-racist fundamentalists the Elect. They are evangelists, born again. They catastrophise the current moment, a classic hallmark of the cult. (Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil, please note.) What they call problematic, Christians call blasphemous. It is a new irrationalism, eager to enforce its diktats with star chambers, expulsions, destruction of images, public shaming

He sums up: "Drifting from a commitment to changing society toward a narrower commitment to signaling antipathy to racism and leaving it there, antiracism's progress from its First to its Third waves has taken it from the concrete political activism of Martin Luther King to the faith-based commitments of a Martin Luther."

McWhorter shows how this new religion is not good for black people, indeed that it is bad for them, infantilising them, robbing them of agency, responsibility and control.

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