By Edward Cline ~
Daphne Patal, in her September Gatestone article, “How Diversity Came to Mean ‘Downgrade the West’,” which discusses the degrading of college education to conform to politically correct subject matters to be studied, opens with
There was a time, within living memory, when the term multiculturalism was hardly known. More than twenty years ago, Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal and in late July speaker at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, wrote a book with fellow Stanford alum David Sacks called The Diversity Myth: ‘Multiculturalism’ and the Politics of Intolerance at Stanford (1995).
The book’s title refers to the pretense that embracing “diversity” actually promotes diversity of all types, a claim commonly heard to this day. Thiel had been a student at Stanford when, in January 1987, demonstrators defending “the Rainbow Agenda” chanted “Hey hey, ho ho, Western Culture’s got to go!” This protest led to the infamous “revision” (i.e., suppression) of the Western Culture requirement at Stanford, replaced with a freshman sequence called Cultures, Ideas, and Values, mandating an emphasis on race, gender, and class.
Later in her article, Patal notes that
Furthermore, “multiculturalism” did not involve greater emphasis on mastering foreign languages or carefully studying cultures other than those of the English-speaking world. Instead, work in literature and culture programs was (and still is) done increasingly in English and focused on contemporary writers. Nor did multiculturalism, any more than the word diversity, mean familiarizing students with a diversity of views. Rather, as [Elizabeth] Fox-Genovese summarized it, it meant requiring students “to agree with or even applaud views and values that mock the values with which they have been reared.” And all this, she observed, was being accompanied by rampant grade inflation.
So, if anyone thought that “diversity” simply meant several individuals of various ethnic or cultural backgrounds being by happenstance squinched together into a group, or that “diversity” was similar to a bird aviary in which dozens of different species flitted around in an enclosed space, he would not be far off the mark. There have been dozens of TV and movie series and films that flaunt not only their racial diversity, but their cultural and sexual diversity, as well (i.e., the early and later manifestations of Star Trek).
For example, The Walking Dead, at several points in its seven-Season-old broadcast, has featured blacks as well as whites, Koreans, Hispanics in leading and central roles, as well as Indians (or perhaps Pakastanis, it was never explained), “gender-breakers,” “mixed” couples, the disabled (in wheelchairs), and the “under-aged” (e.g., pre-teen children shooting guns at zombies and the living). The most recent Seasons of the series have introduced lesbian and gay couples, as well as overweight characters.
The most conspicuously absent group are Muslims; they appear neither as living survivors of the apocalypse nor as zombies, neither as bearded imams nor as women in burqas or hijabs. I do not think their absence is an oversight. I do not think it is a stretch of the imagination to assume that the producers were warned off casting characters as living or dead Muslims. Or perhaps, being so diversity-conscious, and sensitive to the sensitivities of Muslims, the producers decided not to “defame” Muslims or Islam with such risky casting, and warned themselves off the idea. I contacted Scott Gimple, The Walking Dead’s “show runner,” on his Facebook page, with the question, but have received no response.
One is left to hypothesize if the producers of The Walking Dead are voluntarily or consciously casting the series as “diverse” as possible (there is, after all, a finite number of under-represented groups), or are they under an obligation to become diversity-obsessed by federal or state law, in alliance with gender and ethnic groups? The Walking Dead, as well as House of Cards, another lavishly produced and racially and gender-conscious TV series, , get tax-rebates in Georgia and Maryland respectively, where they are filmed, and so “diversity” is too likely a condition of the tax-breaks.
One might object to the foregoing analysis with the claim that these and many other TV and film productions reflect the true diversity of Americans. But, do they? If they did, why the current Marx-inspired campaign against “white privilege”? Why the vile, but also hysterical campaign to “deconstruct” whites so that they feel “guilt” about being white, and apologize profusely for having created Western Culture and civilization, which somehow “oppress” non-whites of every race and creed?
The leftists have gone to great lengths to connect racial “identity politics” with political “identity politics,” contending that it was the “white” vote that got Donald Trump his presidential victory, (when the evidence was clearly obvious when in numerous videos one saw the racial composition of Trump’s rallies. While the attendance was mostly “white,” large swathes of the audiences were black and “Asian.”)
The British Film Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has issued new diversity guidelines to be eligible for nomination. Donna Edmunds on Breitbart London exposes the farce.
“From 2019 onwards, nominations for the awards of ‘outstanding British film’ and ‘outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer’ will need to conform to the BFI’s Diversity Standards, established two years ago to increase representation of minorities within British film,” reports Breitbart London.
According to the BBC, the nominated films must show they have improved diversity within at least two of four categories to qualify. The categories are: “On-screen characters and themes; senior roles and crew; industry training and career progression; and audience access and appeal to under-represented audiences.”
BAFTA has said the changes were “a flexible and achievable model, which the whole industry can adopt as a shared language for understanding diversity.” Under these new standards, the James Bond hit Skyfall could not have won the BAFTA for “Best British Film” in 2012.
Toni Morrison, a black American poet and winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award, in addition to the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Humanities Medal, and the Nobel Prize in Literature, and finally, the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, is vested in identity and race politics. Were it not for the current campaign to denigrate whites, she would have nothing of substance to say, except, perhaps, on the issue of police having to shoot black men, “People keep saying, ‘We need to have a conversation about race.’ This is the conversation. I want to see a cop shoot a white unarmed teenager in the back. And I want to see a white man convicted for raping a black woman. Then when you ask me, ‘Is it over?’, I will say yes.”
But, weighed down with all those awards (and by a modest amount of money), she has nothing to say about blacks targeting whites for horrendous crimes. And while she insinuates that whites were at root somehow responsible for all the violence against blacks, she conveniently forgets that blacks, if anything, share that history. Among other convenient omissions, for example, black gangs have established records in Chicago of the number of blacks, including children, who were killed during their internecine warfare. There were black slave owners in America from the 17th century on up through the Civil War; call it Antebellum “black privilege.”
In a fascinating essay reviewing this controversy, R. Halliburton shows that free black people have owned slaves “in each of the thirteen original states and later in every state that countenanced slavery,” at least since Anthony Johnson and his wife Mary went to court in Virginia in 1654 to obtain the services of their indentured servant, a black man, John Castor, for life.
And for a time, free black people could even “own” the services of white indentured servants in Virginia as well. Free blacks owned slaves in Boston by 1724 and in Connecticut by 1783; by 1790, 48 black people in Maryland owned 143 slaves. One particularly notorious black Maryland farmer named Nat Butler “regularly purchased and sold Negroes for the Southern trade,” Halliburton wrote.
Sheldon M. Stern, in “It’s Time to Face the Whole Truth About the Atlantic Slave Trade,” discusses how black African tribes captured uncountable other blacks and sold them to European and American slave traders. His article does not even touch on the Islamic slave trade.
Finally, Paul Joseph Watson, in his InfoWars column of August 16, “Hillary’s VP: Whites Must Become a ‘Minority’ to Atone for Racism,” quotes Tim Kaine, speaking to a black Baptist congregation,
“I’ve never been treated badly in life because of my skin color or my gender,” Kaine told a group of black Baptists in New Orleans. “I think the burden is on those of us who are in the majority – Caucasians. We have to put ourselves in a place where we are the minority.”
The “burden” that Kaine mentions obviously means taking on “white guilt,” despite the fact that – even at the height of slavery – only 1.4% of whites in America owned slaves. White people were also victims of far more brutal and longer lasting oppression under the Barbary slave trade….
According to Alicia Powe, Kaine’s comments emphasize how the left has employed “toxic identity politics” to “perpetuate class warfare and the narrative of an unjust America,” with whites demonized as the scapegoats.
It should also be emphasized that no living black was ever a slave, and no living white was ever a slave owner, either (except, metaphorically, the Democrats, who, as far back as Lyndon Johnson, wished to imprison and maintain blacks in their welfare state “plantation”).
But, the issue is one of collectivism. It is herding individuals, defined by their skin color, and now also by their political affiliations (Trump supporters are “deplorable”), into warring power blocs, to relegate individuals into amorphous conglomerations of races responsible for individual achievements or crimes. To the Left’s agenda, “diversity” is a value to be implemented, by force, harassment, and statute, if necessary, and achieved regardless of reason, individual values, and innocence.
Diversity puts a premium on the act of discrimination in social associations (such as on American bakers who, for religious reasons, are punished by Federal or state regulatory laws for refusing to accept gays as customers, or who fire or refuse to hire Muslims who insist on wearing their “religious” garb in their stores), by tar-brushing the act – irrational or not – as a prohibitive offense to be punished, discriminated against, and banned. All individuals who, rightly or wrongly, do not wish to hire or associate with blacks or Muslims are automatically branded as “racists” or “bigots.”
However, Muslims as a group may not be targeted for discriminatory practices because their acts of discrimination against infidels and women are allegedly religiously based and therefore beyond moral judgment. Acts of discrimination based on Christian or secular beliefs, however, are discouraged, vilified, or prohibited.
The phenomenon has now been expanded into the subject of “white privilege,” which in essence, is a contrived but open assault on Western values on college campuses, and in Western achievements in general. Most Western advancements in philosophy, technology, science, the arts, and the rule of law and politics originated in Europe, which was mostly and incidentally “white.” Thus the legacy of civilized life is an inherited instance of “white privilege.” Or are we still waiting for the news of a Minnesota Somalian to claim that he and his fellow collectivists perfected the probes of Ceres or Pluto? Or devised a new bypass surgery technique by an Afghan or Syrian or Palestinian (other than in a machete or knife attack)?
Just how many offended groups or groups feeling “unsafe” from or “triggered” by words or someone’s freedom of expression can there be, such as black and brown people, sexual assault survivors, Muslims, LGBTQIA+ people, people with low incomes, people with differing abilities, undocumented immigrants, and anyone that is systematically targeted along identity lines?”
Then again, blacks who can be called “middle or upper class income blacks,” or Asians who excel in science or technology in school, do not consciously identify with such groups. They are automatically pigeon-holed by their enemies, who wish to herd them into the stockyards of “diversity” ready for the smearing or slaughter. Their goal is death.
Aristotle was “white.” But he promulgated reason. Kepler and Copernicus were “white.” But they helped to define the solar system. Isaac Newton was “white.” But he developed the laws of physics. Anna Hyatt Huntington was “white.” But she created heroic statues. Each of these achievers was a pursuer of and a product of Western values.
I am white, too. Lump me into a group with these prominent, “white privileged” whites. But, I don’t claim their achievements, nor would they claim mine. Don’t call me “white privileged.” My privilege is my mind together with my values. The haters of “white privilege” have no minds and no values. They are nihilists.
Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Edward Cline is the author of the Sparrowhawk series of novels set in England and Virginia in the pre-Revolutionary period, of several detective and suspense novels, and three collections of his commentaries and columns, all available on Amazon Books. His essays, book reviews, and other articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Journal of Information Ethics and other publications. He is a frequent contributor to Rule of Reason, Family Security Matters, Capitalism Magazine and other Web publications.