Why Worry About Whiteness?
Author: Chris Johnson  
20200716
 

The phrase, “the new normal” has been floating around more and more these days, particularly as we look at the ways our government has reacted to Covid-19. But let’s looks at a “new normal” that’s established itself in our culture in the past decade and a half.

Look back with me to 2003, when the trio then known as the Dixie Chicks was what we now call “canceled,” not for their “racist” name they recently took it upon themselves to change, but for getting too political. After telling a UK crowd they were “ashamed” of our president and his decision to invade Iraq, they were told to “shut up and sing” and thus began a roughly seven year hiatus who would reemerge to an uneventful career in 2010, before making news for essentially the first time in 17 years in 2020, by becoming simply, “The Chicks” in anticipation of another cancellation, this time from the left.

The story of “The Chicks,” is a picture, in miniature, of the transition from the old to new normal - from where we looked to musicians to be experts on music, athletes on their sport, academics on their field, and politicians on policy, to where anyone with a platform is expected to advance a Social Justice agenda, at risk of having their career toppled by angry social media mobs.

You may have noticed that today everything is political. I’ve said that phrase over and over in my head in recent years, and only recently have begun to understand why. The reason is the increased prevalence of the ideologies of Intersectionality which has been colloquialized as “wokeness.”

Intersectionality is the big idea behind what has become known as “cancel culture,” the riots in the streets, and the bias in this generation of “journalists.”

We cannot understand intersectionality without first understanding their definition of “power” or “systemic power,” which relates to their definitions of systemic racism or sexism and white supremacy or the patriarchy. And we cannot understand their use of the word “power” without understanding the concept of “hegemony.”

Perhaps, like me, you’ve heard that word tossed around before with a loose fitting explanation, but never had the chance to wrap your head around it. I hope this definition from Dino Franco Felluga, “Critical Theory: The Key Concepts” is as helpful to you as it was to me (thanks to The New Discourse for digging it up):

“Hegemony refers to the processes by which dominant culture maintains its dominant position: for example, the use of institutions to formalize power; the employment of a bureaucracy to make power seem abstract (and, therefore, not attached to any one individual); the inculcation of the populace in the ideals of the hegemonic group through education, advertising, publication, etc.; the mobilization of a police force as well as military personnel to subdue opposition.”

You can see the way ‘power’ is used in that definition. It’s not merely formal political power or physical; it’s the affect that each person has on a culture’s ideas by either enforcing them or critiquing them. As I was writing this, I Providentially stumbled upon the mother of all examples. Check out this infographic from the National Museum of African American History and Culture defining “whiteness.”

That’s from a Smithsonian museum! It is followed up immediately on the website with this paragraph: “Racism is perpetuated by deeming whiteness as superior and other racial and ethnic groups as inferior. The prevalence of white dominant culture and racism leads to an internalized racial superiority for those who adhere to it. This internalized dominance "describes the experience and attitudes of those who are members of the dominant, privileged, or powerful identity groups. Members of the [dominant] group accept their group's socially superior status as normal and deserved."

Did you catch that? “Racism is perpetuated by” normalizing a two parent home, being on time, planning for the future, working hard, and thinking rationally because those are examples of whiteness! America’s students are taught that that is the hegemony and that it is oppressive to non-whites.

Again, this is not fringe stuff – this is straight from the Smithsonian.

So, that’s a perfect example of racial oppression from their perspective, and that’s where intersectionality comes in, because while we can see how a black man is oppressed from the infographic above according to this theory, white women are also oppressed. The hegemony enforces an ideal where women stay barefoot in the kitchen with a baby on their hip, making sandwiches for their man. But neither a black man nor a white woman is as oppressed as a black woman who stands at the intersection  of these oppressions, experiencing them from both directions. Of course, this black woman is not as oppressed as a black trans woman who is oppressed in yet another way.

To quote James Lindsay, “In practice, intersectionality means, in the words of critical whiteness educator Robin DiAngelo, ‘positionality must constantly be engaged.’ What this means is that one must cultivate an awareness of the various ways in which one’s group identities “intersect” to provide privilege and create oppression, and one must acknowledge these in all situations and reflect (if not act) upon their relevance in all behaviors, especially social interactions. This is considered an ongoing and lifelong practice and is not negotiable. Of note, it requires recognizing that in all social interactions, there are systemic power dynamics (like racism, sexism, heterosexism, and so on, as appropriate) that are in play and must be acknowledged by the relationally dominant participant…”

The relationally dominant participant, I take it to mean, being the least oppressed according to their definition. And as the least oppressed, you are the most oppressive and therefore are beholden to keep your mouth shut.

This is what is being taught in universities today and it is being applied to every area of life. There are “intellectuals” trying to apply this to math, physics, chemistry, law, and so on. This is what tomorrow’s teachers are being taught!

But let me end with an encouraging note. Proverbs 3:19 says, “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens. AndProverbs 1:7 says, “The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

God made the world using wisdom and to understand how the world works, one must be wise. To be wise, one must fear the Lord.

Friends, these Marxist ideas are foolish. They are not just anti-God, they are opposed to reality and they cannot stand.

The concept of Intersectionality began to be popularized in 1989. In thirty short years it has seemingly taken over America’s streets, despite being so obviously foolish. How quickly do you think the wisdom of God can make a comeback?

Let us begin rebuilding the foundations!


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