America is constructed on a number of tenuous fault lines, the most prominent of which may be the sometimes-volatile relationship between the races. It’s why race-baiting is so lucrative for those who are more interested in exploiting rifts than promoting peace.
It’s also yet another reason why I’m so blessed to belong to an eternal Kingdom that is predicated upon a universal reconciliation in Christ for the entirety of Adam’s race – the only race. The alternative of trying to keep track of who has a right to be offended, who started what spat, who is responsible for what offense, what grievance is justified and to what degree, is far too exhausting for me to even contemplate.
I was reminded of this reality again recently by an op-ed in the New York Times entitled, “A Racist Attack Shows How Whiteness Evolves.” The piece addressed a “hate crime” perpetrated against young black girls at a high school football game in Lawrence Township, New Jersey. There, two Indian teenage boys were arrested for “harassment and bias intimidation” after they used the n-word to verbally badger the black girls, and then went so far as to urinate on them.
To a sound mind grounded in a decent respect for the dignity and rights of others, this is an obvious case of harassment deserving punishment. But in our current woke era of jurisprudence, it’s more than that. If you can believe it, here’s what Princeton professor Nell Irvin Painter explained this to be:
“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.”
Yes, you read that correctly: “enacting American whiteness.” The good professor went on to explain,
“race is something we perform, not just something we are in our blood or in the color of our skin.”
I suppose if gender and sexuality is fluid in these morally and intellectually bankrupt times we live in, race might as well be too. But this raises a number of questions:
- When black people kill black people, is that the result of “enacted whiteness?”
- When Latino people attack Chinese people, are they “enacting whiteness?”
- Is any crime perpetrated by a person of any non-white race against any other person of a non-white race, the result of “enacting whiteness?”
- If a non-white person can “enact whiteness” by being violent and bad, can a white person ever “enact” another race by acting a certain way?
Prof Painter had an answer, if that’s what you want to call it:
“For a clue on how American racial identity is evolving, it may be less useful to look to clues like complexion, and more to the performance of identity. The performance here—flinging around the N-word, with the befoulment of urination—holds an answer. One potent way of being American, no matter where you or your parents are from, is enacting anti-blackness. And traditionally, acting out anti-blackness has meant acting white.”
In other words, anytime something bad happens to a black person, it’s the white people’s fault, regardless of whether a white person was 200 miles within range of the given offense. A white person need not be present or involved for an act of white racism to take place. This seems reasonable, doesn’t it?
But don’t think this nonsense is relegated to just the New York Times. This whole thing reminds me of the bizarre complaint that surfaced over in The Atlantic recently:
White people shouldn’t be in a room with cute, glowing cocktails and fat carvings of traditional Polynesian gods. To do so is a form of racism since it’s not their culture they’re exploiting for entertainment and a good time. They shouldn’t eat tacos, wear Sombreros, review rap albums, or put on a kimono for any reason. Like I said earlier, it’s exhausting.
In fact, it has gotten to the point where it seems the only non-offensive things white people can do are (1) attend a baseball game (provided it isn’t an Atlanta Braves or Cleveland Indians game), and (2) pretend to be a Native American on your job application to Harvard.
Sorry if that was a cheap shot; it was my evolving whiteness speaking.