“On how Princeton’s crusade against systemic racism has backfired”

NEW CRITERION
Keywords: hoist, petard
by Roger Kimball
November 2020

Perhaps we ought to have included “chickens” and “roost” among the keywords as well. For many years now, woke administrators, professors, and other activists at all the toniest colleges have been like the parade of flagellants in The Seventh Seal: skirling in public about their sins, above all their institutional or (as we have lately been taught to say) their “systemic” racism. Their cries are accompanied by the demand for alms—$50 million at Yale to support “diversity,” $100 million at Brown for kindred exercises in political penance, and so on. On September 2, Christopher L. Eisgruber, the president of Princeton University, made a major contribution to this emetic genre. In an open letter to the university “community,” he beat his breast about America’s overdue “profound national reckoning with racism.” READ MORE

WALL STREET JOURNAL Shelby Steele: The Inauthenticity Behind Black Lives Matter Insisting on the prevalence of ‘systemic racism’ is a way of defending a victim-focused racial identity...Can we be black without being victims? … For many blacks today—especially the young—there is a feeling of inauthenticity, that one is only thinly black because one isn’t racially persecuted. “Systemic racism” is a term that tries to recover authenticity for a less and less convincing black identity. This racism is really more compensatory than systemic. It was invented to make up for the increasing absence of the real thing.

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