In the olden days, identifying sexism and racism was easy. Did a group of racist whites try to prevent little Ruby Bridges from attending school? Yes, they did. That’s racist. Did a school counselor tell Judith Love Cohen that she should go to finishing school instead of fulfilling her dream to work in STEM fields, ostensibly because she happened to be a young woman instead of a man? Apparently so. That’s sexist.
Well, determining if something is racist or sexist has gotten more complicated, just like our remote controls. RationalWiki, a site that seems to have been named in an Andy Kaufman-esque bit of performance art, offers a synopsis of the redefinition of the terms. They credit Pat Bidol with creating and Judith H. Katz with popularizing the equation that determines if something is racist or sexist:
Power + Prejudice = Racism
That’s right; did someone just tell your daughter, a young white woman, that she is “playing the victim” when pointing out her sexual assault? And that this diagnosis is a result of her race? My, you would probably think that statement is pretty racist and maybe even a little sexist.
You would be wrong. Why? Because the woman telling your daughter that she is “spouting #whitegirltears” and has a “false sense of victimization” is our old friend Saida Grundy, the professor who thinks that white college males are the “problem population” and whose understanding of history is woefully spotty.
Here’s part of the exchange, originally reported, I believe, by Fox News:
As I’ve made clear in the short time that I’ve been doing this blog, I do not like the “witch hunt” mentality that has been baked into this decade by Twitter, shortening attention spans and the mainstream media. I still want the same thing for Ms. Grundy that I want for everyone else on the authoritarian left:
Could you please spend more time considering your own words and behavior and less time attacking people based upon the orders you’ve been given by Jezebel and Salon and your friend who spends time contacting the employers of those who says things she doesn’t like because she’s decided that she’s the judge, jury and executioner of everything that is acceptable in society even though she is the kind of person who will tell a white rape victim that she’s not a victim and should shut up?
The authoritarian left, Ms. Grundy in this case, has devoted herself so strongly to her ideology that she doesn’t see the unpleasantness that she’s spitting into the world in her attempt to reduce the amount of unpleasantness in the world. She and others who subscribe to these curious notions about race and gender are, however, quite brilliant. They have constructed the argument in such a manner that, ironically, they can never be wrong by sheer virtue of their gender or race.
Here’s how we would determine if something was racist or sexist in the good old days:
Let’s test out this machinery. You may not be aware, but there were African-Americans in major league baseball before Jackie Robinson. Sadly, there were not too many. Not sadly, baseball got to experience a little bit of a very interesting man like Moses Fleetwood Walker. Walker was playing for the Toledo Mud Hens when his team was scheduled to play the Chicago White Stockings. Cap Anson, the star of the White Stockings, refused to play if Walker took the field. Anson was not a very big fan of African-Americans and said some unpleasant things about them.
Let’s see…was this incident racist? Yes! Anson felt that African-Americans were inferior and undeserving of playing on the same field as white players. That’s racist and baseball history is all the worse for the “gentleman’s agreement” that kept players like Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige out of the major leagues.
The modern method of quantifying racism and sexism is a little less clear. Here’s the equation:
The authoritarian left has turned issues of race and gender into a game of Calvinball, a game that they simply can’t lose, no matter what they say or do. We have allowed this lunacy to last for too long. By taking away the real vectors of inequality, we are instead arguing important issues on the basis of fantasy instead of reality. If we want to do justice to all of those brave men and women of the past who have risked their lives and their livelihoods to assert the innate equality of all human beings, we must do ideological battle in their world, the world that is instead of a world of our own making in which we can never be mistaken.