The Antiracist Racket
And its mind-forg’d manacles.
Beyond its falsity, there is no current idea so destructive as the fiction that America is systemically racist. It harms black Americans by shrinking their horizons and stoking their resentment; it has fueled crime and disorder in our cities; and by replacing our national faith in the unique excellence of our self-governing republic with a sense of its pervasive injustice and oppression, it makes us more vulnerable in a dangerous world. Confidence that we have a civilization worth defending is vital to our future.
After all, the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s succeeded. In what was the defining political experience of a generation, that movement turned the nation inside out in order to remedy the overt racism that then marred America’s promise of civil equality. Two decades of sit-ins and marches, of sermons and voter registrations, yielded changes that fully opened political, educational, and employment opportunities to blacks, while society grew dramatically more welcoming. Just compare the advertisements or movies—or college alumni magazines—of the 1950s to today’s to get a sense of the revolution in racial attitudes that occurred. Or consider the change in the percentage of Americans who tell pollsters they approve of interracial marriage—4% in 1958 versus 94% in 2021.
But as the number of Americans who remember the civil rights era dwindles, the harangues of Black Lives Matter and the critical race theorists have obscured that era’s accomplishment. The Gallup Poll tracks this trend: in 2014, respondents’ satisfaction with U.S. race relations reached a high of 55%, versus 35% dissatisfied, but it began dropping thereafter, in the wake of Eric Garner’s death in July of that year. Only 28% expressed satisfaction in 2022.
Because what people believe affects their actions as much as their real circumstances do, the imaginary world these propagandists have conjured up—in which racial injustice pervades everything, racist insults wound blacks at every turn, racism closes off advancement and shuts out fellowship—really does constrict black opportunity by denying it exists. Continue reading