by Carol Swain
President Trump’s recent decision earlier this month to use his executive authority to end certain forms of diversity training in federal agencies was a bold and necessary action to bring about racial healing and reconciliation. In making his decision, the president was reacting to reports of federal training exercises that singled out white people with accusations that “virtually all whites contribute to racism,” or they benefit from it.
The decision to ban funding of such programs provides an important opportunity to remind the American people of constitutional and statutory protections that many of us have forgotten. The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment stipulates that, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States . . . nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. [emphasis added]. Moreover, the statutory language of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans discrimination “based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
Many Americans seem to think and act as if these protections only apply to racial and ethnic minorities, when they are available to every person who falls into the protected categories.
We have now reached a point in our nation’s history where whites are increasingly attacked and shamed because of their skin color. Firm legal grounding, therefore, undergirds the president’s directive to remove funding from training exercises based on critical race theory.
Here’s the crux of the issue: critical race theory divides the world into oppressors and victims. It asserts that racism is permanent, that whiteness is property, and that white people need to divest themselves of their privilege and become anti-racist – that is, they must surrender their rights as U.S. citizens for the crime of being white. Critical race theory has spawned a cottage industry funded by more than $8 billion a year provided by corporations, churches, universities, and government entities that use diversity training to comply with directives and “virtue signal” while producing minimal results. Essentially, diversity training is an added layer of fluff on top of the existing affirmative action bureaucracy, but highly profitable – obviously – for those who preach it.
In the four years since the end of the Obama Administration, diversity trainers have become more steeped in critical theory as they embrace this empty exercise of political correctness foisted upon us. These trainers have targeted and peppered white Americans and their children with nonstop accusations of white privilege and domination based on an alleged property interest in skin color. In this twisted world of reverse racism, whites can absolve their sins only by divesting themselves of their whiteness by becoming explicitly “anti-racist.” That requires confessing one’s hidden racism and unearned advantages tied to their ancestors’ sins. It’s as absurd as it is fraudulent. There is some evidence that mandatory diversity training can worsen workplace relationships and generate the opposite of what was intended.
Black Lives Matter and Antifa are among many groups using critical theory to justify violent protests and personal property destruction. They are the new “Untouchables,” generously protected by the implied consent of many of our leading Democratic politicians, including presidential candidate Joe Biden. Critical theory birthed on college campuses in the forms of political correctness, microaggressions, safe spaces, and trigger warnings has expanded beyond academia and taken up residence in our workplaces, churches, gyms, and sports events, permeating every facet of our lives. It steals our joy and places us at each other’s throats, with white Americans expected to just sit there and take their medicine. Our country is being forced backward toward resegregation, while destroying the quality of black education. Meanwhile, students find themselves trapped in environments that push lowered standards.
It is time to know our enemy – critical race theory in its various forms.
Critical race theory had its own originating “big bang” explosion at colleges and universities across the USA during the 1980s. The concept that is now championed by corporations, governmental agencies at the state, local, and federal levels, churches, and other institutions derives from Max Horkheimer, a Marxist who coined the concept of critical theory in 1937. Critical theory offers an ongoing critique of a society and its culture, its aim to bring about radical social and political change. This PC juggernaut has been effective because its approach is subtle. Deception, infiltration, and manipulation allow trained activists to destroy and undermine institutions from within.
This anti-American philosophy and its demands for promoting social justice while ending so-called “systemic racism” and oppression of political and ethnic minorities has its roots in Western Europe. Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Wilhelm Reich, Herbert Marcuse, and Eric Fromm were German and Western Marxist faculty of the Frankfurt School Institute of Social Research, founded in 1923. The Institute critically analyzed society with the utopian goal of delivering people from oppression and slavery to create a world where human needs could be met and satisfied. To those lacking discernment, it sounds great, when in fact it is pure Marxist hogwash. In a word, socialism . . . or communism, take your pick.
These men’s Marxist-driven ideas about social justice were brought to the United States after Adolf Hitler rose to power in 1933. The Frankfurt School’s faculty fled to New York City, where they found a home at Columbia University. There, they could churn out cohorts of easily brainwashed students who took their Marxist ideology to schools, corporations, and other institutions. This resulted in a radical change in America’s culture and a rise in secularism. Judeo-Christian values and principles gradually eroded as did respect for the U.S. Constitution and our nation’s founding. The social and political unrest of the 1960s can be traced directly to what became known as cultural Marxism, emphasizing the need to change institutions and societies from within internally. Hence, the enemy within. Marcuse, renowned radical activist Angela Davis’s mentor, and Saul Alinsky, Hillary Clinton’s high priest, trained students to agitate and infiltrate. We have now reached the point where we either stand up and reclaim America’s best traditions or roll over in defeat.
President Trump is offering needed leadership on this issue and others. America must return to a principled based approach to addressing issues of race. We need to focus on attaining the just principles associated with equal opportunity and nondiscrimination instead of succumbing to social engineering that seeks equality of results (everybody wins a ribbon) and a radical redistribution of wealth.
America does not need diversity, equity, inclusion training as an added layer to existing affirmative action programs. In place of diversity training and mandated guilt trips, we need unity training solutions that will bring about positive cultural changes within institutional structures. We must build on shared principles and approaches that recognize the human dignity and unique contributions of everyone. This will bring us closer to the racial reconciliation we desire as a nation. Any other approach is doomed to fail.
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Dr. Carol M. Swain is a retired professor of political science and professor of law at Vanderbilt University. She is a member of Black Voices for Trump and the host of the Be the People Podcast.