Where’s Cecil B. DeMille when you need him? Oh wait, he was white so we don’t need him. Besides, the Lehigh University professor behind this latest exercise in self-flagellation in the name of social justice is white, so we’ve reached our quota.
According to Campus Reform, Christopher Driscoll, the visiting professor of religious studies who dreamed up the Ten Cracka Commandments in collaboration with Lehigh theater professor Kashi Johnson, and rapper Asheru, took his inspiration from a hip hop symposium. The purpose of the newest contribution to Scripture was to help white people accommodate the imminent “black spring.”
Driscoll is quoted as saying the first commandment is that all lives “won’t matter until #BlackLivesMatter” which he describes as both “a litmus test and the greatest commandment.”
Here are the ten, unabridged:
1. Always remember that white privilege is real, even if you do not understand it. Use it to convince other people that black lives, including black women’s lives, matter.
2. Show up for protests, write letters to representatives, and start discussions with other white people about black lives mattering.
3. Always remember that ignorance is real, and is a product of privilege. Treat the ignorant with compassion, but hold them accountable.
4. Never think that the critique does not apply to you. Just because you were at Barack’s inauguration and your dad was a freedom rider, or because you are the head of your local chapter of GLADD, that does not mean you do not have more work to do on yourself, your family, and your community.
5. Always remember that it is never a question of if violence, but whose violence are you going to defend. Unjust state-sanctioned and racist violence, or justified resistance; the choice is yours, the choice is ours.
6. Never tolerate racism from your friends or family. Whether it is coming from your eighteen-year-old friend, your thirty-one-year-old cousin, or your eighty-year-old grandmother, confront it always. Confronting racism does not mean you will lose your friend or family. It means you will help to make them act and think in less racist ways.
7. You cannot love cultural products without also loving the people who make those products. If you like black art or athletics, that appreciation is an entryway into recognizing that black lives matter.
8. Never quote black leaders like Dr. King in order to criticize protesters and activists.
9. Always embrace uncertainty. Life is uncertain; death is certain. Uncertainty promotes life; certainty produces death and destruction.
10. Never put white fragility ahead of justice. If you are more concerned to argue that you “aren’t racist” than you are with racism or with people dying, you’re priorities are skewed. Do you want justice or comfort?
So where does the Lehigh administration come down on all of this? Campus Reform received an email from Jordan Reese, the school’s director of media relations, who said the university is committed to “strongly supporting faculty academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas, theories and philosophies on campus.” Reese added:
Lehigh believes diversity of thought fuels a healthy exchange of ideas, discussion and debate, contributing to a vibrant intellectual environment in which our students can grow and learn.
Unless of course they fail to follow the Cracka Commandments lockstep and/or are white.