The “anti-racism” movement is ironic. Antiracist activists equate whiteness with the very characteristics needed for success, such as timeliness, planning ahead, self-reliance, minimizing mistakes, and being polite. Even as they disparage white people, they deride essential virtues exhibited by successful people of all races as being “white supremacy culture.” That itself seems racist of them.
Washington University in St. Louis recently did this in a training session, listing the “15 characteristics of white supremacy culture,” such as “sense of urgency” and “perfectionism.” Here’s the flier for trainees:
Several days ago, Washington University in St. Louis conducted a workshop titled, “Is Professionalism a Racist Construct?”
Fox News made fun of the event, whose description is filled with woke jargon: “So-called professionalism is coded language, a construct that upholds institutional racist policies and excluding practices.”
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As Reason Magazine notes, “The entire presentation is available online, and it’s just as cringeworthy as its conservative critics expected. Notably, the presenters cite the antiracist educator Tema Okun’s “White Supremacy Culture” a body of dubious work that makes all sorts of unfounded and frankly racist assumptions. Indeed, the presentation includes a slide, “15 Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture”—though the slide only mentions five—that claims possessing a sense of urgency, preferring quantity over quality, wanting things to be written down, perfectionism, and becoming defensive are aspects of white supremacy.”
And as Reason notes,
there’s a danger in ascribing to “white culture” qualities that are, in many cases, positive. Similar work by Judith Katz, another antiracism expert, lists timeliness, planning for the future, self-reliance, being polite, and respect for authority as “aspects and assumptions of white culture.” Timeliness and politeness are good things that have nothing to do with whiteness. Moreover, it would be wrong—and, again, racist—to teach kids of color that if they work hard and plan for their futures, they are betraying their heritage. These claims by Okun and Katz are straightforwardly ridiculous, but their work shows up all over the place. This document, attributed to Katz, previously appeared on the website for the National Museum of African American History and Culture: