In gardening, math, family, music….
Did you know that gardening is yet another form of racism? At this point, we shouldn’t be surprised. America’s National Parks are racist because too many white people and too few people of color visit them. And if everything from insisting on one correct answer for basic math problems and celebrating dead, white composers is racist, why not plants?
As ridiculous as the woke’s accusations of racism have become, I’ve got to admit that seeing gardening as racist is a bit of a stretch, even for them. Apparently, the restriction of non-native plants is racist, as is the term “native” in reference to flora. And I guess we need more plant equity? That’s what I gleaned from this article. Please comment below and let me know what I’m missing.
It’s easy to roll our eyes at this. But the fact of the matter is that we’ve done a poor job at exposing earlier claims about what is racist or “white supremacist” that the ideologically captured are now making even more outrageous claims.
Here are some logical, historically grounded critiques of the “everything is racist” posture of the far left:
Racism in Ways of Knowing
American universities used to be venerated institutions of knowledge respected by the global community. Scholars from around the world sought an American college or graduate degrees because of their inherent quality. These days, most American institutions for higher learning are ashamed of their western roots and attack those who promote more traditional ways of knowing and learning. Many of our K through 12 schools reflect this attitude, as well. Oh, how the mighty have fallen!
Oregon schools are discouraged from teaching that there is one right answer or set of answers in math because the field of mathematics is a creation of white men. The scientific method and western medicine are disparaged for the same reason. Even English departments are weary to teach proper grammar and scholarly formatting of papers because that promotes “white ways” of writing above others since western scholarship is the product of those hated dead, white males.
Those who make such claims know very little about history.One of the best resources to understand how non-western influences shaped our modern ways of knowing is Violet Moller’s book titled The Map of Knowledge. In this book, Moller explains how in between the fall of Rome and the rise of the Renaissance, cities in the Middle East were responsible for preserving, advancing, and disseminating knowledge from the ancients.
She describes how Arab scholars during the European Dark Ages developed the field of mathematics, medicine, philosophy, religion, education, book printing, and other forms of knowledge. Many of these ideas and medical inventions are still in use today. This relatively short book undermines the argument that the American ways of knowing are inherently white and therefore racist. And this book doesn’t discuss the first churches in Africa and the advanced writing and bureaucratic systems of ancient China.
It seems rather racist to imply that students of color are unable to master “western ways of knowing” or that other non-white cultures lack a history of advanced intellectual development.
If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, I highly recommend Frankopan’s The Silk Roads, which I am currently reading, is a longer, masterfully written tome on the intersection between the east and west.
Racism in American Culture
I’m not going to deny that racism exists in America. I believe that racism and prejudice exist everywhere in which people differ. Dr. Suess’ book on the Sneeches makes that point better than most. There is a difference, however, in a culture in which some racism does exist and is frowned upon and a culture in which racism is explicit, expected, and celebrated.
One problem is that instead of calling out explicit instances of racism, the woke assume that racism undergirds all social interactions and cultural institutions. Wokeism also puts us in a double bind, in which a white person is racist no matter if they do or do not show preferential treatment to people of color.
Another problem is the linking of good cultural values with “white supremacy,” which is an ideology most white Americans find abhorrent, as they should. Saying that being on time, being polite, idealizing an intact nuclear family, being future oriented, and promoting a good work ethic are all forms of white supremacy is inaccurate and insulting.
Not all white people embody these values and non-white cultures also have histories of valorizing the family, a good work ethic, etc. Ironically, it’s racist to assume that people of color cannot or should not embody these aspects of American culture because of the color of their skin. And when they do, they’re called “white adjacent.”
So, those who can’t cut it blame a racist culture instead of taking personal responsibility for their own lack of success. Never mind the scores of poor white people on welfare and radically successful black people in the NFL, NBA, and Hollywood. The soft bigotry of low expectations in regards to people of color is more racist than anything inherent in “white culture.”
Racism in American History
Claims about racism in American history these days go beyond the condemnation of slavery, the treatment of Native Americans, and Jim Crow, all of which deserve our condemnation. That should go without saying. The problem is when all we have is condemnation and contempt for all that is in our past.
What’s worse is when woke radicals rewrite American history in order to make racism its defining feature. The best example of this is the 1619 Project, which claims that America’s true founding is not on July 4, 1776, with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Instead, America was founded in 1619, the year the first slaves were brought to the American colonies. And the American Revolution was not about fighting for liberty, but rather fighting to protect the institution of slavery. Never mind that even left of center historians found the 1619 Project to lack merit. I’m sure they’re all racists, anyways.
Juneteenth is another example of the remaking of American history. This is more challenging topic to discuss because yes, slavery is horrible, so it’s end should be celebrated. But that’s not what Juneteenth activists want. In the same way in which the 1619 Project aims to recast the year of American’s founding, Juneteenth activists seek to replace July 4th as our Independence Day.
I wonder if they see the irony of celebrating a day in which slaves heard of a declaration from a white man telling them they were free. Lest we forget that dead, white males signed the Declaration of Independence, voted for the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, and put an end to Jim Crow.
Some white guys deserve our veneration despite their individual and collective flaws. Tearing down statues with little thought to the historical figures they represent is one of the most arrogant and ignorant acts of the far left. We celebrate these men and women not because they were without blemish but because they rose above these failings in significant and atypical ways.
We shouldn’t deny the sins of the past, nor should we disregard our triumphs. Slavery, violence, and prejudice are the sins of civilization that the United States along with every other nation and people group has inherited. While some of our ancestors bear the responsibility for their individual atrocities, others made the ultimate sacrifice to right these wrongs.
Laying these facts aside, we can still dispel this heinous and inaccurate charge. Even if only white men were responsible for western knowledge, western culture, and American history, it does not make these things inherently racist.
First, claiming that anything created, cultivated, or embraced by white people must be racist is a racist assumption. Secondly, one race is not intrinsically more racist or prejudice than any other race. In fact, if you take the time to talk to members of other races and expose yourself to their culture or subculture, you’ll quickly realize that having low and even dehumanizing stereotypes about members of out-groups is the norm. It’s still bad, of course.
But it’s worse to heap all the sins of civilization on one race when every race has enslaved, waged war, “colonized,” and dehumanized members of their own racial group and other races. For those who do so, I say, “Read a real history book, for crying out loud!”
Thirdly, while Americans have long-winded debates about whether or not Mark Twain’s works that contain the n word should be banned, the Chinese (or Cantonese) word for white person means “ghost devil man.” And if that sounds derogatory, it’s supposed to. Obviously, it’s not enough to have these debates, but the fact that how Americans treat minorities is a concern among a majority of us indicates that when compared to other cultures and countries, we’re leaps and bounds ahead of the curve.
Let’s remember how far we’ve come as we strive to be better.
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