Posted by: Loran Blood | November 18, 2016

Alas, Political Correctness

The idolatry of ideology – the idolatrous fascination with and worship of human moral hubris and infatuation with moral self-congratulation and peer affirmation – otherwise known as “progressivism” – has begun, in recent years, to take a heavy toll among members of the Church.  We may (as we should) look at this as a wheat and tares dynamic as prophesied among the ancients and present throughout our scriptural record, but the toll is still all-too real, and all-too consequential.

Black Americans are, as always, perhaps the single group most victimized, defrauded, and intellectually swindled by this idolatrous worship of the modern gods of the progressive faith, a faith, not in God, but in the “arm of flesh” and which, in essence, claims that God “hath given his power unto men” (2 Nephi 28:5).  “Cursed,” however, says Nephi, “is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost”(2 Nephi 28:31).

This is the faith in the power of academic learning, “social science,” abstract theory, a pure, unconstrained, selfless, transcendent human will and equally transcendent politics to reshape, reconstruct, redesign, and redeem humanity from the Fall.  The eminent political scientist Eric Voeglin termed this the “imminantization of the Christian Eschaton,” and saw in it a kind of modern gnostic seeking for transcendent if fundamentally secular or secularized transcendent knowledge – saving knowledge.

The Salt Lake Tribune report analyzed here, by Peggy Fletcher Stack, is an outstanding textbook example of the manner in which identity politics corrupts and decomposes everything it touches, or which stands even in close proximity to it, as well as the way in which so many minorities and sub-groups within the American melting pot (not to mention standardized “indigenous peoples” of the Global South) have become, as Thomas Sowell has observed, the “mascots” of the political and cultural Left.

The first thing one will (or should)  notice about this article is that it is, in most ways, nothing more than a prose listing of formatted bromides, shibboleths, and stock cant cobbled from the intellectual tombs of progressive race ideology; a kind of intellectual and cultural graveyard of ideas, concepts, and ideologically-bathed (but rarely questioned critically) preconceptions about America, white Americans, blacks, and the nature of culture and of the human condition that bespeaks, in many ways, very much the zero-sum vision of the sociocultural world the same Left clings to in the realm of economics.

“Johnisha Demease-Williams,”  we are told, underwent a “culture shock when she arrived at Brigham Young University last fall.”  This culture shock, at the outset (and this is the point) might lead a reader to think that being black, or in some underlying, metaphysical sense, “blackness” as a genetic, biological, and ontological phenomena, is indelibly imprinted and associated with a certain kind of culture.  We all know this progressive drill.  Virtually all black Americans are assumed, unless otherwise specified (and marked) to come from the following social/cultural environment and manifest the following cultural attributes:

1.  Urban/inner city
2.  Working poor or underclass
3.  Speaks a distinct, urban English brogue with specific kinds of phraseology, terms, inflection, and slang.
4.  Listens to and appreciate specific genres of music, art, and cinema, most having strong connection to what is known as “hip-hop” culture, while disdaining and/or feeling alienated from other forms of art not considered “authentic.”
5.  Hold certain rigid, culturally prescribed political, social, and cultural views and perspectives.
6.  And, like the two cousins on the old Patty Duke show, laugh alike, walk alike, and talk alike.
7.  Even if middle or upper middle class, any given black American is expected to express his racial authenticity by manifesting at least some of these cultural stereotypes.

This is neither natural nor inevitable in an open, free, melting pot society like the United States, which is not, and can never be, while retaining its character as a free, open, rule of law-based society, a multicultural society, but which has flourished as a multiracial and multiethnic society of Americans sharing the same fundamental civic values, ideals, and sense of Americanness (not whiteness, blackness, Hispanicness etc.).

This state of affairs (the concept of blackness being the sine qua non of one’s core identity, as opposed to one’s individual humanness and Americanness) is what happens when race, as with other aspects of the human condition, become politicized and politics replaces culture – or, perhaps, becomes culture – and displaces the core institutions of civil society: the family, the home, the church, and the local community, as the central organizing principles of civic and individual life

“In her Texas home,” Stack writes, “many members were converts from other religious traditions whose backgrounds were understood and celebrated. They seemed more aware and accepting of cultural differences, she says. They knew about world and national events like the police killings of unarmed citizens. Whether or not they embraced Black Lives Matter, they understood what drove the movement.”

Now, while the term “culture” may surely be deployed to conceptualize the social environment from which Johnisha comes, the BLM and its wholly fictional narrative of a nation teeming with murderous police officers hunting innocent black men for no other reason than fiendish racial animosity, and a white society that looks on in disinterest if not support, is an ideology, an ideology with a cultural and intellectual pedigree and history that is known and can be well understood by anyone willing to do the homework.  Such ideas (as with others such as “the patriarchy” or “late stage capitalism” are independent of genetic endowments such as skin color, but political and cultural warfare (and the need to congeal individuals of like genetic endowment into lumpen masses) requires that certain ideas be associate with certain identity collectives.

This is, in other words, wholly about politics and political ideology, and a correct political ideology understood to be held – as a cultural requirement and assumption – by blacks qua blacks, with whites looking on in a mixture of slack-jawed ignorance and humble racial penance as young, college age blacks “educate” them on “what its like to be black in America” and on the BYU campus.

Given that some two thirds to three quarters of American blacks now live within the middle to upper middle class, not the urban inner city, and given the large number of black CEOs, entrepreneurs, and highly successful blacks in the entertainment, political, legal, and professional realm, and given what we know, empirically, about the economic and personal condition of blacks who follow the same principles of success and development as whites, Asians, Hispanics, or any other American group, being black in America has no bearing at all upon one’s life circumstances…unless.

Unless one allows oneself to come under the  influence of progressive doctrines of “structural inequality” and “institutional racism” and succumbs to the progressive ideology of permanent victimhood, racial paranoia and cynical suspicion that has driven a substantial subset of black America, in somewhat over forty years, into a cultural, moral, and civilizational iron cage from which it is not at all clear it can recover, and which recovery the Left and the vast poverty and race industry that thrives and gorges itself upon the very misery it has been so active in creating and sustaining, has no interest in promoting.

“By contrast, BYU’s 325 blacks account for fewer than 1 percent of the 33,000-strong student body, according to spokesman Todd Hollingshead.”

The inference here being…what?

“Because blacks make up such a tiny minority at BYU, Demease-Williams says that produces a kind of cultural indifference to their needs.”

What are the special “needs” of American blacks at BYU that are not required of other groups?  It appears there are “challenges” encountered at BYU not encountered by others.  What might these be?  Johnisha’s YouTube video, ““The Black Student Experience — BYU,” is apparently an attempt to answer that question.

“In the independently made video, Demease-Williams and a couple of other interviewers pose questions to white and black students about hurdles, perceptions, racism, white privilege and dating.”

One notes the standard begged questions, pre-assumptions, and unexamined axioms the film seeks not to analyze but only to expose.  Is there white racism at BYU, and even enclaves of white supremacy?  Of course.  Is there “white privilege,” a cultural Marxist theoretical construct that it would be interesting to study to see if it exists at all in some broad, overarching sense, but which this film takes as an assumed given?

“Most of the Anglo students interviewed deny that “white privilege” exists, but they do recognize that donning “blackface” is “not chill.””

Note two things here, (1) the white students probably deny “white privilege” because they’ve never experienced any such thing (perhaps they actually had to get good grades to get into BYU?) and because they have never taken a course in black studies, multicultural studies, post-colonial studies, or Hip-Hop pedagogy, and (2) the inner city underclass slang, which, on the Left, functions vary much on the Left as white racial stereotypes in a long vanished era once functioned (such as that blacks have rhythm), as a way to collectivize an entire group of  human beings and erase their unique individuality – the essence of both bigotry and socialism, a concept which extends far beyond mere economics.

“Coming from more diverse places and Mormon congregations, BYU blacks feel “disconnected from their community,” says Smith, co-author of “Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons,””

Again, here is what forty years of relentless indoctrination in K-12 schooling, college, the mainstream news media, and countless hours of the consumption of Hollywood product has generated: American blacks have a “community” separate and tribally insulated from the “white” community and from the core, main currents of American life.  All blacks, virtually by definition and by ideological requirement, come from or are at least in some sense umbilically connected to this “community” by the very reality of their skin color.  No individual uniqueness or individual, personal, self-determined, let us say it, diversity of culture, belief, values, speech, mannerisms, tastes, predilections, or self-concept – as with all collective conceptions of the human subject – can be allowed even the slightest manifestation against “the community” and its sociopolitical structures, totems and taboos.  The individual, within progressive ideology, is not an individual at all, but only black, or white, or Hispanic, or a “person of color,” or gay, or “working class” etc.

As in medieval times, when a person’s trade or craft were their  identity (baker, cooper, smith etc.) so now, in the modern progressive city of politically correct man, one’s individuality is swallowed in one’s identity in racial, ethnic, gender, sexual, and,s still lingering, class lumpen masses from which exit can be difficult and even wrenching.

The progressive scythe swings wide.  Indeed, Stack has used this particular story to highlight some of the other pet preoccupations of the NOM counterculture within the church, including the church’s essay on the priesthood ban, which she says that the film “doesn’t probe” and which, according to the article, “explained that the priesthood-temple ban was formalized during the presidency of Brigham Young and influenced by society’s racism at the time.”

No, actually, the essay says no such thing.  What was influenced by the racism of the time were the opinions and explanations promoted to explain it, not the ban itself, which still stands as a divinely instituted policy, albeit still a poorly understood one.

And of the rest?  The standard calls for “education,” more talk, discussions, dialogue and focus (i.e., endless sessions, seminars, teach-ins, conferences, and an entire department dedicated to leftist indoctrination and public Caucasian self-criticism and self-flagellation on maters of white privilege and structural racism) on race and the horrors black students “endure” at the BYU campus, and open cheer leading for the viscerally racist, anti-American, neo-Marxist BLM.

Perhaps what we really need to discuss is not what it means to be black or white, but what it means to be human, what it means to be a part of the American experiment and idea, unique in all of human history, what it means to be educated (let alone intelligent), and what the meaning and purpose of a university.

But alas, in my colorblindness, I am a racist, and in my plea for common Americanness and content of character, not color of skin, being the defining characteristic of our post-Adamic sojourn on earth, I wallow in white privilege.

Let there be no more human sacrifices to the idols of ideology.


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