"Anti-racism" and its various tributaries (critical race theory, intersectionality, etc.) have now become our nation's official ideology, enthusiastically embraced by the legacy media, academe, Hollywood, the corporate world and even the Biden White House (in the form of the innocuous-sounding but deliberately misleading term "equity").
To grasp how such an illiberal, even primeval, worldview, one that essentially subverts cherished Enlightenment values like equality, justice, and the rule of law, has spread so far so fast, it is necessary to first grasp the tactics the movement has employed.
The first of these is to make racism the worst of all human sins, with the person committing it (the racist) perhaps even more objectionable in polite company than the murderer or pedophile.
Having chuckled at an ethnic joke 30 years ago or even failed to report who told it to Human Resources now becomes a firing offense, even if that standard eliminates just about all of us.
Making racism the worst of all transgressions accordingly makes the desire to avoid being perceived as racist an overriding behavioral imperative for anyone wishing to preserve their reputations and careers.
Second, try to make everything about race in some way, including by rewriting the nation's history to depict slavery and Jim Crow as the defining elements in the American experience (rather than simply unsavory parts inconsistent with an otherwise noble project).
By presenting American history as largely an uninterrupted history of white supremacy, it becomes possible to depict contemporary American life as the legacy of a racist past and thus still pervaded by "systemic" racism. Racism can be claimed to exist and distort all walks of life, even those which appear to have little to do with race.
This rewriting of the past also necessarily requires a rejection of the idea that progress has been made in reducing racism and removing racial barriers. To admit that things have gotten better over time, that the civil rights movement was real and in many ways successful, would directly undercut the central anti-racist assumptions; hence it must be treated as if it never happened.
For the anti-racist movement, racism is every bit as big a problem today as it was in 1950 and white Americans still every bit as racist as white Georgians or Alabamians were back then, just better at hiding it.
Third, expand the definition of racism so capaciously that just about any human activity can qualify in some way. If racism is part of and responsible for everything around us, then we can, consequently, no longer limit ourselves to combating only what has traditionally been considered racism (discrimination against others because of the color of their skin).
Indeed, racism now acquires a definition so elastic as to be largely in the eye of the beholder and so subtle as to be undetectable save by the sufficiently enlightened and trained observer (even unconscious in nature).
Such elasticity of definition proves expedient by virtue of its inherently non-falsifiable nature--there exists no means of proving it doesn't exist and thus disproving any accusations of it.
Fourth, and since everything is part of the over-arching system of white supremacy, justify everything you propose as contributing to the struggle against the paramount evil of racism.
The leftist political program must therefore be organized in anti-racist fashion and presented in anti-racist terms, regardless of the issue area (taxation, education, infrastructure, health-care, etc.), as reflected in the Biden administration's promise to prioritize racial "equity" when formulating all of the items on its agenda.
Fifth, and finally, and flowing smoothly from tactic four, accuse anyone who objects to what you are doing or proposing (under the rubric of anti-racism) of being complicit in white supremacy, and thereby racist as well.
Logically speaking, if you make everything about racism and justify everything you propose as part of an urgent effort to combat it, as the left now has, anyone who opposes anything proposed can be effectively accused of racism.
Thus, as intended by the stratagem, the best means of avoiding being accused of the paramount sin of racism is to support whatever the left wants, without demurral and certainly without criticism that would put the critic in the cross-hairs.
Giving in to the demands of the left, however outlandish or illogical they might be, and voting Democrat at every opportunity demonstrates your commitment to anti-racism and inoculates against the racist charge.
Those who naïvely take the anti-racism movement at face value tend to get things precisely backwards; the goal isn't to reduce the amount of racism in American society, but to increase it in order to provide a justification for radical transformation of that society on anti-racism grounds.
The more racism that can be found, however trivial, in many cases even imagined or invented, the more powerful the anti-racism movement becomes and the more powerful too becomes a radical left now built around anti-racism.
Combating racism (or at least being seen doing so) has become the central animating principle of the radical left because it provides the best means of acquiring political power and finally bringing about the much delayed revolution.
The direct approach, Marxism-Leninism (otherwise known as communism), having come up a cropper, the prospects for anti-racism appear much more promising.
Freelance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.