A feeding frenzy for race grievance predators

A feeding frenzy for race grievance predators
© Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s yearbook photo is just the most recent incident in which an isolated piece of evidence proves that “institutional racism” runs rampant throughout our nation. A parade of politicians, Democrats and Republicans, and “spokespersons” for the black community have delighted news outlets by taking the stage to decry the photo and call for his resignation.

In its response, Northam’s alma mater, Eastern Virginia Medical School, issued a statement pledging to “continue a long tradition of action to build a strong culture of diversity and inclusion.” Sadly, those words indicate the impending arrival of “sensitivity” trainers from the race-grievance industry who have raked in millions of dollars from school systems, universities and corporations.


These self-styled exorcists come to root out the inner racism in anyone forced to sit through these training programs. At such sessions you will hear about the need for “equity,” about “cultural appropriation” and being “racially relevant.” And if you speak out against the need for such training, you put your professional life at risk, as professors Bret Weinstein at Evergreen State and Paul Griffiths at Duke University found out.

The race racketeers have discovered fertile ground in the educational arena because many educational institutions have bought into the idea that any disparity, whether in performance or representation, is assumed to be the result of racism. The poisonous message to individuals of color is that their destiny is determined by forces beyond their control, forces allied against them; they are victims of the American system. Again, any incident of racial disparity is assumed to be the result of racists’ judgmental attitudes, and beyond the agency of students who suffer the consequences of their dismal academic performance or anti-social and violent behavior.

This begs the question, why do young blacks dominate both college and professional sports? The simplest explanation is they work hard and are self-motivated, and therefore excel. If they applied that same level of energy and commitment in the classroom, they would achieve similar results.

During Black History Month in Indianapolis, Indiana University-Purdue University continues its “White Racial Literacy Project” to address racial inequalities — including “whiteness” on campus. Discussions in this project are offered to students in sessions that are segregated by race.  Do they even recognize the sad irony?

At the K-12 level, Evanston/Skokie public schools outside of Chicago implemented an “equity audit” in spring of 2017, supposedly to address low academic performance of the sizable black and Latino population of students they are tasked with educating. The study squarely blames disparities on “white supremacy.” When academic performance fails to improve as promised, their response is to point back to institutional racism, not their own failings.

Of course, the first order of business was to implement sensitivity training for all 500 Evanston public school teachers and staff members, and to hold required staff meetings segregated by race. It is unlikely that these social justice warriors who champion race training and reform efforts send their children to public schools where they would suffer from always blaming others (whites) for their failures.

Vigilantes of political correctness utilize twists in language that were beyond the imagination of even George Orwell. Censoring the opinions of divergent groups has given rise to “safe spaces” on campuses where students can avoid exposure to alternative perspectives.

I have never understood exactly what the end game of the racial grievance industry is, but I suspect it has to do with what Booker T. Washington once identified as a class of “people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”

We are at a point where we cannot even enjoy Mary Poppins because she has been decried as racist for blackening her face with ashes to join the chimney sweeps in dance. The purveyors of racial grievance have effectively infiltrated our national discourse with their erroneous vocabulary of race and power and privilege.  

The fundamental proposition of the race industry is that disparities always denote injustice toward blacks. The question that never gets asked: Why are blacks overrepresented on the athletic fields and underrepresented at high school graduation? We must stop assuming the principal problem facing many in the black community is structural and external. There must be a move to confront the enemy within.

Deciding whether Ralph Northam or other Virginia officials caught up in recent scandals leave office or remain is not a suitable response to this challenge. Misguided goodwill can be more dangerous than actions that stem from malice. I believe the governor should defy the racial bullies and be judged by his actions and record of public service over the past 35 years.

Robert L. Woodson, Sr. is the president and founder of the Woodson Center. Follow him on Twitter @BobWoodson.