According to Betsy at Betsy's Page the Seattle Public Schools employ a person with the title of Director of Equity and Race Relations. Among this individual's duties, evidently, is the task of enlightening the taxpayers of the district as to the true nature and definition of racism. The Director's definition, distilled to its essence, is simply this: Something white people are guilty of. She words it rather differently, but what she says amounts to the same thing:
The systematic subordination of members of targeted racial groups who have relatively little social power in the United States (Blacks, Latino/as, Native Americans, and Asians), by the members of the agent racial group who have relatively more social power (Whites). The subordination is supported by the actions of individuals, cultural norms and values, and the institutional structures and practices of society."
This is the sort of addle-pated nonsense a Director of Equity churns out to justify her paycheck? What is "equitable" about this definition?
Question: If a poor white is oppressed by a wealthier black who hates whites because of their race, would the black be racist? Answer: No, because the black belongs to a racial group that is socially and economically inferior to the group to which the white belongs. Thus no matter how much power an individual black wields over an individual white, and no matter how much he uses that power to harm the white, he is innocent of the taint of racism because he is a member of the virtuous race of blacks who are untainted by the original sin of racism.
The Director of Racial Equity also assays to develop a taxonomy of racism for those of us who may not understand the sociological arcana involved. Cultural racism, for instance, is:
Those aspects of society that overtly and covertly attribute value and normality to white people and Whiteness, and devalue, stereotype, and label people of color as "other", different, less than, or render them invisible. Examples of these norms include defining white skin tones as nude or flesh colored, having a future time orientation, emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology, defining one form of English as standard, and identifying only Whites as great writers or composers.
Is it racist to point out that this might be the dumbest thing ever to be written on the subject of race? Madame Director of Equity and Race Relations manages to cram more stupidity into a single paragraph than one might have thought humanly possible. To take just a couple of examples:
It is cultural racism, by her definition, to be oriented toward the future, to pay into a retirement account, to show up for work every day and on time in order to secure a paycheck at the end of the week, to save for one's children's college education or a new house, to discipline oneself with regard to the pleasures of food, drink, and/or sex in order to secure the long term benefits of a healthier body and a more stable marriage. If this is racism, and if only whites are racist, it's no wonder the African American community is in such desperate condition.
It is cultural racism, we're given to understand, to value the rights of the individual. Madame Director of Equity and Race Relations should spend an evening or two with Atlas Shrugged, but assuming that she would not be inclined to read Ayn Rand - a white woman, after all - she might at least look around the globe at those societies which promote the collective over the individual and take note of what kind of communities they are. She might do well to compare predominately white nations built on the concept of the importance of individual rights versus non-white nations which are not, and ask herself which she would prefer she and her children live in.
It is cultural racism, the lady avers, to define one form of English as the standard for all citizens. Madame Director would do well to undertake a study of the countries of the world that have the greatest and the least social cohesion and assess whether there doesn't seem to be a correlation to language in these societies. In nations in which there are a plurality of languages there is often stultifying economic inefficiency and deprivation as well as cultural division. One of the surest ways to isolate people from each other, after all, is to encourage them to speak different languages. The best way to unify people is to give them a common tongue. Madame Director defines as racist the desire that we, as disparate races, be as unified as we can be through a common language. Very odd.
It is cultural racism to identify only whites as great writers or composers. One wishes Madame Director would give an example of someone who actually does this with regard to contemporary artists. If her complaint is that people tend to consider only whites to be great composers of classical music, or great writers prior to, say, 1920 perhaps that's because only whites were composing music during the classical era and writing literature prior to 1920 (with the exception of W.E.B. DuBois). Would it constitute cultural racism to say that historically only whites were great mathematicians, astronomers, physicists, or philosophers if only whites were doing this sort of work before the twentieth century?
One last question: Why are the Seattle taxpayers paying good money to employ someone as a Director of Equity and Race Relations in the first place, especially if the person employed is doing more to damage race relations than she is to help them?