“Racist!”: The Rise and Fall of a Politically Loaded Epithet
By Brad Trun (Libertarian Realist)
Does anyone who isn’t in the business of hurling accusations of “Racist!” take such charges seriously anymore? When the people who cry “racism” for a living are more racially bigoted than the people who individually and collectively stand accused, the term’s primary function becomes the perpetuation of a grand farce – one that white Americans are increasingly recognizing and rejecting.
The media-fueled racial hysteria over a mixed-race Florida Hispanic’s self-defense shooting of a young black troublemaker named Trayvon may go down as the moment when “racism” officially jumped the shark. The racial grievance industry injected the pre-packaged narrative of pervasive white Racism to stir up a national Civil Rights crusade over the 7% of black gunfire deaths that are caused by non-black gunmen.
The manufactured cause célèbre climaxed in political surrealism when Barack Obama addressed the nation. The half-white U.S. president, who identifies exclusively with his black half, said following the acquittal of George Zimmerman that “Trayvon Martin could have been me.”
In his “Trayvon” lecture, Obama admitted that higher rates of violence persist within America’s African community. But he implied they were attributable to “a history” (of white oppression) “that doesn't go away.” Apparently, Obama didn’t learn much real history while on an Affirmative Action ride at college thanks to his black half. Fact: Young-black-male crime rates were lower (and the presence of black fathers was much higher) before it became politically popular to demonize whites as Racist and bestow blacks with legislated racial entitlements.
The history of the “Racist!” epithet tells the story of the explosive rise (and nascent decline) of Political Correctness and the white-guilt and black racial entitlement mentalities it inculcated. “Racism” first entered the English lexicon in the 1932 translation of Leon Trotsky’s The History of the Russian Revolution. By the 1990s, “racism” became universally recognized as the worst thought-crime of which a person could be accused.
Through Google Books Ngram Viewer, we can graph the frequency with which terms appear over time within Google’s entire corpus of digitized English-language books. In the Ngram graph below, “heretic” is plotted against “racist” from 1776 through 2008 (the most recent year in which search results are available), with 10-year smoothing.
“Racist” is the new “heretic.” As the graph Illustrates, the “R”-word wasn’t in general use prior to the 1930s. Yet by the 1960s, it had overtaken “heretic” in frequency of appearance in books. And by the 1990s, references to “racist” proportionally exceeded “heretic” references in the mid 1800s, when concerns over heresy peaked coinciding with the Second Great Awakening.
Americans haven’t become less religious or less concerned with denouncing perceived immoral behavior over the decades. Textual references to “immoral” in English-language books have held relatively constant since 1776, even as terms associated with traditional Christian morality (e.g., “blasphemy,” “debauchery”) have appeared with less frequency.
“Racism” is the new “blasphemy” – and then some. (Additional Ngram comparisons can be viewed in the video that preceded this article.)
As social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind, argues, secular leftists approach race issues with a sense of moral self-righteousness that causes them to reject the methods of science and resist its findings. Anti-Racist academic Stephen Jay Gould’s attempt to refute 19th century racial scientist Samuel George Morton notoriously backfired when a team of academic researchers validated Morton’s original findings of racial differences in cranial volumes and exposed Gould as a deeply biased, if not outright fraudulent, researcher. Racial egalitarians had cited Gould’s junk science enthusiastically, and some still do.
Leftists treat the Politically Correct idea of racial equality as sacred in the same way that conservative Christians sacralize the Ten Commandments. Practitioners of the religion of Political Correctness issue faith-based denials of any biological racial differences that extend to the brain and denounce with vitriol heretics who blaspheme against egalitarian scripture. Following in the footsteps of 17th century Puritan book burners, some evangelical egalitarians even call for the publications of racial scientists to be destroyed and for all future studies of racial IQ differences to be banned.
The tactics of egalitarian crusaders are backfiring. For example, the ugly visual propaganda produced by the Duluth-based Un-Fair Campaign (“It’s hard to see racism when you’re white”) served to bring national attention to the unfairness of anti-white attitudes and programs that are institutionalized by universities and governments.
The charge of “Racist!” is losing its sting as its overzealous hurlers render it a farcical construct. “Racist” is, for the first time since the neologism’s inception 80 years ago, starting to fall out of favor. Zooming in on the post-1930 period in Google Ngram Viewer and eliminating smoothing reveals that “racist” references topped out as the calendar switched to the new millennium.
Even more encouraging, a trio of code words for Political Correctness enforcement (“racism,” “discrimination,” “diversity”) now garner less mention in books than three terms representative of our nation’s Jeffersonian roots (“liberty,” “happiness,” “glory”).
Further confirmation that Cultural Marxism is on the wane comes from studies showing that whites increasingly see themselves not as the perpetrators of racial discrimination but as the recipients of it. In a 2011 paper titled “Whites See Racism as a Zero-Sum Game That They Are Now Losing” (Perspectives on Psychological Science), authors Norton and Sommers write, “Changes in Whites’ conceptions of racism are extreme enough that Whites have now come to view anti-White bias as a bigger societal problem than anti-Black bias.”
Public support for race-based Affirmative Action now stands at a record low. A Gallup poll just released in July found that two-thirds of Americans – and fully three-quarters of whites – disapprove of racial preference schemes aimed at engineering more Diversity on college campuses.
Make no mistake, the high priests of PC orthodoxy still control academia, government, and establishment media. They will continue to militantly push their agenda through the institutions they control, even as they lose their grip on the minds of whites.
And they are losing it. They have revealed themselves to be pre-Enlightenment moral dogmatists who push pre-Darwinian views of human evolution. Having failed to persuade us through evidence and argumentation, they can only resort to force and intimidation to try to silence the growing numbers of us who hold heterodox views.
They have lost the intellectual battle. The neo-Trotskyites should now lose their undeserved positions of power. Let them be replaced by neo-Jeffersonians who embody the principles of free inquiry and unapologetically pursue truth, wherever it may lead.
A version of this essay appeared as The "Racism" Bubble on Alternative Right.