“People who devote their lives to studying something often come to believe that the object of their fascination is the key to understanding everything.” ―
Last year around the time of the tragic death of George Floyd we saw a very coordinated public campaign on Social Justice in response, that seemingly permeated every facet of society. I grew up in poor to middle-class neighborhoods in metro-Atlanta, and so Civil Rights and Social Justice have always been topics of conversation; just not in the current iteration. The schools that I attended were disproportionately minority. We elected minority class presidents. My neighborhoods were multi-cultural and we played pickup football and basketball games with anyone who felt like schooling an average white dude. At least one of those guys would go on to play professional sports. My average athletic talent self landed in the marching band instead. In college, I worked the night shift in a wiring shop on Fulton Industrial Blvd. in Atlanta and was one of few white people on my shift. It wasn’t out of the ordinary for me to drop off coworkers at the MARTA train station in dangerous neighborhoods after midnight. I considered myself fortunate to have a car, even if it was a beater with 485k miles on it. In the majority of jobs that I have held, I was hired by minority managers. Race has always been present, but not a lens through which I viewed the world.
It is because of my life experience that I didn’t recognize this new conversation on race relations in America last year. I grew up believing the MLK doctrine of the colorblind society, where your character was the stick by which you would be measured. In this new doctrine, the colorblind society is a byproduct of privilege and therefore it must be relinquished in repentance of societal sin. This to me sounded nothing like social justice and everything like Marxism. In Marxist economic theory, society is divided by the division of labor; those who own the means of production and those who labor for it. Neo-Marxism has expanded beyond economic theory and into Sociology. It attempts to divide society into a dichotomy of power; those who are perceived to hold it, and those who are oppressed by those who hold it. You may hear Neo-Marxism described in terms of the social theories comprising it, such as Critical Theory or Critical Race Theory.
Actually having power is not necessarily a qualification for being an oppressor. There are many powerful people who have adopted these ideas who are not considered oppressors because they promote these ideas, thus giving a voice to the oppressed class. Being a member of a class that is perceived to hold the power is the primary stick by which you are measured. Are you Caucasian? Male? Straight(Cisgendered)? These are all checkmarks of the oppressor class. This is why many ideas on race in modern discourse may have left you scratching your head; such as the black-white supremacist. If a black person holds certain philosophical or political beliefs that perpetuate the existing power structure, they are said to be a white supremacist or white supremacy enabler. White is tantamount to power, by a factor of being a majority population. And if you try to argue that you played no part in historical transgressions or the ethnicity that you were born into, that is what is known as privilege. And to make penance for your privilege you must come to understand by adopting the collective world-view on power by reading the prescribed texts. You must “do the work”. And the truth is that nobody wants to be considered a racist, or a bigot, or an oppressor. Many people take on this challenge in good faith, for a world-view that is not operating in good faith.
Because Neo-Marxism is based on subjective truth it cannot be satiated. As an example, under the current worldview being educated is a privilege, and thus getting the correct answers on a math test and showing how you arrived at your answer can be a demonstration of supremacy. Because not everyone at all times had the same access to learning, the learned demonstrate their supremacy in getting the correct answers on a test. Those who get the wrong answers are by nature of their failures oppressed. The answer according to the Neo-Marxists is the subjectification of truth. Your truth may not be the same as another’s truth. For you, 2+2=4, but for others, 2+2 may equal 5. This rejection of objective truth means that there can be no right and wrong. It means that there can be no formula by which you are made righteous. Your mere existence can be an act of oppression dependent on your audience. Righteousness is a moving target, and those who hold the targets wield them as a matter of power and control.
Perhaps you weren’t aware of the societal intrusion of Neo-Marxism before reading the above, but you knew something was not right and merely needed a label to put to it. Perhaps you experienced cancel culture first-hand or were made aware of corporate campaigns to disavow “whiteness”. Regardless, you likely sensed a very bizarre and uniform shift in the national conversation on matters of race and power. You are left with two options: First, you can adopt the worldview of the Neo-Marxists to be approved of and made whole again. I do not recommend this because it is an unending process of jumping through hoops to do, say and believe the right things seeking approval. Second, you can reject this world-view and practice the golden rule. Refuse to participate in the insanity. Speak out where appropriate. Avoid the Kafkatraps by refusing the labels that others put on you. And be discerning in your consumption patterns as to not patronize those who proliferate this world-view. If enough people speak out and reject these ideas, then perhaps we can shorten this miserable cycle and move toward continued societal progress.
“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” ―