Herewith a tutorial to those perplexed about how to navigate in this brave new world of racial sensitivity. Today’s lesson is in critical race theory. In other words, here is how you can deconstruct symbols used in everyday life to uncover signs of structural racism.
This is an interactive exercise, so gather a clean piece of typing paper – you can retrieve one from your printer -- and a pencil.
Draw a square in the middle of the paper. It needn’t be perfect.
Now, look at the square. What evidence of structural racism do you see within the square?
If you said “none,” you suffer from white privilege.
“But there’s nothing there!” you protest.
Yes, there is. There is a white field. The field has a black border. In other words, blackness has been marginalized, pushed to the edges. Your focus is on “whiteness,” a canvas filled with possibility. You see nothing, but whiteness stares back at you; it is an existential default position. In the beginning was white. White is infinite; black is not. But for blackness, the white would go on forever.
“C’mon, this is nonsense,” you say.
Let’s try another thought experiment.
Find a piece of black paper and a white crayon. (If you cannot find a piece of black paper, well, what does that tell you? You’re a white paper supremacist, after all. Who says that all paper shouldn’t be black and all inks white?)
Okay. You couldn’t find the paper and crayon.
Imagine a black piece of paper. Draw a square with the white crayon.
What do you see?
More evidence of structural racism, I’ll bet.
But for the limits imposed by whiteness, the black would be infinite, pure possibility. The white limits are a legacy of slavery, the chains that once bound black bodies now serves as an existential boundary, limiting black possibility.
“But wait,” you say. “You can’t have it both ways.”
Yes, I can, so long as I am going to play the critical race theory game. I get to decode the symbols; you don’t, if you suffer from white privilege. And if you don’t agree to see it as I do, then you are a white supremacist and a racist.
It’s all that simple.
What’s the point of this exercise? To deconstruct the deconstructionists and expose their chatter as self-serving nonsense.
I was inspired to write this after seeing exasperated folks on social media print the meme of a square and asking, “Now what is there to complain about?”
The answer is plenty, if it serves your purpose to see racism everywhere, you can do it. All it takes is a willingness to play the game and an audience willing to play along.
But what becomes of the game if others refuse to play? What happens when a square is just a square?
When confronted with a critical race theorist's demand to deconstruct my whiteness, I cut right to the chase: What is that you actually want? If they can’t say, I walk away. If they can, I respond, “Why didn’t you just ask for it, then? Why all this noise, this senseless chatter?”
I encourage you to do likewise. Otherwise is madness.
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