As I learned growing up, having been taught by sane people, I learned that racism is the false belief that one race is inherently and essentially superior to another. Taken this way, and when the attitude is combined with malice, we can see that racism is a very grievous sin. God hates it, and one of the things Jesus came to do was eradicate that sin.
A lesser sin, but still a sin, is when the false belief of racial superiority is combined, not with malice, but with a patronizing do-goodery. Many missionaries from previous eras fell into this problem. We see a continuation of this variant of racism in affirmative action policies — policies quite effective in casting a shadow over every genuine black achievement. This highlights yet another destructive aspect of the “soft bigotry of low expectations.” Because the apostles of uplift have snow white motives, their racist assumptions are invisible to them. They would never use the phrase “white man’s burden,” but they operate in terms of it all the time. They are not racists, they claim, because they intend only good things for those lesser breeds without the law. And of course, they would never dream of expressing their smug superiority through phrases from Kipling. They express their smug superiority in other ways.
Can racists be cowed? Sure. If an outcry is raised against either kind of racism, it can be successfully chased indoors. People still harbor their racist notions, and occasionally something will slip out, but for the most part they keep their racism to themselves. They stuff it. It is still in there somewhere, and God sees it, but for the most part nobody else does. If this kind of pressure is kept up, such unarticulated racism can morph into what is called white privilege, which in another time would simply have been called bad manners. We are now down to the level of what are called microagressions. The political correctness police are out in force, calling everyone on every expression of what they consider to be such white privilege. Unfortunately, they wind up policing a good deal more.
This is not to say that there are no people who could personally benefit from that exercise that is quaintly called “checking your privilege.” There are some insufferable bores out there, and there are people who puff themselves up like a barn owl when it is ten below. That is a problem, but as mentioned above, it is a problem of manners.
But let me use an outrageous example. If we gave campus cops the authority to write up, at will, any student who spoke a sentence that did not have an appropriate subject/verb agreement, and there would be no possibility of appealing such a ticket, and no defense allowed, and three tickets meant automatic expulsion, the issue before us would not be grammar, but rather tyranny. Once a system like that is in place, it will not be long before subject/verb tickets are being issued for anything that an abusive officer happens to dislike.
And it is precisely here that we have gone off the rails. There are those who believe they are engaged in the work of racial reconciliation, but the effect of their labors is precisely the opposite. It is appropriate to call a Klansman a racist. It is appropriate to identify exercises in lowering the bar for blacks as racist. It is appropriate to say that certain jokes are now considered to be in bad taste. All that is fair game, each at the appropriate level.
But when apostles of reconciliation call you a despicable racist for simply saying that we ought to hear back from the grand jury first, notice what has happened. They are now saying that any defense of due process is to be identified out of hand as a defense of racism. If they call you vile names for asking if the crime actually happened — when you grant that the crime would be evil if it did in fact happen — they are attacking, not the hegemony of racism, but rather the rule of law.
To revile due process is to become, in principle, a defender of lynchings. When the controversy erupts, any caution against acting hastily is perversely taken as a defense of the alleged crime itself. A century ago, if a black man was accused of raping a white woman, and a mob was starting to form in order to fetch him from the county jail, and you were trying to formulate a speech to give from the steps of that jail, trying to stop them, what would you say? You should say that a defense of due process is never a defense of any crime whatever, if such a crime happened.
But our first duty lies there — if it happened. And those who want to guard the processes we use to find out such things are not the enemies of the downtrodden. Quite the reverse. When the protections of law are gone, it will not be the rich and well-connected who suffer.
So as our college campuses spiral out of control, the loss of due process there amounts to the loss of everyone’s liberty. It promises, in the not too distant future, to again plant trees with “strange fruit” on them. To go along with any level of this PC foolishness is like going on a bender in Bangkok, and getting a tattoo from a guy whose English is not that strong.