HOW ANTI-RACISM BECAME A RELIGION:
‘I write this viscerally driven by the fact that the ideology in question is one under which white people calling themselves our saviours make black people look like the dumbest, weakest, most self-indulgent human beings in the history of our species, and teach black people to revel in that status and cherish it as making us special.’
If you’re looking for a sentence summing up what has gone so very wrong with modern anti-racism, you would do well to find one better than that. These are the words of John McWhorter – Columbia University linguist by day and anti-anti-racist thinker par excellence by night – taken from his latest book, Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America. In it, there are plenty more elegant fulminations where that one came from, all aimed squarely at the new racial politics that has conquered not just America, but much of the Western world, these past two years.
But what elements of the left aren’t a substitute for religion? Since we’re currently living in the version of the Matrix that was programmed by Tom Wolfe before his death in 2018, it’s worth quoting from in his epochal 1976 article, “The ‘Me’ Decade and the Third Great Awakening:” “It is entirely possible that in the long run historians will regard the entire New Left experience as not so much a political as a religious episode wrapped in semi military gear and guerrilla talk.” (That line was written with early ‘70s radical chic in mind, but reverberates quite nicely today, given Antifa’s love of paramilitary cosplay.)