A woke sermon—from a well-paid minister who speaks his truth—is coming to a public library near you.
Controversial author Ibram X. Kendi spoke Wednesday evening at the Fairfax County Public Library in Virginia, just outside the nation’s capital.
Kendi, director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, is the author of the 2019 book “How to Be an Antiracist.”
The heartbeat of racism, Kendi said in his library talk, “is denial, which is consistently and constantly saying, ‘I’m not racist.'”
It’s the classic Kafka trap, in which denial is the proof of guilt.
The Fairfax County Public Library, which is funded by taxpayers, paid $22,500 for Kendi’s hourlong “author event,” Jessica A. Hudson, director of the library, told The Daily Signal.
In February, the same library is scheduled to host an author event with Nikole Hannah-Jones, a New York Times staff writer who headed the newspaper’s 1619 Project, which has been panned by historians on the right and left.
In his talk, Kendi hit the broad themes of his books. First, that traditional definitions of racism should be redefined. Racism, according to Kendi, is a collective condition and not just an individual perspective that discriminates by race.
In addition, Kendi holds, every act essentially is defined through the lens of being either racist or anti-racist. A sort of yin and yang for woke Westerners, but with the conception that one is inherently good and the other bad.
Not being racist isn’t good enough, Kendi teaches. In fact, not actively contributing to causes that Kendi defines as anti-racist can make one a racist.
If you support a policy that’s perceived to lead to unequal racial outcomes—even if indirectly—that’s an example of racism, according to Kendi’s ideology. That’s why, for instance, he has called cutting the capital gains tax a racist policy.
This man is considered by our institutional elites to be one of the leading intellectuals in the country.
In his library talk, Kendi elaborated further:
Oftentimes, as I think I just mentioned, when people are being racist, when people are supporting racist policies, when people are expressing racist ideas and someone calls them out, what is their typical response? ‘I’m not racist.’ And so the construct of ‘not racist’ is a veil that hides one’s own ways in which they’re being racist.
Kendi then basically lumped in people who today say they aren’t racists with a series of bogeymen from the past.
“I wanted people to know that over the course of history, segregationists looked at themselves or projected that they were not racist,” Kendi told his audience. “So did lynchers, so did Confederates, so did enslavers, so did human traders. Really, the history of people being racist is the history of people denying that they’re being racist.”
Actually, many of those people Kendi mentioned were quite explicitly racist. So Kendi’s argument may seem absurd on its face. But it makes sense when you consider that Kendi’s ideology and his message are geared toward turning the average modern American into a militant devotee to his cause.
Most Americans don’t want to be racist, after all.
It’s a message for those who feel hateful and those who feel guilty, the oppressors and the oppressed, who together may join the anti-racist crusade in pursuit of earthly salvation.
My colleague, Mike Gonzalez, has explained what the core premise of this new ideology—which picks up a great deal from critical race theory—entails:
The persistence of racial disparities are prima facie evidence of a racism so deep that it is systemic; that to destroy this racism, America’s culture must be reengineered through reeducation mini-camps; and the only way to close the gaps is through heavy-handed use of racially discriminatory ‘anti-racism’ government policies. These are the underlying beliefs of critical race theory, which is now being institutionalized throughout society.
Saying that the average American is racist just like a slaver from centuries ago is a good way to goad those who feel guilty into action, whatever that action may be. It also helps soothe the conscience of those woke leftists who are actually explicitly racist. After all, fighting structural racism is what’s really important, not individual acts of hate and bigotry toward ‘oppressor’ groups.
Concepts such as racial segregation and discrimination will make a return, but now they will be labeled “progressive” and a necessary component of social justice.
This militant form of leftism conforms very nicely with the transformation of our institutions into engines of wokery. Gone are the days when agencies and public institutions at least tried to create the perception of neutrality. Now they are more directly and explicitly for the revolution, imposing a new, warped version of their conception of the “good” on the American people.
This is the great awokening. O sinner, consider the fearful danger you are in! Confess your racism or be condemned.
Now, that message is coming from government agencies, branches of the military, and your local public library.
Who says we don’t have an established religion in this country?
Fred Lucas contributed to this commentary.
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