News/Political Analyst On-air NewsTalk1037FM, Magnum Broadcasting
What are your resources? Book: Cynical Theories by Helen Pluckrose & James Lindsay The summary currently on Wikipedia I think is quite fair at least as of end February 2021(though I suspect from notes there it will change) so I will use it here: Cynical Theories contrasts the academic approaches of liberalism and postmodernism, then argues that "applied postmodernism" (which focuses on ought rather than is) has displaced other approaches to activism and scholarship. The authors present several academic fields and schools—postcolonial theory, queer theory, critical race theory, intersectionality, fourth-wave feminism, gender studies, fat studies, and ableism—and describe how the "applied postmodernism" approach has developed in each field. The authors use capitalization to distinguish between the liberal concept of social justice and the ideological movement of "Social Justice" that they state has reified postmodernism.
Video: What Killed Michael Brown by Shelby Steele. Looks at the discussions of race through the Michael Brown story (and the similar well known incidents up through George Floyd and others) showing how both the objective truth and poetic truth of these various incidents are shaping the national conversation and questioning if victimization and white guilt, though both real, won't continue to not solve the problems, which he has seen since the civil rights era. It also points out, warns, that every time race is the focus, it's used for power and Steele worries Black Americans could once again be exploited for the power grab.
How did they contribute to your own growth and knowledge? Like anyone who is farther than 20 years beyond getting their academic degree I did not know where concepts such as "systemic racism" or Critical Theory/ Identity Scholarship came from, or exactly what the ideology developed from this was teaching, and in recent years demanding from society. In the past couple years I've read/watched many fully immersed pro Critical Theory books and videos on race, among other minority identities, to me, so much seemed illogical and /or based on personal opinions (ie White Fragility, How to Be an Antiracist, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack) or containing much truth about past systemic racism but not convincing me there is great proof it persists in ways such as in substantive "white privilege" (ie The Color of Law). I tried researching the roots of the ideology on my own. I read alternate viewpoint histories like Howard Zinn's, and delved into the research scholarship, but much seemed to use a lot of academic terms suggesting connections between power and constructs and language and inequities that exist around racial disparities, but not giving what looked like logical proof or workable answers. And, with the intense pushing out of these concepts since the summer of 2020, I was seeing deteriorating interracial relationships in my personal groups, in my town, on social media and across the country which pushed me harder to try to understand what it was this "new" ideology was all about. I was so grateful when I found "Cynical Theories" because it was a great summary of the history of postmodernist Critical Theory and was fair, not skewing politically left or right. It addressed some of the concerns I had been trying to grasp about why I should believe or dispute it, while acknowledging the real problems that do exist. It reasonably questions whether these interpretations of power structures by Critical Theory / Social Justice Ideology were correct, despite their great popularity in academia and the social sciences. Hearing some voices then within the Black community who share some of my concerns became critical to realizing I wasn't just being race defensive as some might suggest. I understood why many who heard about "systemic racism" and "antiracism" and "equity" were emotionally attracted to the idea, but I also became concerned that many were not looking at how practically these concepts were going to be taught, or how this education would bring healthy solutions. I've seen the value in listening to those who do believe in the concepts it teaches. But I also see these concepts have much just criticism, from very diverse sources, that the ideology has thus far not addressed.
How does it connect to your relationship with race and help advance racial justice? So I hope by sharing some of these, there can be an awaking and perhaps further debate as to how perhaps we should not be teaching that we can attribute sweeping judgements of attributes of "oppression" to one race, insisting members of that one race embrace that identity; while teaching that all other races are the "oppressed" by that one race, and insisting they are therefore permanent victims and must embrace that identity. Consider that we may be permanently damaging the psyches of both groups using such labels. There is already evidence that we are actually creating an unhealthy dynamic between what is currently the majority population and everyone else, with this new education/training, as it is forced into more of society, and these early indicators of unintended negative outcomes should not be ignored. I've shared some of these things with another mixed race/political group I am involved with in my community and we've been able to at least get past some of the all or nothing assumptions about being a "racist" or "antiracist". Its obvious to me most of society outside of academia really does not have a strong grasp of what the implications of embracing "systemic racism", "equity" and "anti-racism" according to Critical Race Theory is, and that we should be having a far more transparent national debate before codifying this into law although sadly we are already seeing a rush to do this. They can see why I have some concerns even as I understand more where their feelings of problems in our current society come from. There is still much debate to be had about these concepts - there is truth that past racial atrocities have effects on the future and that these effects will be disproportionate. But it is also true that we are all individuals and there are no great ways to accurately measure these lingering effects based on group identities, when so many complex factors are involved that go way beyond the ill defined "privilege" based on skin color. Other multitudes of privileges vary widely, and in intensity, across all individuals in our society, that make the solutions Critical Theory is suggesting impossible without doing great injustice to many. The very same knowledge of true history including the atrocities, and appreciation for forgotten contributions of those not in the majority, could be combined with a better understanding of human nature and finding of our common humanity, to find better solutions, without group punishment or group coddling. Let's not forget the diversity of viewpoints and ideas are also what makes us stronger, and use those to debate what alternate or modified ideas could lead us to better solutions that are far more healthy. At least that is my hope moving forward. Otherwise I'm afraid it will just become yet another system of oppression where a new group in power oppresses yet another group not in power and sadly we just repeat the history we claim to abhor.