The Problem of ‘Anti-Racism’

Today, the nostrum goes, it is not enough for Americans to be not racist. They must be “anti-racist.” This woke terminology has infused our lexicon. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., recently declared from the well of the Senate: “Being race-conscious is not enough. It never was. We must be anti-racists.” What, pray tell, is the difference between being against racism and being anti-racist? Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How to Be An Antiracist,” provides an answer: Racism is no longer to be defined as the belief that someone is inferior based on race. Instead, racism is to be defined as the belief that any group differences can be attributed to anything other than racism. Thus, any system that ends with different outcomes must be racist. Indeed, Kendi contends, “Racism itself is institutional, structural, and systemic.”

To be anti-racist means to tear down these systems. Any obstacle in the pursuit of equality of outcome must be torn down, assumed to be a product of discrimination. Basic decency, then, means that we must oppose even institutions that have been considered hallmarks of freedom. Those institutions, after all, have exacerbated inequalities, or at least failed to rectify those inequalities.

This means that America’s culture of rights — a culture that suggests an obligation on the part of individuals to respect the rights of others, even if they disagree — must come under fire. That culture reinforces hierarchies and inequalities, after all. The classical liberal says that rights fall equally on the just and the unjust alike; the anti-racist suggests that rights are merely tools of power. Anti-racism, in its essence, is merely reworked neo-Marxism from the 1960s: Herbert Marcuse would have been ecstatic to see his concept of “repressive tolerance” — “intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left” — revived under the banner of race rather than class.


The self-proclaimed "anti-racist" left -- a left that sees all of human relations reduced to a rudimentary correlation of skin color and inequality, an analysis we used to call racist -- has decided that the culture must be cleansed of all of those who will not be drafted into its woke army. Its march through the institutions began with college campuses, where cowardly administrators quickly caved to the bizarre notion that campuses were unsafe, cruel bastions of bigotry requiring speech codes and training in microaggressions. Next, the woke army moved on to the halls of institutional media, where editors were forced to announce their own white privileges along with their resignations, turning over the instruments of informational dissemination to radical racialists.

Now the woke army has targeted corporations. Corporations are, by nature, risk-averse; they seek merely profit and lack of controversy. The hard left has targeted them as the weakest link in the chain of free speech: If corporations can be bullied into pulling their money from social media networks, those social media networks can be bullied into restricting their free-speech cultures. Remove advertising bucks from Instagram and watch as Instagram censors those the woke want censored.

Indeed, such a campaign is now front and center in the culture wars: Major corporations from Coca-Cola to Target have stopped advertising on social media networks, citing the need for more "hate speech" regulation on those platforms. Obviously, those who target corporations will not be satisfied until all non-woke speech is limited or banned; corporations will be unpleasantly surprised when those they have been seeking to appease turn on them as remnants of the evil system. But corporations have neither the principle nor the will to deny the demands of the loudest and the most militant.

The product of the woke crusade will not be a less racist America but a more polarized one. That's because the woke crusade is not truly about reducing racism; it is about attacking fundamental institutions, American history and our very culture of rights. All the things we share must be eviscerated. So we will share nothing. And then the true ugliness begins.

Ben Shapiro, 36, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of "The Ben Shapiro Show" and editor-in-chief of He is the author of the No. 1 New York Times bestseller "The Right Side of History." He lives with his wife and three children in Los Angeles. 

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22 thoughts on “The Problem of ‘Anti-Racism’”

  1. I want to see this play out. Number 1 – Yale University will have to be leveled to the ground and the earth salted because Yale was not only a slave owner but also a slave merchant. #2 is far bigger than #1. The Democrat party has the worst record in slavery of anything yet mentioned. Democrats are the enemy defending slavery that the Union had to defeat. Democrats are the creators of The KKK and responsible for all that strange fruit hanging from trees. Democrats created and enforced Jim Crow laws. How many confederate statues and memorials were Democrat? ALL of them. This party owes all reparations that are ever approved. I believe black billionaire Robert Johnson estimates 14 $Trillion in reparations.. Better get busy fundraising in Hollywood DNC.

    1. It was also democrats that came up with the Manifest Destiny policy in the 19th century which guaranteed the American Indians were going to get screwed and also led up to the Mexican War. And there was a famous democrat who was trying to use his military career for future political gain on the blood of American Indians of the Northern Great Plains. But the democrat failed. His name, George Armstrong Custer.

  2. Warren lecturing on anti-racism? This old bag has FAKED American Indian heritage for the sake of personal gain. She’s a multi millionaire and yet I’ve never seen any evidence of her sharing any of her wealth with any American Indians that live in poor conditions on the reservations. This fake human being is racist in a very sick selfish way.

    1. if anyone should be paid reparations it should be the american indian as they were here long before the blacks! right warren?

      1. They already got their reparations…
        Look at any casino they own, then see just how little any of those casinos have done for their tribes as a whole.

        They got their reparations; and like any other who-mun being, simple base nature took over and greed made sure it stayed in the pockets of a few, never to be seen by the many.

  3. It sounds like reverse racism to me. It also appears that these now WOKE people want nothing short of the rest of the country to kneel at their feet and kis their ___, We serve only one GOD and that is the Lord Jesus Christ, and will never worship any other Gods, especially self proclaimed ones.

    1. Good reply. However, racism is racism and there is no such thing as REVERSE racism. To reverse racism means there is no racism. Just saying … common sense. Love the rest of your comment. Have a good day!

  4. Oddly enough it is those who claim to be anti-racists who are the most racist people on the block. Look at Antifa, they claim to be anti-fascists, yet they use the tactics of those they claim so be against. To quote Lenin they are nothing more than “Useful idiots” to be used to spread the revolution.

  5. In bygone days people such as Elizabeth Warren and others of her ilk making these insane statements would have been locked in lunatic asylums. How she and the others escaped is beyond me. People have to face the truth and that is race is a fact of life. And, just because a white person sees someone with black skin and knows he/she is a Negro doesn’t mean the white person is a racist. That is just acknowledging the obvious. The same can be said of any other race observing someone of a different race. Racism arises only when people discriminate against those of a different race.

    I’ll ask this question to make my point. Aren’t blacks who constantly complain about ‘white privilege’ using racism when there is little evidence that there is such a thing?

  6. So the people of the Indian nation want to change the name of the professional football team WASHINGTON REDSKINS, Their advertisers want to drop their support. So Trump said “WHERE DOES IT END?” First advertiser that is threatening is NIKE. A Chinese Communist Party endorsed company started her in the good old U.S.A. A big advertiser for the N.B.A who I might add is going to have Black Lives Matter on their uniforms. We as regular people must bind together and stop this. I’m a TRUMPSTER but he he loses he goes back to his hotels, Biden has made billions off this country , he’s safe, Obama same, Clinton same, Bush same, Pelosi,, McConnell, Shummer, Nadler, Shiff all same. WE THE PEOPLE WILL FEEL THE WRATH OF COMMUNISM. IF WE LOSE WE WON’T BE ABLE TO EVEN WRITE THIS. As far as racialism, it’s in all of us, and none of us. We’re all trying to get through this thing called life.

  7. Excuse me. Those who are so-called “Woke” are really the same ones who are “Stoked!” My definitions may be a bit dated but those who are stoked use marijuana aka “wildwood weed” or “wacky backy”. It seems there are those who seem to set themselves up as the New Dictionaries of a particular crowd in which I am not a member. Just because a particular individual has set themselves up as the “Definition Police” doesn’t make their definition the standard. (It is ironic that there is an above advertisement with Tommy Chong telling everyone he doesn’t trust CBD. Hmmm. . . .)

  8. Slavery has existed for hundreds of years and in virtually every society. So what is the big deal about having ancestors who either were slave masters or were slaves themselves? It is just the excuse our Commu8nist, socialist foes are using to drive a wedge between us while they try to destroy Religion, Freedom, and Democracy. Everybody is guilty of slavery and racism. So forgive on another, trust in Christ and vote for the party that has the best platform.

  9. Why don’t we just mix all the different flavors of ice cream into one homogeneous, indistinguishable blob. The whole concept of humanities’ ability to discriminate one thing from another as being inherently ‘racist” is moronic. Why don’t we just eliminate our ability to distinguish between good and evil? Our country was founded on the principle that the smallest minority in the world is the individual. Shouldn’t we move towards celebrating our differences instead of seeking to deny the very attributes that add color and spice to our lives? if black lives and those of other various ethnic groups really do matter, then why would you want to seek the destruction of each person’s individuality? There is the potential for good and evil within each of us and that has been true throughout history. We cannot carry the founding principles of freedom and equality to such an extreme that all forms of behavior become equally acceptable.

  10. Everyone who made a comment, Except Merion, are correct. In fact, Europe is more guilty with black slavey in history than the United States. Black Lives Matter is not about “Black Lives Matter”, they were developed by a woman who sends all the funds to the Democratic Party. She is not about helping blacks in the US, she is about changing our culture to Marxism which would ruin our freedoms.

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