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Diversity Is Not Our Strength: An Example

Shino Tanikawa, a progressive member of an NYC education council, in epically dysfunctional meeting (Screenshot)

A reader sends in this YouTube of a highly contentious Zoom meeting this week of the New York City Community Education Council for Manhattan District 2. It’s a public body, so it’s got to be visible to the public. What a spectacular sh*tshow of Social Justice Warrior insanity! They’re all lefties who seem to hate each other. I’ve cued it up to a couple of exquisite moments of knife-fighting. Look:

Here’s another. These are crazy people!

In this segment, a Latino board member lays into Broshi and Goldberg, two Jewish progressives on the board, accusing them of not caring about black and Latino kids, of being so caught up in “white fragility” thinking that they want to keep minority kids ignorant so they will — I’m not making this up — continue to take out loans that keep them in chains to finance the comfortable lifestyles of the Broshis and the Goldbergs. When her turn to respond comes, Broshi falls all over herself to apologize for exercising “white privilege” in a way that offended the Latino guy, and then admits that she has “forty-plus years of white supremacy” to unlearn.

I’m telling you, this is like watching a slow-motion pile-up. It’s hard to turn away.

Here, after one Asian board members says he’s not convinced that the behavior of a white male board member — who had been denounced as racist for putting the black child of a black friend on his lap during a board meeting — was actually racist, a female Asian board member says that she cannot work with any of the other board members if they don’t accept the maximalist claims of what racism is, and refuse to “do the work” of re-educating themselves in this ideology. Watch:

The Asian woman accuses the board president, a white woman, of racism. The white woman denies it. Another white woman, Robin Broshi, jumps in to accuse the board president of wrongdoing for defending herself against the accusation. Shortly thereafter, a white male board member agrees that he was accused of racism, but denies that the accusation was valid. Broshi says here that if the accuser is a person of color, then the accusation is true, even if the white person claims to be innocent.

Then comes Donalda Chumney, a deputy community superintendent from the Board of Education. She gives a long, jargon-filled assessment of the state of the district’s schools, then says here that the school system can’t progress until everybody is willing to talk about — you guessed it — race. They’ve just been at each other’s throats for over an hour because a white board member, in the previous Zoom meeting, had a black friend’s kid on his lap, and quipped that his living room was integrated!

Now, you may wonder: Why, Rod Dreher, are you talking about this? Aren’t you once again cherry-picking progressive craziness to make a cheap point? 

In fact, it’s important to see what happens when Social Justice Warriors take over a public body. The reader, a small-l liberal, who sent it to me said:

That is a long, tedious video. I can’t in good conscience recommend watching it. And yet! Is there any better illustration of what awaits us if the people who believe themselves to be anti-racist win and the small-l liberals lose?

He is absolutely correct. This video, which features people (council members) who are Jewish, white Gentile, Latino, East Asian, and South Asian, is an absolute disaster of racialism and ideological policing. If you want to know what post-liberalism looks like in a pluralistic society, there you have it. For all its problems, I can’t see any governing system available to us in our pluralistic, multiracial democracy than classical liberalism. Just drop in on any of the clips I’ve embedded or linked to above, and see what a freaking catastrophe the race-conscience, post-liberal progressives bring about. It is the perfect follow-up to the liberal writer George Packer’s much-discussed piece last fall about how race-conscious progressivism is destroying New York City public schools.

Diversity can only a strength when factions can be united under principles, not tribal loyalties and ideological commitments.

UPDATE: The “Latino board member” from above has written to clarify his remarks:

This article is trash, Mr. Dreher, and it is defamatory. This is Edward Irizarry, the person you refer to in your writing as “the Latino guy.” Your readers should know that you are “making this up.” Never did I single out or “lay into,” as you say, “two Jewish progressives” for wanting to keep kids ignorant “so they will continue to take out loans that keep them in chains to finance the comfortable lifestyles of the Broshis and the Goldbergs.” This is pure fiction. I addressed my remarks to three councilmembers, Ms. Shino Tankiawa, Ms. Robin Broshi and Mr. Eric Golderberg. These members, I contended, were not focused on, or caring about, making sure students learned fractions, decimals and math so they could prepare for life and avoid things like being ensnared in adjustable rate mortagages. These councilmembers, I believed, were focused on the nonsense called white fragility which teaches kids nothing, and not focused on the basics of math and its importance for a student’s later life. I do not know the religions of any of these members nor is that relevant to the point I was making. I encourage your readers to listen to my remarks in full and decide for themselves. I also request that you refrain from knowingly and maliciously posting false and defamatory statements concerning me in the future.

I am pleased to learn that I misinterpreted Irizarry’s remarks, and that he meant nothing anti-Semitic in them. And of course I encourage readers to listen to them in full … which is why I posted the link. There was nothing knowing or maliciously false and defamatory about my remark, but if I indeed misinterpreted Irizarry’s caustic words, I apologize. (And of course he is correct about “white fragility.”)

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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