What Are They Preparing Us For?
Two young teenage girls in DC, both black, both minors, attempted to carjack a sedan belonging to an older man, a South Asian immigrant. In the ensuing crash, the old man was killed. The DC girls are going to be offered a plea deal. We did not see a raft of big thinkpieces in our media focusing on the Meaning Of It All — that is, what it meant for two black girls to assault an Asian man, resulting in his death.
I would say that is appropriate. As far as we know, race didn’t play a motivating role in this attack. Why racialize a killing without solid evidence that it had a racial angle?
Remember Noah Green, who killed a white Capitol police officer, and was himself killed, in a deranged attack on the US Capitol? He was a Black Muslim who, according to his family, was mentally ill. We did not see a raft of big thinkpieces in our media focusing on the Meaning Of It All — that is, what it meant for a black man to kill a white police officer in an attack on the US Capitol.
I would say this is appropriate. As far as we know, race didn’t play a motivating role in this attack. True, there might well have been anti-white animus in his joining up with the Nation of Islam, but it does seem that mental illness plausibly explains this. Why racialize a murder without solid evidence that it had a racial angle?
The other day, Philip Adams, a black former NFL cornerback, shot and killed five white people, including two children, and seriously injured another one, before committing suicide. We don’t know why, but it is possible that Adams might have suffered brain damage from his football career. One of the white victims, a doctor, might have been treating Adams, a report says. We have not seen a raft of big thinkpieces in our media focusing on the Meaning Of It All — that is, what it meant for a black man to massacre a white family.
I would say that this is appropriate. There is no reason at this point to think that racial animus played a role in this mass murder. Why racialize a mass murder without solid evidence that it had a racial angle?
Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa allegedly killed ten white people in a Boulder, Colorado, supermarket. Though he ranted in the past about perceived anti-Muslim prejudice, he appears to have been motivated by mental illness. We have not seen a raft of big thinkpieces in our media focusing on the Meaning Of It All — that is, what it meant for a Syrian Muslim man to massacre a supermarket full of white people.
I would say that this is appropriate. There is no reason at this point to think that racial animus played a role in this mass murder. Why racialize a mass murder without solid evidence that it had a racial angle?
That is the standard the media have for killings in which the suspected perpetrator is a racial minority, and (especially) when the victims are white. This is definitely not the standard the media have for killings in which the (suspected) murderers are white people killing minorities. They are still yammering about how Robert Long, arrested in Atlanta for mass killing at Asian spas, is guilty of an anti-Asian hate crime — this, though there is no reason at all to believe that Long was motivated by anti-Asian hate. We know that he was tormented by his sexual obsession. Perhaps we will learn that there was an anti-Asian component of this, but we don’t know it now. That has not stopped the media from racializing this terrible crime.
“There is this automatic melancholy,” Risher said. “Because now you know there is another group of people out there that’s getting ready to go through hell.”
March 16 marked a turning point for many Asian Americans: It was the day their community was stricken by a mass shooting, becoming the latest minority group to suffer an attack that killed several of its own.
There’s a specific kind of grief that arises from being targeted, one that more and more marginalized people in the United States know too well. The shooting survivors and victims’ family members span geographies, races and religions, but they are bonded by the shared trauma they have experienced.
These tragedies often leave many in those communities who weren’t directly affected feeling unsafe and traumatized. After a shooting, many members of these communities say they felt hyper-aware of their race and an escalated sense of fear that the same could happen to them or those they love.A mass shooting seems less senseless or inexplicable when it’s directed at one of your own.
But again, we don’t have any reason to believe that the Atlanta killings targeted Asians as Asians. From the evidence available now, Long went to spas where he had been before seeking sexual activity. Those spas are known on an Internet site catering to men who seek sex at spas as being places where they can find it (not all of these massage parlors are, of course). The media have encouraged the public to embrace this racialized narrative, even though the Atlanta police have said there is no evidence to support it.
This keeps happening with the media. Why? I mean, I know why: because newsrooms are filled with progressives who are drunk on left-wing race grievance ideology. To hell with professional standards or moral responsibility — they have a Narrative to propagate. I spoke this week to a foreign journalist working in the US, and he told me that he’s having to work harder than before to find out what’s happening in the US, because he can no longer trust what he reads in the American newspapers.
I can’t stop asking myself the question: Why are they teaching non-white people to fear and loathe whites? What are they preparing America for?
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Paul Kingsnorth Is Writing Again!
Here’s the best news I’ve heard in ages: Paul Kingsnorth has started a Substack: the Abbey of Misrule! Here’s an excerpt from his first essay:
Two years ago, I was hoping I could retire.
It wasn’t a realistic hope, and I knew it: my writing and teaching is the only income source my family has, so unless some anonymous donor had looked kindly on me, I was going to have to keep going. But I thought seriously that I might be able to find some other way of earning: gardening, maybe, or working in a shop. Anything but writing. I had come, literally, to a full stop.
I had just published a non-fiction book called Savage Gods – still my favourite piece of non-fiction, as it happens. It’s a raw, short book that I began in 2017, in the midst of a personal night-sea journey. I was lost: spiritually lost, not at home in my (fairly) new country, and most of all, lost as a writer. I had stopped believing in words. They had come to seem less like a liberation, and more like a trap; less like a glass I could see through, if darkly, and more like a wall which prevented me from touching the real world on the other side.
So I wrote it all down – inevitably – and then I stopped. I made a vow to write nothing new for a year and a day. I kept the vow, the date passed, and I still had no words. I thought, well, that was that. I had written ten books in my life, which was a nice round number. But what to do instead? What else can a 45 year old writer do? How to feed my children? I said to God: show me what to do. I’ll burn all my pens if you want. But show me the way. I didn’t even think I believed in God, which just goes to show how confused I was.
Still, it turns out that God doesn’t care whether you believe in Him or not, and it seems also that He has a sense of humour. Savage Gods turned out to be – and I had an inkling about this when I wrote it but I couldn’t face the implications – a prelude to a spiritual drowning. Under the water I went, down to the bottom, and when I emerged earlier this year I had become, much to my surprise, an Orthodox Christian. Meanwhile, the strange plague raged all around, and everything and everyone was changing, including me. That same year I completed the trilogy of novels I had been working on for a decade. Things rearranged themselves inside me and all around me – around all of us. I had no further commitments. I had no plans. I was not the same person I had been. I could do anything I wanted. I was free.
But the world was not, and it is less free daily – the Machine is closing in on us all, and this is what I am doing here, back with words again. I tried not to. But it became clear that what was going on all around me was enormous, and that I could not avoid its implications and the changes it was bringing. My unexpected conversion to the Christian faith felt like the result of some spirit moving in the world, racing through the waters and the woods and through our minds, shaken from its slumber by apocalyptic times. I was, I discovered, not the only one feeling this way. Something is happening, and we are all part of it.
For a while I have been watching the poisonous so-called ‘culture war’ flooding from America into my homeland, and I have been mourning my country when I haven’t been confused or angry. But above all I have been wondering: what does this signify? Why is this culture so broken, so weakened, so lost? What is going on beneath the surface? I have watched, as we all have, these growing divisions as I have watched much bigger problems enveloping the world – forest fires, droughts, climatic shifts, ongoing extinctions, the dark litany that I have written about for so many years now. And I have watched, especially this last year, with the covid pandemic as an accelerant, the rapidly growing power and reach of the digital matrix of surveillance, control and manipulation, further eroding freedom, community and reality itself.
The churning of the surface waters of our societies – the fights, the divisions, the polarising ‘issues’ dangled before us like carrots to squabble over – these are all symptoms of deep shifts beneath. Add it all together – the coming-apart of (supposedly) liberal nations, the ongoing global eradication of rooted cultures and so much of the wild and non-human world, the rise of a techno-feudal new order, the replacement of older values with those of the globalised consumer machine – and what you get, I think, is a revolution.
Or, perhaps, a revelation.
There’s so much more — read it all. Paul goes on to say that he can’t sit this global calamity out, that he has to write through it. Man, I can’t express how encouraging this is to me as a writer and as a Christian.
I strongly encourage you to subscribe to The Abbey of Misrule. If you know anything about Paul Kingsnorth’s writing — see more of his past essays here — then you know that this Substack of his is going to become one of the most important sources of cultural criticism, cultural inquiry, and spiritual insight we have. Read about Paul here. Let me put it to you like this: if Wendell Berry were a Gen X Englishman expatriated to rural western Ireland, he would be Paul Kingsnorth. It’s not an accident that Paul was chosen to write the introduction to a recent collection of Berry essays.
One more passage from his introductory essay:
I will attempt to write here without becoming evil. I will try to fight for what I love and not against what I don’t, avoiding too many abstractions, trying to keep my feet on the ground. I will hope for a good conversation with those who subscribe, and welcome disagreement and alternative views. But I will deny commenting rights to anyone who attempts to bring those fragmentary oppositions into this space. We’re going to try and practice kindness and mercy here. It’s an Abbey after all.
In the end, I think it can be good to daily remind ourselves that we are all lost in this maelstrom. It has probably always been that way. If I have a reason to return to words, it is because I still believe that at their best they can help us find some useful path to follow.
Here’s a recent video podcast interview with him on Unherd. Paul does not fit into left wing or right wing molds. He’s a real original:
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Ross & Kale On Christian Intellectuals
We finally got Ross Douthat to come onto our podcast, and whaddaya know, the Riverside.fm software would not let me get patched in (at least my sound). So, Kale had to interview Ross by himself. He and Ross did a great job, talking about the role of Christian intellectuals in the current post-Christian situation. Take a look:
I was able to join Kale later via Zoom, which is stitched to the podcast after the Ross bit.
I will be moving to Budapest for the summer in about a week. It’s going to be interesting to see how the podcast changes with me living abroad. One thing I hope to do (I bought the equipment for it) is to add interviews with the smart and interesting people that float through the Danube Institute, where I will be on fellowship.
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The High Cost Of Academic Homogeneity
If you don’t have Twitter, you won’t see this thread by Teresa M. Bajan, an American political theorist who teaches in Oriol College, Oxford. It’s fantastic. Read on:
Great thread. In the humanities, one price of this ideological homogeneity and leftist fanaticism is the death of entire fields as they are transformed into ideological zombies.
Roger Scruton and other leading Western academics — including prominent leftists like Jacques Derrida — banded together to help the Czechs continue the life of authentic scholarship despite their communist overlords. They formed an underground university that granted accredited degrees.
We need the same here, in the West, today, do we not? How else is the tradition going to survive? We have to stop simply pointing out the bigotries of our educational institutions, in vain hope that those who run them will be shamed into repentance, and instead start our own. But look, any initiative in that direction won’t go anywhere as long as parents remain devoted to the idea that it is more important for their children to succeed on this corrupt world’s terms than to commit themselves to the study of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.
You can be as conservative as you like, but if it is more important for you that your child gets into an Ivy League university than that they train for Truth, then you are part of the problem.
UPDATE: A reader who is well-placed within the US governmental bureaucracy writes:
As far as education is concerned in the US, I would argue that the actual value of education and advanced degrees in terms of pure education are extremely limited. I myself attended [small college in flyover country] and I have regularly and reliably engaged with those who attended Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown. Apart from the contacts, connections, and the prestige associated with the degree that serves as the primary means of credentialed access to elite status in our society there is absolutely no reason to waste money on a prestige university degree in terms of pure education.
Certainly I think my own knowledge of [subject area] was not diminished in any way from failing to listen to Christine Fair’s unhinged rants about conservatives and Christians that I believe you have covered on your blog in the past. No doubt some useful knowledge may slip in from time to time, but it is minimal compared to the amount of time that is dedicated to gatekeeping and indoctrination. Some students may believe it, others not, but the majority will go along with the prevailing ideology unless they are genuinely principled or simply contrarian, which is how the left has a reliable flow of human capital to elite positions in the US and has for decades. Conservatives should be seeking to advance Walter Russell Mead’s proposals on either broadening university accreditation or massively constraining it. To date I have seen no evidence whatsoever to indicate that the right is genuinely interested in interfering with the key credentialing organ for access to elite status in our society, instead it is used as outrage fodder to fundraise, rage against, and grift off but I have never seen any American equivalent to French, Polish, and Hungarian efforts to actually take back the universities. These actions of course were part of what has gotten Orban and Duda declared fascists in national security circles, though Macron seems to have avoided that characterization to date due to his status as the ur-centrist technocrat.
I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that the American right is dominated by dumb money and activists who are largely grifters and carnival barkers and see things in pure financial terms. This isn’t to say that they don’t care about the issues — many do — but at the end of the day they are looking at things in terms of how much money they are bringing in rather than whether or not they are actually making a difference in the broader cultural sphere. As a result, the right will blow more than half a billion to support Stop the Steal that largely ended up in the pockets of Trump and his cronies but no one has seriously thought about dropping a couple million to get the emerging cadre of Substack intellectuals a broader platform. Someone could finance a dedicated researcher who isn’t a white nationalist and a website to actually track anti-Asian and anti-Semitic attacks from open source … but no one does.
This reader’s comments underscore one of my greatest pet peeves: the absurd insistence of Trump supporters that “he fights,” therefore is worth our esteem and support. Nobody seems to ask if his fighting actually won anything substantial, advanced our goals in a defensible way (e.g., more than executive orders that were overturned as soon as we had a Democratic chief executive), and so forth. Matt Gaetz is the perfect symbol of Trumpist conservatism: no legislative accomplishments, but he was on Fox a lot, owning the libs.
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Ideology Destroys Sanity, Scholarship
Writing at Yahoo! News, Prof. Jennifer Ho, president of the Association of Asian American Studies and a faculty member at the University of Colorado Boulder, would like you to know that when black people attack Asians, it’s really white people’s fault:
The point I’ve made through all of those experiences is that anti-Asian racism has the same source as anti-Black racism: white supremacy. So when a Black person attacks an Asian person, the encounter is fueled perhaps by racism, but very specifically by white supremacy. White supremacy does not require a white person to perpetuate it.
She, plainly, is a loon driven mad by ideology. Those black teenage girls who carjacked that South Asian man in DC, killing him in the process, are only going to get a slap on the wrist for it — which is just as well, because if you think about it, white people made them do it. Ask Prof. Ho, she’ll tell you.
But this is academia today: an increasingly malignant force. In the UK, a PhD candidate named Christophe de Ray is watching in disgust as the entire academic humanities edifice is being torn down by social-justice barbarians under the name of “de-colonizing the curriculum.” Excerpts:
Universities are presently rolling out sweeping reforms ostensibly designed to promote ‘diversity & inclusion’, and recurringly present these initiatives as acts of ‘decolonisation’. As a finishing philosophy PhD student and teacher at a large UK university, I regularly receive emails announcing conferences, workshops and Zoom meetings about how to go about decolonising academia, the humanities, research, and yes, the curriculum.The frustratingly vague and verbose explanations often given for these projects by their advocates can make it tricky to pin down what these slogans mean, exactly. However, the following resource – a Decolonisation ‘Learning and Teaching Toolkit’ provided by SOAS (London) – is widely shared and relatively concise. You may recall that SOAS made the headlines a few years ago, when its student union called for Plato and Kant to be removed from the philosophy curriculum. Let us therefore come to this epicentre of decolonisation, and see what we can learn from it.According to the Toolkit, the ultimate aims of decolonising the curriculum consist in “transformation through higher education”. The object of ‘transformation’ is, unsurprisingly, “society”, which is plagued by “structural oppression” and “racialised disadvantage”. The text raises ethnic differences in attainment and admissions, as well as reported feelings of “exclusion”, as evidence of the latter. Higher education, we are told, is “necessarily political”, and thus can either be oppressive or liberatory.More:How are these aims to be achieved? By removing the following obstacles to ‘liberation’:1. “the content of syllabi employing concepts, ideas and perspectives that centre or normalise constructions of ‘Westernness’ or ‘whiteness’’ as basic reference points for human society”2. “a very significant presence for scholars racialised as white, gendered as male and located, often by virtue of class privileges, within a limited range of Western institutions or canons”Translated from progressivese, this essentially amounts to the claim that humanities curricula are unduly Eurocentric, since they largely focus on historically Western or European authors, texts and ideas. To ‘decolonise’ them, then, is to change their contents accordingly, thereby ‘diversifying’ the perspectives taught to students.
Read it all. De Ray goes on to explain how this entire enterprise is a fraudulent act of, yes, colonialism.
This is what totalitarians do: they destroy the cultural memories of a people in order to make them easier to control. It is gobsmacking that the gatekeepers and guardians of educational institutions are capitulating in the destruction of the institutions they have been charged with defending.
Why would anyone want to go into academics today? Serious question. I keep saying it over and over, and maybe somebody will believe me and act: all those who want to save the humanities in this Dark Age had better stop trying to shore up this rotten imperium, and instead start building the equivalent of early medieval monasteries: communities within which knowledge and traditional academic practices can survive this barbarian epoch. I’m not exaggerating. It’s that serious.
To that end, here is terrific news: the University of St. Thomas, in Houston, is launching an online MFA Creative Writing program that is solidly Catholic. Students can work either in poetry or in fiction. The founding director is James Matthew Wilson, a very fine scholar and poet, and — I can say this because he’s a personal friend — a serious orthodox Catholic. The press release says:
While there are more than two hundred MFA programs in the United States, the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of St. Thomas is the only one committed expressly to a renewal of the craft of literature within the cosmic scope, long memory, and expansive vision of the Catholic literary and intellectual tradition. With Virgil, Dante, and Flannery O’Connor for guides, we aim to enter into that tradition and to shape its future. Additionally, the MFA in Creative writing at UST is the most affordable program of its kind in the country.
Students will complete three semesters of workshops in their chosen genre (poetry or fiction) and a thesis, while taking exciting, well-integrated seminars in subjects directly related to their work as writers.
The MFA in Creative Writing seeks to transform the life and spirit of contemporary literature. This program is committed to the renewal of serious craft in contemporary literature and the continued revival of the Catholic literary and intellectual tradition.
All is not lost!
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Keira Bell’s Story
Stop whatever you’re doing and read this autobiographical piece by Keira Bell, a British detransitioner who won a major court case against the Tavistock clinic, which facilitated her transition to male when she was a troubled young teenager. Bell talks about how she was a lonely and frightened adolescent with an absent father and an alcoholic mother. As she started puberty, she lost her male friends, and was alarmed by her attraction to other girls. She told her mother, and her father’s partner, that she thought she was a boy. More:
As I look back, I see how everything led me to conclude it would be best if I stopped becoming a woman. My thinking was that, if I took hormones, I’d grow taller and wouldn’t look much different from biological men.
I began seeing a psychologist through the National Health Service, or NHS. When I was 15—because I kept insisting that I wanted to be a boy—I was referred to the Gender Identity Development Service, at the Tavistock and Portman clinic in London. There, I was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, which is psychological distress because of a mismatch between your biological sex and your perceived gender identity.
By the time I got to the Tavistock, I was adamant that I needed to transition. It was the kind of brash assertion that’s typical of teenagers. What was really going on was that I was a girl insecure in my body who had experienced parental abandonment, felt alienated from my peers, suffered from anxiety and depression, and struggled with my sexual orientation.
After a series of superficial conversations with social workers, I was put on puberty blockers at age 16. A year later, I was receiving testosterone shots. When 20, I had a double mastectomy. By then, I appeared to have a more masculine build, as well as a man’s voice, a man’s beard, and a man’s name: Quincy, after Quincy Jones.
Five years after beginning my medical transition to becoming male, I began the process of detransitioning. A lot of trans men talk about how you can’t cry with a high dose of testosterone in your body, and this affected me too: I couldn’t release my emotions. One of the first signs that I was becoming Keira again was that—thankfully, at last—I was able to cry. And I had a lot to cry about.
The consequences of what happened to me have been profound: possible infertility, loss of my breasts and inability to breastfeed, atrophied genitals, a permanently changed voice, facial hair. When I was seen at the Tavistock clinic, I had so many issues that it was comforting to think I really had only one that needed solving: I was a male in a female body. But it was the job of the professionals to consider all my co-morbidities, not just to affirm my naïve hope that everything could be solved with hormones and surgery.
She sued Tavistock and the NHS. A British court ruled unanimously in her favor. She writes:
My team argued that the Tavistock had failed to protect young patients who sought its services, and that—instead of careful, individualized treatment—the clinic had conducted what amounted to uncontrolled experiments on us. Last December, we won a unanimous verdict. The judges expressed serious doubts that the clinic’s youngest patients could understand the implications of what amounted to experimental treatment with life-altering outcomes.
In their ruling, the judges repeatedly expressed surprise at what had been going on at the Tavistock, particularly its failure to gather basic data on its patients. They noted the lack of evidence for putting children as young as 10 years old on drugs to block puberty, a treatment that is almost universally followed by cross-sex hormones, which must be taken for life to maintain the transition. They also had concerns about the lack of follow-up data, given “the experimental nature of the treatment and the profound impact that it has.”
At the Tavistock, practitioners provide “gender affirmative care”—in practice, this means that when children and teens declare a desire to transition, their assertions are typically accepted as conclusive. Affirmative care is being adopted as a model in many places. In 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement on the treatment of young people who identify as transgender and gender diverse that advocated for “gender-affirmative care.”
But former Tavistock practitioners have cited varied problems suffered by the kids who sought help, such as sexual abuse, trauma, parental abandonment, homophobia in the family or at school, depression, anxiety, being on the autism spectrum, having ADHD. These profound issues, and how they might be tied up with feelings of dysphoria, have often been ignored in favor of making transition the all-purpose solution.
As the High Court found, much of the clinic’s treatment is not even based on solid evidence. At the time our case was accepted, the NHS was asserting that the effects of puberty blockers are “fully reversible.” But recently, the NHS reversed itself, acknowledging “that ‘little is known about the long-term side-effects’ on a teenager’s body or brain.” That didn’t stop them from prescribing these drugs to people like me.
Read it all. Bell talks about the incredible, irreversible physical effects of choices she made as a 15 year old — choices encouraged by everyone at the clinic. If you watch this short video report on her case, you can hear that she speaks with a male voice — something that cannot be changed now, something that she will just have to live with. “I was an unhappy girl who needed help,” she writes. “Instead, I was treated like an experiment.”
It is absolutely insane that this was allowed. It is now allowed in the US — even mandated in some hospitals. One physician I spoke with in reporting Live Not By Lies told me that at his hospital, they are under orders from the top to practice “gender affirmative” care. If you object to this as a doctor, you will be fired.
The Arkansas legislature banned this last week, and overrode Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto, thank God. Those lawmakers are going to save future Keira Bells in that state. Those lawmakers are hated by all the right-thinking progressives, and certainly by woke capitalists. But they did the right thing — as will be obvious when American Keira Bells start winning these lawsuits in US courts. It’s coming.
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A Rhythm Of Racist Prayer
There’s a book out called A Rhythm Of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal, compiled by the progressive Christian author Sarah Bessey. It’s been a bestseller. It’s meant for women. Here’s the description from the Amazon site:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For the weary, the angry, the anxious, and the hopeful, this collection of moving, tender prayers offers rest, joyful resistance, and a call to act, written by Barbara Brown Taylor, Amena Brown, Nadia Bolz-Weber, and other artists and thinkers, curated by the author Glennon Doyle calls “my favorite faith writer.”
It’s no secret that we are overworked, overpressured, and edging burnout. Unsurprisingly, this fact is as old as time—and that’s why we see so many prayer circles within a multitude of church traditions. These gatherings are a trusted space where people seek help, hope, and peace, energized by God and one another.
This book, curated by acclaimed author Sarah Bessey, celebrates and honors that prayerful tradition in a literary form. A companion for all who feel the immense joys and challenges of the journey of faith, this collection of prayers says it all aloud, giving readers permission to recognize the weight of all they carry. These writings also offer a broadened imagination of hope—of what can be restored and made new. Each prayer is an original piece of writing, with new essays by Sarah Bessey throughout.
Encompassing the full breadth of the emotional landscape, these deeply tender yet subversive prayers give readers an intimate look at the diverse language and shapes of prayer.
The book contains a “Prayer of a Weary Black Woman,” by Chanequa Walker-Barnes, an associate professor in the Mercy University’s School of Theology (Mercer is a Georgia Baptist school).
This piece breaks down the prayer. Here are close-ups in the photo of the tweet above:
Here are quotes, if you can’t read the shots.
“My prayer is that you would help me hate the other White people – you know, the nice ones. The Fox News-loving, Trump-supporting voters who ‘don’t see color’ but who make thinly-veiled racist comments about ‘those people.’ The people who are happy to have me over for dinner but alert the neighborhood watch anytime an unrecognized person of color passes their house. The people who welcome Black people in their churches and small groups but brand us heretics if we suggest that Christianity is concerned with the poor and the oppressed. The people who politely tell us that we can leave we we call out the racial microaggressions we experience in their ministries.”
“Lord, if it be your will, harden my heart. Stop me from striving to see the best in people. Stop me from being hopeful that White people can do and be better. Let me imagine them instead as white-hooded robes standing in front of burning crosses.”
“Let me see them as hopelessly unrepentant, reprobate bigots who have blasphemed the Holy Spirit and who need to be handed over to the evil one.”
My, my, we have come a long way from Dr. King, haven’t we?
Now, imagine that you are a white student at Mercer, and Dr. Walker-Barnes is your professor. How can you possibly succeed in that class, knowing that your professor is an open racist who asks God to help her hate people like you?
This is not really about the deranged hater Chanequa Walker-Barnes, who, get this, says that her ministry advocates for “reconciliation.” This is about a progressive establishment that valorizes anti-white hatred.
How the hell did the people at Convergent Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, approve this? Is racial hatred fine by them if it’s directed at white people? Apparently so. I’ve read a couple of reviews of A Rhythm of Prayer, and not one of them have expressed surprise or alarm that Walker-Barnes prays for God to help her hate white people, and asking God to help her see them all as Klansmen. Not one. Walker-Barnes would not have written such a blasphemous, hateful, racist prayer if she thought she would face any sanction for it from her university, or within her professional milieu.
My conclusion is that the woke establishment is completely on board with stoking anti-white hatred. This is the fruit of Critical Race Theory. This week, the black Southern Baptist pastor Voddie Baucham published an incredibly powerful indictment of CRT and what it’s doing to Evangelical churches: Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe.
Baucham pulls no punches. He writes:
There are plenty of sincere, though perhaps naive Christians who, if they knew the ideology behind it, would run away from the term “social justice” like rats from a burning ship. … The current moment is akin to two people standing on either side of a major fault line just before it shifts. When the shift comes, the ground will open up, a divide that was once invisible will become visible, and the two will find themselves on opposite sides of it. That is what is happening in our day. In some cases, the divide is happening already. Churches are splitting over this issue. Major ministries are losing donors, staff, and leadership. Denominations are in turmoil. Seminary faculties are divided with some professors being fired or “asked to leave.” Families are at odds. Marriages are on the rocks. And I don’t believe the fracture in this fault line is yet even a fraction of what it will be.
No, I am not writing this book to stop the divide. I am writing to clearly identify the two sides of the fault line and to urge the reader to choose wisely.
I’m going to devote a separate post to Baucham’s powerful, urgent book, but let me here exhort Christian readers to buy it and share it with everyone you know. It’s important. What Walker-Barnes and her progressive Christian allies represent is, let’s be clear, the spirit of Antichrist. It is blasphemous to call on God to make you hate people at all, much less on the basis of race. Voddie Baucham is calling them out on it.
I have said for years in this space that the progressives are calling up racist demons that they won’t be able to control. A Rhythm Of Prayer — or at least the Walker-Barnes contribution to it — is an incantation to the demon of racial hate. This is embraced and promoted by a mainstream publisher. Until this morning, when I saw this on conservative websites, there was no criticism of it. This is what these people, these progressives, believe. They are preparing the country for violent racial conflict. Voddie Baucham characterizes the “antiracist” propaganda as follows:
If black people know racism, and white people cannot know racism (and are racist by default as the result of their white privilege), then the only acceptable response is for white people to sit down, shut up, and listen to what black people have to say on the matter.
People like Chanequa Walker-Barnes get away with this because all the white people in their social and professional circles sit down and shut up as a matter of course. And those who don’t — like Kieran Bhattacharya (who, by the sound of his last name, is not even white) — face the full weight of persecutorial institutions coming down on them to destroy their careers and their lives.
But not all white people, and not all people in general, are like those cowardly white liberals. It is time for those who hate this racism to find their backbones and their voices. Do not embrace anti-black racism, which is also the spirit of Antichrist! Stand against all race hatred. Confront managers of stores that sell this hateful book. Tell everybody you know that Mercer University employs an open racist. When your school, or your kid’s school, teaches garbage like this, confront the school’s administration. Don’t let it pass. If your church is teaching it, leave that church. This evil will never stop until and unless people of good will stand up against it, like Voddie Baucham is doing, and demand that it go away.
I remind you that propaganda like A Rhythm Of Prayer is what pre-Nazi Germany did to the Jews, preparing Germany for the Holocaust. It’s what the Hutus in power did to the Tutsis of Rwanda, preparing Rwanda for the 1994 genocide. If a bestselling prayerbook called on God to help one learn how to hate people of color, we would know exactly what we were looking at, and we would rightly condemn it without qualification. But our institutions — academia, publishing, media, and others — have been captured by this evil ideology. If we don’t stand up against it right now, without fear or apology, then history tells us where it may lead.
Again, the problem here is not really Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes. The problem is a progressive-controlled system — academia, publishing, and retailing — that valorizes her kind of race hatred. I believe that she should have the legal right to publish this. But it should be vigorously condemned all the same.
You can buy this book featuring Chanequa Walker-Barnes prayer for the gift of racial hatred through Amazon. You cannot buy Ryan T. Anderson’s sober, well-reasoned book critiquing transgender ideology at Amazon. This is what it means for progressives — not liberals, progressives — to have captured institutions.
None of this moral insanity will stop if the rest of us simply sit back and hope that it goes away. Fight it now, or the fight that’s coming is going to be much uglier, maybe, God forbid, even violent. If that happens, if the shooting starts, remember that progressive elites did this to us, to all of us, black, white, brown, all of us. They are openly teaching us to hate each other on the basis of race. Hell, they’re even praying for it!
UPDATE: Reader Coleman Glenn comments:
Rod, I think you and Ryan McAllister are misunderstanding what Walker-Barnes is doing here. It’s pretty clear to me that she’s expressing a desire to God that she knows He will say “no” to – crying out and saying, “Relieve me if this burden of having to forgive — nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done.” It’s telling that she compares herself to Jonah, who does everything in his power to avoid calling Nineveh to repentance but eventually does it anyway. This becomes most clear in the following paragraph:
Free me from this burden of calling them to confession and repentance. Grant me a Get Out of Judgment Free card if I make White people the exception to your commandment to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
She knows it doesn’t work like that, and this part of the prayer is her wearily acknowledging that to be the case. And so immediately after this comes the “nevertheless, not my will” — “But I will trust in You, my Lord.” She acknowledges her calling to justice and reconciliation. The answer to her prayer, “Make me hate” is “no,” and she knows it.
There’s plenty of things in the prayer that reasonable Christians can disagree about, and it’s worth asking whether Walker-Barnes should publish a prayer that can be so easily misconstrued. But it’s not fair to misrepresent it as essentially saying, “The Lord will make me hate whites,” when in reality it says the opposite: “Lord, I want to hate Whites, but you won’t let me.”
I see. I’m not sure I buy it, though. I need to think about it. I see your point, and you might well be right, but Walker-Barnes’s writing is so muddled on this point that it’s not clear to me what she’s saying. Or rather, given the fact that she has written such a long and vivid version of an imprecatory prayer, one fuzzy paragraph saying, in effect, “They deserve all this, but I need you to keep me on the straight and narrow in my denunciations of them,” is pretty puny. It reads to me as completely insincere, though obviously I can’t know my heart
Put another way, it reads like a kind of pornography: a detailed and highly-charged prayer about lust, with an obligatory, “but I know I can’t have that” graph slapped on to pass the censors, so to speak. Still, I will concede that that may have been her intention, however badly executed.
UPDATE.2: Think of it this way: if a white theologian had written a “prayer” that was a lengthy, lurid discourse on how black people deserved to be hated, but saying in a single paragraph at the end, “but Lord, I know that I can’t have what I’m asking for,” would we think that it was unproblematic? Again, if Walker-Barnes’s sin here is not moral, but aesthetic — that is, if she simply did a poor job of saying what she meant — that is important to note. But that potentially exculpatory graf seems awfully weak.
I remember when I was writing about the black radical professor Tommy Curry at Texas A&M a few years ago, and the many awful, racist things he was saying, some who came to his defense argued that in some cases, technically, he was simply quoting others, etc., and that we can’t say that he really believed these things. This was maybe — maybe — plausible in some of the instances, if you squinted and applied the strictest possible hair-splitting logic. But it was clear what he was doing. I think the same thing is happening here. Reading the entire “prayer,” I don’t believe for one second that Walker-Barnes struggles with her anger at white people. She does not sound like the sort of person begging for deliverance from her anti-white passions.
UPDATE.3: A reader writes:
I have read your articles over the past few years and learned a great deal from them. I am a student at Mercer University. My institution advertises itself as evangelical Baptist or partially Christian to students from conservative backgrounds. However, the administrators and the faculty reject traditional values in favor of diversity, inclusion, and equity.
Two days ago, [law professor] bragged in class about how the law school faculty hiring committee of which he is a member chose not to consider hiring straight white men for three new professorships. They threw out categorically applications of straight white men. He stated that this behavior would be illegal for a public university. He expressed his thought that nondiscrimination provisions in public employment are white supremacist, Jim Crow laws.
He attempted to bait straight white male students into saying something that he would define as racist through asking again and again whether or not it was racist for the law school not to consider straight white men for these three job openings. He is attempting to identify dissenters and to punish them.
Routinely, he demeans straight men who are white and criticizes traditional masculinity as toxic. He expresses his disdain for “whiteness” every class period. He also called Clarence Thomas the whitest man on the supreme court and claimed that this stereotyping was antiracist. He ridiculed conservatives in class including a Korean student who tried not to make everything about racial identity.
Please tell the wider orthodox Christian community to stay away from Mercer. It is a hell hole. Keep fighting the good fight.
Record these racist, abusive classroom conversations, reader. Send them to me. I’ll broadcast them wide. I did not include this professor’s name because without proof, I would not want to libel him. But if you can send in a recording of his voice, and if I can verify that it is him in a classroom setting, then I will share it with the world.
Seems to me like Dr. Chanequa is divided against herself. Can you imagine being her white friend, always being regularly challenged by her about your whiteness? Dr. Chanequa appears to be obsessed with race, and the sins of others:
She’s so race-obsessed that she determined not only the motivation of the sex-obsessed mass murderer in Atlanta, but determined also that he was a white supremacist — and is so certain about her judgment that she urges people whose pastors didn’t preach about the killings to abandon their churches:
Sorry, but I don’t believe Dr. Chanequa is who she says she is. A reader disagrees, e-mailing:
I have read your essays and books over the years with gratitude, so I was alarmed to read your post today that went after Dr. Walker-Barnes’ prayer. Your reading of her prayer seemed to willfully misconstrue what it was intended to be.Yes, it was a call for white Christians to consider whether we have participated in racist hatred and passivity. Yes, it was a cry for recognition that Black people have been overlooked and mistreated and abused, even within our churches, for centuries.But it was also a prayer modeled after our Psalms. It was written in a deeply biblical manner, calling forth the same language of the Psalmists who pray that God would dash their enemies to pieces, praying in the spirit of the ones who drew their swords even when Jesus said to walk the way of peace.And it is a prayer that turns on the word “but,” as so many of the Psalms also do: “But I will trust in you, O Lord.” And then she goes on to pray so differently, just as the Psalmists do when they move from their own desires to God’s vision for us. She prays for the beloved community. She invites us to hope.You excoriated her without acknowledging that she wrote out of a long tradition of prayers of lament and imprecation that nevertheless land with God’s love and hope. And you read this–and told your many followers to read it–as a prayer of violence rather than a desperate cry for God’s peace.
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Therapeutic Totalitarianism In Academia
A reader writes:
I don’t know if you remember me, but you posted a blog last year based on an email I sent you about totalitarian things I’ve seen at my university.As with last time, if you post anything I share, please keep both my name and university confidential, as I am supporting a wife and a large family, and cannot risk getting doxed at my job. My income is dependent on receiving external grants, and in today’s climate I would lose any chance of maintaining my funding and student recruiting if my thought crimes were made public.
You’ve been talking a lot recently about the sudden increase in activism regarding forcing people to use preferred pronouns. I thought you’d appreciate seeing screen grabs from the most recent online training that I took at my (public) university. I’ll briefly contextualize each of the five pictures I’m attaching:
1) You can see they are now explicitly stating that their goal is equality of outcome (equity), not equality of opportunity (equal treatment). They are quite vague regarding how exactly to “proactively correct historical power imbalances,” but given that all universities are already doing everything in their power to recruit under-represented minorities (URMs) and still failing to meet their identity quotas, you can bet your bacon that some sort of tyranny and rampant discrimination will be required.
2) Look at the first and last bullet points here in particular. The first: “Call transgender individuals by the name and pronoun that reflects their gender identity.” I have no issue with the “name” part, but look how they are also forcing us to use their preferred pronoun. They could have kept the peace by saying “name or pronoun,” as calling somebody by their preferred name would not violate my Christian conscience, but of course there can be no compromise here. I refuse to use a non-biological gender pronoun, for the exact same reason that I would refuse to call an anorexic person overweight, which makes me wonder how long I will be able to stay here before the issue is forced. And then look at the last bullet point: “If you have religious, political, or cultural objections to someone being transgender, remember that community values on campus compel you to treat everyone with dignity and respect.” I actually agree with this statement on the face of it, but you must remember that they are subtly redefining “dignity and respect” to mean using their preferred pronouns. It’s a brilliant rhetorical bait and switch and shows the power of clever language.
3-5) A video is played of a coworker complaining about having to call a trans person by their preferred pronoun. We’re now given a choose-your-own-adventure, where we can pick between three different ways to respond. Now this is where things get really fascinating: if you pick the politically incorrect choice, the training does show the actor saying the quote you selected, but then the video suddenly pauses, a narrator says that this response is not acceptable, and then rewinds the tape to bring you back to the same choice again. It keeps doing this until you pick the one correct choice. For example, on the second round of choices, if you selected “I see what you’re saying, and I agree that you should be able to refer to people according to your beliefs…” it literally rewinds (i.e. erases) what you are saying and makes you try again.In summary, it is now the official position of my university that we must forcibly achieve equality of outcome amongst all identity groups, and that we are all compelled to use non-biological gender pronouns against our own beliefs. Totalitarianism is not just a foreboding specter on the horizon, it’s already here, and it’s coming out of hiding into plain sight now that it’s accrued enough of a consensus amongst the elite class.
This is one of those cases where both sides are going to assume there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface and, like I said, are going to be disinclined toward actually reading the available evidence. Thankfully, the court brief is fairly exhaustive and–importantly–the account provided in the brief has received the approval of both plaintiff and defendant. To stress, everyone involved in this case agrees, legally, that the account provided herein is an accurate picture of what happened. Additionally, we also have audio of the initial microaggression seminar (Mr. Bhattacharya’s comments start at around the 28:30 mark), as well as of the pursuant committee meeting that ended in his expulsion.
Here is the initial exchange, as documented by the brief:
Bhattacharya: Hello. Thank you for your presentation. I had a few questions just to clarify your definition of microaggressions. Is it a requirement, to be a victim of microaggression, that you are a member of a marginalized group?
Adams: Very good question. And no. And no—
Bhattacharya: But in the definition, it just said you have to be a member of a marginalized group—in the definition you just provided in the last slide. So that’s contradictory.
Adams: What I had there is kind of the generalized definition. In fact, I extend it beyond that. As you see, I extend it to any marginalized group, and sometimes it’s not a marginalized group. There are examples that you would think maybe not fit, such as body size, height, [or] weight. And if that is how you would like to see me expand it, yes, indeed, that’s how I do.
Bhattacharya: Yeah, follow-up question. Exactly how do you define marginalized and who is a marginalized group? Where does that go? I mean, it seems extremely nonspecific.
Adams: And—that’s intentional. That’s intentional to make it more nonspecific … .
After the initial exchange, Bhattacharya challenged Adams’s definition of microaggression. He argued against the notion that “the person who is receiving the microaggressions somehow knows the intention of the person who made it,” and he expressed concern that “a microaggression is entirely dependent on how the person who’s receiving it is reacting.” Id. He continued his critique of Adams’s work, saying, “The evidence that you provided—and you said you’ve studied this for years—which is just one anecdotal case—I mean do you have, did you study anything else about microaggressions that you know in the last few years?” Id. After Adams responded to Bhattacharya’s third question, he asked an additional series of questions: “So, again, what is the basis for which you’re going to tell someone that they’ve committed a microaggression? … Where are you getting this basis from? How are you studying this, and collecting evidence on this, and making presentations on it?”
You can listen to the audio if you like. There’s nothing there, in my opinion, that is not captured accurately in the written description. Bhattacharya does not yell or raise his voice. He sounds skeptical, but in no way violent or threatening. Nor does Adams, the presenter, signal that she is experiencing anything that approaches fear or trauma.
But you know what happened next. Eventually:
This meeting found that Bhattacharya’s continuing behaviors were proof that he posed an imminent danger to the campus community, although the committee did not bother to explain what those behaviors entailed. His behavior was simply noted as “unusual” and this was proof that “Any patient that walked into the room with [Bhattacharya] would be scared.” The following day, Bhattacharya was forcibly removed from campus and told he could not return until he had been screened. He was, subsequently, not allowed to receive sanctioned screening, because of his status of having been removed from campus after being deemed a security risk.
Again, none of what I have described is an exaggeration. None of these details are even being contested.
Now for my own conjecture: the problem isn’t that anyone genuinely believes Bhattacharya poses a threat to anyone’s safety. The problem is that he attempted to question the ideological firmaments of contemporary anti-racist training. These firmaments are protected with aggressive viciousness precisely because they cannot withstand scrutiny. Had Bhattacharya merely scoffed at them, or even if he had been outright condescending and dismissive, he probably would not have received such a severe punishment. The problem was that he was right, and his accusers knew it.
But what most concerned her was an upcoming diversity training in which faculty and staff would be divided into white and nonwhite “caucuses.” In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the protests that then erupted all over the country, LWTech had, like so many other educational institutions, embarked on a large, highly visible attempt to make itself a more inclusive, less racist place. The session was a part of that. It was called Courageous Conversations, and it was scheduled for June 19.
The stated goal of such events is to allow people to talk about race and racism more openly, but the decision to have the races meet separately made Parrett uncomfortable. “Racial segregation of that kind seems like a throwback to the pre-1960s and not a good way to create any kind of cooperation or collaboration,” she says. She wasn’t the only one disturbed by the idea of a racially segregated anti-racism training. Her friend Phil Snider, another English professor at LWTech, said in an email to senior administrators that a “conference based on segregation by skin color does nothing to build a community of belonging.”
Nonetheless, a June 18 all-college email noted that the school’s president, Amy Morrison, had “made clear the expectation that all full-time employees attend Friday’s Courageous Conversations” unless they had conflicting teaching responsibilities. Parrett decided to express her qualms about the training during the training itself.
What happened over the next nine months was both bizarre and oppressive. Because of a brief disruption that easily could have been brushed aside or handled with a warning not to do it again, LWTech went to war against a tenured faculty member, launching a cartoonishly over-the-top disciplinary process that included the hiring of a private investigator, dozens of interviews, and claims of widespread trauma.
You can hardly fathom the Soviet-quality degree of ideological and bureaucratic fanaticism university officials put this professor through. Singal documents it all, then puts it in context of how these Social Justice berserkers criminalize disagreement by framing it all as aggression. Singal:
In this worldview, everything is a harm. There is no such thing as legitimate political disagreement, because we (the progressive in-group) already know the correct answer to every question (even if the answer can sometimes change overnight), and anyone who disagrees clearly—clearly—does so not because of some well-founded political or philosophical difference but because that person wants to harm the innocent people we are righteously hellbent on protecting. There is literally no other explanation for such a difference of opinion, and it doesn’t matter whether the opinion being denounced is held by the majority of Americans.
It is simply toxic to treat mainstream disagreement about political issues as harmful and worthy of discipline. Yet in some circles, this style of zealotry is not just present but escalating.
Read it all. This is therapeutic totalitarianism. You think it’s not going to happen to you. What happens in the university today will happen in corporations and other institutions tomorrow.
Eventually this will burn itself out, but not after it has burned down institutions and destroyed many lives. ReadLive Not By Lives to better understand how you can prepare to face this down. One thing that’s not in the book, but that you should consider: lawyer up, and sue these corrupt institutions into the ground.
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Tucker Carlson Eviscerates GOP Mandarin
Exclusive shot of Tucker Carlson introducing Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas last night:
If you missed it, oh, oh, oh, friend, here is the whole thing:
Tucker did not let the Governor (R-Walmart) get away with anything regarding his veto of the common sense legislation banning surgical or hormonal therapy for gender-dysphoric minors. If you don’t want to watch the entire ten-minute evisceration, start here, when Tucker gets all up in his face about whether or not the veto was a favor to corporate interests. Stick with it to watch Tucker barbecue the governor when he falls back on “I’m a limited-government Reaganite” — this, to justify permitting the chemical castration of children.
Gov. Hutchinson is another Republican mandarin who betrays the people who elected him. I’m so glad the Arkansas legislature, in overriding Hutchinson’s veto, remembered that its duty is to the people of Arkansas, not Walmart, Tyson, and Dillards.
Back in 2015, Gov. Hutchinson cited the request of his son Seth in explaining why he would not sign a bill that would have strengthened religious liberty in Arkansas. Seth Hutchinson is a member of Democratic Socialists of America. Back then, it was more important for Asa Hutchinson to serve the interests of his socialist son than the interest of Arkansas Christians. He hasn’t changed a bit. I’m sick of this kind of Republican.