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The Magical Cracker

Empty eyes boy portrait (completely white eyes)

In New Jersey, two high school boys stand accused of racially harassing and intimidating four younger black girls. The accused are of South Asian (Indian) descent. You might think that this ugly display is a reminder that the sin of racism is a universal part of the fallen human condition. You would be wrong, according to Princeton historian Nell Irvin Painter. Writing in The New York Times, the L’Osservatore Romano of the Cult of Social Justice, Painter tells us that it’s really whitey’s fault. Excerpts:

While it’s tempting to see the reported ethnicity of the boys suspected in the assault as complicating the story and raising questions about whether the assault should be thought of as racist, I look at it through a different lens. Instead of asking what the boys’ reported racial identity tells us about the nature of the attack, we should see the boys as enacting American whiteness through anti-black assault in a very traditional way. In doing so, the assailants are demonstrating how race is a social construct that people make through their actions. They show race in the making, and show how race is something we perform, not just something we are in our blood or in the color of our skin.

At first blush, this reported assault sounds nauseatingly familiar, like the run-of-the-mill American racial harassment that has always been common but has become increasingly revealed thanks to videos shared on social media. The boys’ actions resemble those of people who feel empowered to act out their resentment against nonwhite people who are deemed out of place, confronting them with hostility or slurs or calling the police. The people patrolling what they see as their spaces are often — but not always — white. The Yale sociologist Elijah Anderson calls areas that are policed in this way, “the white space,” even though the spaces in question are officially public. The experiences of black people accused of these purported infractions have acquired a panoply of names that capture the absurdity of facing such hostility while innocently carrying out everyday activities: driving while black, barbecuing while black, walking while black, sitting at home while black. The encounters often end with violent — too often, fatal — outcomes.

In the New Jersey incident, the heritage or skin color of the boys suspected of the assault doesn’t matter. What matters is that they were participating in this pattern and thus enacting whiteness in a very traditional way.

Read it all.

So, even when racist harassers are brown-skinned, they’re really white, and their alleged actions are the fault of white people. Got it. I remind you that this racist screed was written by a Princeton professor, writing on the op-ed page of the most important newspaper in the world.

There is a trope in American fiction and film, called by Spike Lee “the Magical Negro.” He’s a black character imbued with mystical powers of wisdom and goodness, which he uses to help white people out of their dilemmas.

Prof. Irvin and her fellow Social Justice cultists traffick in a concept we might call The Magical Cracker. He’s a white racist that can shape-shift, and take the form of anyone — say, Indian-American teenagers — to work his evil. The Magical Cracker poisons wells, causes crops non-white students to fail, and kidnaps non-white babies and uses their blood to make Wonder Bread.

But in all seriousness, academia and elite media legitimize and spread this racist, illiberal creed. And yet they wonder why people vote for Trump, figuring only racism can explain it.

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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