UC Irvine comedian Mark LeVine has learned some more one-liners, which he puts on public display on Al Jazeera, the propaganda network of Qatar. This time, LeVine has pulled out all the stops when it comes to hysteria. Usually, LeVine is railing against Israel, but now he has decided-along with countless other leftist academics- that whiteness must be abolished. In fact, it is now urgent! This latest laffer comes in the form of a tribute to some Marxist academic named Noel Ignatiev, who died in November. Ignatiev was also obsessed with the issue of "whiteness".
When professors and their silly student followers talk about whiteness, they are not referring to something out of those old toothpaste commercials. They are talking about white people. And it is not all non-white people who push this agenda. Many of them are white themselves. Go figure.
Here is LeVine's op-ed in Al Jazeera from November.
Ignatiev and his admirers, like LeVine, would surely argue that eliminating whiteness is not a call to exterminate white people, rather a call to eliminate the "privileges" that white people enjoy at the expense of minorities. I would argue that using such inflamed language and terminology can lead some people to draw the wrong conclusions. Current events would seem to bear that out. We have seen how similar inflammatory language directed at Israel and Zionists has led to an increase in anti-Semitism. The focal point for that problem can be found right smack dab on our university campuses including UC Irvine, where Professor LeVine and I have both taught.
Being a generation older than LeVine, I have always maintained that America in the 50s and 60s when I was growing up was, indeed, a racist country, especially the Jim Crow South. But having witnessed the Civil Rights Era, I believe that the country and our society have changed dramatically since that time. LeVine may disagree, but in my view, America today is a divided country and there are racial issues to be dealt with. However, though there are still racists out there, such as neo-Nazis and KKK types, in my view, America is not a racist country today. In addition, I would advise young people that whites are not the enemy of non-whites. We are all part of the solution.
But to today's leftist academics, it is still 1955 and all the world's ills are directly connected to Israel and whiteness. It is called "intersectionality", and that nonsensical term is even used by LeVine in this op-ed.
"When Ignatiev's approach is added to the work of decolonial theorists, intersectional feminists like Kimberle Crenshaw, Holocaust scholars like Zygmunt Bauman and the focus on necropolitics by Giorgio Agamben and Achille Mbembe, a strong theoretical foundation for a truly liberatory analysis of contemporary racial capitalism and chauvinistic nationalism (whether "white", Hindutva, Zionist, "Chinazi", Russian or myriad other exclusivist identities) emerges."
It all ties together, you see.
But even in language most people can understand, LeVine goes off the rails:
"We need only think of all those smiling white faces in photos of lynchings across the American south - what WEB Du Bois described as "the writing of human hatred, a deep and passionate hatred ... on the pale, white faces" - to understand how the ontological pleasure gained from participating in the humiliation and extermination of black people is the most enduring identifying marker of whiteness."
I saw those images when I was a boy-before LeVine was born- and I reacted to them the way most all decent people reacted-in horror. One of the most horrific photos I saw of a lynching occurred in the northern city of Chicago. Yes, the motive was racist, but that is not an enduring marker of "whiteness".
"Ignatiev was a member of the last generation of Jews who experienced what it meant to be considered less than white in the US - at least until the present generation experienced a sharp rise in anti-Semitic attacks after the election of Donald Trump. He understood the malleability of race and its reality as a social, ideological and political, rather than biological, construct."
Setting aside the lefty terms like "construct", I would respond by saying that Ignatiev was of an older generation-older than mine even- who was rightly indignant over the racism that was prevalent in his day. But here LeVine jumps into that swamp that says that the explosion in anti-Semitism in the US is due to Donald Trump being president. This is one of the worst canards floating around these days. Trump is anything but an anti-Semite and he has proven it. Yet, he and his voters are being blamed for anti-Semitism. It reminds me of the inter-faith kumbaya I attended at the Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach in 2017, in which Jews, Christians, and Muslims held hands and blamed anti-Semitism and Islamophobia on Trump, his supporters, and white nationalists. Not one word was said about anti-Semitism coming from the left or from Islamic quarters. They refused to entertain a written question from the audience (mine) as to whom was most responsible for anti-Semitism at UC Irvine, a place where Trump has very little influence. In fact, I might add that those at UCI who do support Trump (College Republicans, for example) have been the most supportive of Jewish students on campus.
Today, the argument is still on-going as to who is most responsible for anti-Semitism. In virtually all of the numerous attacks against Jews in the greater New York area, including Jersey City in the past few weeks, the perpetrators have been black. Does that indicate that all blacks are anti-Jewish? No, it doesn't, but some are just as much as some whites are. Some people, even some Jews, don't want to discuss that, just as they don't want to discuss Islamic anti-Semitism, which is raging in Europe. It is more convenient to limit the discussion to white racists and "their hero" Donald Trump. I argue that white nationalists and anti-Semites should certainly be condemned, but let's try to be intellectually honest about the true picture of anti-Semitism as it exists today. Today, Jews are being attacked from many different directions, and all of it must be called out, exposed and confronted.
And LeVine's rant continues....
"One would have better luck taking wetness away from water - at least you can freeze it - than to rip the racism out of whiteness. Even the US's first black president could not freeze the racism that has always defined this country. Instead, despite his best efforts, his presidency unleashed a torrent of renewed racial animosity and policies, all embodied by the ultimate avatar of white nationalist masculinity, Donald Trump."
Where to begin? Yes, of course the true white racists out there most certainly voted against Obama. Others voted against him because they were Republicans, conservatives, or disagreed with his policies. In contrast, Obama enjoyed widespread white support from Democrats and liberals. Many who voted against Obama because they opposed his policies still felt a sense of pride that America had crossed another barrier and elected our first black president. They hoped that his presidency would advance the cause of reconciliation. Obama did not live up to that. Mostly, he did not handle racial incidents well. His choice for attorney general, Eric Holder, was a disaster in many areas (Operation Fast and Furious), and his own statements on race only exacerbated the issue. To LeVine, however, his point seems to be if you voted against Obama, you are a racist. If you voted for Trump, you are a racist. What kind of scholarly thinking is this coming out of our universities?
And LeVine's anti-whiteness hysteria just goes on and on. Never mind how divisive it is at a time when we as Americans should be standing together. Most of us are trying, but this kind of rhetoric does not help. Yet, this is what you get on American college campuses these days to say nothing of Al Jazeera.
So to Mr Ignatiev, whoever you were, I say rest in peace. Too bad for you that you have university professors like Mark LeVine doing your obituaries. After all, when a man dies, his obituary should invoke respect and sadness, not laughter.