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Kennedy Left-of-Center (7.9.20)

In case you were wondering, the Kennedy Center is now an anti-racist institution!

This is actually more troubling that it sounds. Racism is real. It needs to be addressed. I'm sure the Kennedy Center could do more to present diverse artistic viewpoints. But when organizations present themselves as "anti-racist" ... that means something a lot more specific than "against racism."

In the language of academia, "anti-racism" is built on the foundation of "systemic racism" or "structural racism." And "systemic racism" holds that the organizing principle of American society is white supremacy, and racism only exists in the sense that all white people are inherently racist to non-white people. "Anti-racism" is actually a call for (mostly white) people to constantly assess every facet of their existence -- every decision and assumption they make -- in the hopes of avoiding the patterns of systemic racism. It's also not a process with a defined ending.

You personally might think all of that is true and reasonable. But a lot of people generically agreeing that "anti-racism" is good would also do a spit-take if presented with the academic definition.

The Kennedy Center (if you read the linked story) is going with the academic definition of these terms. For the national center for the performing arts, an institution meant to serve everybody, that's a pretty aggressive position to take. (What with it also being named in honor of a white guy who dragged his feet on civil rights legislation.) You can also see stuff like this from some of the Smithsonians and plenty of corporations amd non-profits. It's not a "wrong" worldview -- arguably no worldview is -- but it is a radical departure from almost all modern conventions, and it seems extremely conspicuous that any institution would convert to it so suddenly.

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