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An Angry Old White Guy on ‘AOC Plus Three’

It is the inevitable nature of revolutions that they enter a point of hysteria when, like Saturn, they turn on themselves and devour their own children.

While the hysteria of the current aspiring revolutionaries, or “power grabbers,” to use Ilhan Omar’s own words, is not yet at the stage where anyone is being carted off to the guillotine or sent to the gulag, the new face of the Democratic Party is devouring its parents.  Its children are yet to come.

The instrument of execution is the accusation of racism. Joe Biden is a racist because decades ago he refused to endorse coerced busing to end de facto segregation, a mechanism that was so flawed that it enhanced rather than ended segregation.

Joe Biden speaks in malapropisms, used his country for his family’s enrichment, and has been wrong about nearly every foreign policy he embraced, but he is not a racist.

Nancy Pelosi, for daring to call out the raucous Hamas chorus in her party, is called a racist. Nancy Pelosi is many unsavory things, but she is not a racist.

So too, all of us who support the president are now not just called deplorables but also white nationalists, supremacists, or racists. 

If that is the case, I want to know where to sign up because the only way to make this now trivialized and overworked accusation to go away is to embrace it. If they shout, witch! …then we should all stand up and say we are witches.

I worked in the groves of academia where the accusation of racism could become a career stopper.

In the middle of a lecture on the politics of violence, I used an example from Al Sharpton’s role in the Crown Heights Riots of 1991. A black student yelled out, “You’re a racist.”

There was a gasp from some of the students. I asked him what he said, and he flung the accusation once again.

I said, “Oh, thank God, for a second there, I thought you called me a liberal. That would have really stung.”

In academia, if you point out that your female colleague’s letter to the editor is not a piece of peer-reviewed research and is not a qualification for promotion, you are sexist. If you note that the African-American candidate for a faculty position lied when he said that H.D. Laswell, one of the luminaries in social science, was his mentor, you are a racist. If you protest that coming out as a lesbian, as your application for promotion is being reviewed, is not exactly an academic qualification, you are a homophobe.

Students are commonly taught that all whites are racists, and only whites can be racists. Such definitions are incorporated in orientation presentations for new students and in compulsory sensitivity training.

The insanity of academia has now percolated up to the Congress in the form of what is known as “AOC Plus Three” and throughout the Democratic presidential campaign. What starts in the groves of the academy does not remain in the groves of the academy.

So, let me say, as someone who has lived with this nonsense for more than forty years, I no longer give a damn, nor do most white people I know.

My white privilege means that I can’t blame any other race for the decisions I make. It means that there will be no federal auditors to make sure that no matter how mediocre my performance, I will be guaranteed a position to fulfill a quota. It means that celebrating diversity means excluding people that look like me.

Most of us are the descendants of the uprooted. The people who came here from the peasant lands of Europe. People who suffered the deprivations of extreme poverty, who travelled hundreds of miles to a port to get on an unseaworthy vessel and who managed to survive forty days of the turbulent North Atlantic. As they were squashed together at sea, they were also compacted into slums and tenements, hired as appendages to machines, where industrial accidents were common. Their twelve-hour day paid for a modicum of food and a leaky roof. They owned no slaves. Most came after 1880.

So, I am not checking my white privilege. I am telling white people to absolve themselves of the guilt they have no business of inheriting.

And, Trump is right, if you don’t love this country, you shouldn’t be here.  If you think your refugee camp in Kenya made you feel more whole, I am sure there is someone in Kenya who will gladly change places with you. If you feel more Palestinian when you are in the Congress, maybe you should be experiencing that feeling in Ramallah. If you can pretend to weep over an empty parking lot at the border but not over the more than 10,000 mostly black and Latino children that will need a shelter tonight in New York City, then you should run for the Mexican legislature. If you think socialism is the answer to the nation’s problems, I am sure Raul Castro has need of you in Cuba.

As for most of us, we don’t give a damn about the color of your skin, but the content of your character leaves much to be desired. And if you keep telling us what racists we are, just maybe we’ll take you seriously and become the thing you want us to be.

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science.