On Monday, the Aspen Institute held a discussion about race and the 2012 elections, and its panel featured a roster of liberals.
Touré, one of the most prominent members of the media who has tried to exploit the Trayvon Martin tragedy to push his political agenda, Carlos Velez-Ibanez, a liberal professor of transborder studies, and José Antonio Vargas, a liberal ex-reporter and illegal immigrant who now is a prominent founder of an organization whose objective is to have a “conversation” about immigration, made up the panel, which FOX News’ Juan Williams, another liberal, moderated.
The panelists, in their comments and biases through which they saw America, revealed the wide reach of the legal discipline known as “Critical Race Theory,” which teaches students to see essentially all institutions in America as being the product of a white power structure that has to be systematically disassembled. Derrick Bell was the godfather of Critical Race Theory and, as Breitbart.com revealed, President Barack Obama was one of his many acolytes.
As the Trayvon Martin case begins to go to trial and the Supreme Court will soon hear arguments in immigration and affirmative action cases, the left will continue to use these events to attempt to start national dialogues on race. Of course, such dialogues will have subtle -- and not-so-subtle -- undertones that paint Republicans as intolerant and bigoted. And this will not be by accident, as the panel revealed, for even if those in the liberal media and intelligentsia did not formally take any classes on “Critical Race Theory,” they have been influenced by its tenets and have internalized them.
Exhibit A: Touré
Touré again tried to exploit the Martin case by saying it is about the “ability for us to exist as one America” because “we are very much two Americas, separate and unequal.”
“It is a scar on the American soul, an extraordinarily important moment in American history, and some people are not even recognizing that,” Touré continued. “We are angry this is happening and this is continuing to happen to our young boys.”
Touré said people ask him, “some black boy got killed in Florida and this is a major moment in American history?”
Touré answered that the Martin case is such a moment because it represents “the continued dehumanization of Trayvon and, by association, all black men.”
Speaking about white privilege, Touré said that he was frustrated with whites on the subject, noting that ones he spoke to kept telling him, “I don’t know what you are talking about -- show it to me, or prove it to me.”
Touré, whether he knew it or not, was parroting a “Critical Race Theory” tenet that says an absence of specific examples of racism does nothing to disprove that America is a nation based on a power structure that perpetuates white privilege.
Touré then said other whites he spoke to claimed to have no power or privilege; he mockingly said their mindset was, “clearly it must not exist because I have nothing.”
Touré then noted that whenever blacks received rights in America, those rights were then creatively taken away. In the case of Jim Crow following emancipation, Touré was correct.
But Touré took it two steps further.
He referenced an academic hypothesis that after the civil rights bills of the 1950s and 1960s were passed, America tried to restore Jim Crow through other, more creative means by purposely incarcerating blacks. Touré then said that the rise of Obama will lead to another period where rights will be in danger for minorities.
Touré cited the “rise of voter ID laws” as an example of minority rights being in danger, even though voter ID laws are colorblind. He then said that the recent tragedy in Tulsa, Oklahoma -- in which gunmen who individually were prejudiced shot and killed five blacks -- was proof of whites being angry at blacks in general.
Again, like he did with the Martin case, Touré was trying to nationalize and exploit a local tragedy to systemically paint America as an unjust nation where minorities cannot be at the top of the power structure that is described in critical race studies teachings.
Touré also noted, after speaking of romantic segregation of gays and myriad other groups he thought were oppressed, that it was hard to find commonality in America these days.
With people like Touré interjecting themselves into national discussions about race, is it any wonder why people cannot find commonality?
Exhibit B: Carlos Velez-Ibanez, director of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University
Velez-Ibanez said minorities in America are viewed through a white prism, which he more specifically described as an “east coast British prism of a mythic American narrative.”
“They see us from this white prism,” Velez-Ibanez said, noting that whites look at African-Americans as former slaves and African-Americans can never get past that fact.
He also said that, to white America, the “Mexican identity is one of cheap labor” and white America “can’t get past our backs, as if the only thing we are good for is to serve as a commodity at the pleasure of our bosses.”
Velez-Ibanez noted that though he is a former Marine, he considers himself and refers to himself as Mexican before American.
He also criticized assimilationists who believe in the melting pot, strangely lumping them in with “the extreme right wing of the Republican Party” for wanting to “erase me” by calling for assimilation; he said that such overtures lead him to “respond in a rather negative way.”
Exhibit C: José Antonio Vargas
Vargas, a former Washington Post journalist who infamously gained notoriety when he revealed last year that he was an illegal immigrant, noted he had also come out as being gay and promptly declared that there is a battle going on for the “American soul and identity,” and “white, heterosexual males” feel most threatened by this.
Vargas also said the layers of injustice and unfairness in America can get fairly high and he often wondered if he was a “second or third class” citizen in this country, noting that as an illegal immigrant who also happens to be gay, he is not a part of the dominant white power structure. Those words are incredible when one stops to think how an illegal immigrant who is lauded by the mainstream press while getting invites to participate on Aspen Ideas forums without being detained or deported can consider himself to be a “second or third class” citizen.
Vargas then said nobody had papers when the country was founded until the United States government decided that only “white people” would have papers, echoing the fundamental tenet of critical race theory -- that America was founded on white power structures and the country is inextricably bound and tied to that.
Vargas, though, continued to say that the conversation about white privilege needed to happen with white Americans and that, right now, only white people can talk to other white people about what white privilege really is.
Critical Race Theory is not an obscure discipline studied in elite law schools. for it has branched out and is being mainstreamed in public institutions such as UCLA. It is worth nothing that UCLA’s School of Public Affairs describes the discipline as one that “recognizes that racism is ingrained in the fabric and system of the American society” and “the individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture.”
Further, UCLA’s Critical Race Theory studies “identifies that these power structures are based on white privilege and white supremacy, which perpetuates the marginalization of people of color” and “that is the analytical lens that CRT uses in examining existing power structures.”
And those who study “CRT” at UCLA will find it important to preserve “the history of marginalized groups whose experiences have never been legitimized within the master narrative” because “it challenges the notion of liberalism and meritocracy as colorblind or “value-neutral” within society while exposing racism as a main thread in the fabric of the American foundation.
Touré, Vargas, and Velez-Ibanez sounded like they were Critical Race Theory professors on the panel. And it goes to show that the discipline Derrick Bell started, aided by his many disciples like Obama, is becoming mainstream on the left. It is a worldview conservatives need to understand not only to see the motivations behind the left’s insatiable need to frame every event in the context of the “white privilege power structure” but also to effectively combat this worldview.