Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Black Fragility As Black Strength?

Substack seems to be a refuge or safe space for marginalized liberals--liberals who have found themselves behind the liberal curve, which has taken an ever more Leftward turn. John McWhorter, an African American linguistics professor, finds himself in that position. Having previously been something of a liberal darling--a coddled black academic sought after by white liberal publications--he's been marginalized to Substack. He's still saying pretty much the same things, but now for a somewhat different audience, in the same way that Glenn Greenwald does--becoming a regular on Tucker Carlson's show. More power to them, although I wish they'd have learned a bit more about their liberal ideas from what has happened.

Anyway, he has a piece today sniping, as has become usual for him, at the mainstream CRT people, who have become the Left's mainstream for commenting on all matters racial. He has worthwhile things to say, even if his audience isn't what it used to be:


So, he's gonna recommend books on race to read, rather than the stock CRT oriented books that are all the rage on the Left. Fine, but I won't bother going there--if you're looking for books to read about race, follow the link. Instead, here's his intro, which is blessedly common sensical:

Fish don't know they're wet. And either do a lot of us when it comes to how we think about race.

Here are three pieces of advice for living.

1. What doesn't kill you makes you weaker.

2. Always trust your feelings.

3. Life is a battle between good and bad people.

Do you see these three tenets as wisdom, or as something a person should be taught out of? I need not even ask.

But why, then, does enlightened America embrace the idea that where black people are concerned, living by these three tenets is cognitively healthy?

* * *

Note that McWhorter refers to "enlightened" America without comment. Those are the people who now reject him. The irony here is that he can't get himself to acknowledge that the people most likely to agree with him are conservatives, because to do so would bring too much of the rest of his worldview into question.


The tenets are the heart of Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt's brilliant The Coddling of the American Mind from a few years back. They analyze these as counsel given to students, today, in general. However, this extends to black America as a whole.

Of course, the usual suspects will have a hard time recognizing themselves in these tenets when spelled out. However, they are the fish who don't know they're wet. They've never known anything but those tenets, and thus see them as a normal way of being. They don't know that these tenets are "a thing."

What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker – as in melodramatic claims of injury at seeing the N-word written "n*****" on a test, or hearing a Mandarin expression that sounds like the N-word, and calling it trauma. Or the whole idea that a black person living today is the vessel of a "trauma" inflicted on black people over multiple past generations.

Always trust your feelings – as in the watchcry that impact trumps intent, such that if a black person feels something said or done as racist, then it simply is, and no questions can be morally asked, because black people's feelings are in themselves a kind of truth (an outgrowth from the Critical Race Theory we are supposedly so remiss in discussing these days).

Life is a battle between good people and bad people – as in that America is full of "racists," such as white people menacingly united in preserving their "white" interests (รก la rhetoric Robin DiAngelo is fond of), such that Ta-Nehisi Coates watched the firefighters killed on 9/11 and found himself numb to the suffering of people whose type otherwise could have been responsible for "shattering" his black body.

And he continues from there, riffing off those three points. What's sad is that the Leftist choir isn't listening. Fashions have changed, and left McWhorter behind.


  1. We're sorting ourselves out along a new binary. It is becoming clearer by the day. What used to be Democrat vs Republican or right vs left or liberal / progressive vs. conservative or red vs blue, as well as what is being dictated to us as black vs. white are all being supplanted. It was the elecction of Trump that created the tiny crack and that tiny crack is expanding by the day and will be a chasm not too long from now. Call it what you will MAGA vs. Globalists, non-elite vs elite, normies vs. wokesters. nationalists vs. trans-nationalists. Its all the same choice that has to be made. Are you going to side with us or them? Looks like John and Glenn have made their choice, I don't think we should overlook the fact that they are bucking a lot of headwinds simply by publishing on Substack, let alone the content. I don't think they are looking at this in the old political terms of right vs. left, I think they are looking at this as down with the Great Reset vs. NOT down with the Great Reset. I think they know a Totalitarian putsch when they see one.
    Mark A

  2. "The irony here is that he can't get himself to acknowledge that the people most likely to agree with him are conservatives, because to do so would bring too much of the rest of his worldview into question."

    While I'm not going specifically at McWhorter here, the fact that so much of our citizenry has become so unbearably soft that they can't withstand, let alone embrace like mature adults, a little cognitive dissonance now and then is one of the key components of our long national downslide.

    Because the worldviews in which they're so deeply invested are built on sand, and because the reality-denying prescriptions that flow from these worldviews must and so do always fail, the left is so psychically fragile that even the slightest bit of cognitive dissonance is anathema to them. Given how deep and wide this affliction has spread, it's no small thing.

  3. The message that black lives matter, just by itself, is a valid and good statement, a statement that many I know, black and white, took to heart.

    However, that statement was not the main message, CRT is. CRT is racist and Marxist. It’s toxic and you cannot separate the two messages.

  4. Its Obama vs Trump. Neither man is in office and neither was in office when the other was. But since the day Trump came down the escalator there has been a running "feud." Sure the great reset and the fate of this nation and the integrity of our culture is way bigger than either man, but CRT, most likely Covid Response, without a doubt Russia Gate and impeachment gate, without out a doubt George Floyd protests, without a doubt election 2020 and the ascension of BAIDEN, without a doubt the takeover of FBI , CIA , DOD , IRS probably others under the guise of "wokism" or whatever other polite description you care to make for the commintern takeover are Obama Sponsored. Its Obama's fundamental change. Probably fits perfectly with Klaus's grand plan. And against all of that, which public figure in a position to do or say anything has actually been fighting back, pointing out or calling out the obvious? Its Trump. That's it. No political figure dares so much as imply something negative about former President Obama, no one dares suggest that his physical presence in Washington DC is a sign of his continued involvement in our politics and in our government. Wasn't voted in. Wasn't asked to be an advisor. Pretends to be done with it all and out of it. Watch the hypocrisy and calumny that will be hurled at candidate Trump when he announces for 2024. No mention will be made of the term-limited president who keeps his hands in all the cookie jars. Who may be running things now for all we know. CRT is Marxist. Obama is a Marxist.

    Mark A