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Ignatiev Remarks: A Correction?

Stacey Patton, an assistant professor of multimedia journalism at Morgan State University writes in that Ignatiev’s widely reported remarks that white males do not deserve to live is a satire of his views. Let’s assume that Patton is correct and the previous reports are incorrect.

What is the difference between the remarks Stacey Patton says Ignatiev did not make and these remarks that she reports Ignatiev did make?

As the professor admits, he is no stranger to controversy: He has argued that his journal Race Traitor intends to “keep bashing the dead white males (along with live ones and white women) until the social construct known as ‘the white race’ is destroyed.”

I started getting hate mail in 1993, shortly after we published the first number of Race Traitor, with its slogan “treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity.”

Keep in mind that satire is the use of exaggeration to ridicule or criticize a person’s views or assertions. To be effective, it has to reflect those views.

The remarks that Patton attributes to Ignatiev apparently are what he told her. Ignatiev says he will keep bashing whites “until the social construct known as ‘the write race’ is destroyed.” If the “social construct” of the white race is destroyed, does the white race still exist? In what sense do people shorn of identity exist? If the white race is a social construct, are the black race, the Hispanic race, the Jewish race, the Arab race, and Asian races also social constructs? If not, why not. If so, why does Ignatiev only target the social construct known as the white race for destruction?

As to whether or not Ignatiev hates white people and is thereby a promoter of hate speech and hate crime, how else can “treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity” be interpreted? I am open to suggestions.

Ignatiev does have a point. Race can be a social construct and is often misused as one. Years ago I published an article in which I pointed out that the “white race” like the “black race” consisted of many different ethnicities and tribes. White Europeans have fought one another over centuries, just as black tribes conducted slave wars against one another. The Rwandan genocide is as recent as 1994 with 1,000,000 Tutsi slaughtered by the Hutus in 100 days. The notion that there is unity in whiteness or blackness is a social fiction.

But Ignatiev’s point goes beyond this. Perhaps somewhere he explains why only the “white race” is a social construct and/or why only the white race requires self-hate in order to extingish itself as a concept. Why should only whites lose their identity or be given some guilt-ridden identity that Ignatiev wants to give them?

In other words, how can we understand Ignatiev’s statements as anything but an attack on white people?

My point in wondering about the long-run effects of demonizing white people depends not a whit on what we make of Ignatiev. His remarks, real or satired, are commonplace. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Saida Grundy, a newly appointed assistant professor at Boston University “used Twitter to criticize white people as agents of oppression, among other things, and described white male students as a ‘problem population.’” Supporters rushed to her defense.

Grundy euphemistically described her hate speech/hate crime as indelicate expression from passion having run away with her.

Suppose an incoming white male professor had said the same thing about blacks or Jews? What do you think his fate would be?

Do you remember the case of Steven Salaita? He resigned his tenured professorship at Virginia Tech and accepted the offer of a tenured professorship at the University of Illinois, sold his house and moved his family to Illinois only to have his appointment cancelled because he criticized Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians on social media. In Salaita’s case, not even a minority member is permitted to criticize Israel.

For one, I will be surprised if Grundy’s, Ignatiev’s, or Aslan’s appointments are withdrawn or cancelled or if they are sentenced to sensitivity training. Unlike blacks, Jews, Muslims or anyone else, white people are considered legitimate targets of hate speech and hate crimes. Those who demonize white people are not considered to have committed a punishable offense.

Where do you think this will lead?

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