Stop Misusing ‘White Supremacy’

Christine Emba writes:

To suggest that “urgency in the workplace” is a white supremacist trait also has rather insulting implications. Is sloth the natural state among people of color? Do discipline and organizational efficiency belong to the Anglo-Saxons only?

These are obviously absurd suggestions, and the tweet was quickly deleted. But it wasn’t a one-off. Rather, it was a particularly egregious example of an emerging trend: the increasingly indiscriminate deployment of the term “white supremacy” as a criticism of various — often nonracial, even inoffensive — traits and actions.

This tactic has been popularized by a subset of less-than-rigorous anti-racism activists and normalized in primarily progressive spaces. And it often meets with justified skepticism only when it comes into contact with the mainstream….

More recently, the overbroad concept of “white supremacy culture” has become a go-to talking point in diversity, equity and inclusion trainings at a variety of left-leaning organizations….

It’s important to acknowledge that white supremacy is real. The ideology — that White people are a superior race and as a consequence deserve to dominate society — runs through our nation’s history and is reemerging in new and virulent manifestations today….

But the Buffalo mass shooter targeting Black shoppers and Biden tweeting pictures of his covid-19 workday are not the same thing and should not be conflated. Doing so flattens and cheapens a truly urgent problem, making it easier to play down and ignore. If everything is white supremacy, nothing is, and nothing needs to be done.

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