My Own Thoughts on “Systemic” Racism

The definitive evidence of “systemic” racism is that we all systematically refer to “race” in these discussions. A concept which has no objective, scientific basis. 

In other words, race is emic, not etic.

Boas’s presumption is wrong. Science and reason do not sway the public assumption that races exist.

“If our life experience has taught us anything, it is that continuing a pattern of ‘race-consciousness’ does not cure racism. It merely perpetuates it.” Larry Purdy, Getting Under the Skin of “Diversity”: Searching for the Color-Blind Ideal 


Does anyone actually believe that white male racists are non-embodied?

“A Furiously Active Intelligentsia”

I suspect that those who see our mental culture as fungible in favor of the very specific matter of overturning power differentials are demonstrating the anti-intellectual substrate of being American.

There’s a reason this is resisted officially in France and would never acquire any purchase in Russia where there is a furiously active intelligentsia, and why it is having an effect in Germany where there is understandably always a sense of national guilt about the Holocaust.

Let’s try this. I dismiss claims that it is trivial to be concerned about a paradigm that threatens to overturn our concepts of intellectual inquiry, artistic endeavor and moral perspective. Apparently there are those who consider those things sideshows, things to get to later. I proudly disinclude myself from their number.

 – John McWhorter, Tweeted 24 Feb 21

Readings on Black Literature

Following up on the BLM moment, I read in and around the topic, starting with  Jeffery Stewart’s The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, Paul Beatty’s Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor and his novel The Sellout.


Likewise, Black US literature is US literature and has followed a course roughly analogous to “mainstream” US literature. From the 20th century on entire literary culture has evolved  from aspiring modernism to a state of facile identitarian subjectivism..


George Schuyler’s 1929 Racial Inter-Marriage in the United States, called for solving the US race problem through interracial marriage, then known by the odious term of “miscegenation”, which was illegal in many states until a 1967 SCOTUS decision


In The Walls of Jericho, the first novel by Rudolph Fisher, the lawyer Ralph Merritt buys a house in a white neighborhood bordering Harlem. In their reactions to Merritt and to one another, Fisher’s characters—including the prejudiced Miss Cramp, who “takes on causes the way sticky tape picks up lint.”

In 1929, Schuyler’s pamphlet Racial Inter-Marriage in the United States called for solving the country’s race problem through miscegenation, which was then illegal in most states.

He also published the highly controversial book Slaves Today: A Story of Liberia, a novel about the slave trade created by former American slaves who settled Liberia in the 1820s.

In early 2020, The New Group (

announced it was developing a musical adaptation of Black No More directed by Scott Elliott with a book by John Ridley and choreography by Bill T. Jones. Rapper Black Thought is contributing music and lyrics and will appear in the production, originally scheduled to premiere in October 2020.

John McWhorter’s old piece on reparations: