Under the reign of multiculturalism, Americans have been undergoing for decades, if in slow motion, what the historian Thomas Molnar once described as "the collapse of the old order, the sudden realization that the universe of a given community has lost its center."(1) Molnar, a refugee from Communist Hungary, calls this phenomenon "verbal terror." The actual terrorist, by blowing up actual human beings, makes the members of a society feel that every assumption that has constituted their world, the very ability to walk down a street or ride in a bus, is vanishing, and thus weakens their will to resist the terrorists' political demands. The verbal terrorist, by smearing everything great and ordinary about a people and their institutions, makes them feel that nothing about themselves is legitimate. Once demoralized in this manner, they are ready (much like Louis XVI of France, who was subjected to a similar propaganda barrage) to yield to the Revolution.
The chief form this verbal terror takes in contemporary America is anti-racism. Now most people, when they hear about something called anti-racism, do not want to criticize it. After all, we would all agree that racism—acts and speech aimed at harming people of a particular race because of their race—is a morally bad thing. In the real world, however, anti-racism means something far more than the condemnation of discrete and morally objectionable acts and statements. It means the indictment of America as America, and of white people as white people. The anti-racist movement has advanced itself most prominently through the schools, as an extension of multicultural education. Multiculturalism tells us that America is a collection of equal cultures with no dominant culture, which means that America's purported dominant culture is really an illegitimate usurper over the "true," multicultural America. Anti-racism spells out these anti-majoritarian—i.e., these anti-white—implications more fully and puts them into practice.
One of the leaders of the anti-racist curriculum movement is Enid Lee, a Caribbean‑born black woman based in Toronto, who has held workshops for the faculties of many private schools in the U.S. and Canada.(2) Ms. Lee says she prefers to speak of anti-racism because the word multiculturalism is too "soft." Multiculturalism, she tells an interviewer, only means appreciation of different cultures, while anti-racism is an all‑out attack on the existing culture. "A lot of times people say, 'I just need to learn more about those other groups.' And I say, 'No, you need to look at how the dominant culture and biases affect your view of non‑dominant groups in society.'"(3) An example of this institutional racism, according to Lee, is that
Whatever is white is treated as normal. So when teachers choose literature that they say will deal with a universal theme or story, like childhood, all the people in the stories are of European origin; it's basically white culture and civilization. [Emphasis added.]
Leaving aside Lee's ludicrous complaint that only "white culture" is being taught in today's schools (since her side won that battle long ago and American schools have been thoroughly multiculturalized), we should pay close attention to her comment that the real motive for bringing other groups into the curriculum is not to be more "inclusive" (which is the "nice," mainstream understanding of multiculturalism), but to get rid of white normality. Now, since America is a historically white‑majority country whose population and institutions emerged from (historically white) Britain and (historically white) Europe, it would seem only natural that most American literature and historical topics would have dealt primarily with whites, just as story books in, say, Japan, would deal primarily with Japanese, and story books in India would deal primarily with Indians. But this normal and natural circumstance, whcn it comes to whites, is the very thing that Lee considers "racist." So when she speaks of "racism," it is not some vicious behavior she's talking about that she wants to eliminate. It is the national cultures and literatures of white Western peoples—it is their very identity and historical existence—that she wants to destroy.
In language suggestive of totalitarian mind control, she speaks of the mode of "attack" that she uses on the participants in her teacher workshops. "I do use the word 'attack' advisedly, because we are engaged in a struggle. We are attempting to reorganize the state of the universe, certainly the state of the schools ..."(4). Asked by an interviewer, "How can one teach multiculturally without making white children feel guilty or threatened?", Lee replied: "Perhaps a sense of being threatened or feeling guilty will occur. But I think it is possible to have kids move beyond that." [Emphases added].
Enid Lee must have known that in multicultural America she had little to fear from making such an admission. When the interview was circulated at the Park School, an elite private academy near Boston which was considering hiring Lee as its diversity consultant, one of the trustees noticed her comment about making white children feel guilty. Did the board of trustees indignantly throw out her application? Did they declare that they would never let such a person darken their doorway, let alone counsel their teachers? Well, no. While a few of the trustees were very upset about Lee's remarks, the majority of them—knowing in advance that she was planning to train Park's faculty in techniques that would intimidate white children—voted to hire her anyway. Emblematic of whites' betrayal of their own children was the fact that the trustee who most strongly supported the hiring decision was the Chief of Psychiatry at Children's Hospital in Boston.(5)
Another sign of whites' readiness to surrender to those who hate them is the "sensitivity" trainings that have become a fixture in American institutions. These are essentially brainwashing sessions, structured experiences that takes participants through a series of stages from racist false consciousness to multicultural enlightenment. In one such program, participants keep filling in questionnaires to check how far they've advanced. If they agree with a statement such as "Our common history as Americans is what makes us all similar," then they are still on the lowest stage of development. Next is the "disintegration" stage, where their beliefs are shaken up. Here the white participants "acknowledge that prejudice and discrimination exist," and they are "forced to view themselves as members of a privileged group." Gradually they learn to embrace diversity, until at the final stage they agree with statements such as:
"I am actively involved in fighting racism."
"I am a recovering sexist."
"We're all members of the same global community."
"Discrimination against any group has a negative impact on us all."(6)
Through such techniques whites are taught to view any lingering vestige of their American identity as an ugly thing, from which they can free themselves only by embracing diversity.
One of the highly paid entrepreneurs in this field is Barbara Riley, who was commissioned by Park School to conduct an "anti-racism" training for its faculty and staff. Like Enid Lee, Barbara Riley is black, and equates multiculturalism with anti-racism. "She was explosive," says Nancy Anthony, who at the time was head of the parents association at Park and a member of the Board of Trustees. "She said anti-racist education helps us move the European perspective to the side to help make room for other cultural perspectives. Most of all, she said, you have to get in touch with the fact that your current education has a cultural bias, that it is an exclusionary racist bias and that it needs to be purged. She was very extreme."
Riley's anti-racist training, which had been conducted at private schools all over the country, had some interesting similarities to Werner Erhart's "est" training and its various spin‑offs. Like est, the sessions aimed at a profound personality change through total immersion continuing over several days. Riley's program consisted of an opening evening session of three hours, a 12‑hour session the second day, and a final four‑hour session on the final day. Unlike est, the training at Park was compulsory for all staff, faculty, and trustees. Also unlike est, Barbara Riley didn't require people who were in psychotherapy to get their therapists' permission to attend the workshops. According to Nancy Anthony: "The trainers assume that everyone is of equal psychological balance and can endure this harrowing experience. But if you've been deeply troubled by the experience, and some people were, there's no help for you when you come out. The ones who cried, who were broken down, the experience may have stirred up all sorts of things that had nothing to do with race but rather their personal histories." After the training, she said, "the emotional damage tends to take a couple of days to sink in." Some people said they had sleepless nights, that they were irritable, emotional more than normal. Some reported panic attacks.
Such reactions should have been no surprise, given that the whole purpose of the training was "to get in touch with your racism and why you have it." In one session, the participants were asked to draw poster‑size pictures portraying the subliminal racist messages they had received in childhood. Then came the moment of maximum "attack," to use Enid Lee's favored term. Each person had to stand in front of the group, put his picture on an easel, and explain how his childhood experience made him racist, while the others in the group, led by one of Riley's facilitators, interrogated the subject about his experience. If the subject could not identify a childhood racist experience, the group continued to probe until one was uncovered. Some of the female participants broke down weeping when they were placed in this position.
An especially vulnerable spot for many people, said Nancy Anthony, was "if you had had a black nanny or cleaning lady as a child. The message was that your parents paid someone to love you, and that you never visited the nanny's home. By the time they finished with you, they got almost every one of those people to sob."
One participant said that since he was an Italian who grew up in an Irish neighborhood, his own childhood experience of racism was being beaten up by Irish toughs. This was not exactly the kind of racist experience the facilitator had in mind, so the group kept probing. They asked him about television shows or magazines he was exposed to as a child; they asked him if he had read National Geographic (with all those photos of bare‑breasted native women but no photos of bare‑breasted white women). The same relentless examination was performed on everyone until a racist experience was uncovered.
There were some feeble attempts at protest. One woman denied that she could have had childhood racist experiences. "You don't understand," she told the group. "I grew up in Finland. There are no blacks in Finland." They asked her, "Have you ever thought why there are no blacks in Finland?" The group finally decided that her racist childhood experience was that she had lived in an all‑white country from which blacks were intentionally excluded. The woman became "discombobulated" at this point and didn't know what to say. The poor woman didn't seem to understand that the equation of being Finnish with being racist was not absurd at all, but simply the logical and inevitable outcome of an exercise organized around the assumption that whiteness itself is racist.
Once the personal racism of the participants had been established, the focus of the training was widened to include the racism of society as a whole. They watched films showing whites discriminating against nonwhites, and played various games, including one called "Star Power," which were designed to drive home the ubiquity of white racism and the impossibility of a nonwhite ever succeeding in white society.
"They want you to betray the dominant group," says Nancy Anthony. "You're supposed to betray your own parents, they love it if you confess that your parents were racists."
The goal of the training was that after the participants had gone through the soul‑shattering realization of their own racism, of their parents' racism, and of the presence of racism everywhere, they should be seized by evangelical fervor to take up the fight against institutional racism in whatever institutions they happened to belong to. One trustee, after emotionally confessing his racism, offered to join the Peace Corps to atone for his sins. Since then, according to Nancy Anthony, "he has become extremely vocal on these matters at Board meetings. He accepted the trainer's views entirely."
And so another former American joins the Pod People, whose ranks are ever increasing among us. Constantly seeking new ways to appease the gods of anti-Americanism and clear themselves of their overpowering sense of racist guilt (a quest in which they can never quite succeed), these true believers will eagerly betray their nation, their people, their intellectual conscience and sense of justice, and even their own children. There is virtually nothing that these Enlightened Ones will not do to denigrate our common civilization and give aid and comfort to the enemies who now control it. As Orwell put it in Nineteen Eighty-Four, they not only obey Big Brother, they love him.
Lawrence Auster is the author of Erasing America: The Politics of the Borderless Nation. He runs the weblog View from the Right.
1. Thomas Molnar, The Counterrevolution (New York: Funk & Wangalls, 1969), p. 188.
2. Enid Lee's website, www.enidlee.com
3. "Taking Multicultural, Anti-racist Education Seriously, An Interview with Educator Enid Lee," Rethinking Schools, Oct/Nov 1991, p. 6.
4. "The Crisis in Education, Forging an Anti racist Response," Enid Lee, Rethinking Schools, Autumn 1992, p. 4.
5. Nancy Anthony, member of Park School Board, interview with Lawrence Auster, 1992.
6. Richard Bernstein, Dictatorship of Virtue: Multiculturalism and the Battle for America's Future, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994, pp. 93‑94.