Based on a lecture delivered at the University of Michigan November 30, 2016.
I spoke on this campus in 2001, when I was conducting a campaign against reparations for slavery because the reparations were going to be paid by people who had never owned slaves to people who had never been slaves. Reparations was just a left-wing scheme to isolate black Americans and divide the country. A little over a thousand students were in attendance. Because of protests organized by the Black Students Union and a radical organization called By Any Means Necessary, the university assigned 12 policemen with German shepherds to keep the peace. Three university vice presidents sat in the balcony, but not one of them approached me or attempted to speak to me. When the event was over not a single student or student organization responsible for the threat of violence was reprimanded or put on probation.
Barack Obama said recently that racism is in the DNA of America, and is passed on through the generations. This statement, which is false, is probably the greatest libel ever uttered by an American President against his own country. Here's the reality: Slavery existed in Africa for a thousand years before anybody deemed it immoral. It existed at one time or another in all countries for over 3,000 years. During all those years, nobody ever said that slavery was immoral, not Moses, not Jesus, not Aristotle. Not until Protestant white males -- William Wilberforce prominent among them – did so at the end of the 18th Century. In America, a slave-owner named Thomas Jefferson wrote into the birth certificate of a new nation the proposition that all men are equal in the eyes of God, that they have rights that are God-given, which include liberty and equality, that cannot be taken away by government. Within a little over a generation, at the cost 350,000 Union lives, slavery was abolished in America and then throughout the Western hemisphere.
Every black person in this country owes their freedom to America. The DNA of America is liberty. And why is that? Because America’s Constitution recognizes individual rights as primary, over-riding collective identities based on race, color or creed. It doesn't matter whether you are black or yellow, or brown, Protestant, Catholic or Jew, you are endowed by the Creator with the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That’s the American way.
Identity politics are the anti-American way, erasing the individual in favor of the collective. They are designed to imprison individuals in their birth status, as in the hierarchical societies of the past, and Communist societies of modern times. Here is an official rationale, from a Cheka official of the time of Lenin, for the disposal of 30 million human souls: “We are not carrying out war against individuals. We are exterminating the bourgeoisie as a class. We are not looking for evidence or witnesses to reveal deeds or words against the Soviet power. The first question we ask is – to what class does he belong, what are his origins, upbringing, education or profession? These questions define the fate of the accused. This is the essence of the Red Terror.”
Progressive identity politics fix individuals in racial and gender hierarchies, with so-called oppressors - white males - at the bottom. American universities are dedicated to this sinister agenda and have been for decades, and it is now embedded in the attitudes of the cultural elites. The University of Michigan spends over $100 million on so-called diversity. Yet it is not actually interested in diversity. Its actual goal is to establish a hierarchy in which white males and capitalist democracies are at the bottom, and people of color, whatever their individual character, deeds and intentions, are ranked at the top.
On this campus, Jewish students are harassed by SAFE, which is a clone of Students for Justice in Palestine and a front for the terrorist organization, Hamas. SAFE is a hate group whose activities support the destruction of the Jewish state and the murder of its Jewish citizens. This fall SAFE was permitted to erect an “Israeli apartheid wall” on campus, promulgating a genocidal lie against the Jewish state. The wall was erected on Rosh Hashanah, one of the Jews’ high holy days. SAFE’s action was anti-religious bigotry but perfectly acceptable on a progressive campus like this, since leftists regard Jews as white and Israel as a capitalist/imperialist state. University officials just looked the other way -- well, they didn't even look the other way; they approved it.
Recently Black Lives Matter obstructed and terminated a campus debate by the Michigan Political Union on the resolution “Black Lives Matter is harmful to social relations in the United States. In shutting down the event, Black Lives Matter violated several university rules and should have been disciplined by university authorities. But of course, no action was taken against them because as a black group they are at the top of the progressive hierarchy and under the Orwellian “diversity guidelines” standard at America’s collegiate institutions, they are a protected group.
The totalitarian goal of identity politics is to force everyone into the politically correct mold. At the University of California, President Janet Napolitano, who was formerly Obama’s director of the Department of Homeland Security recently issued a warning to all professors that the following phrase was a micro-aggression and should be suppressed: “America is a land of opportunity.” This is fascist censorship. Suppressing the thought that America is a land of opportunity is fascist. Yet it is a policy that caused not one resignation among the University of California’s administrative staff, or any protest from the Faculty Senate or the American Association of University Professors. All you have to do understand the Orwellian nature of this edict is look around and see how ordinary people rise in this country. Only a fool would deny that this is a land of opportunity, and only a progressive fascist would seek to suppress the idea itself.
Napolitano also outlawed the sentence, “When I look at you, I don't see color.” Now why is that offensive to the progressive thought police? It’s a person saying to somebody, “I’m not prejudiced against you. I don't see your color. To me, you’re another human being. To me, you're equal in the eyes of God and the law.” The reason the thought police find that offensive is because they want people to be identified by color and by race. They want to fix everyone in the categories of their hierarchy so they can place whites, males, and American patriots of all colors and genders at the bottom.
The politically correct phrase “people of color” is a racist phrase designed to do just that - to enforce the fascist hierarchy. And the alarming reality is that now almost everybody uses it. In the first place “people of color” is not grammatical English. You wouldn’t say “this is a box of crayons of color,” would you? People who speak English correctly don’t speak like that. People who speak French do.
What is the purpose of using this ungrammatical phrase at all? To understand it, consider Mexico. Mexico is a country composed mainly of two ethnic groups -- the descendants of the Spanish conquistadors, who slaughtered the indigenous Indians; and the descendants of the survivors of their conquest, the indigenous Indians. But when the conquistadors and the Indians cross the American border, they’re all suddenly “people of color,” therefore oppressed; therefore entitled to privileges and benefits, and the enormous allowances that we are supposed to make for them as putative victims.
Maharajahs in India are persons of color. Beheaders in Raqqa and Syria and Iraq are persons of color. The Japanese imperial soldiers who raped and pillaged their way through Asia are persons of color. Sudanese slavers are persons of color. And so are the Islamists everywhere. You wonder why liberals in this country are so sympathetic to Islamists who regard us as infidels - inferiors - and want to kill us? Because they are people of color.
And who are not people of color? The only people who are not people of color are white people. In other words, white people are oppressors; white people are evil. That’s what the bastard phrase “people of color” really means, and why it is racist.
Do you think that if a group of white students had threatened violence the way the Black Students Union had over my event fifteen years ago, or had shut down a debate the way Black Lives Matter did recently, would get away with it? Do you think if white students had forced the university to provide 12 armed policemen with German shepherds to maintain peace at a university gathering, or if they broke up a scheduled debate, the university would allow that? Do you think the university wouldn’t put them on probation or, more likely, expel them?
Why do black students get a free pass? Because they’re black; because they’re persons of color, and therefore high up in the fascist hierarchy progressives have created. Black Lives Matter is a racist group, which has declared war on police in this country, instigated the deaths of brave public servants, including one in this state this last week. Black Lives Matter is responsible for the murders of scores of black people but this only leads to invitations to the White House by President Obama, who is himself a progressive racist. If you saw a copy of the Detroit Free Press today, its front page was covered with photos of firefighters and policemen killed in the line of duty. They were mainly minorities and black. During the last year of Black Lives Matter riots, wherever police officers were killed as a result of their instigations r - whether the city was Dallas or New Orleans - the chiefs of police were black. By stoking the fires of anti-white racism, what the left has done is to handcuff the blue shield that protects minorities in high crime areas from predators. The real goal of Black Lives Matter is to keep a section of the black population from joining the country to which they owe their freedom. It’s disgraceful, and it’s racist.
But you can't say this, can you? Not on this campus without inviting retribution. Everybody understands this. On this campus – and virtually all campuses – students are intimidated from challenging an orthodoxy that is repressive and racist. The greatest scandal in our country is the fact that our schools are repressive institutions that stifle free speech and free thought. It also is the greatest threat to our future.
The hope for us is the fact that we’ve reached a point in this country where Americans can honestly say “When I look at you, I don’t see color.” The ideas of individual freedom and individual accountability are still alive in America. Far from being racists, as the fascist narrative proposes, Americans are generally the most tolerant people on the planet, certainly in comparison to any other country with large minority communities. William H. Frey of the Brookings Institution cites these remarkable statistics affirming this reality: “Sociologists have traditionally viewed multiracial marriage as a benchmark for the ultimate assimilation of a particular group into society. Black-white marriages were still illegal in 16 states until 1967. And a 1958 Gallup poll found that only 4% of Americans approved of black-white marriages. Today that number is 87%. In 1960, of all marriages by blacks only 1.7% were black-white. Today it’s 12% and rising.”4 Orlando Patterson is a renowned liberal Harvard sociologist with award-winning works on the study of slavery and race. Patterson is also black, but in his judgment, America “is the least racist white-majority society in the world; has a better record of legal protections of minorities than any other society, white or black; [and] offers more opportunities to greater numbers of black persons than any other society, including those of Africa.”
You hear leftists say that America is a white supremacist nation. People who say this belong in mental institutions. The Democratic Party in its official 2016 platform claims that there is “systemic racism” in America that has to be rooted out. What in the world is wrong with them? In part, it is their inability to understand statistics. According to the left, since blacks are only 13 percent of the population but 37 percent of the prison population, there’s systemic racism putting them there. But that's not the way to read statistics. The baseline measure is not blacks’ percentage in the population but the percentage of blacks involved in criminal activities. While it’s true that blacks are only 13 percent of the population, they commit 40 percent of the violent crimes, and fifty percent of the homicides. So the fact that they make up the 37% of the prison population should be no surprise, nor cause to supposed discrimination is responsible for their incarceration.
The genius of America lies in the fact that our Constitution enjoins us to judge people as individuals, on their merits. We don’t judge them by their race (unless we are leftists), and we don't judge them by their gender. The American idea that we try to live up to is that everybody is equal before the law. Everybody deserves to be judged by who they are and what they have done, not by their skin color or gender. That is the idea that divides our country as we move into the Trump era. It is the idea on which this country will stand or fall depending on which side in this battle prevails.
David Horowitz is the founder of the Horowitz Freedom Center and the author of many books and pamphlets, most recently the collection from his conservative writings called The Black Book of the American Left.