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The French are absolutely right to say ‘no thanks’ to US woke-ism

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The French are absolutely right to say 'no thanks' to US woke-ism

It’s an American export that prudent Europeans want to keep out. They’ve paid close attention to the product’s development in the United States, and they’ve determined that it’s toxic. They’re afraid it will damage their kids, undermine their society and threaten civilization.

No, it’s not genetically modified food or Velveeta or McDonald’s. It’s “woke” American scholarship on race. And frankly, the Euro-critics have a point.

French President Emmanuel Macron and his ministers view the threat as existential. As The New York Times reported, they think woke-ism “fuels secessionism. Gnaws at national unity. Abets Islamism. Attacks France’s intellectual and cultural heritage.”

Academics disagree, of course. But that’s no more a surprise than seeing manufacturers of synthetic cheese stand up in defense of Velveeta.

The truth is, the woke race theory that has been expanding its influence in the United States in recent years has done a lot of harm, spread a lot of division and contributed to a worsening, not an improvement, in race relations. 

Any one reading the Times can see that much, as revealed in the recent defenestration of longtime reporter Don McNeil over charges that he used the “N-word” in the context of answering a student question over whether someone should have been suspended for making a video containing the slur at the age of 12. As Reason’s Matt Welch commented, “Linguistic intent no longer matters at The New York Times.” (Which is funny, because The New York Times has used the word in its pages 6,481 times.)

But the current flavor of “anti-racism,” as scholar John McWhorter writes in his book “The New Elect,” is, in fact, a “neoracist” construction designed to admit of no excuses or explanations. Guilt is assumed from the beginning.

McWhorter writes, “The revelation of racism is, itself and alone, the point, the intention, of this curriculum. As such, the fact that if you think a little, the tenets cancel one another out, is considered trivial. That they serve their true purpose of revealing people as bigots is paramount — sacrosanct, as it were.”

He adds: “All of this supposed wisdom is founded in an ideology under which white people calling themselves our saviors make black people look like the dumbest, weakest, most self-indulgent human beings in the history of our species and teach black people to revel in that status and cherish it as making us special.”

For academics playing word games, this is fun. For gangs of “woke” students — or Times employees, who have managed to “cancel” a series of the paper’s top writers recently — it can produce a feeling of enormous power and self-importance.

But if you’re Macron or any sensible European observer, seeing a United States in which playing the national anthem or displaying the flag is deemed “offensive” and “problematic,” in which professors are suspended or threatened for quoting Supreme Court opinions verbatim when they contain unapproved language and which has seen months of urban riots tearing apart some of America’s biggest cities, how could you not say “no thanks”? 

By its fruit the tree is known, and the fruits of woke leftism in the United States have been poisonous. No honest observer could claim that our campuses are friendlier, our cities healthier or our institutions more productive as a result of its introduction.

The defenders of woke theory say that France is becoming more diverse, and that’s why it needs more of the overt race-consciousness and blame-assignment that their theory provides. But, of course, France’s increased diversity is precisely why it’s right to shun a philosophy of race that is affirmatively based on racial name-calling, division and guilt-mongering.

In 2007, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that “the way to stop discrimination based on race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” But that approach is much too simple and straightforward for academics and offers no rewards in the form of books, workshops and lucrative “diversity consultant” gigs. An endlessly complicated scheme in which guilt is presumed and absolution can be purchased — only temporarily and at high cost — is infinitely more satisfying, to those doing the selling.

But selling is one thing. Who are the buyers? In America, virtually every large institution has signed up, though none appears to be flourishing as a result. But if the French aren’t buying it, well, who can blame them?

Glenn Harlan Reynolds is a professor of law at the University of Tennessee and founder of the InstaPundit.com blog.

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Opinion

US gets closer to normalcy — it’s absurd to paint it any other way

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US gets closer to normalcy — it's absurd to paint it any other way

New US COVID-19 cases are a quarter what they were six weeks ago, with the daily numbers dropping 15 percent to 25 percent a week. It’s time for the country to start moving rapidly to normalcy — restoring jobs and restoring lives. Caution is still in order, but only that.

Yet President Biden, after vowing the nation will have enough vaccine doses by July’s end to vaccinate every American, just said he only hopes for a return to normal by “next Christmas.” Huh?

“I don’t want to overpromise anything here,” “A year from now,” he told CNN, “I think that there’ll be significantly fewer people having to be socially distanced, having to wear a mask.” That’s not avoiding overpromising, as he claimed: It’s outright telling everyone to expect yet another year of economic and social devastation.

Biden’s chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, says the worst of the pandemic “might be” behind us. Yet he’s also telling Americans they’ll need to wear masks (maybe two at a time) at least through 2022 — even if they get vaccinated.

This is absurd: Our leaders should be nonstop pushing reluctant Americans to get jabbed so we can all get on with our lives.

Some point to variants — from Britain, South Africa, Brazil and now New York — as new reason for great concern. But though some of these strains have proven more contagious, none has proven more deadly.

Hospitalizations and deaths keep dropping, even as variants have gained ground: Deaths dropped 20 percent these last two weeks. The UK variant predominates in Britain, Switzerland, Denmark and Israel — and all are also seeing cases dive.

And the drug companies that (thanks to President Donald Trump ripping up red tape) developed life-saving vaccines at lightning speed are already testing updated versions that target the variants, though their “classic vax” still offers high protection against them.

And while America’s vaccination process has rolled out more slowly than it should’ve, it’s still moving inexorably along.

More than 13 percent of Americans have gotten at least one dose, and the majority are health-care workers or those in nursing homes or other high-risk settings.

Add to that the number of us estimated to have already been infected — 35 percent of Los Angeles County and more than half of Miami-Dade County, for example — and you can see why Johns Hopkins prof Marty Makary predicts we’ll have herd immunity by April.

And the most at-risk Americans have gained immunity. Data scientist Youyang Gu estimates that the number of “susceptible” Americans, those over 45 without immunity, has fallen from a third of the country at the start of the year to 10 percent or fewer now.

Cases in nursing homes fell more than 80 percent from late December to early February. When deaths spiked over the holidays, they actually fell at nursing homes.

But it’s the youngest Americans — least at risk of transmitting the virus or suffering badly from it — who must get their lives back immediately. At least 38,000 New York City teachers have been vaccinated, according to City Hall and the United Federation of Teachers.

Perhaps it’s just that normalcy makes it too hard to justify the rush to pass a $1.9 trillion “relief” bill filled with Democrats’ pet projects. We’d rather not think cynical politics is behind Biden’s gloom, but it’s hard to see any other reason he’s denying that the pandemic’s end is staring us in the face.

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NY City Council is pushing for a school-safety disaster

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NY City Council is pushing for a school-safety disaster

Some on the City Council aren’t satisfied with Mayor de Blasio’s vow to shift the school-security budget from the NYPD to the Department of Education: They want to pull the safety agents out of schools altogether.  

At a recent hearing, a furious Councilman Daneek Miller (D-Queens) rightly called the idea “absurd.” But Education Committee Chairman Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn), a former teacher and proud United Federation of Teachers member, loves it — saying the resources should go for more social workers and guidance counselors.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, meanwhile, claims the safety agents are an unaccountable force that has committed verbal, physical and sexual abuse of schoolchildren. And Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal (D-Manhattan and a candidate for Manhattan borough president), asked: “Why would we want anyone who is part of a paramilitary organization to be in our schools?”

Paramilitary? The agents are 90 percent black and Hispanic, 70 percent female and 100 percent unarmed — hardly the jack-booted thugs she pretends.

In the 2019-2020 school year, the system logged 288 major felony crimes in schools, ranging from rape to grand larceny, plus 976 other crimes, from assault to petit larceny. Switching to a force of social workers would see crime soar — though maybe not be reported.

Indeed, it’s an argument for keeping the agents firmly under the purview of the NYPD, an unparalleled public safety agency. When the DOE was last responsible for school safety, many school buildings had devolved into war zones.

At hearing, Greg Floyd, head of Teamsters Local 237, which represents the safety agents, noted, “School Safety Agents have been both hero and victim” in their work. They guided students in the evacuation of Stuyvesant HS on 9/11 and “saved a student from a vicious stabbing attack by four rival gang members” outside of a public school.

Action on this bill is likely ,as Council Speaker Corey Johnson — who’s reportedly mulling a run for Comptroller — is a co-sponsor.

Johnson, Williams and others support a “restorative justice” model for school safety that focuses on social and emotional support. The UFT should be using its heft to resist: The steady softening of school discipline codes that has brought a rise in disorder.

Kudos to Councilman Miller and his Queens colleagues Barry Grodenchik and Robert Holden, plus their GOP colleagues Steve Matteo, Joe Borelli and Eric Ulrich, for opposing the lunatic drive to eliminate school safety agents and put students, teachers and other school staff in danger.

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Letters to the Editor — Feb. 28, 2021

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Letters to the Editor — Feb. 28, 2021

‘Woke’ school rage
The discriminatory lawsuits reported by the Sunday Post should serve as just the starting point for what deserves to be the largest class-action suit in New York’s history (“ ‘Black’ balled,” Feb. 25).

Every taxpayer (especially the parents of students) who has ever ponied up a dime to support this pathetic, woke-based farce masquerading as a “Department of Education” should not only be refunded in full but be given damage compensation.

The city has failed spectacularly in providing even a trace of a basic education to the vast majority of its students. Discipline in the classroom? “Racist.” Precision and accuracy in writing? “White supremacy.” Standards for excellence? “A colonialist construction.”

One needs look no further than the edicts and aspirations of former Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and his imbecile boss to see what’s been wrought upon the city’s children and those who sincerely attempt to teach them. Disgraceful.
Anthony Parks
Garden City

Cop attack plea
Our new and enlightened federal administration has offered Urooj Rahman and Colinford Mattis a plea deal (“Van-bombing plea offer,” Feb. 23).

These two are lawyers, officers of the court, and they threw a Molotov cocktail into a police van. Is that not a worse offense than dressing like a Viking and storming the Capitol?

If anyone deserves a long stretch, these two misanthropes do. Left-wing lawyers are not automatically anointed as misguided or innocent. These are violent criminals.
Paul O’Keefe
Union City, NJ

Don’t rely on ‘czar’
So now this hapless moron of a mayor wants to appoint a “recovery czar” to bring the city’s businesses back to life (“Now He Wants To Save City Biz,” Feb. 23).

Once again, too little and very late. Asked why it took so long, Mayor de Blasio cited emergency issues that had to be dealt with first. Since street crime is out of control, the subways are treacherous to set foot in and the vaccine rollout has been a mess, what were the other emergencies he had to take care of?

Of course, the process will contain racial equity aspects that will result in some businesses remaining closed forever. All small businesses need to be helped, not just the ones he deems more important.
Robert DiNardo
Farmingdale

No Capitol justice
I am really glad that Miranda Devine is paying attention to the people who stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6 (“Left has a ‘law & order’ double standard,” Feb. 22).

Yes, it was wrong to do this, but how interesting that an anti-Trump activist who encouraged people to riot and trespassed himself was not only set free without bail but also given $75,000 from CNN for the footage. That is quite a payday.

Attorney General-designate Merrick Garland and President Biden say they will protect us from “white supremacists.” That will come as a great relief to the real terrorists. We are now living in a country where there is no equal protection under the law.
Catherine Adago
Manhattan

Fauci’s follies
Dr. Anthony Fauci says we now need to wear two masks (“Masking may go into 2022,” Feb. 23).

He can’t decide whether grandparents who are vaccinated can visit their grandchildren, and says Americans will be wearing masks until 2022.

Everybody wanted to hear his opinion, even though his opinions keep changing. The damage that following his advice has done is mind-boggling.
John Habersberger
New Paltz

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