McWhorter Antiracism our Flawed New Religion

Third wave anti-racism The Atlantic

Taking the longer, academic view, Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, in their 2015 monograph Inventing the Future, identify the rise since the 1960s of what they term “folk politics,” which reduces the complexity of politics down to human-level grievance, elevating protest over planning and wedge issues over platforms.

The new quest, then, will focus to a new degree on how people think. Blight notes that even in Douglass’s time, his “message to whites, therefore, was morally change yourselves. The new order was as much for whites to give as it was for blacks to take.” That facet of the quest has taken center stage since. The historian Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn has noted that after the 1960s, in civil rights “the desired goal was no longer civic equality and participation, but individual psychic well-being.” This would include that of black people as well as nonblack ones, with their racist bias qualifying as a kind of mental imbalance in itself, as thinkers from Douglass through James Baldwin have taught.

#1 on Atlantic June 1

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