The phenomenon surfaces frequently in human affairs, but it is nonetheless perplexing and mind-numbingly frustrating every time it does. It usually follows a public statement or performance by one of society's elites – the famous, the celebrated, the revered – where the average citizen is left confounded by the awareness that somehow, some way, that person has made it big.
How did Miley Cyrus become a thing?
How did Kevin Costner ever land an acting role?
How did anyone ever think that Fergie was a capable vocalist?
How did Joe Biden ever get elected to public office?
And now the most modern iteration of the spectacle: how did Ibram X. Kendi ever become recognized as an expert or thinker on, well, anything? I mean, seriously:
Evolutionary psychologist Gad Saad had perhaps the best response:
Now, Kendi is far from the only person to ever publicly flub a response to an easy question. But what remains inexplicable is that he may be the only one who gets paid millions of dollars to produce this kind of claptrap consistently. Everyone cringes at Miley's latest attention grab, mocks Costner's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves accent, parodies Fergie's NBA All-Star Game national anthem massacre, and shares hilarious montages of Biden's prejudiced and buffoonish gaffes.
But for some reason, Kendi's tongue-tied, "racism is the thing that racists do" definition continually gets applauded as a sort of penetrating insight.
Honestly, watching all this makes Kendi's harsh criticism of capitalism even more confusing. In his opus "How to be an Anti-Racist," Kendi declares that "capitalism is essentially racist and racism is essentially capitalist." Unsurprisingly he offers no definitive proof or substantive basis for the claim, nor does he thoughtfully compare the incidence of racism in capitalist countries to those in non-capitalist ones. He merely says that the markets don't allow a level playing field and thus the entire school of economic thought must be inherently racist.
It is staggeringly poor scholarship, but for a man who has become exceedingly wealthy through an elaborate capitalist grift alone, it's galling. If ever a man should be grateful for the excesses of capitalism, it's Kendi. Where else can you make millions by declaring the equivalent of, "Water is a liquid that has the characteristics of water?"
But in the end, my main objection isn't to Kendi himself. He's just financially striking while the cultural iron is hot. The most expedient solution to exploitation often rests in awakening the exploited rather than shaming the exploiter into changing his ways.
And to that end, I would merely suggest to those so desperate to regard Kendi a racial savant, that there is far more clarity and meaning about our race dilemmas in the pages of God's Holy Scriptures than you will ever find in a Q&A with a credentialed conman.
- All humans are descendants of Adam (Gen 10, Acts 17, Rom 5)
- All humans are immutably corrupt (Gen 6, Jer 25, Rom 3)
- All humans are presented with the same divine instruction (2 Sam 7, John 3, Matt 7, Rom 1)
- All humans are "one kind" or "one race" (Gen 1, Gen 5, Gen 11, 1 Cor 15)
- No distinction exists, racial or otherwise, for those in Christ (Joel 2, Acts 2, Acts 15, Rom 2, Rom 3, Rom 5, 1 Cor 15, Gal 3, Eph 6)
Racism then is not only ungodly, but it is foolish – the consequence of rebellion to God and His moral authority and good order. There is no justification for the belief in the ontological superiority or inferiority of one "lump of clay" over another.
A mind properly centered on divine truth would not struggle so appallingly to offer a cogent, accurate, and concise definition of the sin of racism. It would articulate, quite simply, that racism is the volitional hatred of those who bear the image of God on the unwarranted and arbitrary basis of manmade constructs of ethnicity, geography, or background.
So why can't men like Kendi offer such objective answers? One, because as proponents of a neo-racism themselves, they are in rebellion to God. And two, because an imprecise, nebulous definition allows for the necessary addition of further offense under the umbrella of "racism" when the victimhood well begins to run dry.
And that's Kendi's main concern. It's why nameless, faceless, systemic racism is the game, rather than specific examples that can be addressed and corrected. The goal of Kendi's anti-racism is not to create fewer victims of racism, it's to create more. And that's exactly what will happen until those being fleeced catch on.