The following comes from a Feb. 20 posting on the stmarycoldcase blog.
I ran into this piece in City Journal by Heather MacDonald, one of the more thoughtful writers in the past two decades:
The Jussie Smollett case, in which a young black, gay actor has apparently concocted a tale of being attacked by two white men wearing MAGA hats and shouting anti-gay slurs, is just the latest example of how desperately media elites want to confirm their favored narrative about America: that the country is endemically and lethally racist, sexist, and homophobic, and that the election of Donald Trump both proves and reinforces such bigotry.The truth: as instances of actual racism get harder and harder to find, the search to find such bigotry becomes increasingly frenzied and unmoored from reality.
This is simply a respectable restatement of the more irreverent YouTube opinions I cited yesterday: there are so few actual racists that Smollett and the complicit media had to outsource the role of white racists to Nigerian actors. MacDonald ties this, as many have, to the Covington hoax:
The Smollett case is a rerun of the Covington hoax, which mobilized an identical longing on the part of the media and political elites to confirm the narrative of American racism, now exacerbated in the era of Trump. Native American activist Nathan Phillips concocted an outright lie about his interaction with the Covington Catholic High School students, and he, too, became an instant, revered celebrity. Then as now, public figure after public figure announced that MAGA hats were the very symbol of white supremacy.
Separately, Nick Sandmann’s family has sued the Washington Post for $250 million. Again, let’s not forget that a number of Catholic bishops joined in the media pile on. Bishop of Lexington John Stowe hasn’t retracted these remarks:
I am ashamed that the actions of Kentucky Catholic high school students have become a contradiction of the very reverence for human life that the march is supposed to manifest.
Er, they stood calmly waiting for their buses home while not responding to provocative actions from two groups of agitators? But Stowe gets to the real meat of his argument farther down:
This past November, the U.S. Catholic bishops issued their first pastoral letter on racism since 1979.This letter speaks of the structural kind of racism that has worked itself into the fabric of our nation. It describes the unspeakable sins from the slave trade in which the Church was itself complicit as well as the sins of national policies that deprived Native Americans of their lands and livelihood. The pastoral letter describes racism as a “life” issue; that perspective needs to become part of our educational curriculum. Students must grapple with this history and ask themselves how they are going to live differently.
The problem I see here is that there’s a respectable body of opinion, which MacDonald represents, that says there’s an elite narrative that the US is “endemically and lethally racist, sexist, and homophobic, and that the election of Donald Trump both proves and reinforces such bigotry”. Thus the grave moral defect Bp Stowe sees with schoolboys wearing MAGA hats that they lightheartedly bought from Washington street vendors on a field trip.
It’s more and more apparent to me that Bp Barron, speaking on behalf of the USCCB in bringing up the same November 2018 letter, is aligning himself with Bp Stowe. But isn’t Bp Barron an auxiliary in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, one of the most diverse anywhere? Wasn’t his boss, Abp Gómez, born in Mexico? Does Bp Barron even look around in the nave when he visits his parishes?
Kentucky, of course, stayed out of the Confederacy during the US Civil War, which was fought over the “unspeakable sins” that Stowe mentions. What, precisely, should the Covington Catholic boys have done differently, other than possibly not wear MAGA hats? How, more precisely, would Bp Stowe urge the boys to “live differently” other than this? Are they attending segregated schools? Do they ride on segregated buses? Have they in fact bullied or harassed anyone on a racial basis? Have they gone to a lynching? Or is it just that they have to deal with some vague endemic racism, and maybe more to the point, “homophobia”, which the gay movement that Stowe supprts seeks to link with racism?
Legally sanctioned racism, in the form of miscegnation laws, segregation in public facilities, and segregation in schools had disappeared by the 1960s, largely in fact during the Republican Eisenhower administration. “Racism” as now defined consists almost entirely of presumptive “dog whistles” and microaggressions. One anecdote that’s come from the Smollett case is that the Nigerians, hired to wear MAGA hats for the staged “attack” on Smollett, could not find such hats for sale in liberal Chicago and had to settle for ordinary red ones without lettering.
Indeed, legally sanctioned “homophobia” disappeared with the abolition of sodomy laws. So far, Church teaching still supports traditional marriage, so this, at least for a Catholic, is not “homophobia”. What do Bps Stowe and Barron now think “homophobia”, on a par with “racism”, consists of? What do the Covington boys need to do to change their lives over it?
There’s another agenda now at work, which includes linking “homophobia” to “racism”, effectively hitchhiking a movement of privileged individuals already in the elite onto the prestige of the black civil rights movement, an entirely different thing. When the USCCB, Bp Stowe, and now unfortunately Bp Barron, say “racism”, I think they really mean “homophobia” — racism is a dead letter and has been for generations. For that matter, the same applies to “homophobia”. What’s the real agenda here?
Bp Barron and the other bishops who endorse this view are doing it, I think, to preserve their careers and avoid controversy. Isn’t this another way to say worldliness?
We need better bishops.