Beware Those Who Would Reduce America's Multicolor Landscape to Black and White | Opinion

It's easy to shrug off the story of the city of Seattle's efforts last month to address racism as just another quirky anomaly in these unsettled times.

But Americans do so at our peril.

The City's Office of Civil Rights gathered white employees for a mandatory session entitled "Interrupting Internalized Racial Superiority and Whiteness." A researcher who reviewed the curriculum noted that the instructor taught that all "white people have internalized a sense of racial superiority, which has made them unable to access their [own] 'humanity' and [has] caused 'harm and violence' to people of color."

Does anyone remember Martin Luther King Jr.?

"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character," so said Rev. King.

That's so 20th century.

The extreme social justice makeover in 2020 turns Rev. King's words on their head and the martyred civil rights icon and Nobel Peace Prize recipient may very well be rolling over in his grave.

The taxpayer-funded program in Seattle makes it clear that every white person is less than human because every single one of them is down-deep-inside a racist and therefore an inherent danger to people of color.

Being born white is the woke generation's original sin. The list of demands to get out of white, racist purgatory are quite daunting:

  • Forget truth. It doesn't count; feelings do.
  • A person's personal dreams must make way for groupthink.
  • History must be erased to be replaced by authentic socialists like Karl Marx.
  • Collective memory must take a knee to intersectionality—connecting dots by fiat not fact.
  • Traditional morality—a racist vestige best forgotten by the old and then unlearned by the young.
  • Police? Defund them.
  • Law and order— a vicious concept leveraged to enslave people of color

This unfolding scenario, lathered with street protests, riots, violence and spiking crime, is music to the ears of Putin, Xi and the Ayatollah but should deeply trouble Americans—conservatives and liberals alike.

A wounded and divided America, riven with crime and talk of a new socialist-led day, should serve as a wake-up call for the (so far) too-silent-majority to act.

For starters, we need a quick refresher course on bloody lessons of the 20th century—with its Nazi Holocaust, Soviet gulag, Mao's China, Pol Pot's Cambodia, North Korea, wars across the Middle East, genocides in Africa and Islamist fascists in Iran.

If there is a common denominator, it is that the perpetrators always cast their enemies as less than human, deserving and getting no mercy.

Today's cultural (read "cancel") revolution delivers its poison via social media. So that children of Holocaust survivors can be lectured about "white Jewish privilege," never mind that six million Jews weren't white enough for the white Aryan supremacist Nazis.

And woe to anyone who dares condemn the organization Black Lives Matter, whose founding manifesto seeks to deconstruct the American family and labels Israel an apartheid state.

So where do the normal gather? Around what banner do they rally?

Dare we say "All Lives Matter?"

Yes, as long as we mean it, no matter who we vote for, and as long as it's not used as a cop-out to deny the very real racism African-Americans and other minorities are still confronted with every day. It means not coddling bigotry from any source.

It means conservatives taking on the David Dukes and liberals taking on the Louis Farrakhans.

Religious and faith leaders also must awaken from their self-induced coma.

Let's put some meat on the bones of the Judeo-Christian ideals.

Yes, we believe that despite our diversity and uniqueness, all human beings are equal bearers of the image of G-d, what the Book of Genesis calls Tzelem-Elohim. For that reason, groupthink is a terrible parody of individual thought and faith; equality and diversity are divine ideas.

Police Rally
A counter-protester holds a sign while police officers stand behind barriers during a rally in support of police in front of City Hall on July 15 in Seattle, Washington. Stephen Brashear/Getty

Christians and Jews cannot concede to a vision of the world (or our cities) that favors one ethnicity or race above another—nor can we concede to the idea that all human beings should see the world the same way. The rabbis were right when they said, "Just as no two faces are alike, neither are two minds alike!"

Those who demand the rejection of one's own identity in exchange for an "anti-racist" badge are racists themselves, and those who demand a rigid orthodoxy that "cancels" all those who see the world differently are hardly righteous. They are, in effect warning, "If you don't agree with me, you do not deserve to exist."

As Bari Weiss said this week as she resigned from The New York Times, "A new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn't a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else."

Weiss is right. Those who make such demands aren't far removed from some of the ideas that eventually animated Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao. They are the ideas which imprison a million Uyghurs in "re-education camps" and are beginning to crush all free thinking—and freedom itself—in Hong Kong.

For nearly 30 years, the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles has taught its seven million visitors, including 130,000 law enforcement officers, that the "tools for tolerance" are personal responsibility, critical thinking and mutual respect.

We never thought they were revolutionary ideas. The mobs may have proved us wrong.

Like MLK, the America we believe in sees diversity and individualism as requirements for a truly just and tolerant society—with a little help from our Creator to ultimately choose the right path forward.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the associate dean and director of the Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rev. Johnnie Moore is the president of the Congress of Christian Leaders. Their forthcoming book on Nigeria with Harper Collins is entitled The Next Jihad.

The views expressed in this article are the authors' own.