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Racial politics

Liberals will regret racialising politics

A sign in Mississippi in 1961. William Lovelace/Daily/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty

The man accused of shooting dead 10 people in a black neighbourhood in Buffalo, New York, earlier this month was apparently motivated by the Great Replacement Theory, says Andrew Sullivan in The Weekly Dish. This is the conspiracy that a shadowy, Jewish global elite is deliberately encouraging mass non-white immigration to dilute the voting power of white Americans. The idea that there’s some secret plot to “dilute the ‘whiteness’ of America” is, of course, bonkers. But only because “there is nothing secret about it at all”. Liberals have been openly pining for more minorities – and thus, they think, more Democratic votes – for decades. New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg has talked of “an embittered white conservative minority” clinging to power, “terrified at being swamped by a new mulitracial polyglot majority”. When it emerged that the number of white people in America was falling, left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore declared it the “best day ever in US history”.

None of these liberals seemed concerned “that the thesis could boomerang on them”. Did they not worry, as they effectively told white Americans to “hurry up and die”, that those Americans might start acting like a minority and vote cohesively as one block? That racialising politics this aggressively might actually “help create and legitimise a racially white party”? This is not to defend the Great Replacement Theory, with its “rancid anti-Semitism” and racial essentialism. But liberals have to accept some blame for the racialisation of politics. And as the writer Thomas Chatterton Williams has warned: “So long as we fetishise race, we ensure that we will never be rid of the hierarchies it imposes.”