'We Know What They Want To Say'

'We Know What They Want To Say'

We’ve reached the part of America’s red-pilling where any time anything bad happens anywhere in the world, it reinforces the legitimacy of white supremacy. 

That’s right folks. Any time a plane crashes or a train derails or – as happened in Baltimore this week – a bridge collapses after being mowed down by an enormous freighter ship, fault can be squarely placed on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs meant to diversify schools and government agencies and workforces. 

Opponents of DEI programs, headed by anti-diversity kingpin Elon Musk (who has recently dipped his toes into the fraught waters of the ethnic minority skull sizes) point to any catastrophe at home or abroad and say in one voice: If a white person had been in charge, this would not have happened. This tragedy, they say, could have been avoided if we simply abided by the principles of white supremacy. 

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They don’t actually say this, of course, for these people are experts at obfuscation, an effective part of the bad-faith formula that ensures they cannot be pinned down by the left. Exceedingly few right wingers who instantly and without a shred of evidence pin tragedies on folks of color outright say whites are superior and should be in positions of power. In this way, DEI has become the newest dog whistle in the right’s everlasting mission to use slurs without really saying them. These are the same people, after all, who have a conniption anytime artificial intelligence generates an image of a black person, and who spend untold time and resources crafting AI that will be sufficiently racist, and therefore a reinforcement mechanism for their warped and vicious and hideous worldview. 

The same goes for woke: A catchall term the American right coopted from the Civil Rights movement that ended up as a rhetorical attack against anything related to brown and black people. Despite having next-to-no political potency for Republicans, “woke” continues to be a stand-in for whatever nasty term conservatives want to use but do not use for fear of exposing themselves as white supremacists. Right wingers’ constant scrambling to find stand-in words and phrases for what they really want to say about people of color always reminds me of this classic clip from “The Good Fight.” 

"I'll say it with you."

As authorities scrambled this week in response to the collapse of Baltimore’s Key Bridge, the right had two contributions: Spreading conspiracy theories that China had been behind the bridge collapse through some kind of cyber terrorism they saw on a TV show one time – a theory untethered from reality that just so happens to hurt Joe Biden – and having complete meltdowns over the mayor of Baltimore and the governor of Maryland both being black men. 

Ah, they said. This explains it. The DEI mayor and governor failed to stop a freighter from smashing into a bridge in the middle of the might because, you see, they are black. Calling Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and Maryland Governor Wes Moore “DEI officials” – a breathtakingly insulting term – implies that they neither earned their lofty positions nor are they capable of running their city and state the Right Way. After all, a boat had crashed into a bridge. Follow the implication and it doesn’t take long to get to the point of all this anti-DEI hysteria: Moore and Scott did not or could not execute their job requirements because they are black. 

Scott, for his part, did not hold back when reporters asked him about conservatives on X – including some elected representatives – blaming the bridge disaster on undeserving and unqualified black officials in Baltimore and Maryland at large. 

"Listen, I know, we all know, and you know very well that Black men and young Black men in particular have been the boogeyman for those who are racist and think that only straight wealthy white men should have a say in anything," Scott said.  "What they mean by DEI, in my opinion, is duly elected incumbent. We know what they want to say, but they don't have the courage to say the N-word, and the fact that I don't believe in their untruthful and wrong ideology ... scares them."

A conservative would kick and scream and say no, this is not what I mean. You are being ungenerous with your interpretation of my analysis of the Key Bridge collapse. You are calling me a racist when I never said any of those things; I only said that DEI had caused his bridge disaster. How dare you imply anything beyond that! 

The faith, as you know, has never been worse.

Stripping 'Those People' Of Power

Joe Rogan, host of the most popular podcast in human history, recently said he would be forced to vote for Donald Trump again in 2024 because, as he put it, President Biden was unable to perform the basic functions of his job and had put his staff and administration in charge of the country. Rogan said he could not trust “those people” to run a Ben & Jerry's, much less the American empire.

We know what Rogan meant, for he was referring to the most diverse administration in the country’s history. But his language was vague enough so that no one could straightforwardly accuse him of a racist statement. Rogan and other far-right influencers are slippery like that. In the meantime, Rogan and his ilk will continue to oppose “those people” being in charge of anything, anywhere in the country. 

For Rogan and his ivermectin-ingesting sycophants, the mere image of a person of color in power makes no sense. It does not compute with their view of how the world should operate. They go haywire. How could a brown or black person rise to such heights? There must be an answer. And so DEI steps in and explains it all. Diversity programs, they imply, have interrupted the natural order. Even if Rogan-heads dislike Donald Trump's authoritarian leanings (they don't), they can suck it up and vote for Donny because they know his administration will be run by white supremacists. The world can make sense again if only "those people" are booted from seats of power.

Opposing DEI – a policy meant to give chances to historically marginalized groups – a nice little bad-faith shield against accusations of racism and bigotry. Another barely-veiled implication of opposing any and all pro-diversity efforts is that remedies for racism have gone too far and are not needed six decades after the Civil Rights movement secured some basic rights for black Americans. The implication is that these remedies, as applied a quarter of the way through the 21st century, act not as an evening of the playing field, but as a racist tool against white Americans. It would be laughable conjecture if it were siloed in the ugliest corners of Elon Musk’s white supremacist social media app. We could all point and laugh and say wow, what an idiot you must be to believe diversity programs in corporations and government have turned white folks into victims of a vast racist infrastructure. We could laugh and laugh and laugh, and encourage Elon sycophants to read a single book.

Unfortunately the belief that current diversity programs trample the basic rights of white Americans has congealed into a hideous legal theory that permeates the federal courts and has served as useful bad-faith cover for the Supreme Court’s far-right justices to take a pickaxe to diversity programs in U.S. colleges and universities. That Clarence Thomas has become the face of this anti-diversity cabal is a touch of bad-faith magic – one that makes it nearly impossible to explain to normies blissfully unaware of the right’s legal tactics. The weaponization of the 14th Amendment will continue until morale improves, and all vestiges of the Civil Rights movement have been expunged from society. 

The anti-diversity discourse reached a fever pitch this month when former CNN anchor Don Lemon interviewed Musk for whatever grifter online show Lemon is doing now. 

Lemon pointed out the inherent racism in linking DEI programs to catastrophes, to which Musk – the smartest man alive, the real-life Tony Stark with a reconstructed hairline and a ketamine prescription – countered that his X followers had presented plenty of evidence proving diversity efforts had had disastrous consequences because standards have been lowered to accommodate folks of color. The implication has its roots in the most vile and violent forms of racism.

“I think we should treat people according to their skills and integrity,” Musk said, avoiding what he meant, obscuring his racist stance in the most bad-faith way possible.

Follow Denny Carter on BlueSky at @cdcarter13.bsky.social and on Threads and X at @CDCarter13.