US academics say ‘professionalism’ is racist, but what does that even mean?

Robert Bridge

Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is the author of ‘Midnight in the American Empire,’ How Corporations and Their Political Servants are Destroying the American Dream. @Robert_Bridge

Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is the author of ‘Midnight in the American Empire,’ How Corporations and Their Political Servants are Destroying the American Dream. @Robert_Bridge

US academics say ‘professionalism’ is racist, but what does that even mean?

US academics say ‘professionalism’ is racist, but what does that even mean?

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At this point in history, it seems most of the mundane activities that many Americans once happily took for granted are actually evidence of racism lurking in the hearts of white people. From taking the dog for a walk around the neighborhood, to practicing yoga, and even to suggesting that 2+2=4 – all are manifestations of the pale-faced tribe exerting its age-old privilege while keeping a polite distance from minorities. Now we can add yet another regrettable trait to the white man portfolio: professionalism.

In an online seminar entitled ‘Is Professionalism a Racist Construct?’, administrators from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis argue that the term ‘professionalism’ is actually coded language for reinforcing white favoritism in the workplace.  

Jewel D. Stafford, director of the Racial Equity Fellowship Program at Brown, breaks down the “top five” characteristics of “professionalism” that are believed to underpin “white supremacy culture.’ They are: perfectionism (“if you make a mistake, you are a mistake”), a sense of urgency (“not taking the time to be inclusive and with democratic decision-making”), defensiveness (“criticism of those with power is viewed as rude and threatening”), a desire for quantity over quality (“If it can’t be measured it has no value”), and worship of the written word (“if it’s not written down, it doesn’t exist”).

Although these individual categories may accurately describe the modus operandi of many organizations and workplaces, can they really be attributed solely to “white supremacy culture?” With regards to perfectionism, for example, it would seem that most people strive for a high degree of performance on the job. But to suggest that white people expect nothing short of a flawless performance in every endeavor is a gross exaggeration that itself borders on a form of racist thinking.

One thing that is becoming painfully obvious with these ongoing efforts to portray America as a closet full of clansmen is the paucity of proof. This time is no exception. In an effort to demonstrate that white folks are a ruthless clan, unable to accept anything less than first place, the seminar cuts away to a scene at some Olympic Games, where a white news reporter is interviewing a black athlete who just won a silver medal in the downhill slope jump.

“Well, there you have it. Quinta, a silver medalist, it’s gotta hurt, but she’s tried her best out here,” remarks the reporter, to which Quinta responds: “I sure did. Listen, I’m at the Olympics and I got second place. What place did you get today?”

That news clip is the only proof given that this ghost of white supremacy – with its intolerance towards Olympic silver medalists – is haunting the American house. What’s worse, however, is that the news clip is a total fabrication, a parody starring black female comedian Quinta Brunson as the disrespected athlete. If the United States – a country founded on immigration – is really teeming with racism, shouldn’t it be rather easy for academics to find real-life examples instead of resorting to comedy skits? I may be criticized as a white man for saying so, but that comes off as rather… unprofessional.

Something else about this presentation that may have taken some by surprise was the attention given to hair, and how this is purportedly yet another form of discrimination against black people. This belief has led to the creation of the so-called 2019 CROWN Act, which is legislation that has already been passed in 12 US states to end discrimination based on a person’s hairstyle. So what sort of study do the Brown School educators mention to support this claim? Just one, and it was carried out by the Dove Company, a subsidiary of the British consumer goods empire Unilever that focuses on beauty products.

In its study on hair discrimination, Dove, the shampoo people with absolutely no conflict of interest here, found that “81% of Black girls in majority-white schools say they sometimes wish their hair was straight.” In another statistic, it is alleged that “100% Black elementary school girls in majority-white schools who report experiencing hair discrimination state they experience the discrimination by the age of 10.”

While it is not impossible to imagine incidences of some white children making remarks about the hairstyle of a black girl, for example, it seems the whole notion of ‘hair discrimination’ as a sub-category of ‘professionalism’ may be taking the situation a bit too far. First of all, how can anyone ascertain that a decision has been made one way or another with regards to somebody’s hairstyle? At the very least, this legislation opens up the door to an onslaught of future lawsuits.

Imagine that two people – a black woman with long braids and a white guy with a short back and sides- are competing for a job as an airline pilot. In an ideal world, the position would be filled by the applicant – male or female, black or white – who possesses the most experience and qualifications to perform the job. Today, however, with airlines enforcing ‘equity and diversity’ policies throughout the industry, qualifications are at risk of taking a backseat to quotas. In any case, how many interviewers will be willing to take the risk of rejecting a black woman for a job if they know that such a decision may land them in court on charges of ‘hair discrimination’?

In closing, I’d like to mention a little anecdotal evidence as to why the whole notion of “professionalism as a symptom of white supremacy” is rubbish brought artificially to life in the hothouse of academia and disseminated by a broken media.

Before getting my start in journalism, I worked with AT&T in Pittsburgh for seven years in the customer relations department. This was about 25 years ago, when the woke movement was unheard of and comedians could crack jokes about race and nobody got offended. All things considered, it was a much healthier time.

Our office was composed of about 200 people, split almost evenly between black and white employees, who worked together in individual cubicles with shoulder-high walls separating everyone. In other words, the perfect laboratory conditions for determining how people from different races get along. Despite the racist rhetoric of ‘white supremacy’ and ‘hair discrimination’ that the media is tirelessly peddling today, none of that was heard of 25 years ago. The people from both races took their lunch breaks together outside of the office, and socialized after work, while I personally know that life-long friendships were forged.

This all-American Fortune 500 company, which was essentially the same as any other US workplace, promoted black employees into supervisory positions just as much as white employees, and possibly even more. At the same time, the entire office understood what was meant by ‘professionalism’, and you either performed the task required of you, or eventually you’d be looking for another job. Racism existed, of course, as it always will, but it was not the mainstream all-pervasive bogeyman that the establishment is aiming to make it today.

Currently, the progressive liberals, firmly entrenched in both politics and academia, are deliberately driving a wedge between the various groups that make up American society. Personally, I can only guess they are doing the bidding of the elite, who desire nothing more than for racial tensions to overshadow class tensions. Considering that the United States has witnessed the greatest wealth transfer in recent times amid the pandemic, I would imagine that the fake news of ‘white supremacy’ will only grow louder over time. 

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.


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