How Does Anti-Racism Hurt Black People? – John McWhorter | Modern Wisdom Podcast 390

John McWhorter is a linguist, associate professor of linguistics at Columbia University and an author.

The last 5 years has seen race become a primary flash point for culture, news, protests, social justice, hiring, firing, media and politics. But why have race relations come back to the forefront and who is driving this new religion of Woke Racism forward?

Expect to learn what John McWhorter thinks of White Fragility and How To Be An Anti-Racist, whether cultural appropriation is an actual thing, how anti-racism actually hurts black people, why black people are attracted to a movement that treats them like simpletons, the problem with the concept of “whiteness” and much more…

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00:00 Intro
03:42 The Woke Obsession with Race
12:27 John’s Reaction to White Fragility
18:18 How Anti-Racism Harms Black People
29:22 Connotations of Whiteness
36:12 Is Cultural Appropriation Absurd?
44:43 Black Lives Matter Vs BLM
49:23 Where to Find John

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Written by Chris Williamson


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  1. John McWhorter is the best. He’s everything good coming from and about a linguistic foundation. He’s everything Noam Chomsky should have been but wasn’t. Yes, I’m saying John WcWhorter is a superior linguist, intellectual and superior societal “analyst” to Noam Chomsky. And McWhorter is not a completely biased “activist”. A true brain. Mr. McWhorter himself might contradict my praise, as he’s actually humble, but I stand by it.

  2. Portraying yourself as a victim feels good not only because it gives a sense of absolution and significance, it also gives a sense of power in being able to get people to do what you want by making them feel guilty.

  3. This is a gentleman with whom real progress could be made. Knowledge with a since of the world. I may not agree with everything he has to say, but I can certainly respect his opinions and would welcome an open debate.

  4. I as a black woman don’t want people to think of me as eternally downtrodden and a perpetual victim, that makes me weak and I’m not. Nor am I stupid or need help. I don’t understand why people want to be thought of that way.

  5. This is a funny discussion. PC and Woke became wat they eventually became because the ideologies behind their existance was and is bankrupt. Once the bankruptcy was identified the cat was out of the bag and people recognized what those expressions stood for. John bemoans not being able to use PC or Woke and states that these terms got worn out and abused, but the reality is they can continue to be used as they now correctly identify the failings of the ideologies that brought them into common usage.

  6. So let's all take a second and truly appreciate the hypocrisy and stupidity of this country. Racism has been responsible for stolen land from Native Americans, for the kidnapping, rape, tourture murder, buying and selling human beings for profit for 250plus years in chattel slavery. Racism also responsible for thousands of lynchings, beatings, people being water hosed and dog-bitten. Racism is also responsible for laws, policy and legislation being written and passed with the sole purpose of denial and exclusion. But according to McWhorter (and others like him) what is really tearing at the fabric of America is, wait for it…ANTI-RACISM. I cannot make this shit up…FUCKING HILARIOUS, SMH!

  7. I don't understand how cutting police coverage is supposed to be good for black neighborhoods. The majority of black people aren't criminals–I doubt that grandma he mentioned is a cat burglar. So you might be benefiting that minority of twisted f$cks who want to prey on others–and statistically most criminals prey on their own race, right? So you maybe save the life (temporarily) of one criminal a decade, and you let more of them run around loose enjoying themselves, but MOST people in that community are going to be yelling "Help, I'm getting murdered, can anyone find me a baseball bat?" all day, and their health is going to suffer from worrying about getting attacked all the time. How is that helping?

  8. Identitarians of colour castigate conservative people of colour – calling them race traitors for not supporting their race based groups ( although they call anyone conservative / rightwing if they dont support the identity politcs even if they endorse socialist policies , ignoring the fact that left and right wing is supposed to refer to ideas about economic systems but the woke have warped definitions of words as part of the assault on civilisation ) .

    Yet having lots of money is what is usually referred to as the signifier of success and conferring privilege : the identitarians of colour are lamenting their lack of this or want more of it – that's what they want

    Idpol is fuelled by the politcs of envy – which Is the eternal problem amongst those who would purport to be leftwing : they dont just want more economic fairness and achieved through democratic means – they want to BE the rich and powerful – the ones " more equal than others "

    SO , the difference between race grifters and conservatives of colour is the latter are not demonising white people ie not being racist , deeming white people as being the obstacle to them pursuing their wealth.

    The race activists' talk of white supremacy is the same as hitlers talk of a Jewish conspiracy

    Identitarians of colour are fascists

    The difference between BLM Patrice Cullors and white supremacist is that the latter don't espouse equal weath distribution while spewing racist hate and aren't enabled by the establishment unlike Cullors has , who has earnt her fortune from this


    The way PC people use the term white privilege implies discrimination aginst PoC is legally enforced – in the West it is NOT ! And they imply if a white person is racially abusive to someone that its endorsed by all other white people which is itself anti white racism

    The most GROTESQUE inequality in wealth is between peeople of differnt ECONOMIC CLASSES WORLDWIDE – NOT between people of different shades shapes or anything else

    having MONEY that means people can get best legal or medical help if they suffer anything

    The ""marginalised" identitarians gaslight about power of money

    No it's not worse if a person suffer poverty or abuse just because an identifier

    identitarians of colour belittle the " lived – and death – experience " of white people

    Anti white racism is the " right " racism according to PC ideologues that's the racism being institutionalised now

    Different apects of people afford them " privilege " relative to a context .


    Of course the Tories are dishonest about caring for white working class but point is race activists been complicit with deflecting from the fundamental economic class factor accounting for worst discrepencies between people by focusing on colour : they have been fomenting divide and rule enabling the rabid capitalist regimes .

    The race activist say theres still the differnce in employment between black and white regardless of school grades – implying ALL the jobs white peole are doing are top paid : the majority of people are WORKING POOR because the vile extremist economic system !

    Idntitrains are selective with whom they compare " their" peoples situation to complain of inequality . Idpol is fuelled by politics of envy – its fascism


    The PC race activists tacitly victim-blame white working class people but make excuses for PoC : taunting white working class people with myth of meritocracy – eg that poster " failed at life so you blame immigants " – when people criticise open door immigration which doesnt mean they demonise people who immigrate – but telling PoC they are hopelessly oppressed by white people

    They simply blame the " oppressive others " ignoring how your " own " can drag you down .

    Identitrians of colour deem white peeol as being at the root of troubles for PoC

    In fact it's the white PC ideologues are complicit with foment a racist cynicism about society in PoC that leads to mainly young men of colour who are descendant of post WW2 immigration / of slaves in USA – to rebel from hopelessness and put their OWN head in the noose . No – NOT helpful .

    Anti white racism is the " right " racism according to PC ideologues ' that's the racism being institutionalised now.

    Idpol enables divide and rule of working class maintains the rabid capitalist system .

    " marginalised " identitarians dont reject the system , simply lament their position in it : they are selective with whom they compare the situation of " their " people to complain of inequality .

    Only a minority of the MAJORITY populace in ANY nation are at the top of the pyramid by definition! Idpol is fuelled by the politics of envy .

    Rich identitrians of colour spouting how " we " are oppressed – STILL not seeing THEMSELVES as privileged demonstrates a repugnant ungrateful attitude betraying a sense of entitlement .

    They indulge their self-pity about how hard they had it to get to where they are – implying every white person has had it easy to get to similar position – and that it was ONLY white people l obstructing them and NO white person EVER helping them : its grotesque.

    Identitarians are fascists – pointing " over there " warning " their " people that the " others " are ever only and worst threat to " their " people

    ALL working class should have a healthy cynicim about the capitalist system : ALL working class ARE treated equally by ruling class – like SHIT – their chances equally shit


    Race activist make themselves sound stupid becaue their self centred ego when accusing certain white people of being white supremacist implying they care about all other white people ! they care about themselves and happen to be white ! And the black identitarians and other identitarians eg feminists gay – are the same.

    Idpol is fascism : fuelled by a " my people right or wrong " mentality" , involving self appointed tribunes pointing " over " there warning " their " people that the others are ever only and worst threat to them manipulating people for egotistic self-serving purposes

    So its meaningless to accuse them of being racist sexist etc they are simply sociopaths

    Idpol is not advancing standards of humanity and principles of justice by which all individuals are protected and held accountable to

    We have laws against undue discrimination against PoC : the race activists are intimating that this isnt fact and that any negative event exprienced by a black person wher a white person is involved eg white Police officer , white job interviewer – is always motivated by colour and any that is is endorsed by all white peeople which is itself anti white racist

    Misanthropy is a problem in the world whatever the MOTIVATING factor for a person to perpetrate abuse .

  9. mom & dad were both blue collar conservatives that voted democrat all there lives. I'm a 60yr old conservative that loaths reps & dems equally. Sense matters, nonsense does not

  10. This poor man is totally confused and babbling worthless nonsense! According to this educated FOOL, the problem of race in America is all imaginary victimhood!

    He keeps pretending that all Blacks who complain of white racism abuses must be over-the-top race activists who make exaggerated complaints about NOTHING!

    How many actual documented race discrimination has this FOOL examined? To listen to this FOOL, there's no such thing as LEGITIMATE race grievances! He's a total FOOL!

  11. The "woke" are so far gone that they think concepts like science and history in general are colonial white supremacy, despite claiming to make use of them in attempts to convince others of their views.

  12. I actually heard that on my job2 yrs ago, from a black man, speaking to 8 "white" people
    "If you don't believe this, you shouldn't ever be able to work here again"!!!

  13. I'm a seven year old and I don't know what my gender is, my skin is white and I am both a slave master and a slave. I'm wearing a Pokemon tshirt, and I have my favorite pink glitter shoes on but my two mothers want me to wear color neutral clothing. In my free time I like to lick your shoes. I'm age fluid which means tomorrow I will be a 90 year old who identifies as a 4 year old, and I may also be wearing a smock that looks a lot like a straight jacket. In my free time I stare at my skin and my genitals and I contemplate the inherent sinfulness of having a body. My avatar is a dildo, and my pronoun is carved in Aramaic and buried in the desert. I'm American and I want to start a new colony within the public education system. I'm bowed low low low low low.

  14. I think one of McWhorter's most important points is that the concepts driving Wokeism are a function of basic human nature. That really opens an aperture for empathy, in spite of the strong disagreements among Progressives and among people of color. I do try to exercise humility here, because I am white, and it's true I don't "understand." I'm also quite convicted by the idea that racism is structural, and not simply an attitude some people have. But the Woke Religion, as McWhorter terms it, stops conversation. How can we possibly move forward if some perspectives are verboten? I'm gay, and I've seen LGBTQ+ ideology behave in much the same way. We "must" affirm that we're "born this way," for instance. We can't entertain notions of nurture. I want to thank McWhorter for giving some of us, who are invested in attenuating racism, but can't twist our minds into the pretzels required by "the Elect," a language. I pray our society continues to seek to grow and understand, through the marketplace of ideas, and not by fiat.

  15. Black Lives Matter is both a movement and a sentiment. BLM organization was started by trained marxists. It was on their website, which has been scrubbed of information that puts them in a bad light. The founders of BLM have an intention to dismantle the nuclear family.

  16. Perhaps this is much about this country's reluctance to talk about class. In my personal observations, there is definitely class in Black America and there is tension there and unfortunate comments among Black Americans that I cannot repeat here. That's not damning only proof of everyone's humanity. Dorothy West's THE WEDDING may be one example.

  17. The classical cellist player Yo Yo Ma once said, on David Letterman's show no less, that "cultural purity is a myth." I grew up primarily in Detroit and the classic period of Motown was often created by musicians with classical music education. Jazz, I believe, matches classical music note for note, but they have intermingled over the decades. I could on, including the British mix in all of this. No one believes the French ever "got" rock and roll and the blues, but the Brits did and more recent ethno-music research leans toward the British folk music (not the American club scene tunes) influence on whites and blacks especially in the South (the most English part of America, not New England). The French loved Jazz and for good reason. The old Paul Newman film, PARIS BLUES, dramatizes the Jazz world in France. There was a French film based on Dexter Gordon's time there. B. B. King once said that if it weren't for Eric Clapton & Company, he would never have gotten the gigs he did overseas, including Britain. There are fine blues singers form the UK — Chris Farlow, Jack Bruce, Gary Brooker, and, believe it or not, Lulu and Celia Black. Great voices ignited by Black American music. Let's not forget the "technical" influence of essentially European instruments, horns, saxophone, the modern piano. Black music set them on fire as well.

  18. (Eyes roll) Does it ever occur to people that the black people that white people LOVE to espouse are those that either ABSOLVE white people, as a collective of all wrong doing, or throw black people under the bus.

    They throw all sorts of money at these unicorn black people (In attempts to control both sides of the narrative), with books deals, and speaking engagements. White people DO NOT put their money behind any TRUTHS that they don't want to hear.

    Victimization is just an idea. A figment of black people's imagination.

    Block Busting
    Urban Renewal
    Imminent Domain
    1955 highway commission act
    Denial of FHA Loans
    Rent to Buy
    Richard Aoki
    Assassination of black leaders
    CIA dumping drugs in the BC
    Burning down of Tulsa OK, Wilmington NC, Rosewood FL, Elaine AK, Ocoee FL
    Mass incarceration
    Job discrimination

    Yeah ok.

  19. SEE – intellectually dishonest again.

    Being killed by POOKIE is not the same as being killed by a COP who is held to a higher standard.

    Being killed by the STATE is completely different than being taken out by your peers. Criminals get arrested and charged. COPS (with qualified immunity) DO NOT.

    He does these sorts of dishonest APPLES to ORANGES comparisons all the time and thinks that he's being profound.

  20. Omg I’m such a fan of both of you! Kudos, Chris, for stepping outside of your typically neutral-ish subject matter, and bringing on this beast! He is my only subscription on substack! Love love love his wit, his truth-telling, and his general badassery served pudding-style, but with sprinkles of crushed cinnamon Jolly Ranchers! He’s one-of-a-kind! And shout-out to Glenn Lowry for bringing him to the world. Glenn is also a beast, but there is a lil extra something about Dr. McWhorter…

  21. Black left leaning leaders need to listen to this. They have spent decades creating and honing the concept of victimization. It does a severe disservice and will keep the black community from raising ITSELF up. The government, social programs, affirmative action, etc will not solve their problems. Only themselves, like every other group in America did, can lift themselves up.

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