Sen. Mike Lee took on fellow Republicans and the corporate Democrat press last week by blocking a bill that aims to establish a Smithsonian museum focused on Americans who identify as Latino.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., are cosponsors of the legislation, along with 234 House Democrats and 61 House Republicans. So Democrats are just stuffing the measure as an earmark into the current budget omnibus monstrosity.
Republicans and Democrats passed a similar bill through the House in February for a Smithsonian museum of women’s history. Both of these initiatives are confusing, because the Smithsonians are already stuffed full of identity politics. A jog through their halls will uncover to anyone that they bend over backwards to feature anyone besides white males, even if their work is not equal in stature, quality, or importance.
Recall the last Smithsonian news cycle was driven by it claiming in education materials that “hard work,” politness, “the nuclear family,” and “self reliance” are inherently “white” concepts. Like every American institution, these have been destroyed from within by a refusal to say no to social justice warriors. Social justice warriors don’t need any new museums; they already control nearly all the ones that currently exist.
More museums for today’s politically favored marketing profiles is not just a redundant idea. They are anti-American and morally wrong, because they further the popular racism of today’s leftist identity politics. And it is long past time for Republicans to get woke on this issue and realize that identity politics is a deadly weapon against their own voters and our country as a whole.
Let’s understand something right at the outset: Native American history is American history. Women’s history is American history. Latino-American history is American history. These are all part of our national story and should be understood in that context.
Like creating “no whites allowed” student unions, classes, therapy sessions, and dorms on college campuses, Balkanizing American institutions such as the Smithsonian into artificial and politically weaponized ethnic identities is racist and deeply dangerous. This is not merely an attempt to celebrate certain groups, as it is pitched to the gullible, but an overt attempt to divide our country.
We live in an era in which people are picked for a president’s cabinet and vice president, not to mention scholarships, media positions, CEOs of companies, government contracts, special legal protection, and college entrance, due specifically to the color of their skin. This institutional racism is morally wrong and deeply harmful to both the country and the people trivialized by this tokenization of their appearance and ancestry. Just because it is more often happening to a mostly different-looking group of people today than in some other times is no justification for racism of any kind, ever.
This is an overt rejection of our founding creed that “All members of the human race are created equal” (today’s translation, as “men” meant “humankind” at the time of the Declaration, but identity politics has ruined this understanding). Identity politics is a repudiation of American ideals. It revives the same “separate but equal” canard that our nation rightly rejected when it changed in response to the original civil rights movement, and when it incorporated at our founding.
I should not have to remind Americans that treating people differently based on their race led to a Civil War. But given that half of Americans have no idea when the Civil War happened, it seems likely many members of Congress are clueless about what’s at stake with this issue. Well, they need to get up to speed, fast. They are playing with fire here.
Anyone with a lick of common sense can see other problems with this proposal. It seems everybody is aware we’re “a nation of immigrants.” So let’s put two and two together: If we start making one for every possible demographic tranche, then the potential Smithsonian museums are endless.
For one, as the recent election results highlighted, Latinos are not a monolith. Not at all. Cubans and Puerto Ricans and Mexicans have extremely different histories and cultures. It’s not too far a stretch to say that the term “Latino” is functionally useless except to politicians whipping people into gerrymandered groups to manipulate votes. To group them all under the breezy heading of “Latino” is ignorant to the point of being offensive.
Thanks to our beautiful diversity of ancestry and intermarriage in the United States, the potential racial divisions among future Smithsonian museums are endless. Will we have a museum of Scottish Americans? Of Creole Americans? Of Japanese Americans? What about of Han Chinese Americans, thus leaving out Mongol Chinese Americans (and many more)? Or Jamaican Americans versus Kenyan Americans versus slave descendants?
If you pick just one, you slight all the others. Maybe that’s the goal for people who make a living from building Smithsonian buildings, but I for one don’t believe they deserve a lifetime public sinecure at the expense of national harmony. Regardless, if you think clearly for one second and know anything at all about different parts of the world (and, despite 70 years of “multiculturalism” controlling public-school curricula, most Americans do not), you’d see racially separatist Smithsonians are simpleminded pandering in the guise of genteel culture.
This gets into even more trouble with the proposed sex-segregated Smithsonian about women. This is an idea from the 1970s, because right now half the country doesn’t believe that woman means anything. (Just watch for 4Chan to retroactively declare that George Washington was genderfluid and start a White House petition to have him featured in this museum. It might sound funny, but this proposal is indistinguishable from today’s “feminist” “scholarship.”)
Even those who think treating people differently based on their appearance is not racism should be concerned about “separate but equal” Smithsonian museums for different racial groups and both sexes. Research finds that emphasizing our differences instead of what unites us increases racism in a society. “[N]othing is more certain to provoke increased expression of [racial intolerance] than the likes of ‘multicultural education,’ bilingual policies, and nonassimilation,” writes Princeton University professor Karen Stenner in her book-length work on authoritarian politics.
Other, more recent work on so-called “anti-bias” and “critical race theory” identity politics find this mode of communication and arranging our national life also heightens the contradictions between outward appearances, thus increasing racism. This stuff is bad, bad, bad, and needs to be stopped, not gain a new outpost.
Everyone should be able to agree that we don’t need more racism in America. On that basis alone, this proposal should be dead on arrival in Congress, rather than endorsed by several hundred elected officials. Their advocacy may be the strongest evidence yet for today’s hard-left claim that America is institutionally racist.