Apparently, Black people and Latinos can somehow be white supremacists, too.
This pearl of immortal wisdom comes to us from the Rube Goldberg machine that is critical race theory. Specifically, one of its highest-level adepts, associate NYU professor Cristina Beltrán, has an interesting explanation for why so many Blacks and Latinos voted for Donald Trump in 2020.
Critical Theory and “Multiracial Whiteness”
Common sense might dictate that these people voted for Trump because they have minds of their own, listened to what Trump had to say, and decided that they liked it. Or perhaps they liked something about Trump’s style or manner.
Not so, says Beltrán. Rather, these people are victims of a mysterious force called “multiracial whiteness.” How in God’s name can “whiteness” be “multiracial,” you ask?
Well, according to Beltrán, you’re only really Black or Latino if you vote for the left. And if you are Black or Latino but you vote for conservatives, this means that you secretly desire to have a slice of the pie in the evil “white supremacist” system. You’re not really Black or Latino because you’re collaborating with white people to “oppress” members of your own ostensible race.
In short, Beltrán seems to think that Blacks and Latinos who voted for Trump secretly wish that they were white.
This transparent lunacy has its roots in something called critical race theory, a subdivision of critical theory. Critical theory basically reduces everything that people do — all of their actions, beliefs, and so forth — to the identity categories that they are a part of. Critical race theory focuses on race as the main identity category.
Thus, for people like Beltrán who work in critical race studies, everything must be explained in terms of race. Any explanation, no matter how forced and ridiculous, must be right if it sees things through the lens of race.
Conservatives tend to react to things like this with incredulity and derision — and rightly so. But why are academics even throwing around ridiculous newfangled terms like “multiracial whiteness?”
Critical Theory Is Magical Thinking
To truly understand what’s going on here, you must understand that the buzzwords used in many subdivisions of critical theory — terms like “white privilege,” “systemic racism,” “internalized misogyny,” and now, “multiracial whiteness” — are not really meant to serve an explanatory function or even to have any cognitive content at all. Instead, they are magic words.
In Europe during the early modern period, a witch-burning craze swept the continent. In all, about 50,000 people are thought to have been burned at the stake for the fictitious crime of being a witch, most of them women. Scholarly authorities of all kinds wrote complicated treatises on how to detect witches, how to guard against them, and so forth. All of this was taken very seriously at the time.
Back then, if a woman was subjected to torture and “confessed” to being a witch, this was not interpreted as a desperate person simply saying whatever she needed to say in order to no longer be tortured. Rather, it meant that she confessed to being a witch! And conversely, if, despite being tortured, a woman refused to “confess” to being a witch and then died from the torture, this meant that the Devil’s hold on her was so powerful that she simply would not admit the truth, even on pain of death.
Similarly, critical race theory today holds that Blacks and Latinos must vote for left-wing policies as a means of expressing their racial identity and standing against an evil system of “white supremacy.” If Blacks and Latinos do vote for the left, this only confirms the existence of that evil system and underscores the importance of fighting it. If, on the other hand, some Blacks and Latinos do not vote for the left because they believe that left-wing policies are wrongheaded or destructive, this, according to scholarly authorities like Beltrán, means that “white supremacy” is so all-pervasive that it has even driven Blacks and Latinos to identify with white people.
Heads, I win; tails, you lose. That’s what “multiracial whiteness” is really all about.
Critical race theory and all other types of critical theory are cases of magical thinking at large. A theory that explains everything, explains nothing.