55327_girl-writing_mdSince I haven’t found much to go on except the label “fascist” in relation to what’s happening in the social justice arena, I’ll try to identify some of the characteristics of the new ideology myself.

For a long time, the progressive standard has been inclusion. Most magazines and anthologies putting out calls for submissions these days include a diversity statement as part of it. Many institutions go so far as to foster talented minorities. However, the standard for what’s expected seems to be changing.

One clear trend is a movement by minorities to take ownership of their own story and to become activist against what they consider straight, white and/or male privilege. For example, here’s a 2008 blog by Willow, one of the participants in RaceFail2009. Willow expresses anger at the white casting in the Asian tale Avatar: The Last Airbender, which I agree was pretty poor as an example of cultural appropriation. Then she goes on to complain about the quandary of writing characters as persons-of-color (POC) as a POC herself. According to Willow, she has to write stereotypical characters in order for them to be recognized in a story as POC. If she just describes a character as “brown” for example, then all readers will assume the character is a white person with a tan. Because of this default, Willow says she “hates white people.”

Other writers characterize this as a “post-colonial legacy” where POC are losing their native language and culture to the dominant American/European/Western culture. The result seems to be a separatist movement, rather than acceptance of inclusion. As one commenter on Willow’s blog put it, “The ‘we’re all people!’ cry looks innocuous or even admirable at first glance, but the way it’s distilled in practice is more like “even foreigners can act like ordinary Americans!” — with ‘white’ standing in for ‘ordinary’, of course.” Another example of this is African American students in US universities demanding segregated spaces for racial minorities.

Another trend is for minority activists to demand apologies for the white and/or male privilege which leads to the situation of post-colonialism and cultural dominance. This somewhat fits the model of bullying where the activists attempt to attack and reduce privilege by harassing those they see as privileged. The apology cycle can lead to a certain transfer of power, as resignations at U. of Missouri show, but this was quickly answered by retaliatory budget restrictions in the state legislature. Eventual conflict with other minorities also seems destined to result, as anti-Semitism charges at Oberlin indicate.