If you’re reading this and have ever done yoga, you may be a white supremacist.

“Are you a white supremacist?” is akin to asking whether or not one is a Salem witch: one can’t disprove that they aren’t one — there’s not a strict definition for it that’s not routinely changed in the now-common political zeitgeist — but the accusation of white supremacism alone is intended to slander one’s character and get one doxed and fired from employment. To wit: progressives have discovered their own unique way to feel powerful despite having written academic books suspicious about power. The style of argumentation now is ‘wield the specter of white supremacism, and your opponent will grovel at your feet in repentance.’ 

How does one get absolution if accused of supporting white supremacy, you may be wondering? Why, you work with the Democrats, of course! 

Virginia Heffernan, writing in her recent Los Angeles Times opinion-editorial article titled “What Can You Do About the Trumpites Next Door?,” concludes, “But I can offer a standing invitation to make amends. Not with a snowplow but by recognizing the truth about the Trump administration and, more important[ly], by working for justice for all those whom the administration harmed.” 

What precipitated Heffernan’s virtue-signaling olive branch? Her Republican next door neighbor plowing and shoveling her driveway. “Aggressive niceness,” Heffernan calls it. She goes on to equate such “niceness” to being akin to Hezbollah, Louis Farrakhan and the Nazis — despite President Biden’s numerous calls for the country to unify. (Heffernan also begins her op-ed pretentiously by penning that she was at her “pandemic getaway.” Millions of people couldn’t simply ‘get away’ during the pandemic, Virginia. Check your privilege.) 

Congenial, neighborly niceness being equated to Nazism isn’t the first nutty equivalency that’s been written about. Apropos white supremacy, here are four more notable ones:

  • The Washington Examiner: “Math Professor Claims Equation of 2+2=4 ‘reeks of white supremacist patriarchy’”
  • Psychology Today: “Threats to Equity: White Supremacist and Colonial Logic”
  • The New York Post: “People Who Practice Yoga Contribute to White Supremacy, Professor Claims”
  • Quartz: “America’s Wholesome Square Dancing Tradition is a Tool of White Supremacy”

So math is white supremacist, logic is white supremacist, yoga is white supremacist, and square dancing is white supremacist. And niceness is Nazism. The term ‘white supremacy’ is starting to become a moldy catch-all vegetable drawer — a term meaning everything and nothing at the same time. It’s becoming a demagogic phrase used to instill fear that there’s a white supremacist Babadook eerily hiding underneath one’s bed or in one’s closet.

What happened at the Capitol building on Jan. 6 that’s inspired more conversation about the pervasiveness of white supremacy — namely about the reprehensible QAnon groups — should rightly be condemned in and of itself, and the rioters should face criminal charges. (A note of difference here from the Democrats: Republicans aren’t setting up bail funds for Republican rioters.) Said groups that advocate such obvious and classic white supremacist viewpoints within the definition should be condemned as such. 

But enough with the wacky equivalencies! Yoga? Square dancing? Really? Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor recently said the legal term ‘illegal alien’ during oral argument; is she a white supremacist now? What about Hispanic labor activist Cesar Chavez or the legendary Black Democrat civil rights icon Barbara Jordan, both of whom openly campaigned against illegal immigration, a now Trumpite policy position? Are they white supremacists? 

As historian Paul Johnson notes in his book, “Enemies of Society”: “The correct and honorable use of words is the first and natural credential of civilized status.”

Vincent Carcirieri is a second-year student majoring in English. vc837639@wcupa.edu

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