The Unprotected Class — A Review

Jeremy Carl’s “The Unprotected Class: How Anti-White Racism Is Tearing America Apart”: A Review

From the arrival of the first settlers through the mid-twentieth century, the eastern American landscape was dominated by thick forests of chestnut trees. The American chestnut tree was fast-growing, large, and bore fruit at an industrial pace to benefit the species expansion whilst benefiting the various other members of its ecosystem. Within half a century, the American chestnut tree became diseased and lost more and more of its historic range after the introduction of the Japanese chestnut tree. The ecological blight that quickly set in was unintended, but by the time the effects of the bark fungus were widely noticed the disease had already spread past the tipping point – the American chestnut was without resistance. The loss of the American chestnut affected more than the character of the forest, it reshaped the landscape negatively and left other species without the keystone for their survival. The age of the American chestnut has passed, and with it a way of life.

What becomes of the identity of a place when the majority that defined its character is no longer able to live and grow as it did in previous generations? In his new book The Unprotected Class: How Anti-White Racism Is Tearing America Apart, Jeremy Carl demonstrates through examples drawn from every sector of American life how the practices of the civil rights era have gone past their intentions to become a systemic and stringently enforced ideology that divides and conditions based on race. Beyond the desire for legal protections against discrimination that would foster merit-based assessment, in the past sixty years American society has seen a compounding of race-based requirements that now actively limit the majority of the nation’s citizens. Throughout The Unprotected Class, Carl provides a clear explanation of the way modern American society has been reshaped by the belief that fairness is now insufficient to address historic failures, that for the country to move forward, it must first hold back those individuals who are perceived to have an advantage.

The politics of racial grouping requires little depth of thought from its practitioners with two categories needing to be identified: us and them. The characteristics that define the groups are of limited importance, what is rather necessary is an agreed narrative that what occurred in the past is crucial to defining the group at present. A point of common origin, aggrievement, is the basis for the narrative a group uses to craft their collective identity and contrast themselves from others. The group now has a history which helps explain and rationalize behaviors in a collective framework rather than at the individual basis. It is from these overly broad categorizations that American racial politics were viewed when passing civil rights legislation six decades ago, collective disadvantages that could only be addressed through the coercive power of law.

The Unprotected Class makes no attempt to negate historical racism in American society. Carl reminds us that the de facto results of the civil rights era have gone beyond the de jure intentions. These results should not come as a surprise. A system that by design separates and groups individuals based on race will inevitably result in those cleaved groups viewing themselves as not only distinct from one another but in competition. Adding the narrative of historical wrongs which have not been addressed emphasizes a spirit of hostility that cannot end until ‘just’ compensation has been provided. The groups’ perspective of their historical place in the country’s society becomes the lens through which they contrast themselves with other groups.

The practice of anti-white racism holistically surrounds the white American community without regard to socio-economic background or familial history. The idea that the majority enjoys collective advantages, without consideration for the distribution of these perceived advantages, is not new. Rather, what is unique to American race politics is the number of minority groups seeking compensation for their aggrievement from the majority. Carl shows how demographic change in recent decades has increased the number of people who are using the civil rights era framework of organized group politics to extract special considerations that actively harm the white American majority. Admissions to schools, promotions in the private and public sector, and cultural institutions have been bent beyond the idea of equality towards race-based advancement. The merit of ability has become secondary to the need of correcting historical wrongs. This practice’s real danger is twofold; it unfairly holds back one group to the benefit of another regardless of qualification. Industry and innovation suffer when less qualified individuals are advanced into positions without regard for ability. Modern American culture for decades now has gone past the goal of realistic representation to become a platform for mischaracterization and ridicule. Promotion of distinct cultural expression has taken on an attitude of denigration against white Americans, with perhaps the most common idea being a distinct lack of white culture. Repeating this idea for years in multiple mediums allows anti-white racism to become so commonplace that we cease to recognize that an alternative to aggrievement can be possible.

Six decades of divisive race politics has been compounded by mass demographic change. Jeremy Carl frames the rapid demographic change as taking place under a new constitution forced on us by civil rights legislation. Under this new set of rules, two changes to American culture were shoehorned in: the remaking of the national populace and the rewriting of history. Since the second half of the twentieth century more people have come to live in America from the global south and east. For every touted high-skilled worker that comes to America, reportedly as the best skilled candidate or university student, countless more follow through various pipelines as ready to fill jobs the existing populace refuse. Carl correctly reminds his reader that these tens of millions added to our population come from cultures that are more often conflicting with the attitudes of individuals who came to build America from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. Further exasperating this sudden change in attitude and the widespread lack of assimilation to the existing American culture has been the systemic rewriting of the republic’s history by emphasizing the moral shortcomings of previous generations. American history is now taught and discussed through the context of a white majority that was only able to prosper as the result of the oppression of others. Carl most poignantly highlights the speed at which this recontextualization of American history has taken place by reminding us that not even five years ago the idea that the founding generation of Washington would be attacked was laughable to most citizens.

Since then, statues and memorials have been removed and tours of historic places such as Mount Vernon have been restructured to foreground the prospective of slavery. Gone from American education are names like Tamanend or dates marking the Whiskey Rebellion; students now learn by celebrating an ever-expanding panoply of heritage months. Theodore Roosevelt’s call for the unhyphenated American has been ignored. Carl provides numerous examples of what can only honestly be described as anti-white practices throughout the 15 chapters of his book making this volume the ideal read for those who have begun to notice America change in their lifetimes. Regardless of whether The Unprotected Class stands as a singular work or becomes the first in a series, Jeremy Carl has produced a clear study of twenty-first-century America. Honest recognition of the situation is a necessary first step to enacting change – what happens to the American way of life dependent.

Colton L. Moor is the Director of Business Administration & Finance at The American Conservative. He can be followed @CLMoorWV.

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