Analysis of a Racism Hoax at Oberlin College

Posted: 23 Jul 2015 Last revised: 30 Apr 2016

Howard S. Schwartz

Oakland University

Date Written: July 21, 2015

Abstract

It is often alleged that American society is racist, even though it is acknowledged that overt expressions of racism are extremely rare. How do people know that it is racist, then? This paper raises the possibility that this claim of racism is based on a projection. Our times have seen an overthrow of Oedipal psychology, in which the father represents objective reality, which gives us no special place. This overthrow has been in the name of the omnipotent mother, who loves us just because we are who we are. She disdains the father. Her children join her in that and believe that the love she gave him, which he was supposed to have earned, had been stolen from them. If it had not been, they would have been untouched by anything but love; an image I call the "pristine self." It has been stolen from some children more than from others, and the task of the other children is to hate the father and love those, paradigmatically of other races, who have lost the most love in the past. The deprivation of this perfect love is projected onto the father and experienced as racism. Among those who adopt this view, it provides the basis for their experience of the world, and of their proper place within it, but it is entirely in the mind and hence rests on faith. They need to keep this faith constantly renewed. I illustrate this through an analysis of the response to a racism hoax at Oberlin College in 2013, centering around an anti-racist convocation, which I compare to a religious revival meeting.

Keywords: Political Correctness, Racism Hoax, Social Justice, Structural Racism, Pristine Self, Psychoanalysis, Oberlin College

Suggested Citation

Schwartz, Howard S., Analysis of a Racism Hoax at Oberlin College (July 21, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2634187 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2634187

Howard S. Schwartz (Contact Author)

Oakland University ( email )

Rochester, MI 48309-4401
United States
(248) 982-7044 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.sba.oakland.edu/faculty/schwartz

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