The remarks from the world’s second-richest man came as several newspapers dropped the “Dilbert” cartoon after creator Scott Adams remarked that nearly half of black Americans could not agree with the phrase “it’s okay to be white” in a recent survey. Adams jested that he has been “identifying as black” for some time but must have accidentally joined a “hate group” and recommended that white Americans “get the hell away from black people.”
Musk responded to a social media post noting that outlets such as the San Francisco Chronicle called Adams racist but gave black Americans who do not believe “it’s okay to be white” a free pass. He observed that American media “was racist against non-white people” for a very long time but is now “racist against” whites and Asians. “Same thing happened with elite colleges and high schools in America,” he added. “Maybe they can try not being racist.”
Media outlets have advanced the notion that purported white supremacy is a primary threat to the population of the United States. New York Times and Daily Beast contributor Wajahat Ali recently said during an interview on MSNBC that Republican presidential candidate and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley “uses her brown skin as a weapon against poor black folks and poor brown-black folks” and to “launder white supremacist talking points.” Left-wing commentators blamed the March 2021 shooting at a supermarket in Colorado on “white violence” before news broke that the shooter was a Syrian Muslim immigrant; The Washington Post then ran an article stating that one’s verdict on the matter “depends on how you define white.”
Such assertions have gained a foothold in the federal government: the Biden administration has ordered internal efforts to “root out white supremacy and extremism” within agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, while Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) filed legislation to codify “conspiracy to commit white supremacy” in federal hate crime laws.
With respect to the education system, evidence suggests that elite universities disadvantage white and Asian students to attain higher levels of racial and cultural diversity. One study from 2009 concluded that Asians required an SAT score roughly 140 points higher than white applicants, 270 points higher than Hispanic applicants, and 450 points higher than black applicants, according to a report from the Asian American Coalition for Education.
The Supreme Court recently heard cases regarding the legitimacy of affirmative action in the higher education system; members of the conservative majority were skeptical that racial diversity truly offers educational benefits. “I’ve heard the word ‘diversity’ quite a few times, and I don’t have a clue what it means,” Justice Clarence Thomas said during oral arguments. “It seems to mean everything for everyone.”
Racial bias in the education system also exists in purported anti-racism trainings, which gained popularity after the death of George Floyd in 2020. Materials for teachers have claimed that “racism exists within and beyond schools and communities of learning” and that “the myth of a racial hierarchy remains a dominant part of America’s culture.” One training from a school district in Washington claimed that “police brutality” and “mass incarceration” sit at the top of the “Pyramid of White Supremacy.”