January 12, 2019 By Steven Kessler
The most important phrase in the social justice lexicon is "predicated on power structure." You've likely heard that racism, privilege, and cultural appropriation – the big three of social justice – are predicated on power structure. The origin of this power structure is societal. According to social justice scholarship, society is an arbitrary social construct – meaning that society is a complete nonsensical fabrication – that is inequitably structured to favor white, male, able-bodied, cisgendered heterosexuals.
The theory assumes that these people are successful in life because society is structured to favor them, and they use the inequitable structure of society to socially advance by stepping on the heads and shoulders of "people of color" or "others." These others are unsuccessful because white men are stepping on their heads and shoulders to get ahead. Should we fix the inequitable structure of society, we will restore the natural equity of the world. In theory, those at the bottom will rise to the top, and those at the top will sink to a lower social status.
To the social justice scholar, racism, privilege, and cultural appropriation are based on a simple formula: racism, privilege, cultural appropriation equals prejudice plus power structure. Therefore, only those benefiting from societal power structure – i.e., white men (and, to a lesser extent, those with any of the aforementioned demographic characteristics), are capable of having privilege, being racist, or appropriating culture.
By this logic, anything anti-white male is technically not racist, despite the overwhelming gut feeling many of us have while hearing and seeing anti-white rhetoric and actions. For example, Lebron James's recent diatribe against NFL owners: "In the NFL, they got a bunch of old white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality. And it's like, 'This is my team. You do what the [explicit] I tell y'all to do. Or we get rid of y'all." As racism is predicated on power structure, and white men are in power, as a black male, Lebron James and his comments are incapable of being considered racist.