July 30, 2009

The Politics of White Guilt

Elizabeth Wright?s excellent commentary on the black liberal elite and the exemplification of its race-hustling behavior by Henry Louis Gates might cause one to reflect on the ultimate enablers in this case, namely the white academic and journalistic elite. But this is not to ignore the obvious. Gates?s charges of racism are ludicrous and outrageous in view of his exalted position as an academic mandarin and because the president of this country, the governor of Massachusetts, and the mayor of Cambridge are all black Democrats, elected largely with white votes. One of the policemen who stopped Gates while he was breaking into his house was black, and the other, whom Gates continues to berate as a racist, teaches diversity training. One could not imagine a more PC community than Cambridge or a more systematically sensitized commonwealth than Massachusetts, or a country that is so willing to transcend ?racial division? by electing a black, leftist chief executive than the United States. What else must the U.S,, Massachusetts, and Cambridge all have to do in order to meet the standards of white anti-racism, as conceived by Gates and his fellow Harvard academics?

But even more relevant, what else are white liberals expected to do in order to make black critics like us? The answer may be what the Germans seem to agree is the proper measure of how much atonement their people have to do in order to make up for their collective past. ?One can never do enough!? The rage of anti-white nags is like the Calvinist God damning the sinner, who remains exactly that, no matter how much he tries on his own to change his standing. That many whites see themselves as such sinners has nothing to do with back elites. What we are looking at is a white multicultural fixation, from which black elites simply draw benefit. Harvard black academics, Derrick Bell, Cornell West, Orlando Patterson, and Henry Louis Gates are expected to guilt-trip ?white racist America,? while taking occasional swipes at sexists and homophobes. But the ones who turned them into widely publicized voices of conscience belong to the white race, and it is whites who revel in the accusations that come thundering down from their accusers. Indeed white professors at Harvard say things far more outrageous against the white race than anything we hear from the token black faculty.

Once when asked why I was not a ?white nationalist,? I responded by explaining that it is the whites far more than the blacks who have produced our anti-white and anti-bourgeois regime and culture. The whites have done this to themselves, in a gesture of cosmic stupidity and moral arrogance that I could never imagine any other race engaging in. The people in our government who enact laws and dictate policies discriminating against whites, males and Christians were put there overwhelmingly by white Christian voters. Mayor John DeStefano of New Haven, who was responsible for the anti-white policy leading to the Ricci challenge, is an Italian Catholic elected mostly by white ethnics. The state in which DeStefano resides, which is the one whence I come, is preponderantly white, and most of the whites in Connecticut vote for the political Left. Moreover, the WASP Republican Party makes about as much noise as the Democrats lamenting America?s racist past and promising to make amends for their alleged sins of commission and omission. There is nothing that Obama said this summer while visiting Ghana about our evil past as a slave-holding country that could equal the declaration of shame that his Republican predecessor had uttered on the same continent two years earlier. While Republicans get no credit for their groveling from black Democrats, no one can accuse them of not ?reaching out.?

The culture of white guilt has spread so far that it seems entirely incidental if black parasites have joined the game. Far worse than Gates?s chutzpah is the toxic waste that we put into the minds of the young here and in Europe about the burden of Euro-American history. The politics of atonement is based on gross exaggerations and selective treatments of the past, which are then combined with adoration of the bizarre and anti-Western. But this approach to civilization is precisely the one that my students and most academics of my acquaintance have absorbed; and they have taken over this perspective out of inertia or the desire to rise socially. The answer for most of our young is not a crash course in the great books, even if we could decide on which ones to teach. Most people have neither the inclination nor the ability to ponder such funded wisdom; and not a few of those who teach it are already full of the multicultural ideology and politics of guilt that have contributed to our problem.

The answer, insofar as one is possible, is to make clear to the predominantly white public that what they have been supporting is foolish and destructive. It is ruining their society, distorting their learning, and turning minorities into hateful people who are rewarded in proportion to how rudely they behave or how cleverly they milk misplaced white guilt. Gates, Sharpton, and Jackson have thrived because they conduct themselves in a way that pleases anti-white whites. They are expressing the kind of scripted ?indignation? which elicits from my fellow-academics the predictable response: ?They?re entitled to act out after the way we?ve treated them.? What this really means is that we should continue to hold white, Christian heterosexuals, and particularly male ones, responsible every time black race-hustlers decide to insult white people?or, better yet, to incite riots against them.

At the same time, there may be emotional and practical limits to public patience when confronted with the anti-white vibes of those whom the masses empowered. The public reaction to Obama?s statements about the police ?behaving stupidly? in dealing with Gates made me think that while voters will put up with a leftist black president who pushes quotas, they don?t want him to show his true feelings too openly. Obama pushed the envelope, by taking the side of a mouthy race-hustler against an immaculately liberal white policeman and his black fellow-officer. What then happened indicates that some white people are suddenly beginning to wake up to political reality.

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