The Content of Our Character?
I find this startling: polite company, these days, apparently allows you to make sweeping, racist commentary about white men over fifty.
A few years ago, I thought this was just the shrew-cackle of some far left feminists with daddy issues, engaging in the sort of edgy racism that would go without rebuke, since most of us daddy types are out making a living and we all have a few special needs children who need to be indulged. I can remember encountering progressive women who insisted on talking about my penis whenever we had second amendment discussions, insisting that my arguments about the founders’ intentions for community defense were really veiled fears of inadequate manhood. And of course, we’ve all encountered a few La Raza types, and some of them actually advocate white genocide, but, surely this sort of shrieking is roundly condemned by their peers, right? Surely these people lose their jobs and their college admission status. Surely, these are the David Dukes of the ethnic studies crowd, right?
Guess what? There really are no David Dukes in that crowd, not because they don’t exist, but because the left has solidly embraced their David Dukes. It wasn’t just the extremist Van Jones, fulminating about a “white lash” when Donald Trump won the presidency. It was the machine Democrat herself, Hillary Clinton, going so far as to say recently that white women couldn’t think for themselves and were pressured into voting for Donald Trump by their husbands. You can make just about any generalization you want about white America, and there will be no consequence. White privilege, for women married to white dudes, includes the privilege of being told you can’t think for yourself. (Try theorizing that black women are pressured to vote for Democrats by their black husbands; see where that gets you.)
The irony here is that most of us “white” people don’t even think of ourselves as “white.” We identify as Americans, with, perhaps a little Irish, English, or Scandinavian seasoning. Racism isn’t an issue for us. We’re the generation of kids who grew up on the international Star Trek crew and the yearly boat ride through “It’s a Small World” at Disneyland. Our children and our friends marry white, black, and brown. I dated a Korean woman in college. My wife, whose parents were Greek, is frequently judged for not knowing Spanish, because a few of those La Raza types have their own version of prejudice.
So let me put this bluntly: your grievance card is revoked. No one in my known ancestry kept slaves–and even if they did, some of your ancestors actually sold your ancestors into slavery. Some of my ancestors were part of the early New England abolitionist culture. Personally, I hire the best people for job, regardless of their color, and, frankly, this endless lament about old white guys causing your problems would be silly, if it weren’t becoming a little dangerous.
A colleague of mine posted an article the other day from Scientific American. The writer, Jeremy Adam Smith, ponders, ominously, why white men are stockpiling guns. Somehow the data allows Smith to conclude “these studies describe a population that is struggling to find a new story—one in which they are once again the heroes.” Did you catch that? Do you think the pollsters asked white male gun buyers, “are you struggling to turn yourself into a hero?” The religiosity of this conclusion drips with approved demonizing. It is the sort of pretentious conclusion you allow yourself when you’re engaging in the approved sort of racism.
If you don’t think so, consider national crime data indicating black women are more likely to commit homicide than white men. Did you know that? Did you know that black men, depending on the year, are five times as likely to commit homicide as white men? Would that warrant an attention getting headline in Scientific American like “Why are Black Men Such Killers?” (Are they looking for a new hero narrative, I wonder?)
And, yet, when I lamented Scientific American’s selective and polarizing racism, these were the sorts of comments that followed in a recent Facebook discussion:
“I think the history of the white man vilified themselves with their actions.”
“..our country has had a white leadership and war crime atrocities at their hands..”
” it is my hope that white Americans will join the “communities”, help cipher your fellow whites (sic) crazy cryptic incitments to my people and others races and cultures as well, because of the Factual Long ago History of how whites treated the non white world..”
“..whites are trying to take us back to their glory days, in would admonish you keep your eye on the ball, less it smack you upside your head…”
Substitute “white” or “white man” with “black” or “black man” and see how any of those statements hold up. Ponder the inhumanity of black men to black men in Africa, or to each other here in America, or make conjectures about “your fellow blacks’ crazy cryptic incitements.” See how that sounds. Try warning people of color that getting it wrong might result in getting smacked “upside your head.” Try that. Or maybe not. Just remember, you can only threaten an old white dude that way.
We either want to get together, folks, or we don’t. We either take responsibility for the problematic data we find in all of our communities, without inciting each other to hatred, or we don’t. It’s either okay to blame all of our problems on old black, hispanic or white dudes — or it is not.
When a person of color scolds you for being white, give him a taste of his own medicine and ask him how it feels? If he’s hurt by it, give him a hug. If he refuses to abide by a common standard, it might just be time to stock up on weapons.