Sunday, June 16, 2019

White Guilt Rising

Twelve years ago Shelby Steele wrote a bo0k about white guilt. Apparently, things have not gotten any better since. It should not come as a surprise. It's the structure of guilt. Once you feel guilty you punish yourself, to pay your debt. Then you feel cleansed of guilt. But, if you are defining your existence in terms of your guilt, you will need to go out and do something that makes you feel guilty. And then you can punish yourself, do penance or atone... the better to repeat the cycle.

Nowadays, woke white people have learned to foster and cultivate their guilt, guilt over their racism, guilt over their privilege, guilt over everything that every white person has ever achieved. Who was it who said: You didn't earn that!

John McWhorter comments wryly on the spectacle of white people lapping up insults directed at them. Because how better to atone for your guilt than to submit to insults.

Obviously, he continues, it is not about helping black people. It is not even about respecting black people. It is about white people seeking moral superiority. Seeking absolution, seeking grace, seeking access to the Heavenly City.

And also, they are seeking to protect themselves against any potential or actual charge of racism.

Let’s not overlook the fact that blaming white people for everything that has ever gone wrong for non-white people makes white people extremely powerful. And it disempowers everyone who is not white and male.

It’s a pathetic spectacle. Ed Driscoll quotes McWhorter on Instapundit.

[T]oday’s “woke,” educated white people would quite often lap up being apprised of the racism inside of them by a black speaker they paid, lodged, and fed. That speaker as often as not today is Ta-Nehisi Coates, who charismatically limns America as a cesspool of bigotry in his writing and in talks nationwide, and is joyously celebrated for it by the very people he is insulting.

Coates is a symptom of a larger mood. Over the past several years, for instance, whites across the country have been taught that it isn’t enough to understand that racism exists. Rather, the good white person views themselves as the bearer of an unearned “privilege” because of their color. Not long ago, I attended an event where a black man spoke of him and his black colleagues dressing in suits at work even on Casual Fridays, out of a sense that whites would look down on black men dressed down. The mostly white audience laughed and applauded warmly—at a story accusing people precisely like them of being racists.

This brand of self-flagellation has become the new form of enlightenment on race issues. It qualifies as a kind of worship; the parallels with Christianity are almost uncannily rich. White privilege is the secular white person’s Original Sin, present at birth and ultimately ineradicable. One does one’s penance by endlessly attesting to this privilege in hope of some kind of forgiveness. After the black man I mentioned above spoke, the next speaker was a middle-aged white man who spoke of having a coach come to his office each week to talk to him about his white privilege. The audience, of course, applauded warmly at this man’s description of having what an anthropologist observer would recognize not as a “coach” but as a pastor.

That one is new to me. A coach goes to a man’s office once a week to instruct him on the perils of white privilege. It is, as McWhorter says, pastoral counseling. In some quarters I suspect that it passes as therapy.


whitney said...

Actually I think white guilt is falling. A certain segment is keeping it ramped up but for many,probably most of the white people sitting in on those meetings it's destroying their guilt, not enhancing it. The climate around white people means they're keeping quiet though. They want to keep their jobs. Every very time the New York Times has an article with Becky in the title another white person gets their wings

Sam L. said...

"White guilt" and "wokeness" are status signals. I do neither.

"A coach goes to a man’s office once a week to instruct him on the perils of white privilege. It is, as McWhorter says, pastoral counseling. In some quarters I suspect that it passes as therapy." That's virtue signalling with klieg lights.

DocVinny said...

So does saying "Ummm sorry, not sorry" make me evil? I don't feel even a little bit guilty.

UbuMaccabee said...

Ta-Nehisi Coates is the biggest public racist in America today, and that's saying something. He's without any redeeming qualities.

But he works for me to sort out who I'm dealing with. I can use his name to get a read on someone in less than 15 seconds. I used to use Cornell West, but nobody knows who he is anymore. Coates is the NPR/NYT angry black racist of 2019.

There is only one correct reply to Ta-Nehisi Coates: Racist demagogue.

Berzrkr50 said...

The whole concept of 'white guilt' is a hustle so that white people that fail can have somebody to blame (themselves). Hell, you can do that without the guilt! Just say "my bad" and get on with correcting your failings... And for the ones that you're evil because of your skin tome, just tell 'em eff-off!

Berzrkr50 said...

White guilt is a scam... Forget it and get on with your life.

Walt said...

I think guilt, or at least unmerited guilt, is a form of masochism, a religious purge, a misplaced atonement, a kind of ecstatic self-flaggelation. I'll quote a quick passage from one of my novels: " Guilt, Brymmer said. Fascination with guilt. To a WASP, Brymmer said, it's a new toy. An endlessly virile Erector Set, a chance to construct an actual hell."