Disclaimer: This post talks about White Liberals in general. NOT ALL of it applies to every single White Liberal.
White Liberals (fl. 1934- ) are those White people in the US who believe in capitalism (aka rich people, aka the 1%, aka big business and big banks, aka donors) but who also believe in using government reform to take off its rough edges, to make society more fair and equal (aka tolerable) and the earth liveable. Centre-left Band-Aid capitalists.
According to polling, in the US in 2015 they made up about:
- 50% of White Democrats and those who lean Democratic
- 20% of White people
- 14% of voters
Political polarization: Their numbers are growing because fewer and fewer people are taking middle positions. But Whites as a whole have moved to the right under President Obama.
As seen on TV: White Liberals have a huge effect since the national media is heavily White and is largely based in New York and Los Angeles – in their heartland.
- Size: About 40 million.
- Location: Their heartland is in the north-east and the west coast.
- Examples: Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama and, arguably, Bill Clinton. And, it seems, most of the country’s news reporters, professors and film stars.
- Subculture: NPR, Starbucks, Stuff White People Like, MSNBC (during the Obama years), New York Times, New Yorker, Huffington Post, Hollywood, universities, science, gentrification, cultural appropriation, etc.
- Out-groups: Southerners, the poor (same thing as Blacks and Latinos).
- Religion: liberal to nominal Christianity, Judaism, consumerism.
- Bible translations: NRSV, RSV, none.
- Their god: material success.
- class reductionism: Class matters more than race. Black people are best understood as brown-skinned poor people. They can best be helped by “lifting all boats” – which always leaves White boats well above Black ones. Oops!
- secularism: Religion is a private matter and should never shape government policy.
- Racist Uncles: It is always someone else who is racist – Hitler, the Klan, the South, the 1950s, their uncle – but never them. How strange!
- White paternalism: White people know best! Just like in all those White Saviour films – which they do not count as fantasy or science fiction. Oh, and not just any sort of White people, but a special kind:
- bicoastalism: The White people with university degrees who live on the east and left coasts know best! The rest of the country – the rest of the world (except maybe Paris, London and Rome) – is in need of their enlightenment. Whatever most of them believe is right, almost by definition.
Note: Many Whitewashed people of colour believe the same things.
“Truth has a liberal bias” – because White Liberals by and large control the media and universities.
Stokely Carmichael on White Liberals (1969):
“his role, regardless of what he says, is really to maintain the status quo, rather than to change it.”
“they tell us that while things have been bad in the past, somehow they can become good in the future without restructuring society at all.”
“He never says to the oppressor, ‘You are too extreme in your treatment of the oppressed,’ [… but is] always cautioning, condemning, or certainly trying to direct and lead the movements of the oppressed.”
– Abagond, 2017.
Update (January 23rd): Added a NOT ALL disclaimer.
- White Americans
- White Evangelical Protestants – the post that I modelled this one on
- The White Liberal Guide to Black People.
- The 2016 election by county