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The following is based mainly on Robert Jensen’s article “What White People Fear” (2010). Jensen, a professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, is one of the most notable white anti-racists alive  in America.

Despite the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, which overturned racist laws in America and brought an end to its apartheid, whites and blacks are still clearly unequal on things as simple as home ownership, education and even infant mortality. Change has been slow over the past 40 years, so slow that at present rates it will take tens if not hundreds of years for whites and blacks to become equal.

Why is change so slow? After writing and speaking about racism for more than ten years Jensen concludes that it is fear: whites on both the right and the left are afraid of living in a world without racism.

On the right whites are afraid of losing white privilege, what some call “our way of life”. It would mean giving up wealth and power. Even poor whites, who see very little of said wealth and power, agree. Yes, they are that brainwashed by the rich, who have long used race to divide the poor against each other.

On the left it is a bit different. They talk the talk – equality blah blah diversity blah blah multiculturalism blah blah – but do not walk the walk. They say the right things but have done precious little to change anything.

In the end whites on both the left and the right believe the same thing: “I’m white and I’m special.”

At the heart of their fears is a “fragile sense of white self-importance”. Their history runs with blood: they did not get to where they are through fair play but through naked violence. Whites do not want to face up to it but at some level they all know it is true.

Whites have opened up some of their institutions to people of colour in the name of diversity, but only to the degree that whites feel comfortable and only on their terms. So it is no accident that power and control still lies largely in white hands. Diversity becomes window dressing, not a change in the power relationship between whites and others.

Jensen himself knows first-hand that it is hard for whites to give up control to those who are not white, to those who do not share a white-centric worldview.

Hard but worth it:

I have a choice: I can be white — that is, I can refuse to challenge white supremacy or centrality — or I can be a human being. I can rest comfortably in the privileges that come with being white, or I can struggle to be fully human. But I can’t do both. Though the work is difficult, the choice for those of us who are white should be easy.

See also:

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Black and White Americans read this blog very differently

How to read this blog like many White Americans seem to:

  1. “Whites”: Imagine the word “all” before each use of the word “whites”. This is a special rule of White American English that does not appear in any grammar book.
  2. “Evil”: If “whites” and “evil” appear in the same sentence, imagine the word “uniquely” before the word “evil”. Or even “pure”. Or both.
  3. “Racist”: If the words “whites” and “racist” are in the same sentence, then do not even trouble yourself with reading the rest of the post – just jump down to the comments and start acting offended. Try it! Remember, only white  nationalists and those who use the n-word can possibly be racist. All other whites are Well Meaning, Basically Good and Would Know If They Were Racist. Blacks would have no idea because they cannot read minds.
  4. General statements about whites: these are racist and therefore false. Because whites are individuals, because to see colour in the first place is racist, because to make general statements about a race is stereotyping, a part of racism.
  5. White is right: so Abagond must be wrong. Even if you cannot say why.
  6. Abagond hates whites: This follows from #5 because what other reason could there be for him to say bad stuff about whites?
  7. This is a Bash Whitey blog: which follows from #6. Abagond hates whites so much that he wants to make them to look bad or feel bad. Clearly that is his whole reason for blogging.
  8. Stereotype his position.Here are some of the choices:
    • Playing the race card
    • Whining
    • Advanced Whining
    • Whites are pure evil (white devils)
    • Living in the past

    If he sounds kind of like he saying one of these then he is.  After all, Black America is capable of maybe six different opinions at once. If that.

  9. He is an Ungrateful Darkie: He does not seem to know that Progress Has Been Made and that blacks in America have it so much better than in Africa. Point this out to him!
  10. When he tells about a personal experience:
    1. If you or any white person you know has had the same experience then say, “It happens to whites too!” Even if you have to stretch it.
    2. Otherwise he must be making it up just to make whites look bad. What else could it be?
  11. If he says something bad about whites, get upset. Take it personally. Clearly he does not know how to talk to white people, so there is no reason to take him seriously.
  12. Your feelings are more important than anything in the post, even the stuff he talks about that affects 40 million Americans – if not the whole country. Or much of the English-speaking world. But what is that compared to your feelings?
  13. The most important rule of all: Never ever try to understand what he is saying from his point of view. Why would you? What is the point? White is right, remember?

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Ellen DeGeneres: avoids Jane Austen words

Yes, a post that does not follow its own advice:

Since I am so bad at talking to White Americans I will, for the most part, simply list the opposite of what I do:

  1. Smile.
  2. Master small talk. I am terrible at this. Big time.
  3. Do not be yourself. You know, like what they seem to do.
  4. Keep your feelings to yourself. Mine make them uncomfortable.
  5. Do not point out the wrong in what they say – unless they will blame you for it later (“Why didn’t you tell me!?” )
  6. Never make it clear that you have more money or intelligence. They will hate you for it.
  7. Use the same kind of English as Ellen DeGeneres: accent, grammar, word choice, rhythm, volume, all of it, as close as you can get it. Because people who do not talk right have something wrong with them. Even Jane Austen words are bad: you might be suspected of having too much intelligence!
  8. Do not talk about books – unless they are Approved Reading Material: mysteries, romances, bestsellers and anything for work or school. Anything else hide and say nothing about it to them.
  9. Avoid saying much about yourself. Anything out of the ordinary, good or bad, will be used as an excuse to look down on you. Because different is bad.
  10. Do not bring up any subject they do not bring up. Most of them seem to have narrow interests.
  11. Follow sports.
  12. Avoid politics.
  13. Avoid race as much as you can. There is no way you can win. At best it will make them feel uncomfortable, at worst they will hate you for it or think you are being unreasonable since they, like, Control Reality.
  14. Shut out your own experience from your mind: imagine that you are in some cloud with them where the only thing that matters, the only thing that is true, is what comes out of their mouths.
  15. Do not express your ideas as your own – they will be instantly discounted. Instead say something general like, “I heard somewhere that…”

Always remember:

  1. They smile before they stab you in the back.
  2. If you are different they will make you feel like there is something wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with you – except the regular stuff, like not exercising enough.
  3. Do not take what they say to heart unless you know for a fact you screwed up (missed a deadline, broke a promise, robbed a bank, etc).

* This is not based on the latest studies because there are no latest studies. It is based utterly on my own experience – you know, Personal Anecdotes that are not Statistically Significant – most of it in or near New York.

Some of it applies to Americans of any race – like the thing about intelligence – but all of it applies best to those who grew up in White American middle-class suburbia. It does not seem to apply well to West Indians or South Asians.

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White Americans seem to apply special rules when reading about history or the news. Since I was not invited to the Secret Course on Whiteness, I have to piece together the rules and ideas based on observation of White Americans. This is very much a work in progress.

Rules & Important Concepts:

  1. Black people do bad things because they are black. When white people do bad things it is because they made a mistake, got passed over at work, had a bad childhood, need help or whatever. Apart from a few bad apples, it never has to do with race. Because whites are not affected by their race. But blacks are: they have dark, savage hearts that drives some of them to rape and murder and other cruel and senseless things for no particular reason. Because that is how black people are.
  2. Savage Black Rule: Africa is screwed up because blacks are incapable of self-rule. Look at Zimbabwe!
  3. Black pathologies: black ghettos are screwed up because black people are screwed up.
  4. The Teflon Theory of White History: Anything that took place over 30 years ago is Ancient History. It has Absolutely No Effect on the present. Unless it was something good like the light bulb or the Declaration of Independence. Otherwise white people are only affected by history through their families, nothing else, and for not more than a generation. So even Jim Crow is now Ancient History, just like the Battle of Thermopylae.
  5. Living in the Past: anyone who disagrees with Teflon Theory.
  6. Dead Indian Land: a place that it is bad manners to talk about and dangerous to think about.
  7. Basically Good – what white people are despite their ugly past. Because of Teflon Theory they are not only protected from the ugly side effects of genocide, Jim Crow and slavery (what black people call “racism”), but even from the Fall of Adam (what Christians call “original sin”). So when whites do something bad it is not evil – just a well-meaning mistake.
  8. “It was the times” – yes, white people did do some terrible things in the past, but since whites are Basically Good it must have been the times. Unless:
  9. “Arab traders did it too!” – It is a rule with White Americans that if Arab traders did something, then it is morally all right – or at least Not All That Bad.
  10. Just World Doctrine: America is basically just because it is run by white people who are Basically Good. That means they exercise power, both home and abroad, fairly and for the good of all.
  11. Love to Complain – what black people do despite the Basic Goodness of society (see Just World Doctrine) and despite the fact that it is Not As Bad As It Used To Be (over 30 years ago).
  12. White people understand racism better than blacks – because blacks Love to Complain.
  13. Read mainly White American writers. They are more fair-minded than black or foreign writers.

– Abagond, 2010.

See also:

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white pride

Note: This post is about white pride in America, but much of what I say probably applies to whites in other English-speaking countries.

White pride means being proud of being white, to the point where your sense of self-worth and self-image become built on it. It is like patriotism but it is about your race not your country.

In America the only people who seem to talk about white pride are skinhead sorts. They see it as the white counterpart to black pride: something necessary to keep the race strong. They do not see it as racist.

But most whites do not talk about white pride: not only does it seem racist to them, they think they do not have it. Like with racism, they think it is just a skinhead thing.

Some on the left go even further: they like repeating all the terrible things whites have done: genocide, slavery, colonialism, imperialism, etc. You would think this would lead to white shame, but in practice it just seems to add to white guilt.

American mainstream culture supports white pride. We are constantly being told that “white is right”. For example:

  • White History Month is the longest month of the year: it never ends.
  • “White is beautiful” is pushed by the film and fashion industries.
  • CNN never shows “White in America”.

You know that ordinary whites have white pride because they do things that otherwise make no sense. Like defend the slave trade. Why would anyone waste their breath defending such a clear evil? Because their white pride is at stake.

Even whites who you would think had no white pride have it: like those who have married black and have only black children. If you start bad-mouthing whites to them they often get upset too and try to disprove you, sounding just as racist as most other whites (though their arguments are often more subtle).

Whites think they are neutral: that they just concern themselves with facts and reasons. But when race comes up two things come in: white pride and white guilt. Fact and reason fly out the window; hurt feelings and weak excuses take their place. Because they feel they must defend their pride and avoid facing their guilt. They no longer think clearly but in a twisted, half-blind, self-serving way. Their feelings can become more important than the truth.

In and of itself there is nothing wrong with being proud of your race. If you live in a racist country where your race is outnumbered it is both necessary and healthy in order to fight against internalized racism. In America black pride is a defence against the white pride of the mainstream.

But where pride in one’s race goes wrong is when it is used as an excuse to:

  • Look down on other races.
  • Turn a blind eye to the faults of one’s own race.

And in America white pride is used that way all the time, causing great damage to the country.

See also:

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Two Chinese fighter planes fire rockets at ground targets in an amphibious landing drill during the third phase of the Sino-Russian The Chinese Invasion Experiment is a thought experiment where you imagine what would become of white people if the Chinese took over America and began to settle it:

Meijiang: Quick Facts:

  • Location: In North America, between Canada and Mexico
  • Status: overseas autonomous region
  • Governor: Lee Kwan Yu (since 2307)
  • Capital: San Francisco
  • Land Area: 9,166,601 sq km
  • Population: 1315.8 million (2309 est.)
  • Major ethnic groups: Han Chinese (75%), White American (12%), Mexican (8%), Black American (3%), Other (2%).
  • Resources: coal, timber, beef, wheat, hydroelectric power

Notes on the White American people:

The White Americans live mainly in the overseas Chinese province of Meijiang. It used to be their own country, called America.

They are not at all Chinese. They are distant relations of the Germans of Germany and close cousins of the British and Australians. Their language is English. Their religion is Protestant Christianity. Because of  Chinese rule their religion is weak.

There are 159 million White Americans. Most live in Meijiang but some live in the neighbouring country of Canada or in big Chinese cities on the mainland, like Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The Chinese fear them as kind of wild and dangerous.

Hundreds of years ago they settled in cities across Meijiang. Their great city was New York. They were free and independent from the 1600s to the 2000s. Their empire – and their golden age – was from 1945 to 2017.

China began taking over their country in the late 2000s. By 2138 it was complete. In the 2100s they started sending Chinese there to live so that now San Francisco, the capital, is only 8% white and Meijiang as a whole is only 15% white.

White Americans are not allowed to study their language, English, after middle school.  They cannot study or practise their religion, Christianity, till age 18. The Chinese treat them like dirt and destroy their famous buildings, particularly in New York and Washington. Taxi drivers in San Francisco will not pick them up.

Chinese workers at one factory say things like this:

Everyone always says watch out for whites, they’ll rob you. And they do look aggressive.

They are always trouble. They can’t speak Chinese. And they steal.

When asked why so many whites are out of work, the Chinese say it is because they do not work hard

One hard-working Chinese business owner  puts it well:

The Chinese are sick of being blamed for white misfortune in present times. The whites drop out, join gangs, sell drugs, go to jail – almost all of them. Then they demand special government support because we “took their land” and we owe them. On top of that they rob us and steal our cars, and somehow it’s all our fault. There are lots of poor Chinese people too but they don’t get the same attention.

Source: Except for the Quick Facts, none of this is made up: I just took a post I wrote about the Uighurs, whose land is being invaded by the Chinese, and a comment about Native Canadians and  then changed up the names and dates.

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The white club is the white race seen as a club. Like a club it has members, it has rules about who can join and who cannot, it has duties and privileges. Those who fail to carry out their duties can be kicked out.

To join:

  • Be born white or look enough like a white person to pass as one: light skin with a pink undertone, nose, lips and eyes of a European shape and hair with a European degree of straightness and smoothness.
  • Honorary membership is sometimes extended to those who do not look white if they are rich or willing to carry out all of the duties (see below). However not all privileges will necessarily be granted. Honorary membership is more likely to be extended to Asians than to blacks.

Duties:

  • Accept White American culture as your guide to life. Practise it and do not question it. Your aim is to speak, dress and act like a  middle-class White American with a good education. If you do not look white, this is a must. If you look white then a certain degree of freedom is allowed (hippies, goths and hillbillies but not, say, Muslims).
  • Speak English and speak it with one of the accepted club accents.
  • Do not seriously question or challenge white racism.
  • Do not make common cause with blacks or other people of colour.
  • Have mostly white friends.
  • Marry a white person. Back in the 1940s breaking this rule would get you kicked out, no questions asked. Even now it is still a strike against you. Not so for white men who marry Asian women.

Privileges:

  • Living in better neighbourhoods with better schools and safer streets.
  • Lower unemployment.
  • Higher pay.
  • Longer life.
  • Not being seen as a threat by the police or security guards.
  • Being seen as more fully human.
  • Having whites take your ideas and experiences seriously (at least for males).
  • Listening to racist jokes (does not seem like a privilege, but it functions as one).

Michelle Malkin, who runs a well-known right-wing blog, is an excellent example of an honorary white: both her parents came from the Philippines so she looks unmistakably Asian – but by culture she is White American, she married a white person and, best of all, she defended the American government’s right to send Japanese Americans to prison camps during the Second World War, proving her loyalty to the white club.

When the Irish, Italians and Jews came to America they were not seen as white at first even though they pretty much looked it. Only when they showed themselves willing to carry out club duties were they admitted and were able to enjoy its privileges. Had they kept their culture, married blacks or made common cause with them, they would have stayed at the bottom and would be regarded much as Latinos are now.

It is the threat of losing club privileges or even membership that keeps those in the club from rocking the boat, from standing up to its racism.

– Abagond, 2009.

See also:

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no-one-cares-about-your-white-feelings

White Americans often derail an argument about race by making it about their feelings. The feelings of white people, for some strange reason, matter more than the truth. White women’s tears are a good example.

Sometimes they make it about your feelings as a person of colour: you are oversensitive, angry, hateful, whining, etc.

Either way the argument is shifted away from facts and reasons, rights and wrongs – to what? Feelings. Feelings which only they can know – even if they are yours! (Try telling them you are not hateful, for example.) That puts them in control of the now-derailed argument.

In the most common case they get angry because they think you are calling them a racist. That they might in fact be racist does not matter – just their hurt feelings.

But while their feelings are the centre of the known universe, they use your feelings to belittle your experience, to assume you are unreasonable, the kind who imagines things or blows them out of proportion.

Sometimes they use their feelings as a kind of blackmail. As Renee of Womanist Musings put it:

We are routinely told if we spoke in nicer terms we would be less alienating, as though whiteness has any real interest in divesting itself of its power. Gee, if only we had realized that the key to ending white hegemony was speaking in respectful terms, it never would have been necessary to go through the heartache and strife of a civil rights movement.

Some call this the tone argument. Nezua the Unapologetic Mexican calls it the Drowning Maestro. Some of his examples:

  • “We’d admit about your point if you presented it nicer.”
  • “People would listen to your complaint if you weren’t so loud.”
  • “If you want people to care about this, you should learn to be smoother.”

Nezua:

… what really bothers them is that a brown person has the nerve to speak with such self-confidence and passion. This, in fact, scares them. … what is really desired is for the brown person to admit the desired hierarchy, to get “back in place.”

He agrees with Renee that they have no interest in hearing people of colour – not even the nicest, smoothest and most respectful ones.

How we know: if you stepped on my foot, say, I might be angry, I might be loud, I might seem “oversensitive” or like I am whining (after all it is my foot that is in pain, not yours), I might not be smooth, I might seem hateful, etc. But then for you to say stuff like this:

  • “I’d admit I stepped on your foot if you said it nicer.”
  • “I would listen to your complaint if you weren’t so loud.”
  • “If you want me to care about your foot, you should learn to be smoother.”

only proves that you do not care at all, that you are a jerk who just wants me to shut up and “move on”.

– Abagond, 2009.

See also:

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the white lens

miraThe white lens is that through which white Americans see the world. It is like a pair of glasses nearly all of them wear. It keeps them from seeing the world as it is, allowing them to feel comfortable with their privileged position in it. It is something that Nezua the Unapologetic Mexican writes about at length.

Nezua says American society is like a train passing through a land full of dead bodies. When white people, or anyone with a white lens, looks out the window they do not see the bodies – just beautiful countryside. Those without a white lens see the dead bodies.

You do not have to be white to wear a white lens: it comes as part of the brainwashing you get from school and television in America – no matter what your colour. It makes you to look at the world in a way that suits white rule, not you:

  1. It makes you see white as right and people of colour as no good.
  2. It makes you seek personal success within a racist society as it stands.
  3. It makes you give up parts of yourself, like your culture and history, without looking back.

If you have ever looked at your face and thought your nose was too wide, your lips too big, your skin too dark or your hair no good, you were most likely looking at yourself through a white lens.

Very few white people even notice the white lens – they think they are seeing the world as it is and not in some twisted form.

Most people of colour, on the other hand, notice that something is not quite right, though it may take them years to notice it and years more to undo its damaging effects. Some never notice the lens, like Condoleezza Rice, Clarence Thomas and Michelle Malkin.

The white lens accounts for:

  • Why whites can be racist without even knowing it.
  • Why whites do not see their own race, just that of others.
  • Why whites think people of colour are “oversensitive”.
  • Why Don Imus called the women basketball players at Rutgers “nappy-headed hoes” – because that is how they look through the white lens.
  • Why passing for white does not work for people of colour in the long run – because they are not seeing or being their true selves, even if they seem “successful”.

Nezua says he has nothing against whites – just the white lens. That allows him to see whites as brainwashed innocents.

I like how the white lens ties together much of what I have been writing about lately: the delusional whiteness of Barbara Bush, the poor reading skills of Roissy, the single story, the just world doctrine, how whites are not neutral like they think, etc.

But I do not completely agree with Nezua: I think whites do see the dead bodies out of the corner of their eye. Because their benevolent cluelessness often seems to be an act.

See also:

Because this idea strikes at one of the main themes of this blog, it is a portal into a good share of it:

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cropped-lynching-of-abram-smith-and-thomas-shipp-on-august-7th-1930.jpg

“Whites are individuals” is a common argument brought up by White Americans. It is part of a set of closely related arguments:

  • Whites are individuals. There are all kinds – bikers, soccer moms, coal miners, business men, goths, etc – so you cannot make general statements about them.
  • To make a general statement about Whites is itself racist. It is stereotyping them. It is hypocritical. It is seeing them according to skin colour and that is racist.
  • The “not all Whites” argument: “All Whites are not like that”. They bring this up even when no one said all Whites were anything. But that is how they heard it. It amounts a straw man argument.

These arguments seem to be driven by two things:

  1. “Blacks are racist too.”
  2. They are uncomfortable with being called White because they have been taught not to be race conscious.

Just for the record, I do know that Whites are individuals. I live in America, a country that is mostly White: I work with them, they are on television and presented as individuals with their own storylines and not as racist stereotypes or even as too-good-to-be-true supporting characters.

On the other hand….

It does seem like most of them, like at least 60%, at least in the Greater New York Metropolitan Area, all went to the same Secret Course on Whiteness. They do act in certain common ways, ways that support racism.

And, based on comments on this blog, this stuff extends well beyond New York. In fact it seems to go clear across the country and into Canada, and, in a slightly different form, into Britain and South Africa.

I have never been to the Southside or Oakland, but they sound strangely familiar to me. Another sign that the racism of White people in New York is not just a New York thing.

And having seen the Maori in New Zealand and the Sioux in South Dakota, I know full well that this has surprisingly little to do with the faults of Blacks – or the Maoris or Sioux – and everything to do with how Whites are. Whites do not like to hear that, but that does not make it untrue.

And there is no way I can talk about Whites – or any subject – without making general statements. It would be nice if I could back them all up with studies, but this does not seem to be a well-studied field.

Of course, I am quite capable of making racist statements. But to say that every general statement about Whites is necessarily racist makes it impossible to talk about how racist they are!

The most maddening part is that in America it is Whites who draw the line between themselves and everyone else. They are the ones who apply the colour line and all the injustice that goes with it. They are making themselves White – and yet they do not want to be seen as White!

– Abagond, 2009, 2015.

See also:

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Wite-OutI read a post by Wildflower that got me to thinking: “Is It Neutral and Normal Because It’s White?”

White Americans as a whole do not have a neutral point of view. They do not see the world in a fair, open-minded way like they think.

This should be as plain as day, it should go without saying. Not so.

I will go further: most whites have a dishonest, self-serving, closed-minded, narrow way of looking at the world that is far from neutral, far from fair, far from objective. They are more interested in maintaining a false image of themselves as a kind and good and just people than, say, the truth.

White Americans are born with perfectly good minds, just as good as anyone else’s. Most have at least 14 years of schooling. America is a remarkably open society – it was before the Internet came and now it is even more so. There is every reason to expect them to be the most open-minded, knowledgeable people in all of history.

The trouble comes because of their power:

  1. It makes them believe they have all the answers – so why listen to others? Why care what goes on in other countries? Why take people of colour or other cultures seriously? Why even take voices from their own past seriously?
  2. It fills the world with their own voice – with television shows, news, Hollywood films, magazines, blogs, etc. They can barely hear anyone else but themselves.
  3. It makes them morally blind – they turn a blind eye to the evil done in their name.
  4. It makes them think the world is juster and less screwed up than it is – not just because they are morally blind but also because in their corner of the world things are fine. Most seem to believe in just world doctrine, which is hardly the way the world works.
  5. It separates them from other people – most live in an all-white world and rarely hear forthright, honest opinions seriously defended that are far from their own except of a narrow political sort. It also makes them blind to their own skin colour so that they think they are raceless, that their race does not affect how they see things.
  6. It allows them to write their own history – and fill it with lies and half-truths, putting themselves at the centre, making themselves its heroes, making themselves what all of history was leading up to!

In short, there is little to keep them honest. They believe what they want to believe. Not just in regard to history, race or foreign affairs, but even personal morals. In 1900, for example, abortion, divorce, illegitimacy and same-sex marriage were all beyond the pale and had been for at least 1500 years. But now?

Most do not seek out other voices from other times and other places, not even from people of colour from their own time and place. And so in spite of all their money and power they live in a very narrow world that does not extend much beyond the white middle-class English-speaking world of the last 30 years.

See also:

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RogerEbertAndWifeRenee of Womanist Musings has a wonderful post on Roger Ebert’s review of “Good Hair”. I was going to comment on it at Stuff White People Do where it was guest posted, but I feel a post of my own coming on:

Roger Ebert wrote a review of Chris Rock’s film “Good Hair” (2009). Nothing surprising there: he makes his living as a reviewer. But what makes this one priceless is it shows up his whiteness in two ways:

  1. He assumes he knows more than black people – even about black women’s hair!
  2. He downplays what black people go through by comparing it to something white that is not at all the same thing.

Roger Ebert ends the review this way:

The movie has a good feeling, but why do I know more about this subject than Chris Rock does? Smile.

The smile presumably refers to the fact that he is married to a black woman, Chaz Hammel-Smith. Earlier in the review Ebert takes issue with the film based on the Wikipedia, of all things. So Ebert feels he knows more about black women’s hair based on what? This:

  1. I am married to a black woman.
  2. I look up stuff in the Wikipedia.

Compare that to Chris Rock:

chrisrockfamily

  1. Also married to a black woman.
  2. Has a black mother and two black daughters.
  3. Spent two years making a film about black women’s hair.

Where in the world does Ebert get off thinking he knows more about black women’s hair? Since Ebert does not strike me as a know-it-all blowhard – I used to watch his reviews on television – it is hard for me not to think this is racist: “White people know what they talking about, black people do not.” Help me out here.

He even assumes he knows more than his own wife, who has had such hair all her life! You know this because it is clear he printed the review without her looking it over – either that or he did not take her comments seriously. It would have kept him from making a fool of himself. But, again, he thinks he knows better.

I find it hard to imagine his wife agreeing with this:

The use of the word “natural hair” is, in any event, misleading. Take a stroll down the hair products aisle of a drugstore or look at the stock price of Supercuts. Few people of any race wear completely natural hair. If they did, we would be a nation of Unibombers.

See that: what black women go through with their hair is no big deal at all! This is stock racist deflection: what black people go through is no different than what white people go through.

White people talk that way because they have a hard time accepting difference in people – what leads to the whole “good hair” thing to begin with. They also do it because, like Ebert, they do not want to take black people seriously.

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teresa-and-hitler

I do not hate white people. Am I racist against them? Yes. Do I sometimes have a hard time trusting them? Yes. Do I hate some of the things they do? Yes. But do I hate anyone just for being white? No, of course not. Even with racist jerks I try to hate the sin not the sinner. But, I must admit, I have not always been successful.

I do not want to put people in a box. I want them to surprise me and sometimes they do. But too many times white people act like they all went to the same Secret Course on Whiteness that I was not invited to.

Some commenters assume that because I say bad things about whites I must hate them, that I think they are pure evil, that no one else in the world is evil, that I do not know that black people can be evil too. No, it is not like that. It is just that white people do bad things too and, unlike with black people, it tends to get overlooked or played down.

Have white people done good things? Of course. I would have died at 13 if it were not for modern medicine. My wife would have died in childbirth. There would be no Internet or television game shows. Etc.

Have white people made progress? Of course. In America they no longer use whips and chains on black people to force them to work for free. They no longer force blacks to sit at the back of the bus or hang them from trees. A big fraction of them – more than I expected – voted for a black man for president. Etc.

Whites have the same hearts and minds as everyone else, the same human nature. What makes them different: power.

Power corrupts: it hardens your heart, it wears away your sense of right and wrong, it weakens your hold on the truth. Because there is no one to keep you in check, to keep you from going off the rails. Power leads to evil and self-delusion.

So in the case of White Americans they take land from the American Indians (because they can) and make black men slaves (because they can). They knew it was wrong, but instead of stopping they made up lies about blacks and American Indians (because they can), many of which they still believe to this day (because they can). They went off the rails, losing their hold on right and wrong, on the truth. It is still going on.

That is what power does to people. Read Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, Thucydides’s “History”, Shakespeare’s “King Lear” or even the Bible.

Whites use their power to make themselves look good and blacks look bad. From the time we are little children our minds are filled with “white is right” and “black is bad” over and over again, making white people big-headed and blacks self-hating. I am not going to use my blog to add to that.

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oldnavy

This is partly in answer to Macon D’s post on Stuff White People Do: “fail to see how racism harms white people”. Here is my take:

Racism both helps and hurts white Americans. I cannot prove all of the following statements with studies, charts and figures, but this is the truth as best I know it:

How it helps:

  • They are way richer than they would have been:
    • They live on land taken from the American Indians.
    • They benefit directly or indirectly from the free labour of black slaves and, later, from the cheap labour of blacks and other people of colour.
    • They get paid more for a given level of education.
    • Lower unemployment: they are less likely to fired and more likely to be hired – even with a prison record.
  • They get to live in nicer, safer neighbourhoods with better schools.
  • They live longer: even poor whites live longer than middle-class blacks.
  • It helps to keep them from falling to the very bottom of society.

How it hurts:

  • They become morally blind. Since they do not see the evil they do they are surprised by 9/11, race riots, failures in foreign policy, poverty at home, etc.
  • They harden their hearts.
  • They become partly deluded: they believe lies – about themselves, their history, their society. They do not take the truth seriously when it comes from a person of colour.
  • They have a limited idea of what it means to be human. At root, racism is the idea that being “different” means there is something wrong with you. That means many whites hide or slowly kill their true selves in order to fit in, making them into plastic people.
  • They become small-minded:
    • Because they feel good about themselves by looking down on others.
    • Because they narrow their minds by not taking other people and their cultures seriously.
  • They are not true to themselves and their belief that all men are created equal – and so they live with guilt.
  • Crime is higher than in other rich countries – and so they live with fear.
  • By hurting people of colour they are hurting their own country. At the very least they are wasting a part of its human capital.
  • Many whites vote against their class interests in part because of race.

That is what comes to me off the top of my head. I might be forgetting some big ones. Commenters can kindly point them out.

In short, whites are not true to themselves – to their morals, their beliefs, their heart, their soul. They are sell-outs to an idea that is beneath them.

If I still have any white readers left I know they will strongly disagree. Perhaps they will think I hate them, that I am trying to put them down. Wrong: I am trying to be honest.

Whites signed up for racism to create America and they continue to hold on to racism to hold on to its advantages. They made a deal with the devil and we know how that ends.

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barbara-bush

From time to time this blog will give out the Barbara Bush Award for Deluded Whiteness to worthy souls. No prize money, no gold medal. Just the mere honour. You do not have to be white to win – you just have to buy into the lies that white people tell themselves. You can add your nominations in the comments below.

The first winner is, of course, Barbara Bush herself.

On September 5th 2005 she visited the Houston Astrodome where 15,000 had fled Hurricane Katrina, having lost almost everything but their lives. Most were poor and most were black. She said this to an NPR reporter:

Almost everyone I’ve talked to says, “We’re going to move to Houston.” What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality.

And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them.

Many compare this to the queen of France, Marie Antoinette, saying “Let them eat cake” when she was told that Paris had run out of bread to feed the poor.

But this is not a case of a rich and powerful person having no idea about how the other half lives. It is worse than that. It is a piece of racist excuse-making. The “sort of scary” tells you she is thinking of them as blacks, not as the cake-eating poor.

The better comparison is with statements that White Americans used to make about black slaves. Here is Robert E. Lee in 1856 on the good fortune of being a black slave:

The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things.

Here is the pattern (the unsaid parts in parentheses):

  1. (I know it looks bad but) blacks are better off here (America, the Houston Astrodome) than where they were (Africa, New Orleans).
  2. Things will get better.

This is also the pattern of those news stories on the state of Black America that you see on Martin Luther King Day.

It is an exercise in playing down black suffering. What makes it strange and unsettling is that no one who truly cared about such suffering would even think to talk like that. But whites do because they are driven more by their own sense of white guilt than other people’s suffering.

Katrina was hardly her fault, so why did Barbara Bush say this? It could just be habit, but more likely it was in answer to charges that her son, President George Bush, did not do enough to help poor blacks stuck in New Orleans during and right after Katrina. As Kanye West put it just three days before in one of the best pieces of television ever: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”

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