White people are being asked—or pushed—to take stock of their whiteness and identify with it more. This is a remarkably bad idea.
….Progressive rhetoric on race has turned an ugly corner and the existence of “anti-white” attitudes can no longer be ignored.
What is new is the direct indictment of white people as a race. This happened through a strange rhetorical transformation over the past few years. At first, “white men are our greatest threat” postings tended to be ironic, a way of putting the racist shoe on the other foot. They were meant to show that blaming an entire race for the harmful actions of a few individuals is senseless.
Then the tenor changed. What started as irony turned into an actual belief that white people, specifically white men, are more dangerous and immoral than any other people. Loosely backed up by historical inequities and disparities in mass shootings, this position has begun to take a serious foothold.
White people are being asked—or pushed—to take stock of their whiteness and identify with it more. This is a remarkably bad idea. The last thing our society needs is for white people to feel more tribal. The result of this tribalism will not be a catharsis of white identity, improving equality for non-whites. It will be resentment towards being the only tribe not given the special treatment bestowed by victimhood.
When privilege theory took root in the 1990s, society roundly condemned the outward expression of racist attitudes. This is why the focus shifted to the ways in which white people were racist without even knowing it. Importantly, all white people were guilty of this form of racism. The act of confessing privilege became the means through which white people discovered this hidden racism.
But, as the past year has shown us, good old-fashioned white supremacy was not gone; it was simply driven underground. Not only was white supremacy still extant, it was going more or less unaddressed. The shift to the privilege model had an unintended consequence that is abetting white supremacy.
One can teach against white supremacy by encouraging students to treat everyone as equal, or at least as individuals not defined in important ways by their race. Privilege theory does not allow for this approach. It demands that differences be front and center and that we always consider a person’s race in considering him. This focus on “valuing differences” over “the colorblind model” unlocked the door to the white supremacist revival that today’s anti-white rhetoric has kicked open.
Rise of the White Race Baiters
The combination of the confessional and universal aspects of white privilege and the reconstruction of white history has opened the door for white racial grievance-mongers. From 2014 to 2015, the number of active Klu Klux Klan chapters in the United States grew from 72 to 190, a massive increase for a group so closely associated with hatred. Along with these organized efforts, social media has given a dangerous new platform to white supremacists.
Young white men, reacting to social and educational constructs that paint them as the embodiment of historical evil, are fertile ground for white supremacists. They are very aware of the dichotomy between non-white culture, which must be valued at all times (even in the midst of terror attacks), and white culture, which must be criticized and devalued. They don’t like it.
Same Tactics, Different Sides
The result of these societal double standards is for many a desire to lash out against it. For every white college student who dutifully accepts his privilege, many more resent the idea and wish to fight it. The sharpest arrow in their quiver is to be offensive.
This desire to be offensive has given rise to the “alt right.” Supporters of this loosely assembled white nationalist movement understand a playful aspect to its use of slurs. But just as the Left shifted from using anti-white rhetoric as an ironic device to an actual indictment of white culture, so has the alt right come to believe much of its troubling rhetoric.
Do the alt right Twitter trolls really want Jews turned into lampshades, or believe blacks are apes? Many of their supporters say no, that such rhetoric is simply meant to shock the system. They feel oppressed by political correctness and they challenge it, in over-the-top, offensive ways.
If this seems familiar, it should. It is exactly the same approach taken by social justice warriors and purveyors of anti-white rhetoric. The shocking “White Men Are Bad” hot takes serve the same purpose. They are also meant to shock the system. Just as the alt right is willing to denigrate minorities to make plain what they view as racist speech codes, the Left is willing to denigrate straight, white men to make plain what they view as widespread systemic racism.
Both of these perspectives must be rejected. In their place, we must return to the goal of treating people as individuals, not as representatives of their race.
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