Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Whiteness Whale

We hear a lot about the evils of "whiteness" in these days of "wokeness". It is human nature to prefer "like" -- we are social beings with our natural urge being to prefer those most like us (our family), our community (the country mouse and the city mouse), our profession, and on and on. We by nature prefer our "group/identity". Historically, "Americans", or "Christians" were large groupings that superseded most other "identities". In the Civil War, "Northerner" and "Southerner" became identities that superseded being "American", with the results being less than optimal. 

 Identity politics seeks to divide on many factors -- race, sex, wealth, etc. The "old ideas" of things like Western civilization, the Constitution, the two parent family, Christianity are "white, racist, sexist, etc" ... BAD! The goal of identity politics is to divide and conquer. 

In the view of the left, this human "preference for same" is a beautiful thing when it used by people "people of color" or other approved "identities" ( women, gays, trans, etc ). Increasingly since the late 1980's, the concept of "whiteness" is a new branding of old terms like "conservative, Christian, or Republican". (for the left, all synonyms for "bad") 

Here is a discussion from the linked. 

The notion of whiteness emerged from debates among academic leftists near the end of the Reagan/Bush era. They were wrestling with the old American political anomaly: why working-class whites supposedly voted against their own interests by failing to embrace socialism. The recent appearance of Reagan Democrats and growing working-class support for the Republican Party had been a particularly galling development. Alexander Saxton’s The Rise and Fall of the White Republic: Class Politics and Mass Culture in Nineteenth-Century America (1990), followed closely by David R. Roediger’s The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class (1991), attempted to tackle this “problem” with a new perspective. “Whiteness,” each book claimed in its own way, explained all.

I like the idea of "Whiteness" as a "white whale" (and I hope it is as unsuccessful as Ahab) . I see Whiteness as an obsessive desire to destroy the foundations of Western civilization. 

Whiteness, according to this pervasive left-wing narrative, inspires and shapes all problems in the United States, which therefore must be relentlessly racialized in order to root whiteness out. As one critic who accuses Greek and Roman classical texts of undergirding a Western civilization of racial repression recently put it, “Classics and whiteness are the bone and sinew of the same body; they grew strong together and they may have to die together.” To such ends a flotilla of progressive Ahabs grimly pursues the whale of whiteness into every inlet and channel of American life with political harpoons poised and ready to strike.

"Whiteness" is more or less a new version of the old cry of "racism" -- it is another all purpose smear that can be thrown at anyone at any time, and if they complain it is not a valid charge, that is tacit admission that the charge is valid!  

"Dog Whistle Politics" gives a good description of the "White privilege / racist" attack. Whiteness is just newer and more generic. 

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