WHITE FRAGILITY

White Fragility? Read it? Hell, I haven’t even blogged on it yet! Let’s fix that right now.

I’m not sure what colour I am. I’m lighter than most brown people, but I’m darker than some blacks. But whatever colour I am, the idea of being ashamed of one’s skin colour makes about as much sense as being proud of it. 

Is there a skin colour one should be ashamed of? Well, duh. That’s what racism is all about. But to be ashamed of your skin colour you have to buy into its shamefulness. That shamefulness arises from how you’re treated because of your skin colour. The how of this isn’t rocket science. Because you’re a social animal, you are what others see you as. Why else should I be so concerned about undermining your self-esteem?

The view that there’s something intrinsically shame-worthy about being darker skinned is nonsense. Long before there was any mixing of the races – and I’m old enough to remember this – some members of every tribe were always lighter skinned than other members of that tribe. That played no role at all in the social pecking order. The superiority of lighter skin entered the meme pool when and only when the races met, and when darker skinned people found themselves technolocially, and so militarily, subordinate to lighter skinned people. 

Might history have unfolded otherwise? Hard to say. If the technological supervenes on the environmental, then perhaps not. But that’s water under the bridge. Once dominion gets associated with whiteness in a culture, everyone in that culture aspires to be whiter. Again, not rocket science. No mystery, no blame. Get over it!

In Germany I would have been a tad less white than most, and so I wouldn’t have fared so well. But in Canada I am whiter than most, and I’m told that affords me certain advantages. If this is true – and I have no reason to think it’s not – isn’t that something to celebrate? I’m also better looking than most. By what standard? By the same standard that makes me more privileged than most racially. If your uglier ancestors had dominated my better looking ones, I wouldn’t be considered better looking than most. You would. So history is as much a lottery as nature. If you’re going to rail against the one, you might as well rail against the other.

The only people who want to be equal are those who aren’t, yet. As soon as they are, they’ll want to keep going. It’s human nature. How else did you think your betters got to be your betters? Asking your betters to acknowledge their better-ness is a fair request. Asking them to feel guilty about their better-ness is a fool’s errand. We don’t, and we won’t. We’re not that fragile because we’re not that stupid! 



Categories: Everything You Wanted to Know About What's Going On in the World But Were Afraid to Ask

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6 replies

  1. Nice one. I love challenges to the race narrative that the Humanist Ascendancy uses to prop itself up in the absence of class struggle & anti imperialist liberation struggle (which has now resolved into either an embarrassing success for capitalism or embarrassing incompetence & failed statism.)

    ‘Race’ gives white mother superiors something/someone to fret & cry over because they need victims as pawns to stay in the regime as a churchy pillar.

    However, beneath that is a variously dramatic failure to absorb ex colonial populations into the old imperial metropoli.

    This is a class question. In the middle class neighborhood where I live, we have lots of well educated & affluent Chinese & South Asians & we & their kids got on just fine. My youngest daughter & the Singaporean kids next door spent years playing together. & their parents would have meals together from time to time.

    In the not so salubrious parts of town, there are far great barriers to sharing the love. The educational, cultural & religious differences are substantial. There are ‘troublesome’ & brazenly lawless ethnic gangs. There are places where Europeans & police do not go at night, unless in groups. And there are ‘issues’ over the status of women.

    These are not particularly racial issues per se. but if Sudanese or Somali young men keep coming into your store & regularly shop lifting, the Indian, Chinese or European shop keeper is just bound to see it as a ‘black problem’…& that will affect their attitude to black people generally, unfortunately.

    Ho hum…..The wisdom of accepting large numbers of refugees & people from quite alien third world traditions is being questioned because it may well cause our descendants inter ethnic problems they will not be thanking us for?

    We will probably get away with it in sunny Australia because we have always been a relatively affluent migrant society that has absorbed waves of ‘different’ new chums, & the problems they brought with them.

    Others may not be so lucky….

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  2. Hi Christopher,

    What do you mean by “Humanist Ascendancy”?

    Thank you, Pam

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    • I try very hard not to use nineteenth and twentieth century political terminology like ‘progressive’ and ‘conservative’ or ‘left’ and ‘right’. I think they have become obsolescently encliched stereotypes that save the bother of actually thinking.

      The Humanist Ascendancy is exactly what it says it means, as in the tertiary humanities trained graduate stream that now controls both our public and private apparatuses of social management, as an administrative regime arm of Indulgence Capitalism (whereby a disciplined economy and culture of needs and wants is subsumed by a totalitarian controlled, privatized, deregulated and marketed environment of indulgent fantasies of desire and immediate satisfaction at any cost to its environmental, social and economic infrastructure) that now operates rather like a secular version of the old church.

      I use the term in exactly the same context that people in Britain and its empire once spoke of a Protestant Ascendancy.

      It used to be a social libertarian wing of the regime, but in recent years it has transformed itself into an authoritarian neo clerical and heresy sniffing postmodernist dogma encrusted Establishment designed to maintain its power within the status quo and its victim clients in aspic that ensures they remain helpless indefinitely. In that sense, the Ascendancy operates in exactly the same fashion as its church predecessor did with the poor, the sick and the marginalized…..to keep them in perpetual poor thing dependence, only now instead of being saved in heaven, salvation is on earth, with more indulgent excuses, rationalizations and special pleading exceptionalisms for poor behavior than an adolescent space cadet bankster on steroids.

      Hope that helps…..

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  3. “The only people who want to be equal are those who aren’t, yet. As soon as they are, they’ll want to keep going.”

    I agree with the first sentence, but not the second. As soon as they are approaching equality they will want to deny that they are equal. To admit that they are equal would require them to give up the moral superiority of victimhood: “I am your victim because you are an oppressor: an evil, toxic, fragile white male.”

    Once someone is equal they cease to be oppressed. As there are only the two categories, oppressed and oppressor, a former oppressed person who becomes equal becomes an oppressor. Suddenly they also become fragile and privileged. Who wants that?

    Like

    • Andrew Roman is right, of course, that no one wants to give up her victim card. But that won’t stop her from trying to get a leg up on her erstwhile betters. For example, notwithstanding that post-1945, we Jews are at or near the top of the pecking order in 2020 Canada, that doesn’t stop us playing our J-card when it suits our purposes. We all play the hand we’re dealt. We don’t apologise for having been dealt a good one. When I play chess, I play to win, not to draw. Unfortunately I’m playing to neither lately. I think the next time some 8 year old little prick beats me I’m going to claim it’s anti-Semitism.

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