“Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.”
Good parents inevitably run into a common childhood tactic: diversion/distraction. Little Johnny burns down the storage shed, and when confronted with his arson says: “my little sister said a bad word.” Hillary Clinton is caught exposing innumerable national security secrets to our worst enemies and blames Colin Powell who once suggested using private e-mail for non-secret communications—not the Powell remembers ever saying that.
As all intellectually and morally superior people know, whiteness is a blight upon the Earth. Fortunately, at least in Seattle, something is being done about it:
A city-run cultural program in Seattle is offering residents classes on ‘white fragility’ to white folks [to] understand why they can’t seem to handle matters involving race, and tickets have sold out.
Lecturer Robin DiAngelo, who coined the term, is teaching the taxpayer-funded class for the city Office of Arts and Culture. She defines white fragility as ‘a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves.
Indeed, such as “what the hell are you talking about?!” Of course, no field of study and belief is more transparent and scrupulously scrupulous than the racial grievance/self-hating white person industry:
The Office of Arts and Culture, which has a budget of $8.3 million, is holding two 4-hour classes, Aug. 17 and Sept. 7. Tickets are $60 and both lectures are sold out. Erika Lindsay, a city spokesperson, says staffers have been working on the event, but she could not pinpoint how much taxpayers are shelling out for the program.
‘A primary role of our office is to provide programs and resources to help the arts and culture sector flourish and many arts and cultural organizations see the ability to become more inclusive as a major step towards their ability to thrive,’ she said.
Oh, so Seattle “arts and cultural organizations” are not diverse and inclusive? They restrict attendance at their events based on race, etc.? Why is it Leftist controlled cities are always such cesspools of violence, hatred, racism, sexism, and all-around white not niceness?
DiAngelo, who is white, has made a career out of studying whiteness. She earned her doctorate in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington in 2004. Ten years later she became a tenured professor in whiteness studies at Westfield State University. Now she is back in Seattle working as a lecturer at the University of Washington. She’s also director of equity for Sound Generations, Seattle/King County and was recently appointed to co-design Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Anti-Racism Training program.
“Whiteness studies?!” “A career out of studying whiteness.” Why do I suspect such studies are focused not on cataloging the good white people have done, but on the horrors of being white? And again, we see Seattle, among America’s most leftist cities, is a bastion of racism. Why else would it need a “Race and Social Justice Anti-Racism Training Program?”
Maybe I can make a career out of studying Mike McDaniel? Sounds fascinating, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, I’m not nearly oppressed and discriminated against enough, nor do I need a safe space, so studies about me wouldn’t be much of a draw, I’m afraid.
So what is this “white fragility” anyway?
Melinda Bullen, Diversity Resource Center coordinator at Mt. Hood Community College, lectured on ‘white fragility.’ Bullen, who is white, told attendees, ‘because of their position of privilege and accustomed racial comfort, whites will often display racial arrogance by denying, debating, trivializing racism or critical thought regarding racial conflict.’
Bullen also says white people need to be much harder on themselves. ‘Seeing yourself as well-meaning,’ she said, ‘removes responsibility for your actions…good intentions are one of the great hindrances to honest conversations about race.
Oh. To be completely fair, let’s explore the descriptions of DiAngelo’s class—and several others—on the Seattle Office Of Arts And Culture’s website:
“White Fragility with Robin DiAngelo…
A 4-hour workshop focusing on the specific way that racism manifests through White Fragility (defined as the inability for white people to tolerate racial stress) and provides the perspectives and skills needed for white people to have more constructive cross-racial interactions. Dr. Robin DiAngelo is a former Associate Professor of Education and is a two-time winner of the Student’s Choice Award for Educator of the Year from the University of Washington. She was appointed to co-design the City of Seattle’s Race & Social Justice Initiative and has just completed the 2nd edition of her book, What Does it Mean to be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy.
Implicit Bias with Darlene Flynn
Implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner and can have detrimental impacts in how we interact with others with regard to race. In this 2-1/2 hour workshop participants will learn to identify implicit racial bias, understand its impacts, and develop strategies for interrupting it. Darlene Flynn works in the Office for Civil Rights as a Policy Analyst and trainer for the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative. She also served on the Black Child Development Institute Education Committee to work on disproportionality in rates of discipline of children of color and other issues contributing to the “achievement gap”, and was a Seattle School Board member.
Leading with Racial Equity for Structural Transformation with Scott Winn
Through this 2-1/2 hour workshop participants will strengthen their knowledge of their own positions of advantage and disadvantage, how these impact their lived experience (communities they serve), and roles and strategies to create equity and justice. We will discuss how leading with racial equity is a strategy for structural transformation for collective liberation for all. Scott Winn is a Policy and Development Lead for the City of Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI). He is co-founder of Seattle’s Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites, a grassroots organization working to eliminate structural racism by educating and organizing white people to support people of color-led organizations working for social and economic change. Winn is a faculty member of the University of Washington, School of Social Work where he teaches courses centered on social workers as agents for social and economic change.
One of the essential components of progressivism is that its policies and philosophies are non-falsifiable. Because they are formulated and implemented by superior intellects with superiority morality and intentions, and because they are designed to improve human beings incapable of understanding and acknowledging the need for their own improvement, they cannot possibly be imperfect or wrong, and any attempt to prove them wrong must be met with an overwhelming chorus of “shut up!” Progressivism is essentially the perfect circular argument: progressivism is flawless because progressivism cannot be wrong. But what if progressivism is wrong? That’s impossible, because it’s flawless–and shut up!
The racial grievance argument is also a perfect circular, progressive argument, but it is now being taken further, passing from a logical fallacy into the realm of surreal absurdity. It begins with the relatively harmless proposition that white people can’t fully understand the plight of black people because they aren’t black. This makes a sort of sense, as far as it goes. I can’t fully understand women because I’ll never be a woman, but that doesn’t stop me from having wonderful and fulfilling relationships with women, nor does it automatically prejudice me against women.
This rather harmless observation is now weak soup indeed, replaced by the idea that all white people are inherently racist, that they have implicit bias, and that all businesses, organizations, associations, etc. founded by white people, or coincidentally predominantly white, are systemically racist. This leads to white privilege, the existence of which directly prevents black people from living in a healthy culture, from having good schools, from having intact, functional families, from avoiding drugs, crimes, jail, and early death.
Therefore, white people must be indoctrinated and made to recognize and admit their implicit, utterly unconscious, racism. Only then can white people have “conversations” with people of color, which lead to saying and admitting whatever people of color want them to say and admit, which ideally lead to someone giving certain people of color lots of other people’s money.
Non-Prejudiced White Person: “But I’m not racist! I don’t have a negative thought about black people or anyone else!”
Morally Superior Progressive: “That’s because you’re implicitly biased.”
NPWP: “That’s ridiculous. Show me any evidence of my bias.”
MSP: “I don’t have to. It’s implicit.”
MSP: “And you’re full of white privilege.”
NPWP: “What’s that?”
MSP: “You’ve benefitted your entire life from your whiteness. It’s what makes you a racist.”
NPWP: “But I’m not a racist!”
MSP: “That’s the most obvious sign of racism: denial…”
MSP: “That’s what white privilege is all about…”
NPWP: “You’re not making any sense.”
MSP: “Shut up.”
I’ve never been able to recognize my extraordinary white privilege. My parents had only a high school education and worked hard to give my sister and me a moderately middle class existence. I’ve done hard labor, struggled to have enough money to pay the bills and sometimes failed. Thankfully, those failures were only temporary, but I never relied on government to carry my freight. I’ve always made money the old fashioned way: I’ve earned it. Everything I have is the result of hard work, good decisions, and treating others with dignity and sincerity.
We don’t live in a zero sum society. When I bought a new car, that act did not deny a new car to anyone else. When I entered college and worked hard to complete a degree (I took my undergraduate degree in 2.5 years), that did not deny a degree to anyone else of any color. When I was hired to teach English, I understood that I had the qualifications, demeanor and character my employers were seeking. They would not have hired anyone, of any race, without those qualities. This too was a matter of making good decisions.
I got the job because I was well prepared, was appropriately dressed and comported myself in ways acceptable to my employers. I did not show up with my pants sagging to my ankles, with my underwear on display, with a ballcap turned backward, bearing all manner of tattoos, and sporting enough piercings to set off an airport metal detector from the parking lot. No one could tell what I had for lunch merely by glancing at my shirt. I used appropriate adverbs—I was doing well, not good–and did not use common obscenities—“mother****r,” “s**t,” “b**ch,” “f**k”—as every part of speech, nor did I use the most irregular verb—be—in place of every other verb: “he be, dey be, dat s**t be, mother f****r.”
My competence in securing a job did not deny that job to others. Their choices, lack of credentials and lack of preparation and common sense did.
Perhaps Ms. DiAngelo is a kind, sincere person, but she is among many contributing nothing to the harmonious, color-blind society the pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement worked so hard and long to achieve. The only “racial stress” most people experience is created by people like her. Such people begin from the premise that America, and most Americans, are stupid, ill-intentioned, and evil, and they, and America, must be entirely deconstructed and rebuilt into a social justice utopia. The implicit, structural racism they see everywhere is almost entirely an illusion, and white privilege equally illusory.
The struggle for civil rights was successful. Martin Luther King’s dream that his children would be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin has been realized, his sacrifices vindicated long ago.
America, circa 2016 is, by law, custom, practice and preference, a color-blind society. Actual racists, particularly those in the mold of 1950’s southern Democrats—for the Democrat Party has always been the party of hatred, slavery, segregation and racism–are exceedingly rare, and are justly treated as the social pariahs they are.
So what are people like DiAngelo doing? They’re struggling to keep progressive policies and philosophies non-falsifiable. If white privilege, implicit bias, inherent racism, and statistical disparity are preventing black people as a whole from achieving success, money, effort, and political power can be diverted from constructive purposes and used to maintain the non-falsifiability of the progressive policies that have so damaged black culture in America.
Government has no conscience. It cares nothing for any individual. It has no compassion, no sincerity. When its inherent faults and many failings are exposed, its default position is “shut up.”
But what of the notable success of people like Dr. Ben Carson, Herman Cain, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, innumerable black athletes, actors and musicians? They are ignored or vilified. They’re accused of selling out. What of black children who love to read and think, who work hard to do well in school, and who speak with proper English? They’re shunned and bullied, accused of “acting white.”
How does my racial self-flagellation help any black person succeed? How will my groveling and debasement, my admission of animus, of prejudice that I have never known, improve the lot of a young black man living in high-crime neighborhoods of a major city? How will my apologies for acts I’ve never done, attitudes I’ve never held, and wrong I’ve never perpetrated encourage black students to study hard and make good choices? Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County would argue it does not.
Some would return us to segregation, to separation of the races and to the simmering hatred and rage such inherently unequal treatment produces. We lived that once, but have, for decades moved beyond it. DiAngelo and her compatriots seem to be unaware of that reality, and of the eminently foreseeable consequences of their ideas.
White Americans aren’t experiencing ”white fragility,” due to “racial stress.” They’re just tired of people like DiAngelo calling them racist, slandering them, without any evidence to back it up. Oh, and they’re not too fond of “shut up” either.