by Matt Daniels
Clash Daily Contributor
One of the single greatest tactics in politicalized social warfare is using the uneducated to do the dirty work. Rarely has this been more evident than in today’s society, where the internet serves as the Ignorant’s ad hoc soapbox and the promotional material is supplied for little to no cost.
In the past two elections, President Obama propagated a culture of these soapbox preachers, yes-men that felt a moral obligation to support a man because of his race and his idealistic promises. Mantras were used to spread the claim that things were going to be different, that everyone had a reason for optimism. In essence, his campaign took words with specific meanings and turned them into the nebulous cries of emphatic youth and minorities everywhere; what did hope and change really mean? It didn’t matter, because before long the meaning of the words communicated far less than the mere use of them.
If one was foolish enough to dive head-first into the pool of internet comment-boards or any number of conversations currently being held in coffee shops around the nation they’d almost certainly pick up on the overuse—the misuse—of a few key phrases, peppering conversations as though the mere sound of the words brings a sense of knowledge and power.
One such phrase, most definitely familiar to you, is “White Guilt”. A term coined decades ago, white guilt represents a concept that is greater in scope and idea than in practicality—white guilt is a blanket statement that conveys the notion that all white people do or should feel the guilt of whites in the past that were party to the horrific treatment of other races, namely the enslavement and abuse of blacks.
This phrase is used frequently in today’s society, most often spoken by angered people eagerly seeking someone to blame for all of life’s ails, those desperate to show that their victimization came at the behest of those who’ve sought to keep others down for generations. White guilt is the universal justifier.
Let’s examine this.
The first important point to make is that virtually nobody—certainly no sane person—believes that slavery is or ever was a good thing. Likewise, the vast majority of people in the United States don’t subscribe to racist beliefs, and while virtually everyone has some kind of prejudice or trepidation in this area it’s safe to assert that most people couldn’t care less about the color of one’s skin.
The second distinction to be made is that no one today was alive when slavery was in practice, except maybe Dracula and obviously he doesn’t count because he’s a weirdo. It’s also fairly reasonable to believe that the number of people alive during the segregation and civil rights era are greatly outnumbered by those who can’t relate very well to those times.
Lastly it should be noted that in this country—the greatest country on the planet—a man cannot be tried for the crimes of his father…or in this case, his grandfather’s great grandfather. So not only would one have to have a history of slavery in their family, but they would have to bear the burden for those actions if white guilt is to be a sustainable concept. I guess we all have a bone to pick with Cain for killing Abel, since we’re all carrying around his guilt too.
In these three points the argument for white guilt is quickly eliminated—no one promotes slavery, no one alive now was alive during the time of slavery and no one alive now made any decision to enslave another. So why then is this term used?
Often times it’s used by whites in an effort to prove they aren’t racist. This use is such a pathetic and desperate attempt to gain acceptance that it spits in the face of being accepted in the first place—if you’re not racist why seek to prove it? Here’s a tip: Just don’t say racist things and people will make the logical assumption you’re down with the spectrum of skin colors.
It’s also used by those of other races to show that, even though they themselves aren’t racist, they think white people need to tack on a little punishment until…well, until non-whites deem that punishment is no longer necessary. This is a surefire way to continue the fight so many are fighting against, therefore promoting racism when claiming otherwise.
There are a number of ways this phrase gets used, and almost all of them do an excellent job of showcasing the user’s ignorance. The bottom line is that no one should feel guilty for actions they weren’t a part of and no one should seek to blame others for actions they weren’t a part of either. But, akin to hope and change, it’s not about the words; it’s about their collectively agreed upon intent. In this case, if whites can be made to feel guilty enough that they feel forever indebted to other races, then the political door to the left can be opened forever, and the door to the right barricaded and forgotten.
This is not a promotion of one race over another, rather the opposite. If we believe all races are equal—as it should be—then there is a real need to eliminate ideas and practices contrary to that belief.
To be continued: Part Two: Reverse Racism.
Matt Daniels is a proud husband and father from Salt Lake City, who when not writing about politics or social issues spends his time writing comedic articles for various publications under the moniker Gary the Unicorn. Matt is also an accomplished musician, rabid Utah Jazz fan and supporter of the arts.
Image: Courtesy of: http://whitelocust.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/does-neanderthal-dna-prove-race-is-real/