“White Privilege” Nonsense, Squared

Oh, good grief:

On the Internet, white people have taken to acknowledging their own white privilege, and thus their own complicity in white supremacy. This behavior is undertaken, with eminent sincerity, in an effort to confront the abundant racial inequality in contemporary America. But like so much else in our society, the practice has ultimately worked not to undermine structural racism — the putative aim — but merely to deepen the self-regard of the educated white elite.

In other words, not only can a white person deny that his or her whiteness gives them an advantage in America, they can’t even affirm it either. This Washington Post column by Fredrik deBoer cites examples of guilty white people publicly confessing to having a “white privilege” not afforded to members of other ethnicities. For example:

Take a prototypical example of the genre. After describing himself as “white, male, heterosexual, Christian, able-bodied, tall, thin, blue-eyed, blonde of hair,” someone who “would blend in well in any country club or upscale private school,” Mic’s Charles Clymer claims that “acknowledging my privilege has been liberating for me; it has made me a better person and better equipped to stand beside those who suffer prejudice, often in silence.”…

This self-confession leaves deBoer unimpressed:

…Strange that self-criticism seems so similar to self-improvement, and is expressed in such terms of self-congratulation.

This “white privilege” fantasy is ridiculous by itself, as if 60 years after the Civil Rights movement had done nothing to change perceptions of race. (If you’re being watched a little more closely at the convenience store than someone else, it’s not because of your racial makeup.) But this just builds on the ridiculousness: white people’s only role in this drama is to be told they are part of a racist system. They cannot say themselves that they are part of a racist system, because it acknowledges the system’s advantage to the speaker. Or, for noun declension fans, this deprives the white speaker of speaking on race in the nominative case. Others can speak to the white person, about the white person, or of qualities of the white person, but thee white person is deprives of any agency to make self-declarations on race.

This depravation of agency s the very thing the culture warriors on the left accuse our society of inflicting on them. It’s no innocent coincidence that this is what they seek deprive of the enemy. Perhaps it’s because the traditional tools of persuasion would do their movement too much damage.

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