If the goal of the “white privilege” movement is to bring black and white people closer together in a more just and equal society, it’s missing the target.
Consider a new byproduct of the movement – a pushback “black privilege” movement spreading among angry whites – which has grown to the point where CNN decided to address it a few days ago in a story titled “It’s Time to Talk About Black Privilege”.
“In books and articles such as ‘Black Skin Privilege and the American Dream,’ and ‘It’s Past Time to Acknowledge Black Privilege, white commentators describe how blackness has become such a ‘tremendous asset’ that some whites are now trying to ‘pass’ as black. If you’re a skeptic, there’s even a ‘Black Privilege Checklist’ listing some of the perks blacks enjoy that whites cannot.”
It’s easy to call such a movement ridiculous. There’s no denying the historic truth about the black experience in America. Overall it’s been abysmal. For centuries, black Americans were enslaved, then forced to live in a society where institutional racism was the accepted norm, and often the law.
Some progress has been made since the advent of the civil rights movement, and there’s still a long way to go. But there is a great deal of disagreement about the proper way to proceed.
The “white privilege” movement, driven largely by politically radical, high-income white academics employed by American universities, has determined that the only way to heal racism is for white Americans to accept full responsibility for the plight of black Americans and voluntarily punish themselves.
Many in the “white privilege” movement speak and write openly about eliminating all traces of traditional culture common to white Americans.
For example, one workshop being offered this month at Oregon’s Portland Community College is titled “IMAGINE! A World Without Whiteness: Visualizes a world in which the concept of whiteness does not exist.”
“Keep on the lookout for where whiteness shows up, share that information with colleagues, and receive that information from colleagues with grace,” Kim Feicke, director of the Oregon Center for Educational Equity, wrote in a mass email to Oregon K-12 teachers.
The “white privilege” movement is laced with and driven by more than a little hatred.
A few years ago, during an on-campus debate at Harvard University, a student from the University of Western Georgia argued that “White life is wrong. Our argument is that we should never affirm white life. White life is based off black subjugation.”
During a recent White Privilege Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, activist Leonard Zeskind said the following during a workshop he led: “And then there are the little white families who live in the little white zones in little white gated communities and send their kids to little white academies.”
Many in the “white privilege” crowd are vehemently anti-Christian, suggesting that our nation’s predominant religion is an agent of oppression that must oppressed itself.
While leading a workshop at a White Privilege Conference, author Paul Kivel described the role of Christianity in America as “the everyday, pervasive, deep seated and institutionalized dominance of Christian values, Christian institutions, leaders, and Christians as a group, primarily for the benefit of Christian ruling elites. So that’s very similar to how we might define racism or sexism or other systems of oppression.”
The “white privilege” movement has taken on a distinctly Marxist identity, calling for the abolition of our free market economic system, which has provided an astounding amount of material wealth to individuals of all races and backgrounds, to varying degrees.
The fairest way to distribute American wealth remains a point of contention and debate. But most reasonable, non-ideological economists would agree that, without a robust free market system, there would be a lot less wealth to fight over.
Regardless of that self-evident fact, the white privilege crowd insists that the only path to social justice is through government-imposed collectivism.
For example, a scheduled workshop during Whiteness History Month at Portland Community College will explore “how white supremacy exists as a vested interest for all white people under capitalism. It exhorts white people to, rather than make themselves ‘not racist,’ work for organized, anti-racist, and anti-capitalist goals in the historic example of Marilyn Buck and other revolutionaries.”
Overall, the “white privilege” crowd suggests that white Americans who work hard, enjoy the fruits of their own labor, and exercise the personal liberty available in a free society, are somehow doing something wrong.
“When you’ve had as much freedom to do what you want to do and think what you want and say what you want and act as you please, then you get irrationally rankled at having to curtail your life and your thought in any way,” Peggy McIntosh, a retired professor from Wellesley University, was quoted as saying in the CNN report.
So what are the chances that millions of white Americans are going to be willing to walk away from their traditional identity and culture norms, reject an economic system that provides a comparatively prosperous and stable standard of living, and deny their own ability to gain a quality education, secure employment and achieve as much as they can, for the benefit of themselves and their families?
How may white Christians – or Christians of any race – will be willing to surrender their fundamental belief and faith in Jesus Christ?
Perhaps the answer to that question can be found in the growth of the “black privilege” movement. Whatever else it may or may not be, the movement is clearly defensive in nature and appealing to millions who feel threatened by the “white privilege” movement.
“He wouldn’t be elected dogcatcher if he wasn’t black,” author David Horowitz was quoted as saying by CNN, regarding President Obama.
“Being black confers the advantage of rhetorical victimhood,” said Benjamin Shapiro, author of the book Why White People Seek Black Privilege, according to CNN. “Accusing others of racism is a convenient way of avoiding discussion on uncomfortable topics ranging from murder rates to poverty rates to single motherhood rates.”
“In America you can’t even talk about whiteness,” Drew Domalick, a Wisconsin resident, told CNN. “If you try to embrace being white, you are portrayed as being a racist. If we had a White History Month, that would be viewed as a racist holiday.”
Such statements may be silly, oversimplified or even absurd, but the point is that a growing number of white Americans are saying and thinking such things.
Most white Americans accept the reality that our society has never been fair or just for blacks. They have demonstrated their willingness to support social welfare programs, affirmative action, special educational benefits, and many other initiatives designed to provide black Americans with a “hand up.”
But many are not willing to deny themselves the fundamental blessings of personal liberty, religious freedom and economic opportunity that they were raised to view as birthrights. When asked to do so by the “white privilege” crowd, many back away with anger and resentment.
The outcome is the development of two distinct, opposite and opposing schools of thought regarding race relations.
Exactly what will that bring us, except many more decades of hatred, mistrust and self-destructive racial conflict?