Tuesday, June 30, 2020


I had seen sections of Taibbi's excellent takedown of White Fragility, but only read the whole essay today. Robin DiAngelo's only solution offered to white people is that they become less white.  I think she, and others, are pointing to a different consensus as to what must be done. You must denounce other white people, individually and collectively, in order to be saved. Notice that this doesn't cost you a cent. Redemption without sacrifice.


Reading my previous posts that touch on the subject, I once made the point that "fragility" is not the potential sin I would associate with white people, but it's opposite.  What seems to be happening is the formulation "See?  You are defending yourself, therefore you must feel defensive.  People feel defensive when they are actually weak, not strong.  Therefore you prove my accusation that you are fragile.  UH! UH! See?  There you are, doing it again!"

Rather convenient.

However, I think there is a place where this is subtly true.  They are attempting to motivate some white people to join in by using this tactic.  For those people, it might be true.  For the others, I don't see how they can have it both ways.

For myself, I long ago decided that black spokespeople have little or nothing to do with the black people I actually encounter in my life.  The people I encounter are human beings, and some are darker, some are lighter.  I am now told this is an impossible formulation that denies the reality of oppression.  However, I am told this by precisely those people who have an interest in maintaining division, because their jobs, their self-esteem, or their excuses why they ain't rich depend upon it. The black people I actually know are worried about their golf handicap, whether they have enough money to retire, whether their children are going to get a good education, whether they are going to keep this new job, whether their church will weather this CoVid storm, whether the young Christians they are teaching will actually learn the life lessons they need, whether their daughter's teacher will be willing to be strict with her...very much the same things my white and Asian acquaintances have.  They're just darker people saying these things.

The world has gone mad, and I'm just trying not to get dragged in its trail.


RichardJohnson said...

You must denounce other white people, individually and collectively, in order to be saved. Notice that this doesn't cost you a cent. Redemption without sacrifice.

That reminds me of my take on what I called the Chevy Chase approach to "antiracism:" : "You're racist, and I'm not." Recall the Chevy Chase skit on SNL: "I'm Chevy Chase, and you're not."

Those who see racism/bigotry/(in-group vs. out-group) in others but not in themselves are deluding themselves.

Grim said...

I know quite a few ladies who are enthusiastically recommending this book. It is just as terrible as the review indicates. You've heard my rant against the Marxist intellectual roots several times, and how this sort of analysis bakes the problem into the analysis, so that the whole game is trying to explain everything you see as if it were an expression of the problem you claim is universal. The most clever student proves herself by explaining the clearest counterexamples as subversive expressions of the problem. No attempt at resolving the problem outside the system can possibly succeed, then, because the whole point is to see everything in the problem.

The flipside is that the solutions that the system itself proposes are generally incapable of addressing the real issue. You are here ordered to strive to become 'less white,' while others 'of color' are suggested to become more and more stridently expressive of that identity. Thus whiteness is something you are trapped in: you can't escape it because their identities need you to retain it as they are defined against you. Rather than eliminating racism it codifies and hardens it, ensuring that racism will come to define the new institutions that are allegedly being set up to fight against racism.

Jonathan said...

To paraphrase Ayn Rand, if there aren't enough racists we will create them. It's a rapidly growing industry.

Korora said...

Does the book also purport to explain how white culture went so uniquely wrong in the first place?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@ Korora - Don't be silly. My favorite question, "Compared to whom?" never gets asked. The game would be over then.

These political positions require the assumption that things would just flow along swimmingly and everyone would be prosperous and valued, except that some people screw it up.

james said...

Let's hear it for the Malleus Maleficarum!

Korora said...

"They pay a pennyworth of imaginary humility ... and get out of it a pound’s worth of Pride towards their fellow men." -- C. S. Lewis

Steve said...

Didn't Freud once say, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar"?