White Guilt

Recently, I have now had the pleasure of being introduced to the concept of “white guilt“, which I stumbled upon while reading reviews for a book called Lies My Teacher Told Me, by James Loewen. For those those lucky enough to be unaware of white guilt, consider yourselves lucky. It seems to be a white supremacist response to unpleasant historical events attached to people the reader feels a racial relation to. This emotional shield is then used to either deny the event happened, the significance of the event, or the involvement of his particular group in the event. Condemnation is then thrown upon the revealer of the event by labeling them as a perpetrator of white guilt.

As an example, let’s say that some people, at some point in the past, did something horrendous. Perhaps, treating millions of living breathing people as nothing more than an obstacle and annihilating them for personal gain, i.e. Native Americans being killed to free up real estate. And, let’s say, that the principle instigators of these actions where of Northern European heritage. If a case such as this is ever mentioned, by an historian, school teacher, or whoever, they would be instigating “white guilt“. Because … well, I don’t know. The most I can figure out is that some people believe that no one with white skin is ever supposed to have done anything other than heroic, and they just don’t like being knocked down off their pedestal of imagined superiority.

Apparently, whoever coined this little fucked up phrase is a history denier extraordinaire. One that imagines we live in a world of only good things, and that history classes should be concerned with bunnies, gumdrops, and shiny shiny balloons.

In addition to the paranoia and misplaced blame inherent in white guilt, there’s a few problems with the concept on a purely factual level. Firstly, “race” is a completely erroneous concept with no real scientific meaning. Anthropologists have known for over a century that the ancient category of race, just doesn’t fit any natural division in the human population. If one would try to hold onto the term, there would have to be either one race, consisting of every member of our species, or thousands of races divided by differences too small for  most people to notice. The term is merely a holdover from ancient understandings of the world. Secondly, corruption of the blood is also an ancient superstition, not upheld by any modern understanding of the world. Not every single person of a particular heritage is (or even could be) responsible for the atrocity committed by another (unless they were there, aiding and abetting). There are practices that may be inherently discriminatory: like Colonialism, for example. But, in general, careless disregard for other human beings based on artificial constructs, like race or nationality, can lead to general asshole-ness. Try blaming someone for something they actually did, instead.

I feel no guilt for Christopher Columbus landing in America. I wasn’t there. I doubt that I’m related to him, and even if I was, there is no magical transference of genocidal tendencies from him into me. He was still a skilled sailor and navigator, and that should not be overlooked. But, pretending that European contact with the Americas didn’t’ result in the deaths of millions of the indigenous peoples already living here is on par with Holocaust Denial.

I do have some advice for people clinging to white guilt. If you insist on learning only about history that centers around white people, then be prepared to find that a lot of the events, both good and bad, in that history, concern white people. Any resulting white guilty you may feel then would be a result of your own inherent disinterest of the rest of the world, and not a secret plot by the Illuminati, the New World Order, or liberals.

Explore posts in the same categories: Superstition in the Modern World

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