What's the Matter with White Women?
February 26, 2020
- White Fragility is a slur used to crush dissent. It’s the title of a book by race theorist Robin DiAngelo
- Today’s race-baiters insist that all white people are racist, just because they are white. If you object, it’s because you are a fragile white racist
- The fringe ideology is gaining traction in Marin County government and major institutions throughout the West
- Take a deep dive into the history of how society has responded to racism, and learn how we got so far off track
- Question of the day: where do we go from here?
In Spring of 2019 a group of Marin County employees gathered in a small room in the Civic Center to discuss the book White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo.
The meeting was led by Matt Willis, the county’s public health officer.
As a white male and member of the Health and Human Services executive team, Willis said he faces a “dilemma of whiteness.”
In Marin County, he said, gaps in health and wellbeing are rooted in racism.
The room was packed two rows deep around the perimeter, about 40 people were present. Like me, most introduced themselves as Marin County employees.
Each of us was given a moment to comment on the book. After I declined to comment, the woman to my right said she enjoyed the book because she learned that, as a Latina, there was no way she could be a racist. She said:
I found myself getting angry towards white people. And I thought I’m being racist. And it was nice when I read in the book that I can’t be a racist. That was important information to me. I got it.
Although county administrator Matthew Hymel was in attendance, along with several other public figures like the director and deputy director of libraries, nobody pushed back or clarified the county’s position.
Discrimination of white employees?
The County of Marin has a zero-tolerance policy for employees who engage in racial harrassment.
If not endorsed explicitly, there seems to be an implicit acceptance of DiAngelo’s definition of racism:
Only whites can be racist.
Therefore white employees are subject to a standard of discipline that non-white employees are immune from.
DiAngelo writes that “whites have the collective social and institutional power and privilege over people of color” and therefore in the United States “only whites can be racist” (White Fragility page 22).
Not only can whites be racist, but they all are.
Unless they get to work internalizing her ideology.
Critical Social Justice
DiAngelo is helping develop a race ideology that stems from critical race theory (CRT), which was developed by Harvard Law Professor Derrick Bell.
Author Will Shetterly gives a synopsis of CRT history, noting that Bell praised Louis Farrakhan as “perhaps the best living example of a black man.”
Sometimes CRT is called “anti-racism”.
Bell’s student Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term intersectionality in 1989, which is foundational to DiAngelo and her cohort of contemporary theorists. Crenshaw and DiAngelo explicitly encourage the use of identity politics to forward their agenda.
Postmodernism denied absolute truth and deconstruted everything. Critical race theory deconstructs almost everything, but preserves oppressed racial identity as the one thing that’s real.
Along with race theory are critical theories of gender, queer theory and others that can loosely be grouped into the pomoid cluster. They are a group of theoretical movements that share many features with postmodernism, but reify race, gender, sexuality, etc. in order to foster an identitarian political constituency.
To get the full history, watch author James Lindsay break down critical theories past and present. It’s a fantastic interview. I can’t recommend it enough. Watch it. Also bookmark the site New Discourses.
Central to the idea of whiteness is the following: racism is an invisible force running through everything. Whites are complicit because they benefit from it and are blind to it at the same time.
In the same way that scientologists will try to convince you that thetans are inside you and all around you, so do critical race theorists say racism is systemic, inside each one of us and throughout society.
While a scientologist will hook you up to an e-meter to “detect” the presence of thetans, a critical race theorist will read racism into your words, your clothes, your everyday interactions.
They can even read your innermost thoughts:
The implicit association test (IAT) is a phony test that can tell you how biased you are toward black people. The test doesn’t withstand scientific scrutiny but its work is already done. Many still believe that deep seated racism is a scientific truth.
Like with any effective cult, logic goes out the door and true believers latch onto whatever seems to confirm their pre-formulated belief.
For the scientologist, the solution is to keep giving money to the church.
For the racist seeking to be reformed, the solution is to be quiet, to let non-whites speak first, to promote non-whites in whatever way possible, through racial quotas in the workplace or on television, or even at a social gathering or in a private conversation.
A white person should recede, even disappear to absolve herself of racism.
Sometimes, of course, whites get to have it both ways. I was at a Marin County career day event in 2018 when the director of Marin County parks Max Korten, himself a white man, said “there are too many white men working for the parks department.”
DiAngelo claims that showing white people how racist they are is hard work, and ongoing. It will never be complete.
When she tours the country to stir up employees at their mandatory diversity trainings, she reports that white men slam the table with their fists and white women burst into tears.
To an uninitiated observer, this could be seen as a normal, if uncouth, reaction to a false accusation of racism.
DiAngelo knows better: emotion is more evidence of racism. Whiteness is an all pervasive force of total domination and supremacy, but when whiteness is challenged, it becomes fragile. White people will lash out like the racists she always knew they were.
Even those who avoid displays of emotion, but rather express cool headed skepticism, are, according to DiAngelo, racist. They have failed to do the work, to recognize the patterns.
The only acceptable reaction to her fringe ideology is to agree with it.
Sink or float
The obvious comparison is the sink or float test performed on suspected witches.
The racist flails and splashes and swims to shore.
The innocent employee sinks.
Many choose to submerge themselves in the ideology. They buy into the idea of collective guilt which, natch, can only be resolved through collective redemption. If your genetics don’t qualify you to join a preferred group, the next best option is to become an ally.
Trouble is, as Lindsay points out, everything can be problematized. That’s DiAngelo’s system. Unseen racism is everywhere, especially amongst progressive whites because they are lying to themselves.
White women’s tears
“Emotions are political”, writes DiAngelo in the chapter called White Women’s Tears. If news comes of police shooting an unarmed black person, and a progressive white woman is moved to tears, she must not do so in front of any black people.
DiAngelo, who herself is white, explains that white tears are racist because they “trigger the terrorism of history” like in the case of Emmet Till a black fourteen-year-old boy who was lynched in 1955 for flirting with a white woman Carolyn Bryant. She cried, he died.
Here we can see that collectivizing people by their skin color destroys the boundaries of individuality, and of time itself. A white woman, because of her skin color alone, cannot mourn the death of a fellow American in 2018 because in 1955 a different white woman used tears of outrage to instigate a murder.
As Thomas Sowell has said, racial collectivization turns the individual into an intertemporal abstraction.
So crying is off the table. But you still need to be purged of racism, somehow. One solution is relentless trainings, seminars, and conversations.
To keep up with the re-education process, you need “racial stamina”.
Back at the county book club, Willis introduced racial stamina this way:
I used to race bikes. My whole life was just training. I see this as a training because it’s a muscle. I think of these conversations as the beginning of the conversation. It’s building a muscle together as a form of training. When you start on your training regimen, the first few times it’s painful. It hurts. It might be even a little bit discouraging. But you keep coming back and over time you will be successful.
Debate is a disease
Of course, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. The racists who fail to train, and who persist in questioning the theory must be identified, and punished. The term “white fragility” itself is a term of art to identify a racist.
There are other terms, too:
Someone who asks bothersome questions is committing privilege‐preserving epistemic pushback.
These offenses are markers of racism. And remember, an employer can take corrective action against a racist.
And only whites can be racist.
How did we get here?
It didn’t have to be this way.
In the YouTube interview, Lindsay points out that the Civil Rights movement was not, in fact, based on identity politics or CRT. Quite the opposite. It rejected racial categorization, placing primary importance on human individuality. A person is a person first, who happens to be black or white.
Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of helping America fulfill its promise of equality:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
DiAngelo is judging people by their skin color. Critical theories have reverted to the pre-Civil Rights era in which racial categorizations justified the domination of one group over the other.
Question of the day:
How do we get back to MLK’s vision of colorblindness?
Answer in the comment section below:
Posted by Will Sherman