White People, You Are Not Being Oppressed
A high profile report recently came out with the simultaneously maddening and unsurprising news that a majority of Caucasain Americans feel that white people suffer from discrimination. It’s maddening to me that so many white people see themselves as victims of discrimination because it ignores the institutional nature of racism, and how it is inextricably linked to power.
Yet it is not surprising because Donald Trump essentially ran for President on the notion that white Christians were getting a raw deal while brown people fed greedily at the troughs of obscenely generous social welfare programs when not selling drugs, murdering people or committing sexual assaults.
Lots of leaders, Democrats and Republicans, played to racial resentment before. Think of Clinton condescendingly scolding Sista Solja to score points with white racists or the whole concept of the “Super-Predator.” Trump just took this pervasive note of fear in the American electorate and made it explicit in a way that we all thought would invalidate him as a public figure, much less a serious candidate for public office, but instead greased the way for Trump to shock the world with the most surprising Presidential victory in American history.
We naively and foolishly assumed that when the full scope of Trump’s racism and sexism was exposed, the public would reject Trump. Instead, it turns out that the American public didn’t coldly reject Trump’s racism and xenophobia and rank bigotry because they shared it.
Trump fashioned a message that resonated with white voters about how they had been forgotten and betrayed by the sinister forces of globalism and “political correctness” but that now a white knight had arrived to avenge their losses and fight back.
So I feel like it is important to state this as clearly and forcefully as possible: white people, you are not the victims. Black Lives Matter was formed as an essential response and answer to cultural oppression and anti-black racism. It is not oppressing you, white person. If the words and idea Black Lives Matter threaten and offend you as a white person, I think that says far more about you than it does about Black Lives Matter.
I worry that the fiction that the balance of power has shifted dramatically in the United States, to the point where minorities now wield too much malevolent power and influence while white Christians relentlessly oppressed under the rubric of “progress” and “diversity” is too deeply ingrained in the white American consciousness for it to ever be dislodged.
I suspect that a lot of the white people who feel they are discriminated against see being called out for their racist actions as a form of discrimination. It’s ironic that Conservatives and Tea Party types are always going on and on about “snowflakes” and “safe spaces” and “the language police” when they seem to feel very strongly that to hurt a white person’s feelings by, for example, stating that supporting the policies of an explicitly racist President is itself racist, is a sin and a transgression above and beyond actual racism.
These thin-skinned, self-regarding, myopic, delusional white folks seem to feel, and feel strongly, that to be accused of racism in any way, just for supporting a racist candidate and a racist movement, is a form of anti-white racism. They furthermore seem to feel that laws preventing businesses from explicitly discriminating against, say, gay families, on the basis of their religion says gays are bad, also represents a form of discrimination.
Guess what? It's not. It’s ironic that the very same people decrying identity politics are themselves engaging in it, only the identity they’re seizing upon, and exploiting, is one of intense white racial resentment, the kind that swept Trump into office.
It’s hard to confront, let alone solve a problem unless you acknowledge it and understand it. That does not bode well for white America’s apparently strong conviction that there is a terrible injustice in American society right now, and it’s that white Christian heterosexuals are being discriminated against and oppressed despite, you know, them holding the vast majority of power, financial, political and otherwise.
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