Saturday, November 28, 2015

PC Confusion Infects The Washington Post: "White Privilege" and "What White People Need To Know And Do After Ferguson"

   Wow. This just isn't good.
   Sadly, the Post continues on its apparent downward trajectory...
   I mean, almost no one writes something that's all bad; there are things in there that are true, but none of them will be news to anyone.
   The bad stuff is the PC nonsense that gives the thing its overall orientation: "white privilege," "whitesplaining," and the assertion that white isn't a race. You wonder how grown-ups can write such things with straight faces.
   Terminology is often not mere terminology. It can spin thought, and it often brings bits of theory along with it. "White privilege," for example, is, well, just dumb. Everyone recognizes that blacks and some other minorities are, on average, at a significant comparative disadvantage to whites in the U.S. But that's not a "privilege" of whites. Voting isn't a privilege, it's right. When the GOP disenfranchises blacks, it denies them their rights. This is very different than (and more serious than) failing to grant them a privilege. The more accurate and sober language is that of discrimination and disadvantage. If you want to deal with the problems, those terms are the better tools. The "privilege" silliness is part of a tangle of silly theories being advanced by the academic-activist alliance. "Privilege theory" typically has it, for example, that whites always gain from discrimination against blacks. That's idiotic. It's patently false. This isn't a zero-sum game. Note that Kohn herself notes this later...thus contradicting a common plank of "privilege theory," as well as her earlier insistence that whites do benefit from black disadvantage (or "privilege.")
   It's important to realize that trying to advance the "white privilege" locution and its attendant theory is not an attempt to solve the problem of discrimination against blacks. It's a move in a battle of far-left whites in the academic-activist alliance in the U.S. against whites outside of that alliance. Kohn is right that blacks in, say, BLM, aren't protesting against whites. The anti-white sentiment that's in play largely emanates from other whites. It's not that the far left doesn't care about blacks; I'm sure it does. But it also doesn't like (liberal, non-PC) whites. It doesn't like Western culture, it doesn't like men, and mostly it doesn't like liberals. It's not fond of conservatives, of course...but the far left's most passionate anger has always been directed at liberals rather than the far right. (One Marxist story was: it's liberals that keep the system from blowing up, thus they are the ones preventing the revolution.) And, of course, the obvious point of "white privilege" is to shift the focus to whites. That's why it's "white privilege" instead of "black disadvantage." Protesting that they're not aiming to suggest that whites are guilty nor that they should feel that way is disingenuous, and everyone can see that. That's basically the point of trying to shift the discussion to whites instead of blacks. Very few people object when we speak in terms of black disadvantage, or discrimination against minorities. And whites in the U.S. seem to have little or no advantage on average over, say, Asians and Jews. "White privilege" simply doesn't cut it as useful, accurate terminology for discussing race in the U.S.  But that's not what it's for. It's the terminological entering wedge of a bad tangle of confused theories.
   I could go on, but I won't. Not much, anyway. But I do want to mention:
Just like you’re mistaken if you don’t think white is a race, you’re mistaken if you think you can remain neutral.
See how that bit of irrelevant theory gets thrown in there? The point is obviously to reinforce the theory that "race is a social construct" (a claim so confused that, as Pauli might say, it isn't even wrong). But white is a race, of course. The arguments to the contrary, though pressed with revolutionary zeal by the cult of culture, are invalid. White is a race. Races are (rather unimportant) natural kinds, and all the PC mumbo-jumbo in the world won't change that.
   Ok, I've wasted enough time on this nonsense. 
   It's too bad that so much time and energy is wasted on PC nuttiness. Even ignoring everything else, the "white privilege" crap--aside from the fact that it's inaccurate and alienates people from a real cause that could use all the help it can get--is a damn waste of time. There has never been a real reason for introducing it. A real concern for discrimination against blacks would focus on discrimination against blacks. "White privilege" is not aimed at advancing that cause. It aims to use that cause to advance a tangle of far-left academic theories. The PCs are willing to harm the cause of real change in order to move their theoretical ball downfield. That means that people like me have the choice between wasting our time refuting the nonsense, or ignoring it and just hoping that ordinary people don't make the mistake of picking up the locution just because they've heard it a lot. So I chose the former here...but I'm starting to think that the latter option might be worth the risk...

Oh, wait! I forgot to mention a couple of other bizarre points in the piece. For example...what white person thinks that if they were black they wouldn't be the object of discrimination? I've heard these people attribute lots of silly beliefs to whites...but that's a new one on me...
Oh yeah...and then there's "whitesplaining"... aaaahahahahahaha...  Jeez...I suppose there is some tactical advantage to be gained by moving yourself beyond the possibility of parody...


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