The Thinking 

The Racial Double Standard

February 20, 2012


IN A PREVIOUS entry, a reader wrote about a friend who said that all racial consciousness is wrong. Skin color means nothing, her friend said, and anyone who thinks it does is petty. Another reader wrote to me to say that racial identity has caused too many problems in history and should be suppressed.

The problem is, as I pointed out, those who make these arguments typically do not protest the explicit racial consciousness of non-whites. They are unlikely to be offended, for example, by this recent speech by Barack Obama in which he launched his African Americans for Obama 2012 campaign.

“We are far stronger together than we could ever be on our own,” Obama said. He said that if blacks do not stick together they will not get a “fair shot” economically.

It would be inconceivable for a white politician to make similar statements. His career would end forever.

Why is it permissible for a black to speak this way and not a white person? If whites are truly desirous of an end to racial sensitivity, why don’t they protest?

— Comments —


Greg J. writes:

Obama, like all rabid liberals, is a race hustler, who is absolutely prepared to invoke both race and racism whenever and wherever necessary in order to extract maximum political capital. The primary tool he has used to push his agenda has been the “R-word,” and clueless whites comply every time. When opponents of Obamacare were characterized as racists, all opposition vanished. Formerly fiery tea-party folks became frightened little girls when they were told that all such opposition entailed RACISM!!

And of course Obama is using both sides of the coin in his re-election campaign: he says it is positively good for black people to support him out of black solidarity, and it is positively evil for white people to oppose him, as well as positively evil for white people to support any white candidate. The only permissible narrative on white opposition to Obama is racism; the only permissible narrative on black support of Obama is progress.

The interpretation is inescapable: all human beings are enthusiastically encouraged to revel in all forms of racial solidarity, except whites. I’m not commenting on whether feelings or expressions of racial solidarity are salutary; I happen to think that such feelings are perfectly healthy, indeed inevitable, but that is a separate issue. I’m pointing out the absolutely atrocious hypocrisy of rewarding all non-white race groups for coalescing and acting in political unison, while simultaneously insisting that any such mutual action among whites is sinful racism. All I ask is consistency. Either form of consistency would be an improvement: holding both blacks and whites to the standard that it is primitive and destructive to make racial appeals to win political contests, or else holding both blacks and whites to the opposite idea, that it is both natural and legitimate to make such appeals to win political contests. I repeat, either scenario would be a drastic improvement on the current cognitive dissonance in our body politic. And of course, neither resolution will be permitted by our ruling elites. They are committed to both poles of racial correctness: it must always be both evil to seek white solidarity, and excellent to seek black solidarity. We know that this chimera has no more chance of surviving than an abortive pair of Siamese twins, for the two poles are diverging rapidly into separate entities, and whether one or either can survive such a conflict is the only remaining question. The monstrosity of denying political legitimacy to all white groups while insisting upon favoritism for blacks cannot continue forever; the center cannot hold.

Joe Ames writes:

When Winston Churchill famously said, “It was the nation and the race dwelling all round the globe that had the lion’s heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar”, skin color was least in his mind.

Not so long ago, “race” meant exactly what we call “ethnicity” today. One’s race is one’s extended family.

Perhaps it is natural, for those that immigrated to America to partake of her material goodies (long after the hard work was accomplished), to do all in their power to diminish the native Americans’ natural, blood claim to their fathers’ patrimony.

Lawrence Auster writes:

Greg J. writes: “The primary tool [Obama] has used to push his agenda has been the “R-word.” This is not precisely accurate. Obama has not accused whites of “racism” for opposing his agenda. Yes, numerous of his liberal and black supporters have made that accusation, but not Obama himself.

Also, at VFR, I’ve addressed Laura’s questions: “Why is it permissible for a black to speak this way and not a white person? If whites are truly desirous of an end to racial sensitivity, why don’t they protest?”

Laura writes:

As the reader Thomas S. points out at VFR, most liberals believe that whites should not assert themselves as whites even in the face of this racial solidarity among blacks:

Hey, don’t be so hard on the blacks, let them have their benefits. If you are truly a strong, magnanimous white, you would be generous enough to just let those weaker than you have their special help. Don’t worry about what the blacks are doing, just worry about yourself. They were unjustly persecuted and discriminated against for decades, ever since slavery. Of course it is not fair right now, but given their history of suffering from discrimination and injustice, it is fair in the long arc of history.

So in effect, whites are willing to cultivate a perpetual state of grievance and a smoldering sense of victimhood in blacks because they believe in their remarkable power to affect black behavior. This is racial condescension writ large. It’s a deeply neurotic superiority complex that manifests itself as masochism.

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