Glenn Loury, a black author and professor of Economics at Brown University, recently wrote an article entitled "Unspeakable Truths about Racial Inequality in America". In it, he lists ways that "cancel culture" is enforcing a world-view that is often not fully backed up with facts and evidence. He posits further that the vilification of white people and their ancestors could result in an argumentatively justifiable "white pride" backlash. Specifically, he writes:
Confronted by someone who is constantly bludgeoning me about the evils of colonialism, urging me to tear down the statues of “dead white men,” insisting that I apologize for what my white forebears did to the “peoples of color” in years past, demanding that I settle my historical indebtedness via reparations, and so forth—I well might begin to ask myself, were I one of these “white oppressors,” on exactly what foundations does human civilization in the 21st century stand? I might begin to enumerate the great works of philosophy, mathematics, and science that ushered in the “Age of Enlightenment,” that allowed modern medicine to exist, that gave rise to the core of human knowledge about the origins of the species or of the universe. I might begin to tick-off the great artistic achievements of European culture, the architectural innovations, the paintings, the symphonies, etc. And then, were I in a particularly agitated mood, I might even ask these “people of color,” who think that they can simply bully me into a state of guilt-ridden self-loathing, where is “their” civilization?
Now, everything I just said exemplifies “racist” and “white supremacist” rhetoric. I wish to stipulate that I would never actually say something like that myself. I am not here attempting to justify that position. I am simply noticing that, if I were a white person, it might tempt me, and I cannot help but think that it is tempting a great many white people. We can wag our fingers at them all we want but they are a part of the racism-monger’s package. If one is going to go down this route, one has got to expect this. How can we make “whiteness” into a site of unrelenting moral indictment without also occasioning it to become the basis of pride, of identity and, ultimately, of self-affirmation?
In a way similar to "Black Pride", "Asian Pride" and "Latino Pride" where associated people share camaraderie, a sense of identity, and an admiration for their history, is there a factual or moral argument for people of European ancestry to have "White Pride" (or perhaps "Anglo/Euro Pride" )? If not, why not?
Note: I am not trying to advocate a position, only bringing up a topic to discuss. I am aware that the term "White Pride" is often associated with negative aspects of far-right types. Is there a way to separate these negative aspects from the term?
I would like to know what anyone thinks would warrant "pride" about having white skin. Unlike people of other nations and races, white people have never endured any kind of persecution, oppression, discrimination, or marginalization purely due to the color of our skin. We are the only race that hasn't. We have clearly enjoyed privilege in that respect. To ignore or deny that is racist, in itself. It costs us nothing to acknowledge our privilege and to be mindful of it in all situations. It only requires enough compassion to abstain from cruelty and to wish to stop others from being cruel. This doesn't seem all that complicated to me. But then, I live by one commandment, which I adapted to fit myself: Thou shalt make a real effort to not be an asshole.
There are nuances here. I, for example, have a great deal of pride that my Polish and Slovakian ancestors made it to America during a time of world war, pogroms, and another pandemic, mining coal that helped build the national infrastructure and support the American steel industry, railroad industry, and 2 word war efforts. I am proud of the role patriots like Kosciusko and Casimir Pulaski played in the revolutionary war, the engagement of the Polish underground against the nazis, including the Warsaw uprising, the repudiation of soviet control, and the ability to maintain a national identity for the 200 some years Poland did not exist as a separate country. We did not have many people of color in Poland or Slovakia. The closest thing to slavery was the decrepit feudal system, and poles were the "slaves".
However, I think that adherents of white supremacy based on tenets of innate genetic superiority, including the implicit inferiority of other races, nationalities or religions, are all absurdly wrong.
You can have pride in your heritage without being an unreconstructed bigoted asshole. Maybe that's not the space in which this discussion is occurring, but it's a valid point. Of the 6 million people slaughtered by the nazis in the holocaust, 2 million were polish. That's whythere were so many concentration camps in Poland. We survived. Hell yeah, I'm proud. The yahoos now carrying rebel flags and terrorizing Asians, Latinos, jews and blacks can all blow me. They are our nazis. I am as white as they are, and we are NOTHING alike, there IS NO equivalence.
I do not feel guilt over something that I did not do. I don't know with any certainty that my ancestors owned slaves and if they did I don't feel anything particular one way or the other. I absolutely agree that they did something that was morally wrong but their dead now.
Every human being living in an industrialized nation benefited from the pain, suffering, slavery, and deaths of those who came before. It seems civilizations are built on such things.
I also don't feel any particular pride over the accomplishments of my ancestors or "white people" that came before me. Those were their accomplishments, not mine. If someone did something commendable or made some revolutionary discovery or invention then that's great and they should be applauded and commemorated equally regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.
I feel no need to be proud over the accomplishments of my ancestors because of the color of their skin. While some were oppressed due to social class, they didn't have to fight for their rights the way that people of color did.
And speaking for women who were downtrodden, abused, and ruled by white men, why should I be proud of white MEN? Women also had to fight for their rights in patriarchal societies. I will be accused of man hating for that, but it is the truth.
"White people having or expressing pride in the accomplishments of their ancestors..." are silly and pathetic. Same for Black people expressing pride in the accomplishments of their ancestors. Same for any other ethnic group doing so.
Pride is appropriate for ONE'S OWN accomplishments or, to some extent, the accomplishments of one's children, because you "raised 'em right" or whatever. Neither pride nor shame should extend beyond what one is actually responsible for.
My ancestors, on both sides of my family, were poor Polish peasants who immigrated to the US in the 20th Century. Being Slavic, one can presume my ancient heritage was more in the slave ("Slavic" means slave) category than in the overlord category. Being descendant of Polish nationality specifically, my ethnic history reflects more recent domination by German, Russian, and Austrian foreign powers.
I don't feel any white guilt. I do acknowledge that my grandparents, parents, and I have had an easier route to success in America than the average black person, because of racism that persists to this day.
Personally, I identify with Polish and American heritage rather than "white" or European heritage. Hell, one of my relatives fought in the Polish army when the Nazis invaded, fought in the Polish Underground while the country was occupied, and survived to eventually immigrate to America, marry, and start a family. Many other relatives fought in the US armed forces in WWII. ... As did many black Americans.
Why burn bridges with your fellow countrymen and women? Heal the racial divides. United we're stronger.
The question assumes that "white guilt" is indeed being taught. It thus makes an assumption that has not been demonstrated to be accurate. Teaching how slavery and imperialism created White Privilege is not teaching "white guilt." The fact that some may feel resentfully guilty when confronted with their privilege indicates a desire to continue such privilege at the expense of others.
I agree with the sentiment expressed in the original post. In our society right now it seems there is a pressure to align yourself with one side or the other on this topic. On the university campus or in Hollywood acknowledging your white privilege is a daily routine. Reading the UNC student newspaper, I see white racial guilt sprinkled into articles so much That it begins to lose affect as persuasion and becomes dogma.
On the other side of the coin this gives ammunition to racists. they can point to the excessive and silly examples among the “libtards” as a justification for their own righteousness. So I agree with the premise above.
In my state the current fuss involves new social studies standards for K 12 students placing a greater emphasis on racism discrimination social movements and competing historical narratives.
It’s probably good to expand what kids are taught in school. And it is probably true that most of the history books I learned on growing up glazed over how tough the racial struggle in this country has been for Black people.
When I assess the character of a man, (or a woman or a non-binary individual)... I like to assess them based on their peers and their time in history. Right now there’s So many people claiming to be social justice warriors that it’s hard to give any one of them that much credit. The people who stand out from the crowd right now are those willing to reach across and speak directly and with care to those they disagree with.
Could be any one or more of these reasons. Really depends on the person and context.
Social Teacher says: here are two lines, how can you make line “A” shorter than line “B” ?
Most students guess various ways to cut or fold line “A”. Teacher kept shaking his head looking for a different answer. Finally one student says “make line “B” longer! Correct says the teacher.
Racism is like the lines. It is ok to lengthen yours, but never ok to shorten the others....
Being prideful about something you had no control over [like what "race" you are (which isn't even a real thing) or what people of your "race" did in the past] is about the dumbest thing you can do. That's like bragging about your eyes being blue, or more aptly, the color of your great-great-grandfather's eyes. Maybe people should accomplish something themselves?
Look lets make a compromise:
white pride is only ok IF it is about something or someone that didnt involve destroying something or hurting someone AND ONLY INVOLVED WHITE PEOPLE. I woukd go further and say only be prideful of people from your own home country and or state. If you have German and French ancestry: pick one. Otherwise your not playing the pride game correctly and you'll seem more stupid that you already are okay?
For example: you can't have pride in landing on the moon, because we all know there were people of color and other nationalities working in NASA, and that some of the science involved were based on works of non-white non-American people. Einstein for example. Dont you dare say he was American!
So when people say they take pride in being an American (which they also mean white) for being the first to land on the moon...I really can't agree. Instead i try to focus on individuals rather than race. Let's get to where the merit really lies, eh. It sure aint race.
What about someone? Well you can't take pride in James Clark Maxwell: the man is a bloody Scot not of pure Anglo Saxon blood.
No german pride either, German whites: sorry your ancestors participated in genocide. You're out permenently. Nothing you race ever accomplished or will accomplish will rise above that. The German race will always be tainted. The bittersweet irony is that the best German you will ever produce happens to be Jewish. Sorry I don't blame Hitler for the Holocaust. I blame ze German race. No pride for you. Ever.
American white/Southern pride?: HaHaHa: never. Slavery. Genocide of the natives. Warmongering. Dropping nukes on children 70 odd years ago. Drone attacks on children today. How can you still have pride? I dont. I CANT!
So what can you take pride in as white?: Isaac Netwon. He self-admitted that his accomplishments only were possible because he "stood on the shoulders of giants" and his work was truly a boon to humanity, and he did it all on his own. The only white guy you should be proud of. But he may not have been of pure Anglo-Saxon blood, and also the brits did horrible things...ok yeah brits no pride for you.
Whose left? The French? Gtfo. We know what your race has done!
Italians? Youre uh...not white. Sorry. Ya kinda swarthy.
Spain? Really? Are we forgetting South America? You're out!
Scandinavian? You mean those guys who looted and plundered as vikings and the later invented dynamite!? Fuck off. No pride for you.
Whose left Russia and handful of eastern european countries? Hold any pogroms in the last 2000 years? You did? No pride for you?.
Oh yeah Australia: NO. What you did to the Aborigines. And to refugees today.
Indian, the true Aryan race? Fuck off! Caste system automatically disqualifies you. No pride for you.
Japan, the only people who are literally more white tgan white people. Do I need to remind you of starting a world war and what you did to the Koreans?
Chinese? Yeah....no pride for you. White or not. You know what you did.
You know what this isnt working out
How about this: maybe racial or national pride is fucking impossible to have without blessing the bad with the good. So let's not have it.
Why White Pride? There is no Brown Pride! And no Yellow Pride! Africans never thought of themselves as a Black race before colonialism. The concept of a separate black race was an invention of the white Europeans. Black identity was created by white people in the process of subjugation and enslavement. The ideology of racism was developed to justify the subjugation. A White identity did not exist before colonialism. It developed to justify who was allowed to dominate. So black pride is obviously a reaction to such subjugation and its accompanying denigration. Black pride is thus an ethnic pride similar to Irish pride, Polish pride, etc. So American pride isn't good enough for you? Remember, the concept of Whiteness was created in the process of dominating others.Thus the need for a vague, generalized White racial pride shows the need to continue subjecting others.
Its not about feeling prideful in accomplishments of your white ancestors. Its about how you demonstrate your pride. Do you do it at the exclusion of recognizing the accomplishments of other groups? Do recognize the context in which those accomplishments were attained? At what price to other groups did it cost?
White pride, white privilege is a hold over and manifestation of Colonial Imperialism. During the Age of European Exploration, the primary countries exploring and and colonizing tended to be extremely xenophobic and extremely chauvinistic and ethnocentric.
There goal with regard to the population was to assimilate the cultures they encountered. And if the could not be assimilated they were to be annualized - genocide. Generally the local populations were exploited and used to exploit the resources that existed within their lands.
White privilege is the last hold out of our European heritage. For the first time in this countries history, minorities are reaching significant numbers that they can wrest power back from the white population.
Its alright to be prideful of your heritage. But know the history and context. Know what the cost was and who paid that price.
To me, minority pride comes from achievements gained despite obstacles placed upon them by the majority.
Black pride comes from achievements gained despite slavery, jim crow, and racism from a non-black majority, i.e. whites.
Gay pride comes from achievements gained despite sexism, prejudice, and disenfranchisement from a non-gays majority, i.e., cis-genders.
Woman pride comes from achievements gained despite misogyny, diminution, and disenfranchisement from a non-woman majority, i.e. males.
Immigrant pride comes from achievements gained despite prejudice and disenfranchisement from non-immigrants, i.e., citizens.
What then does white pride mean in this context?
They have no majority that has placed obstacles in their way.
There has never been a time when they have experienced wholesale prejudice or disenfranchisement.
They have never been slaves, they have always had the right to vote, to make laws, to own property.
And thus while a white INDIVIDUAL has much to be prideful for, has many obstacles placed in their way that they overcome daily, they do not have a majority placing the obstacle of prejudice, disenfranchisement, or slavery in their way... their being white is not a source of pride the way being gay, woman, etc is a source of pride because there is no historical disenfranchisement or prejudice against a majority (white) person the way there is towards a minority (black, gay, immigrant, etc) person.
So my answer to the above question is NO, there is no factual or moral argument for people of European ancestry, the majority, to have "White Pride" in the same way that Blacks, Immigrants, Gays, etc, the minority, have "Minority Pride"
I don't really have a vote on this. I just know that many, but not all, white people get defensive and lash out when they feel their white identity and white privilege are confronted and threatened with it being taken away from them, at least as they see it. This results in backlash and they act it out by voting for Repubs and other reactionary pols. They also act it out by bashing and seeking power and control over racial and ethnic minorities. I like to think I am fairly non-racist and teachings about white guilt and white privilege don't threaten me personally, so I don't react negatively to it. I take it in, weigh it against my experience, logic, and use my intellect to apply it to how I live and treat others. Because I would like to live in a pluralistic, peaceful society if possible, and because I know that non-whites are not my real enemy is this country. As a socialist, I know my real enemy is the ruling class. Most whites have not figured that out yet, sadly, and neither have a lot of minority race Americans.
The author needs to point out that for one, only a small minority of the white population was involved in any way with slavery, and secondly, their own people were invested in a culture of enslaving one another back in Africa and simply found a market with the white slavers who removed captured enemies from the land forever. In other words, their own ancestors were complicit in their enslavement. All that said, until black people acknowledge this fact, understand that there were free black men who were also slave holders in America. They need to understand that this blame game, is blaming many innocent white families, families who may have been involved with ending slavery via fighting in the Civil War, or taking risks moving escaped slaves via the Underground Rail Road. Keep pointing at anyone, and everyone, who happens to have white skin, and I can see where the Authors point could become a fact. Blaming innocent people for something they themselves had no part in, and in fact their ancestors may not have had a part in, is racist. We cannot move forward until the blame game stops and everyone takes a look at the situation, and decide to work together to help raise up our brothers and sisters of African descent. And those brothers and sisters must be willing to do the work. Some are, and are very successful, while other choose to wallow in their situations, because it is easier to blame the white people than it is to do what they need to do to better their situations.