June 26, 2003
Whiteness studies

A common blogosphere experience for me is to follow a link from Instapundit and then find something else with a link to something else of extreme interest. By which time I usually lose all track of how I got there, and fail to thank those responsible This time I remembered.

Anyway, the something else I finally got to is about something called "Whiteness Studies", which is a kind of reverse Nazism being taught in American universities, and no doubt soon to arrive here if it hasn't already.

Now, we didn’t have “Whiteness Studies” back when I was in college. Then, all the rage was multiculturalism, of which I got more than I could handle when, as a freshman, a scheduling snafu forced me into a section of the mandatory freshman-English program bearing the ominous title of “Differences.” There we studied literature through – to use the most pervasive cliché in academia – the lens of “race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.”

What that meant, in application, was that in the first weeks of class, we read books by African-Americans, the theme of which, unfailingly, was hatred for white people. Next we moved on to books by Hispanics, the theme of which was hatred for white people. From there it was books by Asians and Native Americans on—you guessed it—hatred for white people. There were a few variations, including some readings on anti-Semitism and homophobia, but otherwise, the theme was constant. This was a study of oppression, and the oppressors were always white guys.

Of course, all this took place way back in the early 1990s, eons ago for the modern-day Ivory Tower. Multiculturalism, once the primary fetish of academia, is now old hat in a culture that values the avant-garde above all else. Its permutations are spent. There are no more -isms to define; no more ethnic groups to balkanize; no more victims to patronize. That leaves academics looking for the next Big Thing, and they think they’ve found it in WS.

The focus has changed from multiculturalism, but the “hating whitey” theme remains.

“Whiteness,” as its would-be studiers see it, is the underlying cause of most every conceivable social ill. As David Horowitz has observed, “Whiteness Studies” is different in kind from other ethnocentric disciplines: “Black studies celebrates blackness, Chicano studies celebrates Chicanos, women’s studies celebrates women, and white studies attacks white people as evil.”

If you are my friend the pessimistic David Carr (a favourite quote went something like: "I fear that things will get a lot worse, before they get even worse than that") you are now plunged into yet more despair at all this. If you're more like optimistic me, you'll be at least hoping that sooner or later this idiocy will cease, and that the academics pushing it will make such public fools of themselves that even the public will eventually notice. And the truth will probably lie somewhere between the two, which is not good.

When the Whiteness Studies crowd speaks of abolishing “whiteness,” what they really mean is abolishing Americanism, most notably the American ideal of a society in which people are judged not by color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Yes, that makes sense, and to some extent that will be the result.

But surely the most obvious consequence will be to keep a lot of stupid, semi-educated black people out of the big tent, by making them believe in being out of it.

Ask yourself this. If you were a hardcore white racist from straight out of the worst nightmares being plugged by these academics as white business-as-usual, what would you say about all this? Would you be scared? I really don't see how. Would be you pleased? Surely: yes:

If the niggers want to wallow in this self-deluding crap, let them. It's all they're good for. And obviously we need some of our people to keep an eye on things, to see that the niggers remember how heavily they are outnumbered, in America and in the world as a whole, and that they don't try to do any of this nonsense, and confine themselves to miseducating themselves. On the other hand, if they do try to start a race war for real, we can be good and ready and wipe them out.

Well, maybe not. But if that was the plan, would things be happening much differently?

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 05:37 PM
Category: Bias