Can White People and Black People Have Things in Common?

It’s 2015, so I don’t know why there are still lots of people who still view society in racial terms.  But there are.  And there is no excuse for it.  That mindset is only keeping itself alive, and while many of the people who hold it have good intentions, many other people who hold it are motivated by malice towards certain races (or other groups of people).

Many of the people who hold such viewpoints fall into two categories: “social justice warriors” who believe “white privilege” is holding down all the other races, and white supremacists (and other racial superiority groups).

I’m not a big fan of psychology, but I think there is something to the idea of projection.  After all, if you are accustomed to having a certain mindset, it makes sense that you would naturally assume other people share the same mindset.  You may not even consider the possibility that other people view things in a different manner.  And I think it is possible that both of these groups tend to project their own obsession with race onto the rest of society.  If you spend so much time thinking in terms of race, the possibility that not everyone else is obsessed with it might not even cross your mind.

But I don’t think most people spend very much time thinking about race.  Not even white men, who are ostensibly afraid that they are losing their power in society to ascendant minorities and women.  But why then do they tend to be so opposed to social justice initiatives that are designed to help minorities and women ascend the socioeconomic ladder?  Perhaps it is because those initiatives are wrongheaded.  In addition to being fundamentally anti-meritocratic, they are also racial in nature, which makes people uncomfortable.  Discomfort when it comes to racial issues is a justified response, considering how talking about race inevitably emphasizes division*, which is something only bigots want.  Not that division is the intention everyone who wants to have a “conversation” about race.  It’s just the inevitable product, because not only are there still people who want division and will use any excuse they can find to justify that desire (i.e. the blacks are getting uppity, therefore white genocide is just around the corner), but also because race is not a valid premise to begin with.

I, a white guy, am capable of having things in common with black people.  I don’t see white people and assume they are anything like myself just because they are white, so why would I look at a black guy, or an Asian chick, or a Hispanic transsexual and assume that they are very different from myself?  It never even would have occurred to me to think like that, until all the race-obsessed “social justice warriors” brought race up in the first place.  Sure, I was aware of racism growing up, but I always assumed that that was mostly in the past and that humanity was now at a place where race didn’t matter.  Of course, I’m neglecting the experiences of racial minorities here, who may not have come to the same conclusion growing up.

It is appalling that anyone has a valid reason for believing they are the target of racism, but there is.  But is having a “conversation” that will stoke people’s emotions rather than fix anything going to be productive?  We’ve been having that conversation for years, and things don’t seem to be getting any better.  Perhaps a more productive solution would be to identify the actual causes of these problems and don’t just assume they are due to “white privilege” or some nonsense**.

The idea that a white guy and a black guy might have a lot in common with each other is also a major flaw with the overall worldview of both social justice warriors and white supremacists, and the general mindset of viewing people as a set of labels as opposed to individuals.  I mean, I’m a white, homosexual, cisgendered male, but what does that tell you about me?  The only way it tells you very much at all about me is if you think in stereotypes (and if you do, what it tells you about me would be way off, which I assume is also the case for almost everyone).  Everyone is an individual, and should be thought of as such.

I also have to comment on white supremacists, who I always assumed were an incredibly small fraction of the overall population and that they didn’t really have any influence.  But they’ve been coming out of the woodwork ever since Trump started running for president.  Obviously, this post is a repudiation of them as much as it is a repudiation of the “social justice warrior” mindset, but I just hate white supremacists so much more, on a visceral level.  As much as I will defend their right to express their repugnant opinions, they are garbage (both the opinions themselves and the people who express them), and they make me feel slightly sympathetic towards the “social justice warriors” who I believe are (mostly) well-intentioned, even if I vehemently disagree with them and think they are nuts and that their movement is insidious.

And while I’m on the topic of white supremacists, I’ll also address another idiotic (perhaps overlapping) segment of Trump supporters: the people who like him solely because he is “strong.”  Well, so was Stalin.  Trump supporters are basically communists.  In a race between Stalin and Calvin Coolidge, these “far-right” Trump supporters would pick Stalin.  And not only are they communists, but they are also basically millennials.  See, like many millennials, they operate on emotion (in this case, anger) and constantly need their precious feelings validated, or they start bitching like triggered college students.  So they’re frustrated at being ignored by the Republican establishment/the government.  Well, so is everyone else, but no one is complaining about it as loudly as them (I mean, opposing the government is great, but only if you can produce a logical argument.  Complaining is just fucking annoying).  So, there you have it: Trump supporters and communist millennials are basically the same thing.

*I’m also aware that I am talking about race right now.  So, to clarify, a conversation on race is needed, but not the conversation that either the “social justice warriors” or white supremacists want to have.

**Looking at racial groups as a whole, there is obvious disparity when it comes to social indicators.  But wouldn’t an affluent black kid in Prince George’s County, Maryland have more opportunity (i.e. privilege) than a poor white kid in rural eastern Kentucky?  Concepts like “white privilege” assume that black people are inherently poor and white people are inherently wealthy, which seems to be to be somewhat… problematic.  Perhaps “privilege” has more to do with economic status and geography than skin color, and talking about privilege in terms of race is an oversimplification.

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It’s Now Politically Correct to Be Racist

Not to mention politically incorrect not to be racist.

This isn’t anything new, but just another reminder that we are all doomed.  The University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point has a new chart to apparently instruct faculty on racial microaggressions (h/t Andrew Stiles).  It helpfully instructs faculty, who might inadvertently commit the sin of not being a racist, to avoid the following offensive mistakes, among others:

  • “When I look at you, I don’t see color.”
  • “There is only one race, the human race.”
  • “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.”
  • A college or university with buildings that are all names after White heterosexual upper class males.

Some of the things it lists are legitimately racist.  But, by these standards, Martin Luther King would have been considered a virulent racist.  I’m not trying to say that I know exactly how he would have reacted to this kind of thing, but his message was pretty clear: people should be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.  It is just infuriating that such a noble principle has been relinquished in favour of what is essentially the opposite.

I’m not going to deny that a lot of racial minorities have it worse than a lot of white people, and they often have to deal with systemic and cultural racism. But as with anything, one’s attitude towards this issue should be based on logically coherent and consistently applied first principles.  And the only morally defensible first principles relating to race are those that state racism is unacceptable in all its forms.  People are all different; just because two people might have the same skin color (even if it is a minority skin color), that doesn’t mean they are at all similar or grew up in a similar environment.  Or that two people who have different skin colors doesn’t mean they are very different or grew up in different environments.  It is a superficial generalization that ultimately has nothing to do with people’s character or abilities, which, to society, are what is really important.  Even if the people who push this kind of convoluted social justice nonsense have good intentions (which I’m not convinced is the case), or even if there may be some truth to what they are saying (see first sentence of this paragraph), it is inconsistent to believe that people should not be judged based on their skin color and then use any justification (regardless of how compassionate it sounds) to judge people based on their skin color.  Which is what the left now apparently wants people to do. Is considering “a person of color’s racial / ethnic experiences” any different from looking at a Black person and assuming they grew up in the ghetto?

Racism is still obviously a problem in modern society, as is the fact that there is disparity between the races when it comes to things like income, education level, and incarceration rate.  But the solution to eliminate racism offered by leftists is literally to be racist.  I would suggest treating everyone equally.  Try to make it so that equality of opportunity is the reality.  Allow inner city kids to go to schools that aren’t terrible, eliminate the welfare state to eliminate dependency and promote self-reliance, eliminate the minimum wage to promote job availability, increase access to training and education, cut/eliminate businesses taxes and regulations to promote economic activity, privatize budget drains like pensions that are causing cities to default, etc. Those are just some reforms that I think might be helpful.  The cultural aspect will take care of itself; race as an issue would go away if people stopped thinking about it all the time.  Racism, like race, is a social construct that is not intrinsic within people.  The way attitudes towards different races have improved so drastically over the last century is evidence of that.

As I said, I’m not convinced that all this race stuff being promoted by the left is rooted in a desire to eradicate the inequity associated with non-white skin. Politically, it benefits the left (and the government) to divide society into groups and have those groups in opposition to each other.  Not only does that focus their attention away from the government, but it also makes people aggrieved, which allows leftists to come in and rescue them from their injustice. As long as inequality and injustice exist, people like Al Sharpton continue to have jobs and “relevance” and organizations like the NAACP and the Human Rights Campaign continue to have a reason to exist.  I’m not accusing all people who believe in this social justice nonsense of such opportunism, but I’m completely convinced that that opportunistic element is a major force on the left.  On the right, we envision a society in which people are treated on their merits, accomplishments, and character without consideration of superficial qualities like skin color and sexual orientation. Well, most of us on the right envision such a society.  And we have ideas on how to acheive it.  The left likes to mock that vision, but I’m not sure what the problem is; it’s not as if true capitalism has ever actually existed (unlike true socialism, which has failed spectacularly every single time it has ever been tried.  On the other hand, systems resembling capitalism have been tried in places like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Switzerland.  Free markets have a pretty successful track record).

In summary, it is never morally acceptable to judge people on their skin color, which is exactly what this social justice stuff does.  I don’t care what your intentions are, it’s not acceptable.  Ever.  Period.