Ah, the joys of classifying yourself by “skin color.” When I was a kid, “white” was synonymous with “WASP”: White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. Anglo-Saxons were an invention, of course, of folks who wanted to claim the “heroic Germanic past”, renounce the “degenerate German present”, and claim that pale, pasty British folks were somehow the Master… ahem… sorry… a “superior” race.
Irish? Feh. Bunch of drunks. Scots? Argumentative, stubborn, stupid. Italians. Ew. Darkie mongrels. Spanish/Mexican? Same thing. Eastern European? Better relegated to the history books as filthy superstitious peasants. And don’t get started re: Jews. They still aren’t considered white in 2020.
Does the above recollection of my childhood sound ridiculous? It patently is. Equally so does the modern definition of white, which is pale skinned, except not, but there are exceptions… or not? It’s “so confusing” but we’re all struggling just to be equal, right?
Oh, my friends, are you being played…
You think you’re white? That this is your identity? Unless you’re Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates or Elon Musk, you’re just a “buffer” class set up to soak up the anger of the people their actions directly harm. You do not-you cannot-become a billionaire without supporting mechanisms of oppression, whether here or deferred to other countries. And that requires having an army of syncophants between the billionaire and the people who rightfully want to hurt him.
You white folks are part of that loyal army.
The typical American response to this is “well, no one is oppressing me. I’m FREE!” Or there might be a fight over who is doing the oppressing. Is it government or business? What about laws?!? Sigh. Same difference folks. Tools of oppression. When you want to frame things as “who’s oppressing me?”, you’re a buffer. At the billionaire level, people don’t oppress you; they are only obstacles to your desire.
I am consistently “amused” that there is a toxic mindset that claims enlightenment is overcoming all things. That’s a billionaire’s thoughts talking. I’m an animist. It’s our connections to the world that’s important. How can you be intimate with people who you are abusing?
The Rules of Being White
The arguments put forward to protect this privileged position are frighteningly simple. Enough so that people who don’t consider themselves white or privileged will embrace them wholeheartedly. Here they are:
- How could X be oppression if it isn’t oppressing me?
- Isn’t it all just nature, anyway?
- There are always winners and losers, right?
- Isn’t it just agitators/snowflakes/radical activists that are causing the real problems?
- The unfettered free market will fix this.
- Isn’t the rule of law really at fault for our problems?
- Do you want to reverse all the progress we’ve made?
That’s some strong propaganda right there.
There’s a function in both neuroscience and mentalism that talks about laying a groundwork for your targets before even engaging them. Like placing the color blue and pictures suggestive of (or directly of) elephants along their path, so that when they are later asked to come up with a colored animal they all agree that “blue elephant” is a great idea.
So that’s how you get folks who aren’t white supremacists to parrot the rhetoric.
We all have to deal with cognitive dissonance, one way or another, and when presented with a way to resolve it, our brains will work to go down that channel.
I don’t the world can afford that anymore.