The Unbearable Whiteness of Being Robin DiAngelo

Dear Robin:

I watched your video. No, not that free one on YouTube, but the one you presented to me and my co-workers and for which you probably charged ten thousand dollars. Nice work if you can get it, as Ira Gershwin once quipped. (Do Jewish folks count as white, too?)

No, I haven’t read your book on white fragility. The video was enough for me, riddled as it was with execrable reasoning directed against ridiculous strawmen such as: individualism is the doctrine that human beings are utterly uninfluenced by the culture in which they live. Also, reading all those little black letters surrounded by an expanse of white paper is kind of a metaphor for structural racism, isn’t it? So reading must be bad.

Although I’m not buying what you’re selling, I’ll grant that you’re full of passionate intensity for your cause. Sadly, this reminds me of that great poem by the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, in which he observed that “the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” (Do Irish folks count as white, too?)

The exact nature of your cause is somewhat unclear, couched as it is in the fog of critical discourse analysis and other Marxist claptrap; yet apparently it has something to do with establishing the cultural hegemony of your black-and-white ideology in which skin color is the only thing that really matters in life: in other words, a cleverly manipulative repackaging of the ideas of Italian communist Antonio Gramsci. (Do Italian folks count as white, too?)

As you no doubt know but wish to suppress, 100 years ago there was no such thing as whiteness. Instead, the Anglo-Saxon majority in America drew cultural, not color, distinctions between themselves and the Irish, Italians, Slavs, and everyone else – at best barely tolerating some of these peoples. Your precious notion of whiteness is a more recent ideological construct, into the origins of which you and your ilk likely don’t want us to inquire.

So Robin, what’s really the point? All I got out of your talk is that anyone who doesn’t have really dark skin (yes, I noticed your jibe about light-skinned blacks and their distasteful “colorism”) should feel endlessly guilty in an original sin kind of way and therefore should endlessly atone for their sins through self-renunciation, confessions of complicity in systemic racism, and preferably re-education at the hands of high-paid diversity consultants like you.

Finally, your talk didn’t mention any actual Black people – like, say, Martin Luther King, Jr. The reason isn’t hard to find: MLK eloquently said that “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Yet to you that is unacceptable, because you believe a money-grubbing, power-hungry, paleface re-education professor has the right to dictate to Black folks what they can think and how they can live (and if they don’t submit to your dictates, I guess they too must count as white, at least on the inside). Last I heard, that kind of dehumanizing condescension was called racism.

America’s Maoist Moment

Well, here we are, transfixed at the spectacle of a slow-motion riot by a benighted mob, beneath whose thin patina of concern for justice is the base metal of Maoist ideology. Their obsession with desecrating statues reveals not an interest in the fate of particular human beings but a symbolical cast of mind. The fact that they moved quickly from Confederate generals to the Founding Fathers and thence to Abraham Lincoln (“The Great Emancipator”) and even the black former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass leads many observers to decry the abject ignorance of this mob.

Au contraire! These people know exactly what they are doing and who their enemies are.

For Lincoln and Douglass, emancipation was emancipation into citizenship within a free society, encapsulated in Douglass’s “three boxes”: the ballot box (the right to vote), the jury box (the right to trial by a jury of one’s peers), and the cartridge box (the right to keep and bear arms) – often supplemented with the soap box (the right to freedom of speech, which Douglass exercised as eloquently as any American ever has).

For modern-day Maoists, universal human rights such as these are noxious impediments to the true liberation of a socialist society.

Read more

The Nature of Things

Thanks to the site administrators, this long-time Chicago Boyz reader has joined the roster of authors. Perhaps a brief introduction is in order before I begin posting in earnest.

My earliest exposure to Chicago Boyz dates back to 2003 (with a tip of the hat to Jay Manifold), when Jim Bennett and Michael Lotus were actively exploring the ideas that would lead to the publication of their most excellent and still underrated book America 3.0. The very concept of the Anglosphere was deeply enlightening to me, and inspired a great deal of further reading on my part. Their focus on both the historical realities and the lofty ideals of the Anglo-American tradition has continued to inspire my own thinking to this day. Other perspectives I hope to bring to Chicago Boyz include ancient philosophy (thus the pseudonym Lucretius), Austrian-school economics, civilizational history, Internet technology (my current profession), personal finance and preparedness, contemporary culture, and the arts and sciences.

If you must pin me down politically I suppose I would say I’m a moderate libertarian, a classical liberal, or even a Jeffersonian; however, it seems to me that America and the world have a whole raft of systemic problems for which political activity is not the answer but instead one of the many causes. My goal here is to steer clear of both the ideological and the quotidian to elucidate what my Roman namesake in his great philosophical poem called The Nature of Things. At least we can aim high, can’t we?