The anti-racism project in American academia today seems to have as a major aim endowing young white people with a sense of self-importance. The whole movement seems predicated on instilling in white progressives (or “allies” as they like to style themselves, as if they are brave comrades in a wartime situation) the conviction that theirs is the first generation to grapple with racial injustice and inequality and that they are uniquely endowed with insight and courage when it comes to these social blights.
These earnest young white people are determined to virtue signal but often end up entangled in their own fear of committing the dreaded sin of micro-aggressing as they condemn the oh so oppressive society that created things like, you know, universities.
Today we will examine an essay in this mode. It appears online in The Rocket, a student publication at Slippery Rock University, a public institution of higher education in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania.
The February 24, 2022 opinion piece is entitled, Opinion | Why, how am I privileged?: A look into racism, white privilege and history for people of color and is actually rather touching in that the female undergraduate who wrote it seems sincere in her view that oppression and discrimination are bad. She also seems not to realize that this is not a discovery made in the last five years by anti-racism activists.
It is a sign of the obsession of the woke with race that even though the article is basically a castigation of white people for not being woke enough, it nevertheless contains “triggering” words (like “white”) and so carries this heading:
CONTENT WARNING: This article contains mentions of racial issues, such as police brutality. This article also contains certain language that may be offensive to some readers. Please use caution before reading.
What kind of hard-hitting journalism can we expect to see in coming years from a cohort that warns us that we might not want to read anything they write?
But, let us proceed to the rest of the piece.
One of the things that it shares with others of its ilk (i.e., a white progressive telling us that racism exists and that white people need to be aware of it) is the self-valorization the writer envelopes herself in—she is so very, very brave, you see:
Firstly, I am aware of the efforts and responsibilities that would coincide with identifying as an ally, and by no means do I take it lightly.
Yeah, it takes a good deal of courage to publicly oppose something nearly everyone on the planet opposes.
She goes on to say that her brave stance is something that matters to her:
Writing this piece is significant to me because of my desire to bring further awareness to our community about race-related issues, privilege and to use my voice alongside others so that I can provide further amplification.
Good to know. Race has heretofore received no attention whatsoever in American society. Never fear, ignorant masses. We are to be enlightened.
Continuing in this strange combination of racial self-hatred and personal grandiosity, she writes:
As a white woman, I have begun to learn the first steps into fighting for equality of all races. Starting by educating myself as much as possible and acknowledging the existence of white privilege, and how it affects those around me.
Well, she could drop out of college, thereby opening a spot for a person of color to attend her university but nooooo…
The essay oozes the condescension that is such a key component of wokeism and, again, assumes that only the writer possesses the knowledge of the existence of racism:
Educating yourself is a starting line on how you may unknowingly be benefitting from racism, as well as recognizing it as a current issue in any aspect of society.
One of the things that happens to these newly woke young white people after their indoctrination into racial leftism is that they seem puzzled by the fact that other white people don’t particularly want to be lectured to on the topic of racism by other white people:
What I didn’t know, however, is the severity of systemic racism and the unwillingness of white people to change or be educated.
Personally, when I attempt to bring up these topics to other people, I am met with hostility. I am most often surrounded by a white community or people who would seem to fall under the category of white, and either in casual or formal conversation, the hostility is paired with combative and defensive responses.
This makes me wonder: Why is that?
Could be that other people regard this person as an obnoxious, self-righteous bore who brings up tendentious topics at inappropriate moments?
It is truly amazing that this young woman, swimming as she is in a sea of wokeness and living a society that has been awash in national discussion of racial issues for decades and particularly since the death of George Floyd in 2020, still manages to write this:
But what I don’t understand, though, is why there are continuing forms of race-related oppression for people of color currently and why it is either flying under the radar or mostly going unnoticed.
Unnoticed? Riots. Demonstrations. Vast changes in a few short years in nearly every sector of society from corporate life to policing to academia—unnoticed? The woke seem to possess a superhuman power to recognize racism that the rest of America is blind to. This young woman is one of these superhumans.
The writer careens from a grim indictment of our supposedly systemically racist society to focusing on the kind of thing that a callow co-ed would consider of great import:
I thought it would be significant to input and display some of the privileges that I consider myself to have daily for being white…
I will be able to find any shampoo that would suit my hair type in the hair care section.
Yeah, that is something Martin Luther King considered of paramount importance: shampoo.
She also has a curious inability to note that yes, white people can suffer from stereotyping—one need only mention the “Karen” meme. The writer assures us:
I will not be stereotyped in any situation due to the color of my skin.
If she doesn’t think white women are stereotyped in certain quarters, she has clearly been locked in a room for the last 30 years.
And this is probably true of no white person in the United States today—unless again, that person has been locked in a room for the last 30 years:
I could live in ignorance of racist acts and the state of racism today if I wanted to because I am white.
This essay exhibits many of the problems with antiracism movement. For example, the movement credits itself with the discovery of racism and generates a sense of urgency that tends to result in the creation of an anti-racism industry in which activists and bureaucrats ensconce themselves comfortably and throws down the memory hole those of every race who have fought for equality since the founding of our nation.
The self-image of the writer is very much wound up in “speaking truth to power” as if a bit of online opinion writing is a world historical act. Trust me—it isn’t. But this awakened young woman sees herself as a crusader for all that is good and true in race-related matters:
I think it is a very important topic to talk about, despite how uncomfortable anyone feels about it.
She dutifully quotes the jargon of the woke and tells us all we need to know about the very simple and overblown concept here:
I have to define what intersectionality is. Intersectionality is an analytical term often defined to assist in connecting other forms of self-identification. It can be understood as an intertwining framework of overlapping social discriminations and oppression from anything that can marginalize people.
Never were so many academic careers made out of such an obvious observation.
One aspect of the essay that is characteristic of wokeness is that the white writer, even as she praises herself for speaking out about how deplorable racism is, also suggests that anyone who questions her agenda must be crushed and that only she, the enlightened white person, knows what kinds of speech needs to be squelched in order to help people of color:
I think disagreeing about white privilege will only continue to hurt people of color.
White privilege is embedded like a parasite throughout our history as a country. To understand it and dissect the problems it has created, it needs to be talked about more.
You can talk about race, but only if you agree to use words like “parasite” in a prescribed fashion. Disagreeing with the white privilege construct is itself racist.
The level of ignorance of a good deal of social science by scholars of color is pretty shocking:
When I mention that people of color has been disadvantaged in society, I want to specifically talk about it here in the United States. I have learned that not only have they been dealt a radically different hand than white people, but they have also had to experience life being dictated almost entirely by white people, too.
Really? No African-American or Hispanic feminists have ever written about sexism or misogyny in their own communities? It is pretty racist to tell people of color that everything about them is controlled by white people. So much for personal agency or the cultural influences and contributions of millions of nonwhite people.
It is telling that the writer is so determined to prove that only those who are nonwhite can possibly experience discrimination that she biases her own survey (which she designed and some of the results of which she quotes in her piece):
If you do not identify as white, how have you been oppressed or discriminated against due to your race? If you are white, put N/A.
And she wonders why some white people are not wild about discussing racial matters with her…
As I often say on this blog, you might wonder why I take the time to read essays by young people in student publications. And I give roughly the same answer each time—because it is important that we understand how wokeness is shaping young people into zealots who wish to shut down non-woke speech. And it important to read what these young people are writing, the better to know what we are dealing with as they enter the workplace.
Some adult in this girl’s life needs to tell her that trying to make people uncomfortable is not the same thing as actually bettering the lives of people of color—this is what this young woman wants whites to do:
Talk about racism with everyone. You will feel uncomfortable from time to time, but I challenge you to embrace that discomfort. This is what assists with the most change, and change can be strengthened.
Embracing discomfort is not exactly conducive to happiness for anyone involved—remember how the white liberals at Starbucks tried to impose that policy on its employees? Oh, that went well.
It is such a contrast between eloquent black leaders who appealed to the best instincts of whites and who tried (some getting killed in the process) to persuade them to extend the rights and freedoms of the Constitution to all in a mutually ennobling endeavor versus the accusatory rhetoric of the woke whites:
If you are an individual that identifies as white, recognize that taking no action at all and staying neutral against a system that was built for white people’s benefit is to be complicit in a racist system.
Not terribly inspiring. What a bleak vision these young white progressives are leaving college with.