Confederate Statues, Affirmative Action, and Cheap Racial Virtue

 

Facilitated by media manipulation and exploitation, people have lost perspective trying to outdo one another in their moral condemnation of racial supremacy witnessed in Charlottesville, Virginia.

(Because the media finally found actual white racists to cover, rather than smearing white people who reject their coercive, politicized agenda as racists, this was a big story.)

In situations like Charlottesville, racial supremacists — the alt-right, Nazi sympathizers, and other white nationalists — are a godsend for white progressives. They’re also a well-timed gift for white conservatives and moderates who’re constantly berated as irredeemable racists who are eager to discredit and exonerate themselves of such an unfair imputation. The presence and indefensible actions of these diehard racial fanatics permit otherwise invisible and usually morally flaccid people a prime opportunity to engage in melodramatic displays of self-congratulation and moral aggrandizement.

Specifically, overt white racial bigots provide all people — but white leftists particularly — the chance to publicly prove that they’re not vile racists by condemning and separating themselves (chiefly via social media) from ambassadors of real racism and racial supremacy.

Racial distancing, which launders the stereotypical stain of racism, functions similarly to that of white support of affirmative action. Ironically, racial disassociation can also be considered affirmative action for white people.

The racial double standard provided by affirmative action policy that chiefly benefits blacks maintains popularity among whites for one simple reason: no other social policy exists which permits whites a straightforward, public opportunity to support and praise in hopes of convincing onlookers that they’re not racists.

If whites reject affirmative action as a needed redemptive social policy, progressives slander and accuse them of being supporters of ongoing racial injustice. Despite thoroughly principled objections to affirmative action’s negative effects, white opponents continue to be aspersed as white privilege racists who seek to perpetuate racial inequality.

Guilted and chastened into publicly supporting affirmative action, or directly demanding its expansion as a way to further combat ongoing “systemic bias” offsets false charges of racial bigotry and supremacy, despite the supporter’s belief in the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the policy. In effect, affirmative action is a program that’s dedicated more to white progressives feeling good about themselves for having the chance to distance and absolve themselves from the guilt of racial discrimination, than it is on what would best benefit blacks: genuine black development. The efficacy of the program is of no importance, especially when compared to the self-regard and unearned moral authority and superiority of white progressives.

The functionality of condemning white supremacists is comparable in effect to traditional affirmative action because in this case, it’s affirmative action for white people.

(A disclaimer: I’m not saying that white supremacy and its corresponding nationalism shouldn’t be condemned. Of course it should and as I mentioned above, it’s so obvious that it should go without saying. I’m critiquing the embellished condemnations that have more to do with moral narcissism than with condemning evil.)

Obligatory condemnation of white nationalists (and Confederate monuments and other Old South memorabilia) likewise works to distance white people from the stain and stigma of racism. Usually reserved for white progressives but increasingly witnessed among conservatives, the sanctimonious reprehending of overt white racists — a group detested by almost everyone already — is an easy way to eschew charges of racism. It’s also an effortless way to attain cheap grace and expiation from assumed racial sins attributed to them by the racial gatekeepers of the Left.

Pious enthusiasm in denouncing white racists works as a shield to cover what this charade has become — convenient opportunities of virtue signaling and moral brown-nosing showcasing how “woke” the progressive racial Pharisees are. The intent is for white progressives to be seen transcending the original sin of being born white and having enjoyed its accompanying advantages. More specifically, these are occasions for white leftists to become an “ally” of black victims. These “allies” then receive racial cred and congratulations from likeminded members of the race industry who’ve acquired unearned virtue based on their complexion and connection to historical discrimination or claims of current victimization from extant systemic racism. In this scheme, a racial hierarchy determines the amount of credibility a person of color has to forgive or condemn presumed racial sins and injustices of white people. This whole charade is moral vanity for obvious reasons, to be sure, but also because it earns superficial social justice points without actually having to do the hard work of engaging or interacting with the objects or subjects of racial supremacy and victimization.

In other words, the exaggerated condemnation of white racists and Confederate mementos by white people, disproportionately progressive, allows the mob to feel good about itself. It lacks risk, moral courage, self-awareness, and self-reflection. It also avoids the hard work of overcoming the variables that contribute to and nurtures, in this case, socio-economic marginalization and resentful and destructive white identity politics.

So both instances — white people embracing a failed racialized program, and pretentiously condemning obvious racists — deters tenuous charges of racism while reinforcing smug self-regard, primarily for racial do-gooders on the Left.

But progressives love symbolism and frequently choose it over substance. It’s one of the many, consistent flaws of Leftism, and is the reason very little meaningful is accomplished in the distorted morality play of pursuing inverted virtues like social or racial ‘justice’. Consequently, extreme racial acrimony from the margins predictably continues, as does the attention seeking, moral narcissism of the Left.

(White) conservatives shouldn’t be tempted to imitate the vain immaturity of (white) progressives. Conservatives, especially white conservatives, must have the courage to stand firm on the merits of their convictions, which includes speaking the truth and condemning evil in proportion, in this case racism, not merely as an easy way to acquire racial innocence.

This means declining to walk the self-interested path of least resistance. Conservatives should reject empty symbolism, particularly in regards to symbolic challenges to racial supremacy, and seek sincere, practical ways to transcend unimportant racial differences. And conservatives should make haste in doing so, because the left is enthusiastically tearing the country apart along racial lines in the meantime.

There are 17 comments.

  1. James Gawron Thatcher

    Derryck,

    I like your terminology. After your cultural Marxist professor has massively inflated your expectation of finding racism in the current USA, your only option is to glom onto some cheap racial virtue. Otherwise, you’d be forced to admit that there’s no there there.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #1
    • September 18, 2017, at 10:02 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. AchillesLastand Inactive

    Thank you for your thoughtful post.

    Derryck Green:Pious enthusiasm in denouncing white racists works as a shield to cover what this charade has become- convenient opportunities of virtue signaling and moral brownnosing showcasing how “woke” the progressive racial Pharisees are.

    Bingo! As they say where I come from: an ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure.

    (White) conservatives shouldn’t be tempted to imitate the vain immaturity of (white) progressives. Conservatives, especially white conservatives, must have the courage to stand firm on the merits of their convictions, which includes speaking the truth and condemning evil in proportion, in this case racism, not merely as an easy way to acquire racial innocence.

    Indeed.

    This means declining to walk the self-interested path of least resistance. Conservatives should reject empty symbolism, particularly in regards to symbolic challenges to racial supremacy, and seek sincere, practical ways to transcend unimportant racial differences.

    Excellent.

    As an example of “practical ways to transcend unimportant racial differences”: Our church organized a work day on Saturday to clean-out / muck-out houses flooded by Harvey (and yes, two weeks later, there are still areas that need it). The work group I was in consisted mainly of boomers and busters with a couple millennials, and as it turned out, all white. And as it turned out, the owners of the house we cleaned were black. A young couple, probably their first home. They were there in their hazmat suits, while their young daughter stayed with friends. Within about 3 hours, we pulled out the remaining furniture, pulled up soaked carpets and wooden floors, and then took out the bottom 4 feet of sheet rock and insulation. There is much left to be done, but at least the house can begin to be dried-out now. But race never entered into it, just people helping people who needed it.

    And conservatives should make haste in doing so, because the left is enthusiastically tearing the country apart along racial lines in the meantime.

    This is the thing that galls me the most. It’s bad enough that these SOBs are so busy “virtue signaling” that they never actually do anything, but when they do, it either counterproductive or outright destructive. It is hard enough to live peacefully with others under the best of circumstances, but when you have “bomb throwers” always eager to “stir the pot,” then things go downhill fast.

    • #2
    • September 18, 2017, at 11:03 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. Spin Coolidge

    Derryck, I’m going to ask a personal question, and feel free to answer or not.

    I’m assuming, based upon your profile pic that you are black. Now, that shouldn’t really matter. Your points are valid irrespective of your race, gender, etc. But, do you think that the fact that you are black makes your argument a little more persuasive? If you were having a face to face conversation with a (white) progressive, would you make more headway with them? I’m often told that I am a racist, or that I do not understand systemic racism, because I am white, and thus my points are invalid on the subject. One cannot make the same statement about you. I’m curious what you think in that regard.

    • #3
    • September 18, 2017, at 11:20 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. GrannyDude Member

    Derryck Green: The racial double standard provided by affirmative action policy that chiefly benefits blacks maintains popularity among whites for one simple reason: no other social policy exists which permits whites a straightforward, public opportunity to support and praise in hopes of convincing onlookers that they’re not racists.

    I agree. I’d just add that affirmative action also chiefly benefits middle-class blacks while doing nothing whatever for welfare-dependent Americans (of any hue).

    AchillesLastand (View Comment):
    It’s bad enough that these SOBs are so busy “virtue signaling” that they never actually do anything, but when they do, it either counterproductive or outright destructive.

    Exactly. Where were all those young, energetic Antifa fat-heads when people—poor people, black people, “marginalized” people, the sort they are supposed to care about—needed help?

    • #4
    • September 18, 2017, at 2:04 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. AchillesLastand Inactive

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    Where were all those young, energetic Antifa fat-heads when people—poor people, black people, “marginalized” people, the sort they are supposed to care about—needed help?

    Either composing a strongly worded social media post, or donning mask, helmet, and club to bash someone whose not to blame, or something (like an innocent convenience store) that is likewise not to blame.

    • #5
    • September 18, 2017, at 2:14 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. GrannyDude Member

    My husband says that I have two words for people I really don’t like. “Useless” and “boring.” Antifa is both.

    Spin (View Comment):
    I’m often told that I am a racist, or that I do not understand systemic racism, because I am white, and thus my points are invalid on the subject.

    I know that there are things I can say (and do) as a woman that a man would get shot down for. It’s not always completely illegitimate either. I’ll admit that I recommend Jason Riley to lefty friends because I know he will be harder for them to accuse of Not Caring About People Of Color (since he is one). For that matter, I like hearing Thomas Sowell discuss economics not because he’s black and therefore has a “right” to, but because I can assume that he has the best interests of black Americans firmly in mind, because I can know for sure that he loves at least a few of ’em personally and deeply. As do I.

    I know, I know. Why wouldn’t I assume that about you? And the reality is that—statistically speaking—I probably can assume it about you, Spin. It’s quite likely that you also boast persons of other colors among your close family and friends, because that’s pretty normal for modern Americans. (It was true, for example, of three of the last four presidents…and, if you count ex-wives, true of the present President as well). If you served in the military, your comrades were of all races. We don’t live in 1972 anymore, even if the lefties appear to think (prefer?) that nothing has changed since then.

    • #6
    • September 18, 2017, at 6:47 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Derryck Green Member
    Derryck Green Post author

    AchillesLastand (View Comment):
    Either composing a strongly worded social media post…

    Exactly.

    • #7
    • September 19, 2017, at 8:59 AM PDT
    • Like
  8. Derryck Green Member
    Derryck Green Post author

    Spin (View Comment):
    I’m assuming, based upon your profile pic that you are black. Now, that shouldn’t really matter… do you think that the fact that you are black makes your argument a little more persuasive?

    Yep, I’m black. As to my argument being more persuasive because I’m black… depends on whom I’m talking to. Sometimes, yes; it’s really difficult to disparage a black person as racist against blacks when speaking in this way (though it has been tried) and defending black development over empty symbolism.

    Other times, it’s not persuasive. For example, a few months back I was on a panel at the NY Library with Jelani Cobb & Lee Bollinger pres. of Columbia. It didn’t matter that I’m black and argued against their racial symbolism that prioritized white feelings over black development. To them, even though they couldn’t answer my simple questions/challenges, I was wrong. Further, many listeners, mostly white leftists, came up after & sanctimoniously chided me for being black and not holding up the false racial orthodoxy that gave them their false moral authority. In other words, white leftists were condescending because I wasn’t “black” as they understood it- and they were completely oblivious to the obvious racism of their positions.

    That said, there have been times- at the library, and other places- when people have responded positively, and are genuinely curious as to my position(s).

    In the end, black skin privilege works far less for black conservatives than it does for black leftists. Sad, but very, very true.

    • #8
    • September 19, 2017, at 9:10 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  9. AchillesLastand Inactive

    Derryck Green (View Comment):
    many listeners, mostly white leftists, came up after & sanctimoniously chided me for being black and not holding up the false racial orthodoxy that gave them their false moral authority. In other words, white leftists were condescending because I wasn’t “black” as they understood it- and they were completely oblivious to the obvious racism of their positions.

    This makes me so angry that I am trembling as I type…

    There are so many things that I would like to say, but I will refrain.

    Let me just say this: I can just hear them, like a frazzled schoolmarm, having to once again explain (“leftsplain”?), “Tsk, you don’t seem to understand the intent of these policies…”

    That’s always the left/liberal refrain: ignore the results of our policies, look instead at our intent.

    I remember watching an extended video clip of an exchange on the floor of some congressional committee between a conservative congressman and some Clinton administration department flack. The congressman kept asking over and over in various ways, “what does the bill do?”, “what does the bill say?”, “how does the bill help?”, but the response was, each time, “Tsk, the intent of the bill…”.

    This is the liberal la la land mentality: as long as I believe the right things, intend the right things, and say the right things, then I can wash my hands, having done a great “days work” and sleep well at night. Right, sleep well, indeed.

    Woe to you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matt 23:27-28)

    • #9
    • September 19, 2017, at 11:56 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. Derryck Green Member
    Derryck Green Post author

    AchillesLastand (View Comment):
    I can just hear them, like a frazzled schoolmarm, having to once again explain (“leftsplain”?), “Tsk, you don’t seem to understand the intent of these policies…”

    EXACTLY.

    And as I mentioned previously, the ‘intent’ leftists are so determined to protect is every bit about distancing themselves from the sin and stain of racism, while safeguarding their smug moral superiority. When I inquired about supporting, for example, school reform/choice that would increase black academic preparation and educational, merit-based success that would reduce the need for affirmative action, the looks- and angered responses- were saturated with racial paternalism.

    Because like you noted, Achilles, it’s about intent (them). Not outcome (blacks).

    • #10
    • September 19, 2017, at 5:06 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  11. nyconservative Member

    I have witnessed arguments between white progressives and black conservatives where the progressive is telling the black conservative what it is like to be black….it is truly remarkable…..i have the greatest respect for black conservatives because they are attacked by the majority of the black population as well as white progressives….it takes a lot of grit and courage to stand up to these phonies

    • #11
    • September 19, 2017, at 5:46 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  12. Gossamer Cat Coolidge

    Derryck Green (View Comment):
    It didn’t matter that I’m black and argued against their racial symbolism that prioritized white feelings over black development.

    Now that is racism at its worse. Somehow, we’ve ceded the power to define racism, sexism, homophobism and a whole lot of -isms that I’m sure will be invented shortly solely to the left. Consequently, we’re always on the defensive and I haven’t seen anyone effectively defend themselves, at least in the national media. So how do we change the definition? Perhaps by answering any accusation with the definition that @derryckgreen provided: “To a conservative, racism is any racial symbolism that prioritizes white feelings over all else.”

    • #12
    • September 19, 2017, at 6:22 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. GrannyDude Member

    Derryck Green (View Comment):
    Further, many listeners, mostly white leftists, came up after & sanctimoniously chided me for being black and not holding up the false racial orthodoxy that gave them their false moral authority. In other words, white leftists were condescending because I wasn’t “black” as they understood it- and they were completely oblivious to the obvious racism of their positions.

    This is where it gets really weird. I heard a #BLM activist make a reference to “the blackest among us,” and pictured my nephew who, having been adopted from West Africa, is really dark brown..? But no, this isn’t what she meant.

    In her lexicon, degrees of blackness apparently corresponded with degrees of “marginalization,” which really translates into “dysfunction.” The guy who is poor, gender-queer, disabled, has a criminal record… he’s “blacker” than thou. Which explains why black police officers, according to no less an expert than the head of the NAACP, aren’t actually black. And why Clarence Thomas and Condi Rice aren’t black enough to be in the Museum of African American History and Culture. It’s so ridiculous and insulting, I can’t believe I’m writing it down. “Orwellian” doesn’t begin to describe it.

    • #13
    • September 19, 2017, at 7:16 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. GrannyDude Member

    The QOTD is relevant here: “Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans? Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers.” (Camille Paglia)

    Upper-middle-class professionals, journalists, academics and lawyers are the “whitest” occupations in America. Urban, blue-state bastions—Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC, New York, Boston— are all among the most segregated cities in America. I’ve been noodling around with a theory that one problem leftists have is that they think all of America looks like their America. A tie-dyed-in-the-wool leftist womyn’s studies professor in Boston looks around and sees a segregated society. Since, of course, progressive Boston has got to be much more un-racist than any city in the south, especially (shudder) Texas, she assumes that Houston, say, has to be a dystopian hell-hole, with white, evangelical “they call themselves Christian” gun-happy, militaristic racists using an all-white police force to beat down the humbled black people that she (heart overflowing with earnest compassion) lights candles for every Sunday at her almost-all-white Unitarian-Universalist church service. That the opposite is true—that Houston, for example, is one of the most integrated cities, and that theologically conservative Christianity, the military and American policing are far more racially diverse than any of the groups she belongs to… she can’t imagine. Because she doesn’t get out much (out of the bubble, that is) she can’t see for herself.

    This was a big part of the disconnect that led to my swallowing the red pill, by the way. The Progressive description of policing and of America more generally just didn’t jibe with what I could see around me.

    • #14
    • September 20, 2017, at 6:35 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Typical Anomaly Inactive

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    Urban, blue-state bastions—Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC, New York, Boston— are all among the most segregated cities in America. I’ve been noodling around with a theory that one problem leftists have is that they think all of America looks like their America. A tie-dyed-in-the-wool leftist womyn’s studies professor in Boston looks around and sees a segregated society.

    Oh my @katebraestrup, did you ever hit the nail on the head there. Just like Charles Murray’s Belmont and Fishtown and the media on anything religious, blue staters have no clue of a world outside the one they inhabit.

    We can all do something about our own spheres; we can do our best to be informed, aware, exposed and experienced in the spheres that are not our own. As an older curmudgeon, I found out about the gaming community by talking to gamers. I have shared with city people what it’s like to live in the country (snow is not plowed from the road, last people to get power restored after a failure, septic systems). They are incredulous. It helps both participants in the conversation.

    This is how we will knit our nation together again.

    • #15
    • September 20, 2017, at 10:00 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Derryck Green Member
    Derryck Green Post author

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    In her lexicon, degrees of blackness apparently corresponded with degrees of “marginalization,” which really translates into “dysfunction.” The guy who is poor, gender-queer, disabled, has a criminal record… he’s “blacker” than thou…

    The insanity of (racial) intersectionality where victimization is prized before all else.

    • #16
    • September 20, 2017, at 10:05 AM PDT
    • Like
  17. Percival Thatcher

    Chelsea Handler, the alleged comedian, recently called Ben Carson, David Clarke, and Stacey Dash “black white supremacists.” Stacey wasn’t having any. And once again I find myself pondering the overweening arrogance of anyone assigning acceptable political beliefs to people based on the color of their skin.

    Talk about you racism.

    • #17
    • September 20, 2017, at 7:17 PM PDT
    • Like