Is it just me, or does it seem the NYT often almost coordinates a specific meme for their writers and reporters to push? With the aforementioned ‘Challenging White Privilege from the Inside of Schools’ their piece de jour, in comes self-loathing white Nicholas Kristof to reinforce the narrative:
White men sometimes feel besieged and baffled by these suggestions of systematic advantage. When I wrote a series last year, “When Whites Just Don’t Get It,” the reaction from white men was often indignant: It’s an equal playing field now! Get off our case!
Yet the evidence is overwhelming that unconscious bias remains widespread in ways that systematically benefit both whites and men. So white men get a double dividend, a payoff from both racial and gender biases…
It’s not that we white men are intentionally doing anything wrong, but we do have a penchant for obliviousness about the way we are beneficiaries of systematic unfairness. Maybe that’s because in a race, it’s easy not to notice a tailwind, and white men often go through life with a tailwind, while women and people of color must push against a headwind.
While we don’t notice systematic unfairness, we do observe specific efforts to redress it — such as affirmative action, which often strikes white men as profoundly unjust. Thus a majority of white Americans surveyed in a 2011 study said that there is now more racism against whites than against blacks.
None of these examples mean exactly that society is full of hard-core racists and misogynists. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, a Duke University sociologist, aptly calls the present situation “racism without racists”; it could equally be called “misogyny without misogynists.” Of course, there are die-hard racists and misogynists out there, but the bigger problem seems to be well-meaning people who believe in equal rights yet make decisions that inadvertently transmit both racism and sexism.
So, come on, white men! Let’s just acknowledge that we’re all flawed, biased and sometimes irrational, and that we can do more to resist unconscious bias.
Should a white nationalism of sorts ever prevail, or political correctness otherwise implode and dissipate through the weight of its contradictions, I expect some future anthropologists, perhaps centuries from now, to explain white self-loathing as a collective psychosis.