For all their snotty attitude and rote recitations I can’t help feeling sorry for Cyndi Brannen and her supporters. Nobody should go through life filled with that much self-loathing and self-doubt. We can celebrate our Ancestors’ triumphs even as we acknowledge their shortcomings. We “hate” our non-White colleagues and neighbors so much that we agonize over whether we love them enough. There is no void we need to fill with ayahuasca tours and singing bowls When I commented “It’s Okay to be White” I was entirely sincere.
I was equally sincere when I added David Lane’s infamous “14 words.” Putting aside Lane’s history, who could object to securing the existence of their people and a future for their children? What is wrong with preserving a space where deep-rooted traditions can blossom and flourish? Why should we want anything but the best for our heirs? I hoped to spark discussion on these and other important questions. And spark discussion I did.
One of the biggest recurring themes in the commentary was “white fragility ” This concept originates with Robin DiAngelo who describes it thusly:
White people in North America live in a social environment that protects and insulates them from race-based stress. This insulated environment of racial protection builds white expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress, leading to what I refer to as White Fragility. White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium.
DiAngelo grew up in poverty and lost her mother to cancer at a young age. She got her Ph.D. in 2004 after raising three daughters. She could be a powerful voice for women, for the working poor, for those who never found their way out of the trailer park. Instead her body of work focuses on such important issues as “How Faculty Hiring Committees Reproduce Whiteness and Practical Suggestions for How They Can Change“,
“Nothing to Add: a Challenge to White Silence in Racial Discussions” and “Getting slammed: White depictions of race discussions as arenas of violence.”
Most of us have encountered people who treat us poorly, then call our reactions “unreasonable” and “overly emotional.” When aimed at romantic partners and family members this behavior is called gaslighting. For DiAngelo, it was a ticket to to the New York Times bestseller list. White Fragility teaches White liberals the best way to deal with troubling complaints or nagging doubts is to dismiss them as defensive and irrational. And DiAngelo’s thriving career suggests there are a lot of fragile-feeling White folks out there.
While many commenters repeated slogans, a few offered deeper analysis of the issue. Nikkidarlin, a Portland native, acknowledged that it is Okay to be White since that is not a matter of personal choice. As for the rest,
It’s not, however, ok to be a white supremacist and suggest we need to “secure a place for white children.”
That is diseased thinking, the disease being the bizarre delusion that things are somehow worse for white people than those of color. That notion is objectively false.
I note first that Nikkidarlin had no objection to securing herself a place for White liberals. While Blacks make up 12.2% of America’s population, they represent just 6.3% of Portland residents. Despite all their disdain for “whiteness,” White activists have a remarkable gift for surrounding themselves with enough honkeys to remake Triumph of the Will. And for all their squawking about “White Supremacy” these activists spend an awful lot of time as gentrification’s foot soldiers. Emotional outrage about someone else’s thoughts and words comes easier than hard analysis of our own actions and their consequences.
Secondly, I never said White people are “supreme” or “superior.” Neither did I say that things are worse for White people than non-White people. I said that White people exist. This would seem self-evident: if they didn’t we wouldn’t be spending so much time treating them as a problem. I said European people have traditions stretching back over 40,000 years. We gave the world a Renaissance, an Enlightenment and a scientific revolution and we have every right to be proud of these accomplishments even as we recognize our wrongdoings.
If there is any bizarre delusion to be found here, it’s the idea that you cannot honor your culture without disparaging everyone else’s. Hel, I would argue that you cannot love and respect other cultures without first loving your own. Without that you can only come as a patient in need of healing or a conquerer seeking plunder. Any efforts at allyship will soothe nothing, not even your aching spiritual emptiness. Those who complain about “cultural appropriation” should consider its cause. People deeply rooted in their own traditions rarely steal from others.
Shawn Herles felt Brannen and I were two cheeks of the same horse’s ass:
It’s both fascinating and disturbing to observe a racial identitarian arguing with other racial identitarians about whose version of racial identitarianism is the best, or worst. The sad irony is that you and the articles author are approaching an issue from the very same foundation, racial identity. You’re both wrong.
Race is a pseudo-scientific fiction. It exists only in people’s minds. Racism, whether it’s the racism of alt-right white indentitarians, or the “woke” progressive version complaining that “there’s too many white people in this room”, will only cease when we give up the idiotic notion of race itself.
I’m a European Identitarian and an American Nationalist. I believe that Europe and the European Diaspora have traditions which are worth preserving. While I understand that America’s ideals have often been honored more in the breach than the observance, I think them fine ideals nonetheless. I think that we should cherish and expand upon them rather than sweep them away as outmoded relics of a horrible past.
“White” means European descent: “Whiteness” means a preponderance of European ideas and European people. “Whites” as an ethnic group have been in the Americas for over four hundred years. When Shawn and I look in the mirror we see White people staring back. When others look at us they see White people. “White” is as clearly defined and understood as “Black” and “Hispanic.” You can pretend these labels don’t exist if it makes you feel better: good luck getting the rest of the world to go along.
Thorn Coyle opined:
Thank you for being so transparent, Kenaz. It’s good to know where you stand.
That was indeed my intention. As Thorn goes on to make clear, for her it’s not just the 14 words. Saying “It’s OK to be White” or referring to “White Genocide” in South Africa is proof of one’s “White Supremacist” sympathies. We can either defend White people and Western civilization or we can fade away apologetically. I will not fade away: neither will I apologize. Some may wonder why I have not sugarcoated my words. It is because I have no use for those who need sugarcoated words.
Thorn would condemn my ideology for past atrocities. I do not condemn hers. For decades Thorn has lived in the Bay Area, a place where her Leftist beliefs have held a greater influence than anywhere else in America. Every pile of shit in the San Francisco streets condemns her ideology. Every dirty needle in the gutters condemns her ideology. Every homeless camp festering in the shadow of the latest techno-feudal castle condemns her ideology. They speak far more eloquently, and harshly, than I ever could.
I do not expect most Patheos readers to listen. In the end it doesn’t matter. The modern Pagan scene is largely a bunch of wine aunts and cat moms following a path which is about as cutting-edge and trendy as spirit rapping. Their political efforts are largely a desperate effort to hold on to a relevance they never had: their censure is as unimportant as their praise. I will speak the truth for those who will hear it. Those who will not listen will feel.