I am white, and I refuse to be ashamed of it.

Did my title offend you? Yes?

Then you are the cancer of modern day civil rights movement.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once famously proclaimed: I have a dream that one day… little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

He envisioned a world where people of color are elevated, not white people being suppressed. He advocated for peace and dreamed of equality, not some cheap, reversed version of the status quo.

It is no accident that Dr. King did not say: I have a dream that one day… little black boys and black girls will be able to dehumanize little white boys and white girls as vengeance dictates.

Racism exists, and if we are to advance as a country, as a society, racism must be eradicated, not shifted. You cannot destroy racism by instilling racism, just like you cannot rid the world of dictatorship by subjecting everyone else to dictatorship.

There are countless people of all races all around the world working tirelessly every day to educate future generations of the perils of racism, fostering in them empathy irrespective of skin colors, and elevating everyone to an equal platform of social footing.

It is necessary to urge, even demand, the privileged to educate themselves about the plight of others and to develop empathy for those unlike themselves.

But how dare you turn decades of hard fought civil rights advancements into a vehicle of your despotic mind, a weapon with which you force people to be ashamed of themselves simply because of how they were born?

Ideas can be changed. Mentalities can be changed. But everyone’s biological makeup is absolutely free from any wrong or shame.

No one should be ashamed of how they were born, and that includes white people.

You better stare into a mirror. No one is born a racist. And yet, you chose to pronounce me as offensive simply because of my white skin. Instead of eradicating racism, you chose to be a racist.

Go reflect on that in a corner somewhere.


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9 thoughts on “I am white, and I refuse to be ashamed of it.

  1. Hi. It’s me, Goddard again. I’ll start by saying that you really ought to cite sources so it’s clear what exactly you’re responding to. You’re vague reference to people demanding a reversed racial order aren’t real people. It seems you’re determined to respond only to strawman positions. So much so I would like to suggest you change your tag line from “Because only the confused demand shelter from reality” to “Retortik: The place confused people demand shelter from unreality”. I think it’s a more accurate description, but that’s just my friendly advice. You can choose to take it or not.

    Now let’s get to the substance. I’m not an expert on the literature, but here is my attempt at reconstructing the argument regarding ‘whiteness’. At a certain time, early in American history, whiteness as an identity didn’t exist. When it came to immigration and opportunities different European peoples were discriminated against. Irish Americans for instance were discriminated against. Like all forms of discrimination, one group wanting to maintain their own advantages excluded another group on the basis of identity.

    Later in American history Europeans worried about the risk to their economic advantages that black people would soon have access to. On the policy end they created discriminating policies too numerous for me to name though an apt one for another relevant political issue of our modern age: grandfather laws for voting, should at least give you an idea. In response to the threatening black identity a white identity took shape. This white identity consolidated several different European cultures.

    Now here’s the problem with the white identity. It was created to preserve racial boundaries and itself is a false notion. I think that you should be proud of your heritage regardless of your skin color, BUT you should recognize that your ‘whiteness’ is founded on a history of racism and itself is a racist identifier. Be a proud American, a proud Frenchman etc. Don’t be proud about the color of your skin itself.

    I’m going to take this chance to respond to what I think is a common, though misdirected, objection. You might ask: “Why would someone think blackness as an identity is okay and whiteness isn’t? Isn’t blackness an identity based on skin color?” The answer is because of how the slave trade erased black people’s cultural and identity backgrounds. They were ripped from Africa and placed under people’s servitude for generations. They have no knowledge of their cultural history beyond slavery. Their historical identity is blackness because that best describes the way their identity formed. The qualifier for American slavery was the color line. So the only identity that black people could latch onto was their common blackness. Europeans created blackness through slavery based on color.

    If you want to get a nuanced understanding of this read Frantz Fanon’s book, Black Skin, White Masks. It’s a discussion about the way in which colonialism in the 1900’s contributed to the production of manichean (oppositional) white and black identity constructs. Full disclosure, I find Fanon’s arguments about violence (in one of his other books) to be problematic. However, I think that his analysis in this book is eye-opening.

    If you’re actually interested in making arguments that have real world relevance, do some research, read the Fanon, and if you don’t agree with it then write an article saying why. Stop attacking strawmen. PROVE that you can handle the real thing.

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    1. Author here.

      I think you might be missing the entire point for this article, and this site as a whole. We are not writing to “attack the strawman”, as you have put it. Rather, it is our way of providing verbal ammunition to people who are confronted with the specific positions addressed.

      Now, on to the specifics…

      Nowhere did I claim white people are being systemically oppressed. However, it is not hard to come across white people who believe they should be ashamed of their skin color, and it is even easier to find non-white people who blatantly make the white skin a subject of shame, both online and in real life.

      While those are not in any representative quantity, neither are they negligible, depending on where you are. This article is meant to be a verbal counter attack against those who try to do so, regardless of whether they are white or not.

      Also, I find it interesting that you read the thrust of my article as “be proud of your white skin.” My position was clearly and repeated stated to be “do not be ashamed of your white skin.” There’s a monumental difference between the two, and they are not mutually exclusive.

      Try it out: substitute “white” with any other color, and this article will continue to work just fine.

      Retortik is a place for specific retorts against specific claims by specific individuals. It is not a place for calm discussions meant to elevate those addressed intellectually, as we collectively believe those who put forth such ridiculous positions are simply intellectually incapable of more.

      Retortik is meant as a repository of verbal attacks against what we find as ridiculous positions. It is created for people who find the same positions infuriating, but haven’t found the right words to articulate their anger.

      For true intellectual discussions of the merits of social aspects and injustices, we engage on multiple forums worldwide, where a much larger audience is able to actually debate the subject matters from different angles.

      Retortik is anything but THAT. I hope you understand where I was coming from with this article, now.

      Like

      1. Functionally you are attacking a strawman. By creating a blog with the explicit intention of responding to these positions you insist that not only do they exist, but that they are mainstream enough to require a response. My argument was that, instead of finding the most ridiculous positions and ‘retorting’ at the minority of people who hold them, you should instead engage in a positive discourse about REAL positions. I guess that’s my problem with this blog as a whole. No, I didn’t miss the point of your blog, I read the mission statement. I responded in perhaps a misguided attempt to present an alternative perspective to your obviously one-sided article.

        Let’s talk about the goal of this website for a second. Your explicit intent seems to be to write retorts to what we both agree are ridiculous positions. However, your clear disinterest in nuance gives the impression to your readership that the positions you criticize are mainstream or real. I know that the media tends to over-report these positions, but it is your acknowledgement of them that legitimizes it. You’re falling into a similar trap and in the meantime recreating the binary dynamic of political dialogue. You substitute the controversy, in your subject matter, the people you respond to, your titles, for nuance. Ultimately I believe that your position won’t produce anything but more anger and disenchantment the current divided state of politics.

        As far as the comment goes, I think you missed my point. I didn’t take your article to assert a white pride sort or spirit. I was trying to explain the criticism of whiteness, whose misinterpretation by the general public seems to be the origin of this sentiment of ‘white shaming’. So on the one hand I’m trying to develop a more charitable position than the one you criticize. On the other hand I do think that the converse of “don’t be ashamed of your skin color” could be taken as “be proud of your skin color”. Whether or not this was your intent, I’m heading off the potential interpretation of your work in that direction.

        As far as the last three paragraphs of your response, I find these a bit troubling. Your aversion to intellectual discussion is indistinct from desiring an echo chamber. I don’t see what makes this space one that should be set aside from intellectual discussion. If you want to claim this as a “safe space” for your readership to hear what they want to hear, don’t expect me to respect that.

        All of this aside, I do appreciate you responding thoughtfully to my comment. If anything I think that that alone is proof that we can engage in a productive dialogue.

        As for the rest of the comments, you’ve confirmed my suspicions. The readership here is intent upon misreading my comments. I’ll clarify the most erroneous mistake:

        I don’t claim that having white skin is bad, or that you should feel bad for the crimes that white people inflicted historically. I argue that ‘whiteness’ itself is not a cultural identity and thus should not be a source of pride. Blackness does represent a cultural identity because it formed after the cultural identity of enslaved blacks was erased by slavery.

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    2. “Don’t be proud about the color of your skin itself.?” Should I be ashamed professor? history is not relevant to indivdual identity today. A history of white racism means nothing as no one today was involved in slavery and black oppression. So they are not in the least bit responsible for any of it. Expeting white poeplee to acccept your idea of their social postion just becuse of the history of their particular skin color generations before they were even born is patently abusrd and cleary afforded you no critical thinking. Apparently most serial killers are white men as well. I guesss as a white man I am supposed to feel shame about that? Or take some kind of racial responsibility?

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    3. You do realize that blacks enslaved white Europeans before whites enslaved blacks? So to argue that blacks have an issue today because of slavery hundreds of years ago, demand that you equally argue that white have an issue for the same thing.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. >The qualifier for American slavery was the color line. So the only identity that black people could latch onto was their common blackness. Europeans created blackness through slavery based on color.

      Right. Let’s keep pretending blacks were A) the only victims of slavery, or B) victims of slavery AT ALL.
      First of all, lots of White people were slaves in the United States, too. In fact, White slaves outnumbered black slaves through the entire 17th century.
      Furthermore, there were black slave owners in the United States too, which makes it kinda silly to blame White people. An estimated 3000 black slave owners owned 20,000 black slaves in the year 1860.
      Not to mention the fact that only a tiny fraction of Americans ever owned slaves. In fact, at the height of slavery in American, only 6 percent of White people in the south owned slaves. If you want to include Northerners, the percentage of Americans who owned slaves dips to 1.4%.
      Oh, and let’s stop blaming White people for the slave trade in the first place. Blacks aren’t victims; the slave trade was STARTED by blacks, when tribes in Africa would kidnap members of other tribes and press them into labor. They then started trading/selling them to the Dutch and others. If you want to whine about the “poor, enslaved blacks”, blame the “poor, slave-trading blacks”.

      Like

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