Even maligning white people and culture is white supremacy

Correct me if I'm wrong, I don't see people here talking about a very important kind of white supremacy.

I do see people discussing discrimination, prejudice, bias, and structural forms of racism, discrimination, and privilege, and their histories, as well as overt and coded white supremacy.

But I don't see people discussing a third kind of white supremacy. I'm not sure what name to give it. Maybe you can help me. I would call it "bourgeois" white supremacy, because it's rooted in the errors of the Enlightenment.

This is the white supremacy that basically views white traditions as "objective," "emancipated," or "self-evident." Or it views white traditions as "a Leading." In reality, white traditions are not universally valid. They are expressions of a particular tradition and culture: white culture.

White people are not objectively more beautiful, white social customs are not universally valid, white traditions are not The Truth.

Duh. Right?

Except there's a catch. The catch is that it is possible to profoundly criticize white culture and people from a perspective of bourgeois white supremacy; it is possible to confess all of our prejudice and racial sins in a way that is profoundly white supremacist. It is possible to call white people and culture the lowest of the low, the scum of the earth, in a way that claims white culture is The Truth.


In order to criticize something we need criteria. Where do those criteria come from? When those of us who are steeped in white culture criticize white culture, we are doing so using criteria that come from white culture.

In other words, there is circular reasoning here.

Any attempt by white culture to deny the circular reasoning, even by criticizing whiteness as if from an abstract, "objective observer," like an omniscient narrator, is an act of bourgeois white supremacy. It would be viewing white traditions and culture (and "criteria") as True, or self-evident.

If the circle is denied, the **very act** of criticizing white people claims that those (white) criteria are the Supreme, the Ultimate, the Good, the Beautiful, and the True. The act of criticism using white criteria is the act of white supremacy.

Even the words I'm writing come out of white traditions--this is not an alien language, it's white English. There is nothing to be ashamed of in that, and it is inescapable for some. Every act of culture--language, art, philosophy--comes from somewhere. My words come from white culture--a culture that is not Supreme.

From the way I'm understanding things these days, to overcome bourgeois white supremacy, we must admit our circular reasoning. There is nothing to be ashamed of in using white criteria to criticize white culture. But affirming the circular reasoning destroys the claim to Supremacy.

At the end of the day, the kinds of white supremacy as seen in white privilege, discrimination, structural racism, and the KKK--these all fail to live up to the ideals of white traditions and culture.

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Comment by Kirby Urner on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 1:48am

I guess I just don't believe in such a thing as "white culture".  That you and I share the same skin color (mas o meno) doesn't make us part of the same ethnicity.  The fact that we both use English as a primary language does bring us closer together, inevitably.  

Each language comes with a lot of built-in biases, some useful, others deleterious.  The struggle to overcome serious flaws in one's thinking is indeed a full time endeavor, lasts a lifetime.  I like to think Quakerism helps more than it hinders in that regard, despite its being mired in English.

Comment by Darrin S. on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 1:51am

^^What do you call your culture? Or do you not have one? Don't confuse ethnicity with culture, they are different. Would you call it American culture?

Comment by Darrin S. on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 1:54am

^^Don't tell me you have "global culture"--that is the most white supremacist conceit of all. Ethnocentrism at its self-deceptive finest.

Comment by Kirby Urner on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 2:01am

I think of ethnicity and culture as roughly synonymous the way I use these words, and I have given the matter some thought.  I'm a big skeptic regarding "race" as a concept -- that's where English gets really buggy and I tend to feel snobbishly superior to anyone who thinks in terms of races (poor slobs).

Ethnicity and culture are meme-based, less gene-based -- although in some cultures, some genetic traits matter (e.g. shade of skin), so yeah, they're intertwined.  

My ethnicity is much influenced by the Free / Open Source software subculture.  I go to OSCONs and Pycons, help organize, play a role.  

A lot of white skinned people I meet are quite unfamiliar with this subculture, don't know who Richard Stallman is, no idea what GNU stands for etc.  That's fine.  We do our world domination thing without 'em.

Comment by Darrin S. on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 2:10am

I suggest looking up any one of a hundred essays that talks about why post-racial thinking is a profound expression of white supremacy.

Let's assume for a moment, like normal English, ethnicity refers to the genetic heritage and culture refers to the cultural, anthropological heritage. You say you are part of a subculture--of course there are always subculture, what is the dominant culture of which that subculture is a sub, then? What do you call that?

Comment by Darrin S. on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 2:22am

Forrest--one of the particular traits of white supremacy in our culture is trying to pass off our white ways of viewing things as culturally universal and inevitable, strikingly similar to what you've just done with (European-inspired) sociological research about in-group and out-group markers. So in your view, once again, white people are expressing universal human consciousness, nothing particular here!

This is because one of the root visions of white supremacy, in fact, the myth of why white people are supreme and not just superior, is the myth that white people will bring about the end of history, where all racial difference ceases to matter, and all participate in the chain of being as they were created to do. This is either a feudal vision, with white people as the benevolent nobility commanding the vacuous brown folk, or a vision of total assimilation, where all the world's cultures become rational, which eliminates the need for racial myth and identity. Either vision of white supremacy discourages white people from taking any ownership of our white values because we're not being white, we're being rational and objective, right? Right!

If you want to talk about racism, you need to understand white supremacy first. And I am not encouraged by what I'm hearing you two say.

Comment by Kirby Urner on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 2:31am

Here's my recent blog posting here on Q2 regarding Racism.  You're welcome to categorize it as "white supremacist" if you wish.  Seems that's an inescapable outcome when you're in the driver's seat.  So what's my punishment for this sin?


I think of my subculture as the dominating one.  I can't think of another that I'd submit to, just wider and wider rings that include it.  That sounds supremacist I suppose (intentionally -- "world domination" is one of our memes [1]), but I wouldn't identify it as "white" as skin color is about hardware whereas I'm talking about memes (software, culture, ethnicity, thoughts).  

Skin color carries very little information about a person, less every day as the ethnicities continue to mix it up.  In your view I bet that's exactly what a white supremacist would say so you'll likely have more condescending suggestions about what I should read or think.  Two can play that game.

[1]  it's a geek thing, I suggest you look it up.

Comment by Darrin S. on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 2:32am

^^If the word white is tripping you up, try English.

Comment by Darrin S. on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 2:34am

And yes, of course I'm implying that the way I perceive you as skirting your cultural heritage as a profound expression of white supremacy. That's because the original promise of white supremacy is that white people would bring about a time when we become liberated from our heritage and traditions. It's a beautiful vision and I can only assume it's come true in your world-dominating consciousness ;)

Comment by Forrest Curo on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 10:54am

Actually the underly premise in notions of 'white supremacy' is pretty universal: "There are people like us who know how to act and talk like real people; and there are barbarians who just make funny noises that don't mean nuthin, and don't know which hand to wipe with."

As an amateur painter, I'd say you should talk about 'yellowish-pink offwhite' people, should you find that of interest. But if we ever start treating everybody decently, it shouldn't keep being anything to fuss about.


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