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 Darrin S. on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 11:36am

^^I wonder if you're confusing on the one hand white domination (be it individual or structural) or a belief in white superiority for, on the other hand, white supremacy. Superiority is relative to what is supreme; domination is relative to the supreme source of power, God. This is how so many on the left, including me much of the time, have zero inkling of our white supremacy. We say, well I don't think I'm being superior therefore it's not white supremacy. Wrong. That is a cop-out and false.

We cannot understand what white supremacy is without reference to something supreme, ultimate--God, an end-time, a final fulfillment of potential. Maybe this is the main point that needs to be made.

Comment by Kirby Urner on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 1:38pm

Let me devil's advocate for what might sound like capitalism (using one's head): I don't want the world-weary asylum seekers to always turn away disappointed just because my flavor of Quakerism sounds very business-oriented, what with monthly, quarterly and yearly business meetings (for worship no less), all with attendant reporting and statistics (#BigData) and what not.  

Sounds staid, button down, and more about making money than making sense and serving people. Opposite end of the spectrum from uplifting choir music, more dry as bones.  Quakerism seems a lot like Zen if you're coming from more Rococo vajrayana.  What happened to all the ornaments and decorations.  A lot of people want their religion to be more show busines, more Lady Gaga.

However, rather than bend over backwards and try radical surgery to excise all business-oriented language from Quakerism, a desperate procedure likely to crash, I'd rather continue with the shoptalk and even harness it more, to create new kinds of Friendly business enterprise that clearly improve the quality of people's lives -- like schools and hospitals, also higher grade camps for asylum-seekers escaping dead-end scenarios (institutions and activities Quakers have typically been involved in). Lets get back in the saddle (ooo, that sounds really "supremacist" a term I for some-reason connect to "horse-mounted bullies" -- might not be whites though).

Whether such ideas make me "sound white" or not, I really don't care.  I took a similar position regarding the words "Oversight" and "Overseer" which some complained reminded of slavery days, -- and I don't blame anyone from still smarting from that experience -- and wanted expunged in favor of softer-gentler Pastoral Care (gag).  However "Oversight" just means "Overview", sorely lacking these days, and "Supervisor" would sound even more disappointingly authoritarian.  I say lets play the cards we're dealt and not insist on new cards, as if that's always our privilege.

As I've stated elsewhere on Q2, I self-identify as "3rd culture" given formative years outside the jurisdiction of lame US Federal Laws (Rome, Manila...) and might use "I'm an Asian in gringo suit" as a pickup line at a strip club (hey, this is Portland, Lindsey used to take me to 'em, showed me the ropes -- what ethnicity is that I wonder, is Portlandian a race?).  

Speaking of strip clubs, did you wanna talk stereotypes about US white people.  I have a lot of AFSC background and could go on and on I'm sure.  Here are four to watch in my ethnography classroom, just to get some memes rolling):

https://youtu.be/N9qYF9DZPdw (White & Nerdy -- middle class)
https://youtu.be/otGO0a7OPtg (working class)
https://youtu.be/5PsnxDQvQpw ("only" 34+ million views...)
https://youtu.be/yTCRwi71_ns (more 1%)

All that being said, I don't think "business" equates to "capitalism" if the latter means top-down pyramid-hierarchy patriarchy or something dismal like that.

Comment by Forrest Curo on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 1:52pm

A belief in 'white supremacy' is sheer idiocy ("a mental affliction of white people," as others suffering the consequences have more than once described it.)

Some of it is the blithely unconscious assumption of people simply lacking curiousity; there are stronger manifestations based on the need to deny responsibility or guilt, but the really intense versions have to do with people whose expectations of success (or at least security) and respectability have been crushed by social & political forces they've been discouraged from thinking too much about.

White domination is an unfortunate fact, primarily caused by a widespread belief in off-white supremacy -- which also serves as a rationale for maintaining the social policies which perpetuate it. There was that brief elementary-school experiment (which needed to be broken off because it was starting to turn ugly) where the teacher started telling her class about the innate goodness etc of blue-eyed people vs brown-eyed [or perhaps it was the other way around) and soon had her class totally polarized, with special treats for kids with the good-colored eyes & severe discipline on the wicked bad-eyers. I suppose the kids got over it eventually, though some friendships were severely strained by the experience. Now if the populations had lived in separate areas, continued to receive disparate treatment along with ongoing social support for the belief in good-eye superiority... 

Comment by Darrin S. on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 1:56pm

Well, since I tried to translate white to "English", yes these ideas sound English because, for one, you're speaking English... ;) White supremacy really is just English cultural supremacy in disguise.

Having English culture cannot be separated from white supremacy, as many, many, many people have pointed out. I think you have a lot of reading to do.

Capitalism is economic liberalism (as an ideal and as a reality in coexistence with economic bureaucracy). Without an understanding of 19th century English liberalism, I'm not sure it's possible to have a meaningful conversation about capitalism. I regret using the word, I really do. I'm sorry, is that enough? ;)

Comment by Darrin S. on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 2:14pm

^^Forrest, I'm astonished that you're still equating white supremacy with white superiority/domination. Do I need to repeat that these are not the same thing? The first is a myth and the second is false and the third is a reality.

I just want to make sure you realize that Quakerism, like all religions, is founded on myths and symbols right?

Comment by Kirby Urner on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 2:43pm

I'm gradually tuning in your ethnicity's usage patterns.  You like to be high and mighty about all the homework you've done, with appeals to "many, many, many" (a rhetorical fallacy, wins points off in debating), on a bit of a high horse over there, so yes, very English, I recognize those tropes. I'm more getting my "liberalism" from Vienna Circle, hints of Jungian gnosticism with bouquet of Left Coast psychedelic culture ala Alan Watts (I was a young fan). English is a language though, software, and a hybrid to boot, so trying to marry English to some goofy racialism (faux genetics) is unlikely to "last a lifetime" as they say.  The Philippines is a huge English-speaking population, and that's where I went to high school.  My not-gringo math teachers were smarter than most #Lower48 folks I meet, regardless of physiognomy, call me biased. It doesn't take much to pass for an intellectual around here.  Just watch a few Youtube and adopt a condescending tone.

Comment by Keith Saylor on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 2:45pm

Hello Darrin,

I just want to make sure you realize that Quakerism, like all religions, is founded on myths and symbols right?

For some Quakers, your statement quoted above is true by their own admission. For others, your statement goes completely against their direct witness or experience and is not of their testimony of that witness.

Comment by Forrest Curo on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 3:03pm

The first two are basically the same falsified myth, until you deign to explain whatever esoteric distinction you imagine people will recognize & agree to.

I'd rather reserve the term 'myth' for stories that actually illuminate some deeper reality. "Collective delusion" will do for silly fictional themes like "manifest destiny", "progress", "free trade" and "foreign aid."

"White domination" is statistically a fact -- but speaking practically, our kleptocratic elite despises all us underlings equally and was perfectly happy to give us a dark-skinned retainer-in-chief, a more articulate & sophisticated advocate for the continuing Clinton-Bush de facto policies.

Comment by Kirby Urner on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 3:29pm

Speaking of myth, I like the one about reptilians controlling the 1% who in turn control the minions (mostly yellow).  A favorite:  https://youtu.be/urglg3WimHA  (punch line apropos).

This myth refreshingly counters the stereotype of camo-wearing knee-jerk rednecks getting their country back, as clearly there's no overlap at the genetic level (the reptilians are inwardly green, like all good ETs).  So much for the "English" eh?  Fat chance they'll ever rule anything, those muggles.

Where whiny whitey has made inroads is on church ceilings as the angels don't usually look Asian or Latino. But then ditto on the other side of the planet wherein the temple Bodhisattvas have a distinctly Asian appearance (small wonder right? -- why make 'em look like that freaky Marco Polo and company).  

Per my mantra "the best religions are yet to come" I predict much more genetically diverse pantheons among the polytheistic subcultures to come.  We'll have more of a rainbow (Krishna and Tara have already covered many of the color bases).  Monotheists have less opportunity to project, but I think Morgan Freeman is closer than Charlton Heston or Mel Gibson, if looking at XY chromosomes (just my personal impression, but then only Morgan actually gets to play the role in heaven (or was it a parking garage?)).

What's touching about people is their need to "put a human face" on their deities, meaning faces that look like their own.  We should forgive them their "I-dolls", their "selfie gods" -- they're just made that way.

Now that we've gotten so good at animation, I think these new religions are not far future science fiction anymore. #PokemonGo is just the beginning, a herald.

Comment by Darrin S. on 7th mo. 19, 2016 at 7:14pm

^^Forrest, exactly, white supremacy is a myth. Actually, it is a repackaging of the Christian myth of the end times.


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