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.

How?

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. 22, 2016 at 11:20pm

Of course Quakerism was founded through ecstatic experience. Like all myths and symbols, that is where they begin: symbols and myths are part of communicating and building institutions upon those experiences. But this line of reasoning is doing nothing to deter from the fact that white supremacy is based on myth and symbol (and ecstatic experience) and so is Quakerism, though of course we agree that the former is only quasi-religious, much more idolatrous, and more problematic, and slightly more literalized. That said, the Quaker myth--the product and the result of the crude millenial mythology in Quakerism--is really not the most refined or thoughtful.

That article was long and around the halfway mark, with the impression I was learning nothing since it was just pointing out the obvious fact that conservatives such as Trump are expressing patriarchy, I began to wonder what your point is. But in reading the last few paragraphs I suspect what you're trying to say is that the inexcusable classism I pointed out in the attitudes of millions of middle class commentators on race is some silly attempt to defend racism because it's coming from working class people. That is not the case. It is still racism and still wrong. But what I'm trying to point out is not classism, but precisely, an attitude that is white supremacist, classist, patriarchal, cis-centric, and jingoistic, that I see in what you're saying and across the current left. Don't be so silly as to believe that because I use one example that is easy to explain that I'm focusing only on class issues. Nor is it a coincidence that, most people of color and indigenous people and an unfair percentage of women are working class.

But if you want to know the deepest problem, the problem is rationalism, the belief that what white men call reason (intricately linked with white male values, traditions, freedoms and obligations), is quasi-divine and everything that isn't "rational" should be abolished or relegated to the private sphere--an attitude which itself is based on myth. With this attitude, one of the most basic assumptions of the current left, the left continues the colonial project of white supremacy and oppresses nearly everybody: the working class, the symbols and myths linked to the female gender role, the myth of race (be it black myths or white ones), indigenous peoples worldwide defending their cultures. Among the few people who are relatively unoppressed by this attitude are LGBT people (but they still are). But make no mistake, it is a colonial attitude, deeply assimilatory, it undermines fragile and embattled cultures, and it denies to itself and everyone that it is based on myth, but it is. Which is its greatest strength and its greatest hypocrisy.

You're calling for the abolishment of the myth of white supremacy (which is a profound expression of white supremacy, since what makes whites supreme is abolishing myths!). Your reason for this, apparently, is its contrafactuality and incoherence. And you also point to the terrifying results of the myth, that is, who has used it and for what reasons. Those are certainly good points upon which we agree, and certainly rational to a point. But none of them are the measure of a myth. And in any case, it is just utopian blah blah blah because you can't reason a myth out of existence. Worse, you are expressing white supremacy (through the will to abolish myth). And even worse, you are doing nothing to make it be used better. That is your complicity in the current situation.

And by the way, make no mistake, not for an instant, that every word we are saying is an expression of white supremacy. 

Comment by Forrest Curo on 7th mo. 23, 2016 at 12:03am

If green cheese is really white supremacy, then the Moon is white supremacy?

Irrationalism is as much a pinkfolks-notion as anything else, a sort of barfing-up of all reason, a historical reaction to the fact that some pinkfolks did drink too much Reasonablenessism and got silly under its influence (as many of us still do to this day.) But they didn't get nearly as silly as people who decided to abstain from reason altogether.

But probably even that isn't as silly as me trying to argue with someone taking that tack.

Comment by Darrin S. on 7th mo. 23, 2016 at 12:14am

My king, oh guilty as charged! Oh, how silly my tacks, my king ;) I'll never do it again. Yes, I know the moon is white supremacy to your highness. I'll try to remember that next time, really your highness, I promise.

If your highness would be so good as to explain the "tack" I'm taking, it might help educate a poor peasant like me. ;)

Comment by Darrin S. on 7th mo. 23, 2016 at 12:16am

Rationalism is not the same as being rational. Rationalism is the belief that myths, symbols, and rituals (artistic or religious) should be abolished. But Christianity has always said that it is logos, therefore any Christian religion (and all religions) must be rational, even if it there are myths etc. that grasp the whole person, not just the rational part. 

Comment by Darrin S. on 7th mo. 23, 2016 at 12:28am

Our meeting did a Paul Tillich reading group--it was good. I recommend it and that's where I'm getting many of these ideas and terminology.

Comment by Forrest Curo on 7th mo. 23, 2016 at 12:58am

Straight mathematical logic says that a falsehood implies literally anything. If all and everything is _really_ pink power in disguise, then thee is a panther; and I'm going to bed.

Comment by Darrin S. on 7th mo. 23, 2016 at 1:07am

Uh oh, the king wants to keep his conviction secret--probably means death penalty for me ;)

Oh deity of rationality, thank you for showering the darkies with your particular brand of mathematical logic!

Comment by Kirby Urner on 7th mo. 24, 2016 at 12:30am

Paul Tillich is fine, ain't got no problem with The Courage to Be and all that.  I liked reading Buber when I did (around the same time, still at Princeton). 

I don't know if you have any opinions regarding the Allende regime in Chile, soon undermined. Allende's Finance Minister, jailed after the coup, one Fernando Flores, has popped up in my life a couple times (I've never met him in person).

Most recently his work was the feature of a keynote at Portland Pycon (where I met with Brazilians, one my house guest).  Pycons are like pow wows in my subculture, tribal shindigs.

https://flic.kr/p/HiTzuJ

https://flic.kr/p/HiTA9u

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Flores

I'm thinking of "working class" and where I'd make those connections, as more of a technocrat by training -- but not in any political party sense (an actual Technocrat movement with iconography or "symbolization" as they called it, was well before my time that looks kinda foolish to me). 

I've learned a lot about IWW ("Wobbles") in my day, know at least one card carrying family (the kid an Eagle Scout, interesting hybrid) and with said AFSC helped plan May 1st marches back in the day.  These pictures are a lot by me, FYI, a slice of my world:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/afscportland

Comment by Darrin S. on 11th mo. 2, 2016 at 11:52pm

Forrest,

You literally said two comments ago that your problem with a particular myth is that it is "contrafactual"--that is so ignorant, you need to justify why I should bother talking to you.

Do I need to tell you that the measure of a myth isn't its factuality but its power to give meaning to life? Really? And then you have the nerve to make condescending comments to me? That is truly unbelieveable. I do not take you seriously right now, I just want to tell you that.

I would not hesitate to say that ignorance such as that is what keeps white supremacy alive--you are part of that, and I know it hurts to hear that.

In fact, in rejecting myths because they are "contrafactual" is white supremacy itself because you'd like your white culture to go beyond all myths to a place of pure supremacy. And that makes you the worst kind of white supremacist--the kind who blames white supremacy on those who believe they are superior. But again, I feel like I'm teaching algebra to my cat--I say without condescension and without vindictiveness that I sense I'm wasting my time on a small mind, with a small worldview. You're out to prove that you're right, not to learn, so you tell me why I'm bothering?

Comment by Forrest Curo on 11th mo. 3, 2016 at 2:17pm

The stone fact is that people from the darker color phases of the species get shafted & dissed more than people of the pink phase. Most people of any phase put the highest priority on not getting dissed and shafted personally, although some occasionally override that setting where they see opportunities to significantly improve matters for people having it worse.

Most everybody feels guilty when they fall short of that override. Ideologies, lies, and catchphrases that serve to deny, justify, or muddle the fact that darker people are getting more than their share of humanity's suffering, while most everyone of whatever hue is busy enough with troubles of their own... are indeed popular and "powerful".

Real myths are stories that provide metaphoric illustrations of significant aspects of the world and its workings. Ideologies and lies are something else, whether or not people find comfort in them or imagine these give their lives "meaning."

Life gives itself meaning. Muddle just gets in the way. But enjoy that, if you prefer.

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