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 11th mo. 3, 2016 at 2:40pm

I agree with the first paragraph.

I think the point where we disagree is this: humans need myth in the same way that we need art.

What I'm saying is that you are propagating the myth of white supremacy, in your last post. You are muddling and hiding the way your ideology of white supremacy hides the suffering of most of the world's people. You understand everything except for the myth inherent in what you're saying.

Again, as a reminder because you don't read what I write carefully, there are two types of white supremacy, one that you're not guilty of and the other that your words are guilty of. The first is an ideology: that white people are somehow superior. That is false. You're not guilty of that. The second is that white *culture* is supreme, so whoever advocates white culture (science, progress, freedoms, objective truth, technical thought), no matter their skin color, is advocating something universal, a supreme truth beyond which no culture can go. But white culture is supreme, according to this myth, because it will lead all of humankind to this post-mythical, objective, and realistic consciousness.

Any one who even suggests that it is possible to live life from a trans-mythical, post-mythical place is not only a white supremacist (for that is the core of the second kind of white supremacy), that is also the myth of the Christian gospel as expressed in Acts and Revelations. A lot of atheists are amazing in how passionately and blindly they are espousing a Christian myth and call themselves anti-Christian.

It is the worst kind of white supremacy to assume that we can go beyond myth--only the supreme race can do without myth. My words are not white supremacy because I'm affirming that humans need myth just as humans need art. You are espousing white supremacy because of your deeply Christian, supposedly anti-mythical attitude. That's the difference between us.

You're going to need to give me an example of a good myth that is "a metaphoric illustration of aspects of the world and its workings." That is a contrafactual definition of myth, at least in academia. Karen Armstrong defines myth as an ancient form of psychology that is interdependent with ritual (what she calls cult). Myth is inherently psychological and you are missing the purpose of myth entirely if you think myths are stories about the world. Perhaps you can give me an example. But I'm thinking of Greek myths which are just fictional absurdities unless they are seen as psychological for those who use what respected religious scholar Karen Armstrong calls the ritual of cult and mystical contemplation to find the deeper (ancient psychological) meaning of myths, e.g. at the Delphic Temples.

You're welcome to provide examples of vibrant myths that illustrate "the world and its workings" but if you can't, I repeat that I simply view your analysis as ill-informed. Or rather, I'm using words in ways that scholars use them and you're just making up definitions popular among atheists for trashing all myths everywhere (except their own).

But there is one thing that is good in your post: that you are calling all of us to be white supremacists in the sense that only white culture dares to be objective about itself and its world, and to shatter all illusions and wishful thinking. In a strange and twisted way, the most beautiful and important thing about your post is a call for the right kind of white supremacy...

Comment by Kirby Urner on 11th mo. 3, 2016 at 3:32pm

[fixed the grammatical error]

I liked Seymour Hersh's quip that the big breakthrough of the first Clinton administration was they figured out how to go back to bombing white people again, first time since WW2 (not forgetting bombing the Chinese Embassy they said by mistake). 

Sy also points out "barrel bombs" were routinely dropped on Vietnam and wonders how criticizing a government for using these less expensive, less fashionable bombs is really helping with the aircraft carriers' PR (what self proclaimed "American" bombers use for bases as a part of their weapons-testing programs, with lots of trademark collateral damage).

The problem with a calculus of who is suffering most or most unfairly in terms of an arbitrary grab bag of genetic traits (who is really "white" by the way, just Caucasians, really, all of them?), such as handedness, propensity to stutter, fidgety-twitchiness etc., is such thinking merely perpetuates the importance / relevance of what simply won't matter over time.

I have fun imagining a science fiction world in which one's "true race" was deeply buried in the pineal gland and there'd be no discovering it until posthumous autopsy, as trying to "read the race" of a living hominid would only succeed in changing it arbitrarily, and what good was that?

We could have a world where breeders got their wish, and practiced on humans without checks or balances.  But then we'd get greyhound like tall people with speckled skin and in a few generations what we try to call "race" today would be all but obliterated thanks to the pedigreed human breeding industry.

Comment by Forrest Curo on 11th mo. 3, 2016 at 7:46pm

We don't "need art"; we need to art, to create something because the Creator embodied in us needs to work.

People need to feel the meaning in our lives -- and if we don't really feel it, we're suckers for nearly any false identity available: "black", "white", "hero", "saint", "alcoholic," "American", "criminal" or whatever. (I suspect this has a lot to do with the continually changing fashions in "diagnosis"; people find a new diagnosis satisfying at first, & then realize it doesn't fit all that well, so they go out shopping for some new costume in which they might recognize themselves better.)

Truth is neither a European invention nor particularly valued by pinkfolks. But truth, too, is a need of the soul -- although plausibility tastes good for awhile.

Comment by Darrin S. on 11th mo. 3, 2016 at 8:22pm

Right... not seeing the connection and there are many points and even questions and even places of difference you didn't touch. So you're convinced now?

Truth isn't a European invention. But do you understand or not that it is a European (read Christian) myth that we can arrive at a post/trans-mythical consciousness of objective reality.

Comment by Kirby Urner on 11th mo. 3, 2016 at 8:33pm

Many thinkers fail to distinguish between truth and sense, meaning for something to be true, it first needs to make sense. "White supremacy" makes more sense when one thinks we have "races" with genetic "no man's lands" in between them (thickly populated, is the irony -- racist taxonomies are notoriously loose, easier to believe in if you like to be sloppy about science).

If one is blind to sense as a prerequisite for "true vs false" then one is more likely to be blind-sided, by the entropy of all belief systems -- unless occasionally maintained. 

That systems have their half-lives is a positive, not a negative, as we need new spaces to grow into as a part of our ongoing balancing act (called "adaptation" -- could be called "evolution" I suppose, if the adaptations appear to be working).  A system that earns its keep, like trigonometry, gets carried forward.  Others get tossed by the wayside, the discarded toys of our attention and interest.

Comment by Darrin S. on 11th mo. 3, 2016 at 8:36pm

It's also not clear to me the difference between a "true" and "false" identity--how do you distinguish? All are based on myths--some myths are better and worse developed for sure. For instance, Forrest's terrible white supremacist mythology of arriving at a post-mythical consciousness is very underdeveloped, in my opinion.

Comment by Kirby Urner on 11th mo. 3, 2016 at 9:05pm

Some people use "myth" to mean "manifestly untrue story believed in by suckers, other naifs".

I think of someone disillusioned to learn there's no literal Santa Claus, coming down chimneys, working with elves, and turning their resulting anger and sense of betrayal against every "myth" they see, as subterfuge, as the willful deceiving of innocents.

I would agree that some stories are indeed fabrications intended to obscure the truth.  Sometimes the lies deserve to be exposed, or need to be, to get on with the business at hand.

To these former Santa Claus believers, the "manger scene" of "three kings" amidst the goats and shepherds, paying their respects to a Son of God, is no metaphor for a suspension in class warfare, and is rather another fib to be dispelled.  Jesus, if he ever existed, was not born on December 25th these crusaders zealously remind us, eager to put any story on a factual basis, or junk it entirely.

That pure fiction, such as Little Prince, Superman, or X-Men could nevertheless convey wisdom is discounted out of hand by some analysts.  Nonfiction is the only way to roll.  At the very least, we should build a wall between fiction and nonfiction, and make fiction pay for it.

On the other hand, a liberal arts college curriculum is likely to contain reminders that "myths" may serve as elaborate encodings of practical information in a memorable form, the logic of "stories with plots" being how things hang together in our minds.  We need a "glue language" to retain otherwise disjointed factoids.

Without some soap opera, with motives and climax, we're too likely to forget the whole show, and with it all the info about when to sew, when to reap, and how many moons twixt conception and the newborn.  All that's encoded, along with so much more.  Star maps necessary for navigation inhere in stories that turn our eyes heavenward.

The "myth as false story" school may have a hard time getting along with the "myth as encoded information" school.  "Why tell lies to preserve the truth?" ask the former Santa Claus believers, still smarting from all the disabuse.  Explaining it's a "cosmic fairy tale" meant to help children come into their own as a next generation of navigators, may be about the best we can do.

Comment by Darrin S. on 11th mo. 6, 2016 at 3:41pm

Kirby, yes I'm aware of the popular definition of myth and also that is not at all the academic definition of myth. See above. Myths are given by tradition and are not fabricated in the same way as fictions, even if they are obviously a human creation despite the symbolism of being given by God. But there are reasons why scholars insist on a more precise definition of myth--otherwise, of course it's all trickery, especially, as pointed out earlier, if there is no cult to explain the myth. But again, what I'm saying would make no sense with your definition.

Comment by Kirby Urner on 11th mo. 6, 2016 at 11:50pm

Darrin, what I take you to be saying, please correct me if I'm wrong, is that whites, even when being self critical about their own biases, don't always manage to escape their own ethnocentrism.  They stay blind to their blind spot, because they confuse their patterns of thought with objective reality -- almost a trademark confusion in white thinking?

Kind of like how the creation of Anthropology as a discipline involved studying "those other people" (the ones with "ethnicity" like in the Philippines or Madagascar) and not bankers or lawyers or royals in London?

Would this be a characteristic of an imperial mindset? Might we find a parallel blindness in China, perhaps in past ages?  Do you see any hope for these whites i.e. have they become any less supremacist over time in your view?  Is it that whites are singularly inferior in their ability to escape ethnocentrism in your view, or is that more the general human condition?


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