In Brief: The ‘White Privilege’ Smear
The Left is using racial stereotypes to divide Americans and win political power.
Racial stereotypes are so bad, the Left tells us, that we can’t have sports teams with Native American names or syrup with a black woman on it. But nobody does stereotyping like the Left, and Historian Victor Davis Hanson says it’s time to stop it.
One of the key reasons leftwing anti-Semites have been so effective at galvanizing campus hatred of Israel, and by association of Jews in general, is their careful effort to brand themselves DEI victims why tarring Jews with the empty white supremacy slur.
Accordingly, Jews and Israel now supposedly enjoy toxic white privilege. They are libeled as veritable white supremacists illegitimately in the Middle East to colonize “Palestine,” and as European imperialists picking up the mantle of the earlier 19th century British and French — as if a prior 400 years of Ottoman imperialism in the Middle East never occurred.
As now-privileged white victimizers, contemporary Jews are not seen as victims of the Holocaust, explaining the comfortable alliance between Islamist Holocaust deniers and the DEI crowd.
“Jews seem to be collateral damage from the damning of an entire group of people, namely white Americans and Europeans, Hanson says. This is the opposite of Martin Luther King Jr.‘s Dream. Moreover, he continues, the very terminology is flawed. "White is as sloppy a term as Hispanic,” he says, because there are plenty of other experiential fault lines that have more meaning than skin color in determining a person’s outlook on life.
“white” is not just a ridiculous construct that ignores the multiplicities of European ethnic and religious fault lines, the vast differences in “white” class, income, and politics, and the increasing frequency of whites marrying non-whites. When joined with the tired epithets “privilege,” “supremacy,” and “rage,” the result grows even more incoherent and sinister.
Is proof of the privilege of “whites” that their life expectancy is lower than Hispanics and Asians?
A suicide rate higher than blacks, Asians, and Hispanics?
Dying in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq at double their numbers in the general population?
An inordinate percentage of fentanyl deaths?
A current percentage of whites in Ivy League freshman classes of 20-40 percent, despite making up 55 percent of the youth demographic?
Why does “white rage” not result in whites being overrepresented as perpetrators of “hate crimes,” as are Latinos and blacks? Or in relatively rare interracial crimes, why are blacks far more likely to assault or kill whites than vice versa? In the DEI lexicon of reductionist stereotypes, is there a term “black rage” that reflects FBI statistics on hate or interracial crimes?
Woke and DEI fads have created entire anti- “white privilege” industries. One result was the epidemic of careerism-inspired and media-fed hoaxes, such as the Duke Lacrosse lie, the Covington Kids myth, and the Jussie Smollett fiasco. All were predicated on the idea the white male smear would alone obviate the need for evidence—and would provide exemption when the fakers were exposed.
Another bastard child of the “white privilege” myth was the ironic but pathetic effort of whites to fake a non-white identity to win privileges in hiring, admissions, and status.
Hanson spends a number of paragraphs offering examples of charlatans who adopted minority status to mask their own whiteness (why do that if whites are privileged?) or of certain “villains” suddenly cast as white just to make a point. He delves into the military, law enforcement, the racist manifesto of the Nashville killer, the prosecution of Donald Trump in New York by a black attorney general, and more. He concludes:
In sum, for years the left has been exempted for what in normal circumstance would be a cardinal civil rights sin. They demonize and stereotype an entire group solely on the basis of their skin color, attributing to them collective negative characteristics that trump all individual differences by presenting them as if frozen in a time warp of the pre-1960s.
Anti-Semitism is on the rise and fortified by the campus DEI and woke crowd. Hate crimes are soaring. Violent crime in general is on the upswing. Military recruitment is dropping. Trust in the media is plunging. Anti-Semites are proud and not ashamed of acting out their hatred. The progressive woke agenda is imploding.
The one common denominator is the now-acceptable notion that it is not just permissible but encouraged to smear without evidence over two-thirds of Americans as the sole beneficiaries of “privilege,” prone to rage, and conspiring to ensure racial supremacy—all lies.
But they are lies nevertheless as useful to their promulgators as they are toxic and incendiary to a multiracial consensual society if not addressed, refuted, and discredited.
It is past time for Americans to reject all racial stereotyping and the racist careerists who leverage it—before we all descend into tribal nihilism.
- Victor Davis Hanson
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