How absurd has the woke culture grown in our nation that white people can now be classified according to how much they disrupt the system? Barnor Hesse, associate professor of African American Studies at Northwestern University, has developed his “ethnography of whiteness” to label members of the Caucasian population.
The ethnography exists as a “range of whiteness” with eight “white identities” along a spectrum from white supremacist to white abolitionist, from promoting white superiority to dismantling whiteness, respectively. There are also white voyeurs, who appropriate black culture without being a part of it, white confessionals who seek the approval of people of color, and white traitors, who call out whiteness and subvert white authority, to name a few. The less radical one is in working toward the destruction of the system, the more negatively they are portrayed by this ethnography. What is the purpose of the negative labeling of those who do not endorse an anti-white philosophy? Does one have to be anti-white to be anti-racist?
Hesse’s ethnography has been disseminated to parents in a New York City school, in line with Chancellor Richard Carranza’s initiatives to eliminate the “white-supremacy culture” that he claims exists amongst school administrators. This has seemingly created a hostile environment for white students, faculty, staff, and parents, as evidenced by lawsuits brought against the school. It seems that the way to promote racial equality in New York City, and according to Hesse’s viewpoint, is to perpetrate injustice upon those belonging to the privileged power race of the past. How many of today’s white student population were actively involved in constructing or supporting the racist systems of slavery and segregation? Why is it not only permitted, but encouraged, to make young white men and women feel as though they have done something wrong and are lesser people because of their skin color, and that they must remove their “whiteness” to be accepted by the woke culture? It was wrong when it was done to blacks for centuries, to Japanese Americans during World War II, to Muslim Americans after 9/11, and to Hispanics today… and it is wrong to do it to whites, as well. Racism and discrimination of any kind should have no place in our American future.
We cannot promote social justice and racial equality by perpetuating further injustice and inequality. Punishing white kids today for the sins of earlier generations, condoning discrimination against white kids because it was done to people of color in the past, promoting reverse racist attitudes because racism has oppressed minorities for thousands of years… none of today’s woke “get-even” initiatives will do anything but further divide the American people. To bring people together, we must forgive the sins of the past and work toward ensuring they never happen again. We must promote equality by raising up those who have been underserved, underprivileged, and oppressed in the past, not by tearing down those who may have been privileged. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it – the treatment of any race of people as inferior, to attack people based on the color of their skin, to set one race as judge over another…we would do well to remember the 1860s.
If we allow the woke mob to influence our society into demeaning and denigrating whites for their skin color, how can we say it was wrong when blacks were disparaged and debased for being black in the past? We cannot correct our mistakes of the past by repeating them in a different direction today. Whites were the power center of America for centuries, but we are no longer the country we were 100 years ago. We have black congressmen and women, black senators, and we had a black president. The rise of black men and women in positions of power has not submitted whites into a vast void of power, just as whites do not have to suffer for blacks to prosper. Race is not a zero-sum game, where one race can only rise if the other falls; we can all prosper together.
We must work to help raise those who have historically been underprivileged and underserved; we must empower those who have historically been oppressed; most importantly, we must always remember that we do not help some by hurting others, we do not enrich some at the expense of impoverishing others, and we do not honor some by dishonoring others. We can choose to rise as one American race or fall as members of individual races based on the color of our skin, but we cannot overcome our differences if black and white are more important than red, white, and blue.