The Left’s War on Whiteness
John Perazzo's new pamphlet unveils the colossal myth of "white privilege."
Introduction: In recent decades, the Left has gained a nearly monopolistic control of the key institutions that shape the American people’s worldview: the mass media, the entertainment industry, the schools, and many of the mainline churches. Consequently, these institutions have been turned into conduits through which leftist perspectives are transmitted to a highly receptive public. One of these perspectives is the notion that white people are both the cause and the embodiment of virtually every societal ill afflicting our country. Until “whiteness” can be either quarantined or destroyed outright, says the Left, “people of color” will continue to fare less well in school, earn less money, and be incarcerated at higher rates than their white counterparts. All inequalities in these various realms are attributed, by the Left, to injustices orchestrated by white people. By relentlessly banging the drum of “white privilege,” the Left has effectively portrayed race relations as little more than a constant battle between white oppressors and black victims. In this new Freedom Center pamphlet, The Left’s War on Whiteness, John Perazzo unveils the colossal deception and ignorance that underlies this worldview.
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In a recent article published improbably by the journal Foreign Affairs, writer Max Boot dropped a mea culpa. “It has become impossible for me to deny the reality of discrimination, harassment, even violence that people of color and women continue to experience in modern-day America from a power structure that remains for the most part in the hands of straight, white males,” he wrote. “People like me, in other words. Whether I realize it or not, I have benefitted from my skin color and my gender — and those of a different gender or sexuality or skin color have suffered because of it.”
We live in a time — call it the Weinstein Era — when people extort confessions out of themselves the way that Stalin’s secret police once beat confessions out of thought criminals in the USSR, conducting their own show trials in which they are the accused as well as the prosecutor. But even so, Boot’s admission, as he himself noted, was something of a surprise since he has made a reputation for himself over the last several years as a tough neo-conservative defending aggressive military actions by the white males of the U.S. military, more or less anywhere in the world. His guilty self-accusation might have passed unnoticed if it hadn’t come at a time when the left has succeeded in injecting its hatred of white self and skin color into the cultural and political air we breathe, and when radical whites have raised virtue-signaling and moral preening on matters of race into an art form.
Evidence of the left’s growing success in its war against whiteness can be seen in ephemeral events such as the adult coloring book titled I Am So Sick of White Guys which was published during the holiday season, a supposedly lighthearted work that is actually a full-throated attack on white privilege and power. It can also be seen in the work of the Whiteness Project in which film documentarian Whitney Dow interviews members of demographic groups ranging from millennials to white-collar workers who confront and express doubts, on screen, about their whiteness; and in the recent tweet by Drexel University professor George Ciccariello-Maher titled “All I Want For Christmas Is A White Genocide”; and in a poster campaign at the University of Wisconsin-Superior that shows images of white students with the slogan “Is White skin fair skin?” emblazoned on their faces. And it can be seen more profoundly in the progressive establishment’s anointment of Ta-Nehisi Coates as “one of the most insightful and poignant people we have writing about race today,” when in fact Coates’ obsessive attack on whiteness is the intellectual Siamese twin of white nationalist Richard Spencer’s obsessive glorification of whiteness.
The left’s attack on whiteness comes from many vantage points, but it has a single purpose. It seeks to convince whites themselves that their whiteness unjustly confers symbolic and real privileges — access to better schools and safer neighborhoods; standards of beauty and intelligence that favor them. The ultimate objective in stigmatizing whiteness is to intensify racial tension. But the anti-whiteness movement also intends to destroy whites’ comfortable assumption that their skin color is “normal” or “neutral,” without consequences, and to make them color-conscious and ultimately rub their noses in their whiteness. The group associated with the now-defunct but still influential journal Race Traitor (whose motto states that “treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity”) seeks to create “counterfeit whites” who resist and reject racism and capitalism, thereby destroying white privilege and remaking themselves in the image of “race traitors” such as John Brown and bringing about a massive social readjustment that will usher America to a racial promised land.
The Origins and Evolution of White “Privilege”
“White skin privilege,” or “white privilege,” is a concept that first gained a foothold, although a tenuous one, in radical circles in the 1960s, when white leftists first became committed to the notion, in Susan Sontag’s notorious formulation, that “the white race is the cancer of human history.” Particularly noteworthy in framing the critique of whiteness were a pair of Marxists named Noel Ignatiev, who was a member of both the Communist Party USA and the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and Ted Allen, a CPUSA member and labor organizer. Coining a term, Allen in 1965 exhorted white Americans to voluntarily “repudiat[e] their white skin privileges,” reject their white identity, and “resign from the white race.” Two years later, Allen and Ignatiev co-authored The White Blindspot, a pamphlet arguing that “white supremacy and … white skin privilege” were akin to a “bourgeois poison” coursing through the veins of the American body politic.
The White Blindspot had a significant influence on activists and young radicals within the emerging New Left, most notably members of SDS, whose national office called for a full frontal assault on “white skin privileges.” Later on, SDS’s Weatherman faction, in its transition to a domestic terror group, argued that white radicals had a moral duty not only to renounce their privilege, but also to participate in armed struggle against the U.S. government. In the 1970s, Weather Underground terrorists like Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn portrayed what they called “Amerikkka” as a nation that professes Jeffersonian ideals but behaves like a bloodthirsty Klansman. When the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee — a Maoist/Marxist entity whose name was an allusion to Mao Zedong’s observation that “a single spark can start a prairie fire” — was formed in 1974, it, too, condemned the “system of privilege that benefits all white people and permeates every aspect of our society” while “deny[ing] people of color rights that, generally, whites can count on.”
As in the case of other articles of the radical faith of the ’60s, the concept of “white skin privilege” became dormant after that era faded from view. But it was sleeping, not dead, and came back in the 1980s as the hard left began to reform and reemerge in the U.S. political scene.
Many feminists, trying to establish parallels between their own experiences under “patriarchy” and those of black people, joined the left-wing chorus denouncing white racism and privilege. In 1983, the lesbian philosopher Marilyn Frye, for instance, depicted racism as something that inevitably filtered its way through America’s unjust social structure and into the psychological DNA of all white people: “[A]s a white person one must never claim not to be racist, but only to be anti-racist. The reasoning is that racism is so systematic and white privilege so impossible to escape, that one is, simply, trapped….”
Her perspective was echoed by Peggy McIntosh, associate director of the Wellesley College Center for Research for Women, whose 1988 working paper, White Privilege and Male Privilege, is now regarded as a “classic” by “anti-racist educators” who have used it in innumerable workshops and classes throughout North America. Asserting that “whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege,” McIntosh likened such privilege to “an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions” that gives whites, “through no virtues of their own,” a distinct advantage over their black counterparts.
Condemning “Whiteness” and “Privilege” in Higher Education
The left’s war on whiteness might have been fought only in the shadows if its “long march through the institutions” hadn’t resulted in its takeover of American higher education in the 1980s. But with the university as its launching pad and megaphone, the left has set out to systematically demonize whiteness through the rapidly growing field of Whiteness Studies, which first began to appear in college curricula in the mid-1990s and since then has become a growth industry.
Whiteness Studies is like other group-identity-based curricula like Black Studies, Chicano Studies, and Women’s Studies only in its intellectual vacuousness. Whereas those other study areas often absurdly celebrate their respective groups and emphasize their status as innocent victims of oppression, Whiteness Studies programs programmatically stigmatize whites as malevolent oppressors of “people of color” and as authors of crimes against humanity. As Jeff Hitchcock put it in 1998 at the Third National Conference on Whiteness, “There is no crime that whiteness has not committed against people of color…. We must blame whiteness for the continuing patterns today that deny the rights of those outside of whiteness and which damage and pervert the humanity of those of us within it.”
The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education describes Whiteness Studies as “a growing body of scholarship whose aim is to reveal the invisible structures that produce and reproduce white supremacy and privilege.” Central to this definition is the notion that the average white person is largely unaware of his own racism, and that he therefore must be helped to overcome the dreaded “ignorance of one’s ignorance” which prevents him from even recognizing “racism as a system of privilege” that benefits him at the expense of others.
Whiteness Studies professor Lee Bebout of Arizona State University, for his part, says that “white supremacy makes it so that white people can’t see the world they have created.” Jodi Linley, a white assistant professor at the University of Iowa, says that she aims to “dismantle whiteness” in her “curriculum, assignments and pedagogy,” in order to battle “white supremacy” and “white privilege.”
In his class called “The Problem of Whiteness,” University of Wisconsin professor Damon Sajnani explores how white people “consciously and unconsciously perpetuate institutional racism.” In November 2016, Sajnani posted to his Facebook account a picture of a white American family seated for a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day with the words “Genocide, terrorism, small pox, colonization, torture” written in blood over it.
In a “White Privilege” course taught by Portland State University Professor Rachel Sanders, students learn that “whiteness is the lynchpin of structures of racial meaning and racial inequality in the United States,” and that “to preserve whiteness is to preserve racial injustice.”
There is no virtue associated with whitenesss that is not a vice in disguise. In an article published in September 2017, Pennsylvania State University professor Angela Putman criticized “whiteness ideologies” that extol the virtues of “hard work” and “meritocracy.” Such values, she explains, are lamentable reflections of the fact that white students “are socialized to believe that we got to where we are,” particularly in classroom settings, “because of our own individual efforts” rather than through white skin privilege.
Similarly, in a December 2017 academic article analyzing the racial attitudes of college students, University of Northern Iowa professors C. Kyle Rudick and Kathryn B. Golsan assert that “whiteness-informed civility” toward “students of color” is subconsciously rooted in a desire to “assert control of space” and “create a good white identity” wherein “white privilege” and “white racial power” can continue to thrive.
At Scripps College in Claremont, California, all incoming students receive a “survival guide” designed to alert the newcomers to the racism lurking insidiously in the dark corners of white people’s hearts. One entry in this manual, titled “Dear White Students,” declares that “we as white students must identify the ways that we are engaging in the perpetuation of white supremacy and work to unlearn our racism”; that racism is often manifested in “subtle ways through language” and “the perpetuation of white supremacist values like perfectionism [and] individualism”; that “reverse racism does not exist because there are no institutions that were founded with the intention of discriminating against white people on the basis of their skin”; and that the “anger” of nonwhites “is a legitimate response to oppression, as is … a general distaste [for] or hatred of white people.”
In an opinion piece in a Texas State University student newspaper, the University Star, student author Rudy Martinez writes that “whiteness in the United States” is a “construct used to perpetuate a system of racist power,” and that, “ontologically speaking, white death will mean liberation for all.” Toward the end of his piece, Martinez finally said what was really on his mind: “I hate you [white people] because you shouldn’t exist.”
In 2016, Portland Community College designated April as “Whiteness History Month” — not, like Black History Month, as a time to examine the achievements or contributions of the featured group, but rather as a moment to explore how whiteness had “[emerged] from a legacy of imperialism, conquest, colonialism, and the American enterprise.” This exercise, said PCC, was expected to help “change our campus climate” for the better.
In the spring of 2017 at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, a new “study group” was formed to provide a forum “where those who most often exhibit racist and sexist behavior — white males — can begin to be self-critical of the very dangerous, brutal, and depraved hierarchical pathologies of superiority, supremacy, and inferiority handed down to us by white Euro-American institutions.” Particular focus was placed on “the depravity of whiteness” and “the privilege of white people (especially white males).”
At the University of Michigan, a group called the Coalition Against Anti-Blackness maintains that in order to make campuses safe for blacks, the “scourge of whiteness” must be removed altogether.
Attacking Whiteness in Primary and Secondary Schools
With its stranglehold on higher education secure, in the last few years leftists waging a war on whiteness have opened another battlefront in K-12 schools. Its first target has been teacher-training programs, turning them into indoctrination projects designed to produce K-12 teachers who are committed to the leftist worldview, especially the idea that “white” values and traditions pose a mortal threat to the well-being of nonwhite minorities.
Heather Hackman, a former professor of multicultural education at St. Cloud University, exhorts schoolteachers to become political activists who reject “the racial narrative of White,” which, by her telling, aims to develop children who are “honest, hard-working, disciplined, rigorous, successful,” and capable of speaking “proper English.” These goals, says Hackman, are actually the racist objectives of what she terms a “Super-Whitey” mentality that disrespects the cultural values of nonwhites.
Robert Holland and Don Soifer of the Lexington Institute have studied the attempt to insert leftist propaganda into teacher-training curricula. They write that the instructional methods taught to aspiring K-12 teachers at many teacher-training universities focus on “inducing white guilt and causing teachers to acquire the dispositions of leftist activists who believe in government-enforced redistribution.” Further, Holland and Soifer report that two of the most influential forces in K-12 classrooms across the United States are Paulo Freire, the late Brazilian Marxist who believed that schoolteachers have a duty to turn their students into political revolutionaries, and Howard Zinn, the late Marxist historian renowned for his deep contempt for America. Both Freire and Zinn emphasize the idea that racism and “white privilege” pervade American society.
Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Sol Stern concurs: “One by one, the education schools are lining up behind social justice teaching and enforcing it on their students — especially since they expect aspiring teachers to possess the approved liberal ‘dispositions,’ or individual character traits, that will qualify them to teach in the public schools.” Among these is a commitment to “an education centered on social justice” that aims “to transcend the negative effects of the dominant [white] culture.”
The National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME), which is heavily staffed by left-wing university professors affiliated with teacher-training colleges, has conducted national and regional workshops for thousands of K-12 teachers annually since 1991. In recent years, NAME conferences have featured seminars bearing such titles as: “Undoing Whiteness in the Classroom: Critical Educational Approaches for Social Justice Activism”; “Preparing White Middle-Class Preservice Teachers (and Others) to Become Proactive Change Agents Who Teach for Social Justice”; “More Than Men in White Sheets: Helping White Students Understand Systemic Racism”; “The Unbearable Whiteness of Being: Dismantling White Privilege and Supporting Anti-Racist Education in our Classrooms and Schools”; and “Why Aren’t All the White Kids Learning About Privilege and Power?”
“White Privilege” and Public Consciousness
By the time young people complete their formal education, they have been indoctrinated for many years into accepting the twin notions of pervasive white privilege and ubiquitous white racism as articles of faith. Many of
them carry these notions with them into civic life and use them to help shape the way in which people think and talk about the white race in America.
As a result, events which otherwise might have been searched for nuanced meanings are framed by hard-edged ideological assumptions. A case in point is the August 9, 2014 incident in which a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri shot and killed an 18-year-old black male named Michael Brown in an altercation that occurred just minutes after Brown had robbed a local convenience store. Brown’s death set off a massive wave of protests and riots in Ferguson, and eventually grew into a national movement headed by a racist and until-then unknown movement called Black Lives Matter (BLM), which claimed that this tragedy was part of an epidemic of homicidal police brutality against African Americans. The protesters claimed, falsely, that Brown had been shot in the back while fleeing from the officer, and that Brown at one point had raised his hands in the air submissively in an attempt to surrender, but was shot anyway. Thus, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” under BLM’s adroit public-relations effort, became a slogan of the demonstrators who later protested Brown’s death and what it was said to mean about race relations in America.
This narrative was not changed by compelling ballistic, eyewitness, and forensic evidence that eventually showed that Brown in fact had assaulted the officer and had tried to steal his gun just prior to the fatal shooting; the protesters’ outrage over the incident was undiminished. In their eyes, the policeman was not an individual trapped in the lethal ambiguity of a violent moment; he had been transformed into a homicidal messenger of whiteness.
When a grand jury announced on November 24, 2014 that it would not indict the officer who had shot Brown — because of overwhelming evidence indicating that the shooting was done in self-defense — protesters and rioters again took to the streets. In large part because of the ever-widening assault on whiteness, they were able to engage in an orgy of hatred of “white privilege” without even thinking twice and without the media asking how they justified this indulgence.
The attack on whiteness is just the latest and most fashionable manifestation of the left’s progressive racism. As racial attitudes have softened in the years since the magisterial 1964 Civil Rights Act, as racial intermarriage has become more commonplace, as what W.E.B. Du Bois and other radicals called “the color line” disappears to the point of nothingness, the left has had to work doubly hard to substantiate its belief that America, appearance to the contrary, is a hell of bigotry and racial violence. That is why it has come up with “whiteness,” and why it works so hard to convince the credulous that racism is not an act committed by an identifiable individual but a “structure,” invisible to its white beneficiaries, which allows them to live lives of power and certainty while trampling, without meaning to do so, the hopes of people of color.
“Whiteness” is the last refuge of scoundrels.
 http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/12/27/2017-was-the-year i-learned-about-my-white-privilege
 http://www.lexingtoninstitute.org/radicalization-of-teacher-education-programs-in-the-united-states/?a=1&c=1136; https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/148280/radicalization-teacher-education-dan-gagliasso; http://www.freire.org/paulo-freire/