Are You A Racist If You Don't Own White Male Privilege?

            I have a confession to make: The moment I hear the words “white male privilege” I tune out. Being told that my views need readjustment on account of my race makes about as much sense as kneeling to ask forgiveness of a person of color for the history of American racism.

            Yet we’re in the midst of a racial paroxysm just now. George Floyd’s death at the hands of a white police officer has sparked outrage across the land. Despite COVID-19 and lockdowns, folks have taken to the streets, some engaging in violence, to protest the deeper structure of American racism, a system that has, for 400 years, kept people of color down. Indeed, some white folks kneel, in bizarre public ceremonies.

            What has become of this country?

            You would think that slavery hadn’t been abolished, as it was in 1865. You’d think Jim Crow was still the law of the land. You’d think that federal and state civil rights legislation wasn’t enacted in the 1960s. Or that affirmative action doesn’t exist. Or that diversity training is not required at institutions large and small.

            We’re told that there is an epidemic of police violence against people of color.

            In the most recent year for which statistics are available, 9 unarmed persons of color were killed in encounters with police; double that number of unarmed whites were killed by officers. Every death at police hands requires review, but that hardly sounds, or feels, like an epidemic.

            The fact is that the state has a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. Police officers are the arm of the state we are most likely to encounter in our day-to-day lives. Whenever the police act violently, it raises profound questions of legitimacy. Did the police officer use excessive force?

            I’ve litigated scores of these cases over the years, and I’ve learned a thing or two about policing. Their world is dangerous, tense, evolving and uncertain. They are not required to read the minds of those with whom they interact. Officers do make mistakes, but, more often than not, their use of force is justified.

            That is not to say that the killing of George Floyd was justified. Based on the videos I have seen it appears not to have been. A full trial and a full record will show the entire context. My hunch is that a jury will conclude the force used was excessive.

            But I will await a trial before making a final judgment. If I’ve learned one thing as a trial lawyer it is that facts are hard to prove, and context is everything. I’ve both sued police officers for use of excessive force, and defended officers against the use of force claims. As a general rule, I now believe that until you’ve ridden with a cop in a patrol car for an evening, you have no idea what they face each and every day on the beat.

            For many Americans, however, police officers are suspect. That’s because we are in the midst of a full-scale crisis of legitimacy in the United States just now. Many people can’t distinguish a police officer from a gang member. I am reminded of St. Augustine’s account of Alexander the Great’s interrogation of a pirate captured on the Mediterranean:

            "How dare you molest the seas?" Alexander said to the pirate. The pirate replied, "How dare you molest the whole world? Because I do it with a small boat, I am called a pirate and a thief. You, with a great navy, molest the world and are called an emperor." 

            I’d like to think we will overcome this crisis, but I have my doubts. Our institutions are fragile, and, increasingly, we behave less like a people united by a common vision of justice and the common good, than like members of separate tribes.

            In the narrative of intersectionality, race, gender and sexuality, difference is everything. We celebrate diversity for diversity’s sake, a bizarre form of pluralism that treats human excellence as secondary.

            Because every good narrative requires a culprit, white males are enlisted. We embody privilege. We must be challenged, re-educated, taught to see the world anew. It’s a tedious form of pandering, really, being told you can’t characterize others while enduring the caricature of others.

            Somehow it all feels like a shakedown.

            Consider the spring we’ve just endured.

            First, a pandemic. During the pandemic, voices rise to claim we’re not just assaulted by a virus, but that the virus lays bare the racial divide in the nation. Racism pervades; a more just order is necessary.

            Then the video of the Floyd homicide, followed quickly by outrage.

            “See, see,” this is proof of America’s original sin. Atone, and quickly.

            From the wings comes the call for reparations. Bob Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, didn’t miss a beat, called for $14 trillion in immediate reparations payments to people of color, as damages for a legacy of slavery and discrimination. No one dared giggle at the suggestion. That would be indelicate.

            Just add that to the stimulus payments, I suppose.

            Johnson’s call for reparations looks like fanciful nonsense to me, but I suppose I’m just blinded by my white privilege.

            The other night, a young lawyer of color offered to counsel me on the errors of my race-based ways. In her eyes, I suspect I am a racist. To me, she is a race-pandering nitwit. I won’t pay a race-based tax. Ever. I don’t owe; you’re not entitled. I’m not going to waste my time listening to explanations of why you think I should give you this, that, or the other thing.

            Thomas Jefferson feared that a just God would one day exact vengeance for slavery. Maybe that day has come. I suspect what Jefferson feared was less a moral judgment from the heavens than terrestrial mayhem. Were the slave masters cruel? Yes, and they sought justification of their cruelty by means fair and foul, claiming an entitlement to their spoils.

            A new group now claims entitlement. Forgive me if I am not listening. I am a die-hard misanthrope, and I believe that if you give someone rope, they just might lynch you, white or black. The rhetoric of white male privilege is a dishonest way of trying to persuade me to give you something on account of your status. It’s a discussion that leads to nowhere I care to go. Indeed, I won't go there. Ever.

            Beware the self-righteous mob, I say. White or black.


Comments: (13)

  • White male racism
    Reeducation Camp for you in the new world.
    Posted on June 17, 2020 at 11:12 pm by David A. Santacroce Sr
  • I am a racist
    When I get accused of being a racist, I just agree with them. All ethnics tend to inherit different skills and different attitudes. It stands to reason that some skills and attitudes would be better or worse than other skills and attitudes. If you want a really smart guy to run your software company, you might decide to interview lots of Asian's. If you want someone to manage your fire department, or provide security in a black neighborhood, you would interview lots of African Americans. This is of course "prejudging". So what? I'm also prejudice.
    Posted on June 9, 2020 at 12:14 am by Craig Simmons
  • Floyd was not murdered or killed.
    Keith Ellison, the black muslim supremacist in charge of persecuting the White/Arab/Latino/Asian police is refusing to release the bodycams of the aforementioned police. That's because the career criminal 6'4", 250lb Floyd was violently resisting arrest. Does ANY ONE remember that the police were summoned to the food store because Floyd was trying to pass counterfeit bills, and was getting nasty because the clerks were refusing to accept the fake bills? Floyd destroyed his coronary system with years of cocaine abuse, and was high on fentanyl at the time his system crapped out. I am no fan of police - but the cops involved in this disgusting episode are the GENUINE victims. Floyd killed Floyd, and his STUPID death has essentially finished off America.
    NONE of this will matter to the professional race hustlers, and the thousands and thousands of submoronic blacks that rioted and looted and burned and looted and defaced and looted and looted and looted. This is all an excuse to DESTROY Whites. You think it can't happen? Let's talk about the fate of Haiti and South Africa and Rhodesia and countless cities in what's left of America.
    Blacks are THE MOST PRIVILEGED demographic in America. They are literally GIVEN everything they could ever want, and more. The more worthless, inept, and destructive they are - the higher they climb. The more they are given the WORSE THEY ARE.I cannot comprehend why ANY White wants anything to do with them. Whites don't need them for ANYTHING. EVERYTHING that's wrong with blacks are their own fault - and the absolute fault of deranged, depraved, EVIL White loonies that enable their vile Dark Pets.
    Segregation is the BEST and ONLY solution. This will happen one way or another. Whites - are you going to sacrifice everything you have for creatures that HATE you, destroy EVERYTHING your Race creates, and wants you DEAD? Tell me WHY.
    Posted on June 8, 2020 at 8:52 pm by Denise
  • Legal pushback
    I’ve been saying for 10 years we need the white version of the ADL. News outlet pushes anti-white propaganda? Massive lawsuit. Any favoritism by a business or government against whites? Massive lawsuit. Dumbass professor at a university calls for the end of white people? Massive lawsuit against the university, whomever published the article, and, of course, the professor. We just need a few brave lawyers to step forward, lawyers like the ones who took on the Nick Sandmann case. There’s a lot of potential cases and just the lucrative potential could be enough early on.
    Posted on June 8, 2020 at 8:49 pm by Rhapsody The Blue
  • are u a racist if u don't own white male privilege
    Anyone who weaponizes race is a racist. BLM is a perfect example. U can not get more racist than this. Worse, this past week destroyed Black reputation. We watched chaos and lawlessness, murder and puppy torture and strangulation. It proved one thing: Blacks hate Whites. That is the core racism.
    No matter what a White person does, he is always White, and always hated for it. You may ask why, but the truth will never be told in public.
    But, what worries me the most is this: Slavery exists today. Today, human trafficking goes on all around the world. The victims are women, and children. Are people protesting the sexual abuse, ritual abuse and torture of these innocent victims of human trafficking? No one even mentions this fact.
    Posted on June 8, 2020 at 8:25 pm by katz
  • White privelege
    Superiority based on bloodlines is the reason the great exodus from Europe occurred. Bowing to others and lying prostrate at the feet of others based solely on bloodlines is cultist and far below the dignity of free and independant Americans. Equality and justice for all is our motto. FIGHT subjection to this cultural fad of self loathing. The air smells of entitlement to ancient debts which are history and share no commonality to living men.
    Posted on June 8, 2020 at 7:51 pm by Todd Bauman
  • Are you racist (reply)
    Are you racist if you're not totally cucked into abject, groveling submission, by Antifa and Sunrise Movement's "cultural marxism"? No, you're just not cucked that's all.
    Posted on June 8, 2020 at 7:27 pm by Jay
  • White Male Privilege myth
    In reality there is no white male privilege, but there is female and minority privilege in the USA.
    How, you ask? Affirmative Action and other race/gender favoring programs, laws and regulations.
    Ironically, all laws that favor anyone for any reason are unconstitutional according to the very Amendment that made freed slaves equal citizens.
    The 14th Amendment is very clear that all Americans have a right to EQUAL PROTECTION under the law.
    That has not existed since Affirmative Action and every other minority/female programs were first created.
    Posted on June 8, 2020 at 6:00 pm by James
  • Racial Slurs
    Just ignoring such nonsense (and it is nonsense) doens't go far enough. We can't just ignore this growing wave of racist sentiment, we need to turn it back and ignoring it just allows it to grow. References to "white privilege" are racial slurs. They are every bit as much racial slurs as the ones universally recognized as rude at best and evil-minded at worst. Are references to "lazy Mexicans" socially acceptable? What about "violent blacks"? Or "greedy Jews"? Nope. Everybody agrees (rightly) that these are demeaning stereotypes designed to undercut the personal virtues of people of the targeted group. These days not everybody understands that "privileged white" is something of the exact same sort. When I encounter such language, I don't go into hysterics or long explanations I just say something like "I don't accept racist slurs in my presence. Don't use that term again." And you know what? Online they flip out and claim to not understand me and they try to justify the slur somehow. In person I can't think of a time that it has not shut them up.
    Posted on June 8, 2020 at 5:36 pm by Brian Yoder
  • excessive force
    keep in mind that those choke everyone complains about are an alternative to shooting and most cops are not martial arts experts.
    I've been in holds for extended time while the TOQ decided what to do with me as a tactical role player.
    None of it was pretty to watch and the training was pretty shallow-just enough to do it effectively in the course of a many facet STX
    Look up some basic self-defense moves and then try it with a friend-discover how easy it is to hurt someone and how awkward it can be to maneuver someone in a hold until you practice it a lot.
    I don't know what happened. All I do see is a cop with 20 years service being demonized over a an ex-con (violent crime) who was on PCP at the time, and BLM set up to propagandize every incident.
    Big Question: why did Chauvins persist with what he was doing if he thought it was wrong. He must have know he was being taped.
    We've had trainees do ostensibly goofy things until you get their view and analysis of the STX at the AR and discover that the scenario wasn't as straight forward as we thought it was.
    Whatever Chauvins' side of it, it's not up to a mob to pass judgement-it's up to people who know where out of bounds really is and rmember, Chauvins didn't shoot Floyd. That would have been a lot more "force".
    Posted on June 8, 2020 at 4:38 pm by sakovkt
  • Evidence
    How else does a $14t reparations bill get funded?
    Posted on June 8, 2020 at 1:54 pm by HW
  • White male racism
    Save yourself the aggravations,the answer is simply "NO"...end of disscusion
    Posted on June 4, 2020 at 7:35 pm by Pete
  • evidence
    As an attorney, I'm sure you understand the value of evidence to support your claims. Can you please point out to me where that "nitwit" asked for a race-based tax? I'm failing to see where that occurred.
    Posted on June 4, 2020 at 1:47 pm by Jen K.

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