Election Denialism and "White Supremacism"

The other day I raised what I consider to be the dishonest rhetoric involving white supremacism. If you're white and you disagree with a person of color, some other emergent and privileged identity, or the progressive agenda embracing diversity for diversity's sake, you are immediately smeared as a "white supremacist." 

Why is it a dishonest move?

I'm a white male. I don't support reparations for African Americans, and the entire identitarian enterprise strikes me as suspect. That's not because I think white men have all the answers; I don't think anyone has them. A group claiming a position of privilege commits the sin of pride.

I am a misanthrope plain and simple. I mistrust everyone, including myself. All have sinned, Saint Paul once wrote. Amen, I say. We are all sinners in need of grace.

I've struggled with the smear of supremacism. Giving those who resort to this rhetorical move the benefit of the doubt, it is the case skin color and gender matter in our society. I do enjoy, or at least have enjoyed, certain benefits attendant to my accidents of birth.

Does this make me an unconscious possessor of supremacist attitudes? Does our social structure create expectations in me that can look supremacist to those who don't my traits?

I am open to that possibility.

But still the expression "white supremacist" is too fraught. I am groping for an answer, a better way of expressing difference.

Why did so many people fixate on whether Barack Obama was born in the United States? The constitution requires a president to be a natural born citizen. Folks wanted him to be ineligible for office. Why? I suspect because he was black. Attacking his citizenship was an indirect way of saying they could not accept the results of the election electing him. (I doubt many of the same person who raised this claim about Obama would object were Elon Musk, himself not a native American, to run.)

Now comes a new form of denialism.

Daily it becomes just how apparent social media was in manipulating the electoral in 2020. There are still millions of American who believe the election in 2020 was a fraud. Election denialism is becoming the new way of not accepting the results of an election.

Just beneath the surface of electoral results are the changing demographics of American politics. Caucasians will soon become a minority in this country. The identitarians have succeeded in their objective to make "whiteness" problematic. Folks who never gave a though to their own identity must now give account of it, for good or ill.

Election denialists care less about the results of an election than the new world they are coming to inhabit.

I suspect many folks, I among them, engage in a species of white rejectionism. You want to make my identity a problem for me? I reject the claim, and contend that my identity may be a problem for you, but I won't let you impose your agenda on me. I shut down and walk away when identitarians chatter. I suspect that looks like supremacism -- " the nerve of you to assert your privilege of taking your identity for granted; I demand recognition,!" the critics say.

I read a tweet from Donald Trump this morning calling for a redo of the 2020 election as it becomes apparent how much of a roll big tech played in censoring information to advance Joe Biden's chances. The notion is sheer madness. Trump looks like an aging Confederate general whining about the Civil War.

There appear to be a growing number of Americans who are prepared to reject elections and much else about the current social compact rather than engage in an identitarian scrum. The idle chatter about civil war and social discord is less prophecy than wish. 

I'm not sure how much weight I place on these intuitions. Like you, I struggle to make sense of the world. I share this to see what you think.

Comments: (1)

  • white supremacist musings
    I am addressing your comment that "I won't let you impose your agenda on me. I shut down and walk away." In teaching for a number of years, and in helping non-white students deal with social barriers to advancing (school applications, job applications, financial applications), it occurs to me that this is exactly the context in which your own blindspots are most evident. When I call you a white supremacist, I am not engaging in rhetorical hyperbole. In fact, I am trying to rescue the term "white supremacy" from ideologues on the right -- and I would include you in that broad category -- who have loaded the term with some version of nominative fallacy that derives from a hyper-attention to "wokeness." Or, it occurs to me, a desperate fear thereof. I do not say you are a white supremacist to insult you, nor to trigger you. I merely aim to factually describe your attitude. Black and brown people do not have the choice that you yourself celebrate. They cannot "walk away" from being dismissed as inferior. They've nowhere to walk to. They cannot elect to reject your agenda; rejecting your agenda means losing any practicable agenda (and here I imply "a strategy or course of action reinforced and justified by the force of law"). You? You can flout the law -- e.g., release records that you know you are prohibited to release -- and will suffer little deprivation for doing so. You have several properties to choose among for your 6 month respite, and need only decide in what pastoral setting to write your AJ Memoirs or whatever you eventually choose to call the profit-making venture you''ll enjoy from all of this. That is privilege. And your not seeing it as privilege is a privilege.
    Posted on January 7, 2023 at 7:52 am by Chandler Lewis

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