Liberals talk about “white America’s shameful history of…” Conservatives sometimes reply that liberals have a problem with “guilt”. This is one case where I think liberals are using words more correctly. In common usage, guilt is something you feel about what you did, and shame is something you feel about what you are. For example, I may feel guilty for abandoning my friend in his hour of peril, but I feel ashamed of my cowardice. Many have questioned whether it is really possible for whites to feel guilty over things like slavery and segregation that they personally had no part in. Indeed, it is not. However, anything that forms a significant part of one’s identity can be a fit cause for pride or shame. If we can identify with our ancestors, we can feel ashamed of them.
However, this is an impious and wicked attitude.
But are there not particular acts for which the liberals hold whites to be an accursed race? Certainly we are to be ashamed, but is that not because we are guilty of specific things? No: most races have practiced slavery at one time or another, and all peoples have segregated themselves (this being necessary to develop as a distinct people), but no other race is held to be perpetually guilty the way we are. Our sins are held to touch our essence in a way that does not hold for other peoples. Oppression and bigotry are not regarded as a deformation of our race, not even a deformation to which we are particularly prone, but the core principles of our cultures. They don’t say that the white race engages in a conspiracy to oppress other races; they say the white race is a conspiracy to oppress other races. Thus it is that acts to which we would attribute minor moral importance if committed by other races (e.g. having a perception of beauty that favors our own women, having a history that largely centers around men of our own race, “white flight”: having a tendency to flee neighborhoods to protect our children from the violence of other races who are taught to hate us) are in whites seen as manifestations of the essential wickedness of our race. The importance of the act is entirely in what it reveals.
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