The weird war on whiteness

The spiked team discusses white fragility, social-media censorship and Boris’s New Deal.

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Topics Politics

Why is ‘whiteness’ being pathologised? What does the Facebook advertising boycott mean for free speech? Will Boris’s ‘New Deal’ rescue the economy? Tom Slater, Ella Whelan and Fraser Myers discuss all this and more on this week’s episode of the spiked podcast.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Comments

John D Henry

5th July 2020 at 10:32 pm

SPAM

John D Henry

5th July 2020 at 10:13 pm

SCAM ALERT – This comment apparently pinched from Steve Moxon, leads off-page to a ‘money making’ SCAM.

Jim Denham

5th July 2020 at 7:19 pm

Hey, “Team”: when can we expect your brave and outspoken anti-“woke” defence of david Starkey, eh?

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

5th July 2020 at 7:35 pm

Starkey is a very good historian but also an utter fool.

Arthur Daley

5th July 2020 at 12:47 pm

I’m a honky and if anyone doesn’t like that, **** ’em.

Mor Vir

5th July 2020 at 10:21 am

Yet another poll has shown clear and growing majority support for Scottish independence. A series of polls this year has shown the same. Polls suggest that two-thirds of Scots want another independence referendum within the next five years, and that two-thirds support a Plan B to independence if Westminster refuses a ‘section 30’ to agree to a referendum.

SNP is headed for a clear majority in the 2021 Holyrood elections on a platform for an independence referendum. Scottish independence is increasingly looking inevitable within the next five years. It follows a poll last week that showed that half of TP voters in England support English independence.

> Support for Scottish independence surges in new poll as SNP look set for landslide victory at Holyrood elections

Support for Scottish independence has surged, according to a new poll.

A new poll by Panelbase for the Sunday Times has concluded 54% of Scots are now backing independence.

Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are heading for a landslide victory at the 2021 Holyrood elections, with the poll recording ‘record’ support for the party – the highest number Panelbase has concluded for the Sunday Times so far.

The ‘yes’ camp has seen a rise in popularity, with a 55%-45% vote against leaving the UK back in 2014 turning into a 54%-46% lead for nationalists today.

READ MORE: YouGov Poll: Half of Conservative voters in England support English independence

It represents a five-point leap in backing for independence, with a five-point fall in support for the union since the paper’s last poll in March.

In the constituency vote, the SNP is on 55%, representing a four-point jump since March. The Conservatives are on 20% (-6), and Labour 15% (+1).

Polling expert and politics professor John Curtice predicts that this will lead to an SNP victory of 74 of Holyrood’s 129 seats.

This would be 11 more than they achieved in the 2016 election.

– The Herald, Scotland, today

Gordon Te Gopher

5th July 2020 at 7:16 pm

Must be a nightmare being linked with England and it’s racially diverse population. Scotland with its 98% white population is much better being linked with the EU who’s parliament of about 750 members has just 3 black MEPs.

And they say the ‘woke’ vote was for remain? If ‘woke’ means fraudulent virtue signalling then yes, I guess it was.

Highland Fleet Lute

5th July 2020 at 8:18 am

CJ Hawes

4th July 2020 at 2:15 pm

Just play the same game. Identify as BAME et voila – problem solved. I suspect it might be problematic though as it would involve white people taking the p*ss – again.

Jack Sprat

4th July 2020 at 3:44 pm

Yup anyone with any sense seriously wanting a job will put “ black” or at the very least “mixed” on the ethnic box cos you can’t lose. If you don’t get an interview accuse them of racism & demand reasons pending taking them to race tribunal. If you do get an interview and are asked about you don’t look black enough and don’t get the job , submit. Threat of legal action for racism. Race like gender is now a social construct…I think therefore I am.

In Negative

4th July 2020 at 12:06 pm

It is not simply that there is no possibility of goodness for white people. The amplified dichotomies between the right thinking penitent and the wrong thinking heretic themselves break the relationship between black and white individuals/communities.

That one person is black with a specific history and another is white with their specific history necessarily creates a relationship of otherness. This otherness is inevitably fraught and is always going to require us to negotiate positive and negative symbolic forces.

The “micro-aggression” is the name given to the negative side of this force relation (those aspects of white culture which cause black people unique forms of race-based anxiety or discomfort). But then, in this context, what is the problematisation of whiteness if not the reversal of these micro-aggressions into a new form of micro-aggression (or even an open aggression?)

At the same time as being white is a silent violence, so too is the identification of this silent violence as a micro-aggression. This game of naming – this extraction of moral concepts from the symbolic relations between the r aces is itself a brutal system of division from which there is no escape. It destroys the harmony of r ace relations (which are necessarily fraught and clumsy) by moralising, in absolute terms, the fraught aspects of that relationship.

Diangelo’s book gives away this game – the text is entirely reversible. The analysis of anger/guilt/fear/whatever that occurs in whites when confronted with black power have already occurred in her in order for her to have written that book. The book comes out of her own abreaction to symbolic white power and in presenting a new order of signs, she makes a challenge and demands a response from the contested order. Such is the nature of the game of signs and powers.

Tim Wheeler

4th July 2020 at 11:10 am

I’m white. If someone dislikes me for the colour of my skin, then I’m probably gonna dislike them back (but NOT for the colour of their skin.) Racial thinking can ONLY be destructive.

nick hunt

4th July 2020 at 12:09 pm

Which is why Trump says “when you open your heart to patriotism, there’s no room for prejudice”, and “we all bleed the same blood of patriots”. At Mt Rushmore last night, he further diagnosed leftist hate as “cancel culture, driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees. This is the very definition of totalitarianism, and it is completely alien to our culture and to our values. It has absolutely no place in the United States of America.

Jack Sprat

4th July 2020 at 3:47 pm

Looked in the mirror and saw a pinky grey face instead of a white one . should I buy some whitener so as to look like the real thing or demand equal treatment for pinky greys ?

Ven Oods

4th July 2020 at 6:35 pm

Pinky-grey Lives Matter?

Mor Vir

4th July 2020 at 10:40 am

It is tempting to interpret the angst surrounding the supposedly problematic nature of ‘whiteness’ as a reflection of the ongoing development of the material base. Workers are a part of the material base and race, as an aspect of workers, is too, however historically located may be the ‘meaning’ associated.

‘We regard economic conditions as the factor which ultimately determines historical development. But race is itself an economic factor.’ Engels to Borgius

Thus in imperialist times, the advanced capitalist societies were white and the subject, exploited societies were non-white. That was an aspect of the material base, and racial ideology was developed in that context to justify that hegemony.

In the post-imperialist period, when the old imperialist societies have lost their colonies with their labour pools, markets and resources, they have turned to an inverse colonialism to expand the domestic workforce and to maintain the expansion of capital.

Thus the metropoles are becoming increasingly non-white and the destination over decades is non-white societies. So the post-imperialist societies are nurturing ideological narratives in which ‘whiteness’ does not matter and people of colour ‘matter’, to facilitate the development of the economic base. ‘Anti-r acist’ narratives are an ideological reflection and justification of the material trajectory, as was r acism of the status quo ante.

It is a deconstruction and reversal of the old r acial imperialist ideology to facilitate the post-imperialist material (and thus r acial) transformation of capitalist societies.

Btw. BLM is not essentially ‘Marxist’. I would argue that Marxism properly does not construct ideologies, rather it interprets ideological phenomena in historically specific terms that are empirically verifiable. Some ‘anti-r acists’ may think that they are motivated by Marxism but in fact their ideological tendencies are thoroughly bourgeois and are reflective of the material and ideological development of bourgeois society.

(It is notable that many socialists were into e ugenics and r acism during the imperialist period, again in line with bourgeois ideological tendencies that were reflective of the material base.)

It may be that some ‘Marxists’ are extrapolating the future socialist society from the present outworking of capitalism, which is a simplistic approach to ‘crystal ball’ territory. Socialism is a radically different material base and it cannot simply be assumed that bourgeois material and ideological tendencies will replicate or continue within socialism.

Bourgeois ideological development reflects material developmental needs within capitalist societies and it cannot be assumed that socialist societies will have the same material developmental needs, that are expressed in the same way, as in capitalist societies.

Capitalist material development remains centred on the old metropoles, at least for them, which is why workers are brought in, but socialist development would possibly not be centred in the same way. Moreover local development would not depend on the accumulation of capital and the constant need to maintain profits; local development may become more focused on productivity growth, the implementation of new technology, rather than on overall GDP growth, and an increase utilisation of labour, to maintain the profit-based capitalist system.

So, it cannot be assumed that capitalist material and ideological trajectories would continue within socialism, which would be a different economic society with different economic mechanisms and needs.

nick hunt

4th July 2020 at 12:18 pm

Capitalism and socialism cannot be seen as equivalents or as substitutable with each other. Capitalism is an economic system that pre-exists socialism. It belongs to everyone. Socialism is a political system which can only appear and survive after capitalism develops, as parasititical upon it. It belongs primarily to an elite class who wish to rule the rest. Socialists must always seek to control the means of production, meaning free people. It is poison to our freedom, our normal life and to economic production

Mor Vir

4th July 2020 at 1:02 pm

Feudalism pre-exited capitalism. Different economic systems have developed and been introduced as the material base has developed with new technologies and their proliferation: palaeolithic hunter-gathering, neolithic agriculture, bronze age pastoralism and metal work, ancient slavery, medieval feudalism, modern capitalism.

Each epoch of material developments supports different economic and political structures, and the ongoing material development within the epoch develops the material conditions that allow for the transition to the following epoch and for the emergence of the new economic and political system.

So capitalism was made historically possible through feudal material development, and it is characterised by the dominance of the wage system of wage labourers, as opposed to the thousand year land plot system of serfs who toiled the land of the lord and gave him half the produce; or the millennial slave system which was neither wage nor bound to a plot.

Each economic system is materially and historically located and is it characterised by property relations and by political dominance. Workers remain economically subject in general, and they recently got the vote but capitalist states exist primarily to represent the interests of capital and bourgeois democracy is largely a farce in which the masses are deprived of genuine political agency.

Socialism does indeed come after capitalism and it is characterised by a common ownership of the means of production and by a common political control by the masses. Socialism does not exist until capitalism has run its course; USSR and China were/ are state capitalist economies and societies (eg. Lenin’s New Economic Plan, 1921, post-Mao ‘opening’ of the Chinese economy to international capital).

‘Socialist’ revolutions were intended to initiate and to oversee capitalist development in backward countries in lieu of a strong emergent bourgeoisie to do so, in Russia, China, and with national liberation movements. Marxists do not consider the material conditions of socialism to exist before capitalist development has run its course, and hitherto they have simply bumped societies out of feudalism and into capitalism, so that the process of development can continue.

(Trotskyites tend to be a bit different, and they reject a ‘stagist’ approach to historical, economic development; they want to go straight into socialism without a full and prior capitalist development. But they have never attempted, let alone won a revolution, so they are not so relevant to mainstream Marxism.)

So, you cannot judge ‘socialism’ by any of those societies, as they were not intended to be socialist societies; rather Marxism-Leninism is an attempt to develop the material conditions that will eventually make socialism possible, but normal capitalism also does that job. Socialism will be a system of common ownership and common political control, but only once capitalist development has run its course.

It is arguable that capitalist development has now run its course, with productivity growth in ‘mature’ economies converging toward zero since the 1970s, and now having hit near zero for the last ten years. Ideologically though, capitalist societies are neither prepared nor disposed to transition to socialism, so that is going to take some time, maybe even a collapse of capitalism before that happens. We will just have to wait and see what happens, no crystal balls.

Mor Vir

4th July 2020 at 1:08 pm

* Feudalism pre-exiSSSted capitalism.

lol, right in the first line.

I suppose that it ‘pre-exited’ capitalism. : )

In Negative

4th July 2020 at 10:40 am

It is not simply that there is no possibility of goodness for white people. The amplified dichotomies between the right thinking penitent and the wrong thinking heretic themselves break the relationship between black and white individuals/communities.

That one person is black with a specific history and another is white with their specific history necessarily creates a relationship of otherness. This otherness is inevitably fraught and is always going to require us to negotiate positive and negative symbolic forces.

The “micro-aggression” is the name given to the negative side of this force relation (those aspects of white culture which cause black people unique forms of race-based anxiety or discomfort). But then, in this context, what is the problematisation of whiteness if not the reversal of these micro-aggressions into a new form of micro-aggression (or even an open aggression?)

At the same time as being white is a silent violence, so too is the identification of this silent violence as a micro-aggression. This game of naming – this extraction of moral concepts from the symbolic relations between the races is itself a brutal system of division from which there is no escape. It destroys the harmony of race relations (which are necessarily fraught and clumsy) by moralising, in absolute terms, the fraught aspects of that relationship.

Diangelo’s book gives away this game – the text is entirely reversible. The analysis of anger/guilt/fear/whatever that occurs in whites when confronted with black power have already occurred in her in order for her to have written that book. The book comes out of her own abreaction to symbolic white power and in presenting a new order of signs, she makes a challenge and demands a response from the contested order. Such is the nature of the game of signs and powers.

Mor Vir

4th July 2020 at 9:07 am

I have recently argued against the slogan that ‘lives matter’, which was quite daring of me in the circumstances. Well, a recent survey suggests that the vast majority of contemporary Americans agree with me, that human life has no intrinsic, inherent or ‘absolute’ value; rather any value is relative, contingent, a matter of personal opinion.

The opinion that lives matter, that they are ‘sacred’ or have some ‘absolute’ value is most popular among Bible and Evangelical Christians, which confirms that the BLM slogan is a quasi-religious posture that is most characteristic of fanatical proselytisers, the more zealous and extreme among the religious.

Of course, a majority opinion proves nothing and I have invited debate on the matter. Western philosophy does not seem to have a tradition of direct discussion of whether lives ‘matter’; the closest is discussions of ‘meaning, purpose and value’; ‘value’ is likely pretty close but not identical – a thing may have value without it mattering, eg. the contents of the rubbish tips. But if it has no value, then it is hard to see how it ‘matters’.

> Survey: Majority of Americans No Longer See Human Life as ‘Sacred,’ Yet See Humanity as ‘Basically Good’
June 23, 2020

Colin Broughton

4th July 2020 at 10:04 am

If everything including morality is a matter of opinion, society has no future. How can one successfully interact with others if one has no idea what their ethics are, if any?

The idea that society can survive without agreed morality can survive because people are ‘basically good’ is a hopeless piece of unfounded optimism, typical of liberalism.

Liberals fail to notice that they are trading on the legacy of the very Christianity which has moulded the conscience of the West for 2000 years and which they have rejected. That Christianity however recognises that humans are capable of wickedness and are tempted to indulge it.

A typical scenario when liberalism rejects absolute standards is an incremental slide down a slippery slope. We can see that with what is happening now with the rejection of individuals having intrinsic worth. From abortion on demand up to and beyond birth and the drive for euthanasia, the slope leads to National Socialist style elimination ie murder of those whose ‘quality of life’ is judged to be poor, whether they want it or not.

That means the elderly In mental decline, the mentally retarded and the desperately handicapped and dependant. There is no reason to stop there however. The road is wide open to an expansion of the death- net.

Liberalism destroys civilisations and ours is no exception.

George Orwell

3rd July 2020 at 10:20 pm

It is resentment against the success of white civilisation.
Some (a small number) of mouthy BAME failures know that they cannot cut it in our competitive society and tell themselves that their failure is all down to whitey despite decades of tolerance and support from most white people.
In addition, we have leftist fanatics who see the tide going out for their political ambitions, potentially forever. and they are hijacking every perceived, supposed flaw in western society in order to create division so that they can gain ground again.
To defeat both groups we need only stand our ground and announce the truth loudly and often.
Western civilisation is the best there ever has been, BAME peoples have more shameful slaving histories than do the British and Marxist theory is a dead duck having killed more innocents during the 20th century than any other cause apart from illness and age.

Dodgy Geezer

4th July 2020 at 11:52 am

Your hypothesis agrees with this article in UnHerd…

https://unherd.com/2020/06/why-dont-black-lives-matter/

KATHLEEN CARR

3rd July 2020 at 7:26 pm

Western society has alienated its white working class and instead favoured people from other countries. The more people from other countries ( which includes people born here but whose heritage is elsewhere ) tell the middle-classes how rubbish and racist they are , the happier they seem-perhaps it is all the drugs they take?

Michel Houllebeq

3rd July 2020 at 5:52 pm

What exactly is wrong with being proud of being white? Christ, I thought you were supposed to be the non politically correct people?

Gordon Te Gopher

4th July 2020 at 12:22 am

Because you’re no more responsible for developing the theory of relativity than you are for slavery. Your successes and failures have nothing to do with the colour of your skin and the successes and failures of other white people have nothing to do with you.

Apart from your kids, maybe.

a watson

4th July 2020 at 8:56 am

You can’t be patriotic or proud if you are a white working class male, That frightens the Labour Party etc.. If you do express an opinion as such be careful

Dominic Straiton

3rd July 2020 at 4:33 pm

As Douglas Murray has pointed out “systemic racism” bullshit combined with ” white fragility” bullshit is a trap with no escape. My solution is simple. I dont give a crap wether I am racist or not racist. It makes no difference to me either way. I win.

PAUL ROGERS

3rd July 2020 at 6:02 pm

I applaud the sentiment. Sadly, I am about to go through corporate whiteshaming training at work.
I am only a quarter English. I should adopt my middle name, Tolga, and demand why I, of Turkish descent, am being marginalised.

But I will only cause trouble for myself and my staff. So I won’t.
My best course of action is to duck the training. As Douglas points out, only those without bosses can be really brave.

Linda Payne

4th July 2020 at 10:43 am

T

TBH I’m beginning to feel the same way

James Knight

3rd July 2020 at 3:39 pm

“White fragility” looks like a classic case of psychological projection. Snowflakes projecting their own feeble-mindedness and lack of confidence in their own identity on to others. People who think their identity is threatened by a statue or speech and that is “denying my existence”.

The “war on whiteness” is a trojan horse for white supremacism. The idea is that through endless passive aggression and race baiting it will raise the “racial consciousness” of white people.

steve moxon

3rd July 2020 at 3:58 pm

It’s the same bollocks as “fragile masculinity”: ‘projection’, as you say.
What’s “fragile” is the Left political philosophy, and especially the Left backlash against ‘white’ male heterosexuals in retrospectively stereotyping ‘the workers’ of old, whom the Left blame for ‘letting the side down’ in not buying their nonsense and acting according to Marxist prescription & prediction.

PAUL ROGERS

3rd July 2020 at 4:17 pm

Indeed. Being a bad loser when you lose (repeatedly) in the ballot box is standard operating practice for the Left now. And activism as a career path is a social dead end. Once you’re in, you’re stuck.

The idea that we have indoctrinated malcontents is hardly new.
What is different now is that they actually survive daily life because we look after them.

This will keep coming back for as long as we allow the great university Ponzi scheme to run.

steve moxon

3rd July 2020 at 5:01 pm

Hi Paul. Well, all Ponzi schemes collapse, and Leftardism isn’t going to be an exception.
The game so far has been everyone giving in and paying lip service to the nonsense as seemingly a small cost for a quiet life and a benefit at least in the flipside sense of not losing your job, etc; but now everyone is waking up to the fact that the nonsense is exponential and there is no quiet life to be had, and not even a flipside benefit that cam be relied on to endure. The costs are going up and the benefit evaporating. Soon there will be proper opposition, and this will go exponential to match. And then all will have ears for the exposure of the nonsense for what it is: actually the obverse of all what it claims to be — not consideration for minorities but hatred towards the majority.

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