On Wednesday, March 8 the same group of grievance grifters who brought us the infamous Pussyhat/Women’s March will be bringing us “A Day Without a Woman”. Even though a number of the leaders have been exposed as radical and even violent leftists that include anti-western, Sharia-supporting Islamists, there’s an attempt to paint this as a mainstream operation. And it is attracting many middle-of-the-road white, suburban women. Why?
Why are so many seemingly rational suburban moms getting involved and buying into the premise of their widespread oppression? Why would they ignore the violence, the law breaking and ugliness of some of this event’s sponsors? Why would they align themselves with such obvious malevolent forces? Why would a self-respecting middle-aged woman, living in a leafy suburb don a hat made to look like a sexual organ and take to the streets with anti-American subversives?
In discussing the exhaustion of modern liberalism, Shelby Steele, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and prolific author asserts a simple explanation in his most recent article published in the Wall Street Journal. White guilt. According to Steele, white guilt is no ordinary guilt:
White guilt is not angst over injustices suffered by others; it is the terror of being stigmatized with America’s old bigotries—racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia. To be stigmatized as a fellow traveler with any of these bigotries is to be utterly stripped of moral authority and made into a pariah. The terror of this, of having “no name in the street” as the Bible puts it, pressures whites to act guiltily even when they feel no actual guilt. White guilt is a mock guilt, a pretense of real guilt, a shallow etiquette of empathy, pity and regret.
All you need do to understand this mainstreaming of white guilt and Leftism is to read a mission statement from any liberal church—from the obviously left-leaning Unitarian-Universalist Church, to many mainline Protestant churches which have been taken over by white guilt and leftist theology, to some of the most recent utterances of Pope Francis. Pick among any of those to discover the angst and fear so many well-off white people feel these days. The schools their children attend (from kindergarten through college) instill the same guilt. Movies, books and entertainment continually bombard them with a narrative of how our culture is replete with the ill-gotten gains of sinful white Americans and how this was, is and always will be an injustice no pound of flesh can repay. And woe be unto you if you do not nod your head in blind agreement and seek, thereby, the indulgences required to assuage your guilty conscience over your incorrect skin tone and privilege. If you don’t knuckle under, you are labeled and isolated—the worst nightmare of far too many liberals these days.
Middle class, well-off women are especially vulnerable to the forces arrayed against them (and their successful white husbands). They embrace this guilt like a fashion and, of course, it has become one. Who needs a designer handbag when you can don a relatively inexpensive pink hat and yell loudly—“I’m not one of THEM! I’m good! I’m moral! Please don’t be angry at ME!” It gives you the kind of street cred that might otherwise take you years of effort and study. It makes you “thoughtful” and “aware.”
The roots of this attitude are understandable. As Steele writes, modern liberalism from the 1950s forward, has been a “moral vaccine that immunized [people] against stigmatization.” For quite a long time America was grappling with the very real sins of her past. But lately, the progress we’ve made is ignored by loud leftists. It’s as if these sins haven’t been addressed at all and we have not made any progress. The cries of racism, sexism, bigotry etc. have not slowed—they have advanced.
Recently—over the last five years or so—there’s been pushback. Many people are tired of the descent into name-calling. If everyone’s a racist, no one is. It’s part of the reason Trump was elected. Many people have just had enough of the senseless insults based on how and where you live and what you look like. Many people are overcoming this guilt and asserting with pride how much progress our country has made and looking to its foundational principles as the reason for these triumphs. Steele’s thesis is that this realization and dismissal of white guilt is the death knell of this brand of liberalism.
Some, however, still feel increasing guilt—and privileged white women are at the center of this stigmatization. Far too many women are still susceptible to the bullying of the left. They do not feel worthy of their good fortune.
Ironically, women have long recognized that a patriarchal culture keeps women down by making them feel guilty for not being good enough to deserve the station they’ve acquired—they are either too fat or too thin, not pretty enough, not sexy enough, not smart enough. What a shame that a supposed woman’s right organization uses this same kind of guilt to intimidate women into the streets for their radical project. The leaders of this movement know their targets. They know these women are part of their last best hope to hang on to their power through intimidation.
We should all hope that the good and decent women in the cross hairs of these Leftists and America haters will soon realize they have nothing about which to feel guilty en masse. The way they live their lives, raise their children and work in their communities is proof enough of their decency, or should be. And then they will realize that they don’t need pink vulva hats to prove it to anyone.