I’m regularly dumbfounded to learn of my “privileged” status. According to those versed in nonsense, all that matters is one’s “whiteness.”
Such hokum requires suspension of fact. In Britain, white working-class boys like myself are among the least likely to go to college. We are, of all flocks, most likely to remain rooted firmly in the class to which we were born, yet our tendency to resemble a hot dog during summer is proof of our inherent “privilege.”
According to sociologists, statistically speaking I should be in jail. The one-way train to her majesty’s pleasure stops at stations including Single Mother, Expelled from High School, Absent Father, before alighting, often repeatedly, at Jail. Professors of that slippery science say I should at minimum have “ACAB” singed across my scarified knuckles, and a string of baby mamas named Chardonnay draining my welfare check to sustain my feral skulk of street urchins.
The Black Lives Matter moment last summer mainstreamed a peculiar lexicon. Incessantly, we hear of “whiteness” and “systemic racism” and “implicit bias.” Hispanics who voted for Donald Trump are now champions of “multiracial whiteness.” Asian Americans (the most successful racial group) owe their success not to education and industry, but to miming whiteness. In Britain, gardening and flowers have “racism baked into their DNA.” According to the New York Times, racial justice is a supernatural force nourished through ritual sacrifice and bizarre confessions of “whiteness.”
Of course, this is all patent nonsense. Genuine racism today is about as socially acceptable as defecating, mid-course, on a restaurant table.
Yet, the demand for racism to blame for a whole host of pathologies outstrips the supply, saturating a ferocious market with counterfeits and exaggerations. The antiracism industry, worth billions of millions of dollars, repurposes anything and everything as evidence of its raison d’être.
Charlatans like Ibram X. Kendi, and Robin DiAngelo flimflam millions of their hairshirt followers with their sententious books. To Kendi, the denial of racism is the ultimate proof of racism. Like Salem, if she drowns or if she floats, she’s a witch.
So, it’s little surprise the fervid reject findings not befitting of their fanaticism.
This week, the landmark Sewell Report into British racial relations found racism in modern Britain of little consequence.
“Put simply,” it reads, “we no longer see a Britain where the system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities.”
Good news, then? Yes—unless your lifeblood depends upon unearthing implicit bias in a bowl of olives. Or if you desire peacocking your luxury beliefs before Oprah.
Inconveniently for those convinced with religious passion of Britain’s “systemic racism,” the report found one’s class and family background affect one’s life much more than one’s skin color.
Those with strong families and a culture of education do better than those without. British Africans outshine their British Caribbean classmates. British Indians outperform British Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. Bouncing along the bottom are white working-class boys and their Caribbean classmates—the majority of whom in both categories come from broken homes.
With confidence, the report states: “The evidence shows that geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture and religion have more significant impact on life chances than the existence of racism.”
So stark are the outcomes within groups, that the report suggests abolishing the Twitterized label “BAME,” or black and minority ethnic. That simplistic term hides the success of British Indians (the most successful) and British Africans, lumping them under one banner with less successful British Bangladeshis and British Caribbeans (one of the worst performers).
Also rubbished is “unhelpful” unconscious bias training which diagnoses asymptomatic cases of racism wherever it is paid handsomely to detect them.
Controversially, the report says though Britain is not yet a post-racial society, the strides made over the past 50 years offer a model to other majority-white countries.
The fallout has been nuclear. The report’s chairman, Dr. Tony Sewell, stands accused of “downplaying slavery,” of being an “Uncle Tom,” and a “coconut.” His fellow commissioners (10 or 11 of whom are ethnic minorities) are accused of “cultural deafness.”
It’s almost unspoken, but white working-class boys are the most deprived of all. Just 13 percent of those boys entitled to free school meals (a wretched label of poverty) get past high school, yet 27 percent of poor British Caribbean boys make it to college. Forty-two percent of Pakistanis, and 51 percent of British Africans also make it, and two-thirds of Chinese boys—all on free school meals—make it, too. Just two percent of white working-class kids get into the most prestigious colleges. So much for white privilege.
As I write, The Guardian is cheese-melting. Its opinion pages seethe in denial. To the fanatic, no evidence is necessary. To the skeptic, no evidence is enough.
You would think the race-obsessives would welcome 264 pages of well-founded analysis underlining the minority progress across all aspects of British life. Take a look at the great offices of state: Rishi Sunak is chancellor, and Priti Patel is home secretary. The racial pay gap? Down to an irrelevance. The next prime minister? Sensible money says he’s British Indian.
Of course, those committed to the fiction that Britain and America are irredeemably racist countries identical to those of the 1950s rejected the report before its release.
Progressives want progress only when progress progresses their power. Broken homes are progress. Half of all adults in therapy is progress. Riven obesity, depression—slow suicide—is progress.
A society in which one’s character trumps one’s skin color? Not progress. White saviors need someone to save.
They’ve no interest in what they claim to want most. A post-racial society gives them nothing to do. Worse, it would prove (as the disparities within racial groups suggest) that culture determines achievement—a repellant notion to the victimologists on the au courant Left.
Most troubling to the woke flock is nuance. Successful Nigerian Americans somehow bypass white supremacy, earning a bigger slice of the American dream than “privileged” whites. Nuance doesn’t play well on Twitter or within the hypertensive media.
Nigerian Americans and Ghanaian Americans (among others) are atop the ladder, yet the false narrative of a black person in America is condemned to the bottom rung persists.
Despite “white privilege,” several ethnic groups outshine the white majority.
Have white Americans missed the memo? Perhaps, Nigerian Americans and Asian Americans and the high-flying rest have appropriated “white” culture and the benefits of “privilege.” Somehow, white Americans squander their own.
For white privilege to exist, we must exclude Nigerian Americans, eschew Korean Americans, disregard Indian Americans, disinherit Filipino Americans, disavow Taiwanese Americans. We must filch Sri Lankan Americans and Japanese Americans and forget Nigerian Americans and Ghanaian Americans. This is not complicated: “white supremacy” would advantage white people.
That’s a fatal problem for the Left. If some minorities can do as well or better than the “privileged” white majority, the notion of white supremacy drowns beneath the waves of reality.
Is racism so sophisticated it places Nigerian Americans and British Africans on jet skis, yet holds African Americans and British Caribbeans below water?
The rational among us accept that reality is more nuanced, detailed, and complicated than a melanin litmus test, or anything one can shoehorn into 280 characters.
Sadly, the race-obsessed woke moment is anything but rational. Gladly, such moments always eat themselves.