Shelby Steele: ‘White Guilt is Not Real Guilt’

Author and filmmaker Shelby Steele said “white guilt” is not real guilt at all. 

“White guilt is not real guilt at all,” Steele told host Dan Proft on the Counter Culture podcast. “White guilt is the anxiety that whites carry in American life because they know they are being prejudged on the basis of their race as whites.”

“And as whites, they’re automatically reflexively seen as racist,” said Steele. “And so when the race problem comes up, they’re not driven to fix the problem. They’re driven to get that anxiety out of their life.”

“And that’s what white guilt is — it’s a terror, really, that automatic judgment if you’re born white in America, that you’re a racist, and you have to do something, you have to prove to me that you’re not.”

A senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Steele is an author, columnist, and documentary filmmaker who specializes in the study of race relations, multiculturalism, and affirmative action.

Steele’s book, “The Content of Our Character: A New Vision for Race in America,” won the the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction in 1990. In this work, Steele delves into the complexities of race relations in the United States and offers a personal reflection on the challenges and potential solutions.

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  • Proft launched “Counterculture” — co-hosted by American Greatness and Restoration News — in September 2023. He also is the co-host of “Chicago’s Morning Answer” weekday mornings from 5-9 a.m. on AM 560 Chicago. A former Republican candidate for Illinois Governor, Proft attended Northwestern University and received his J.D. from Loyola University-Chicago.

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