No Country for White Men

Image Courtesy:
Mike Segar/ Reuters.
The Daily Beast, April 2016 (http://thebea.st/1VABYIT)
Image Courtesy: Mike Segar/ Reuters. The Daily Beast, April 2016 (http://thebea.st/1VABYIT)

 

The following article was published by the Eagle Times on August 19, 2016.


Diagnosing the epidemic of hatred for straight white men

Hurling the epithet “dead white males,” social justice activists have been demanding that we revise our political and literary history to limit the influence of supposedly racist, sexist, and Eurocentric patriarchs of the past. Denying the dominance of male thinkers, writers, and artists in previous centuries by shunning their contributions does not rewrite human history. It does, however, rob our civilization’s collective knowledge of its most meritorious and enduring works.

Such truths are lost on a deeply political campaign preoccupied with questionable, albeit in vogue, racial and sexual ideologies that are giving voice to ugly impulses of society. The growing trend toward open and unabashed anti-white racism and prejudice against straight masculinity derives from this movement.

In February, Scaachi Koul, senior writer at Buzzfeed Canada, tweeted a call for new writers, specifying that white men need not apply. Expectedly, she received significant backlash. More expectedly, the left-leaning media (Huffington Post, Ryerson Review, and a myriad of blogs) came to her rescue, denouncing the opposition for “harassing Koul.”

Rather than condemning her overt racism, the so-called progressive faction applauded Koul for taking a brave and urgent step to check the privilege of, and induce necessary guilt in North Americans of European heritage.

A cursory glance at Koul’s published writings evidences an obvious disdain for “white people.” Interestingly, as an ethnic member of the Brahmin caste in the northern-most Indian state of Kashmir, Koul possesses light skin and Caucasoid features not unlike many Europeans. She claims to identify with an imagined, global brown community, yet she looks as white as any Italian or Greek woman. Thus, contrary to her claim, she does not construct whiteness based on appearance alone.

Presumably, she sees herself as non-white because of her ties to India, i.e. whiteness then becomes a feature of a shared European ethno-culture. But this understanding is also flawed because European ethnicities and cultures do not constitute a monolith.

In the United States, the WASPs in the Northeast, Scots-Irish of Appalachia, English Southerners, the Irish, the Italians, and Midwest Germans possess diverse immigration histories, cultural traditions, and economic legacies.

Koul’s spurious beliefs mask a dishonest attempt to portray white Americans as a single, historically privileged and oppressive class in order to justify hateful bias against them. Worse, those who hold influential positions in our culture share the same problematic position.

Consequently, these elites promote myths and half-truths to wrongfully single out and indict whites (particularly, rural and right-leaning) and straight men for America’s slavery past, white supremacist groups, and for clinging to guns and religion. Ta-Nehisi Coates, who rose to intellectual fame following his counterfactual magnum opus defending slavery reparations and won the MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant in 2015, serves as a salient example of the above trend.

The proliferation of anti-white racism and misandry are indeed symptoms of a larger social ailment, i.e. fashionable society’s en masse repudiation of the religion, mores, and art of Western civilization in general, and the quintessential American spirit of optimism, purpose and independence in particular. In its place, it has embraced militant atheism and the meaninglessness of life (moral nihilism), which trace their origins to the works of modern French and German philosophers like Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, and Friedrich Nietzsche.

By the mid-20th century, American elites (especially on the left) had adopted and spread these ideas through the cultural institutions they controlled – academia, entertainment media and the press. As a result, espousing a subversive stance toward cultural convention and revisionist view of US history became the mark of creative and intellectual sophistication by the 1960s.

Today, the cynicism and prejudice not only persists, but has also taken a more sinister turn by specifically targeting white heterosexual masculinity. Rhetoric with titles such as “White men must be stopped,” “The unbearable whiteness of being,” and “The pettiness of the angry white male” is commonly found in mainstream publications, and evidences this phenomenon.

In an essay typical of this genre (published by The New York Times no less), Charles Blow postulates: “Donald Trump’s campaign slogan is in fact an inverted admission of loss – lost primacy, lost privilege, lost prestige. And who feels that they have lost the most? White men.” Irrespective of one’s opinion of the real estate mogul, speculating that Trump supporters embody the “unfiltered primal scream of the fragility and fear consuming white male America” is decidedly vile and hateful.

The systemic maligning and shaming of white heterosexual masculinity is exacerbated by its instigation of identity crisis in young men, and retaliation from the alt-right (a faction that supports white nationalism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and other alternative ideologies rejected by the right). Thus the trouble begets trouble. And unfortunately, diagnosing the problem, though valuable, marks only the first step in the thousand-mile journey towards possible cures.

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