SDK wrote:Regardless of whether or not their perceptions of oppression are justified (I think they are to some degree, but you're welcome to disagree), arbiteroftruth hit upon the same thing when he compared "white identity" to "white conservative identity". The perception of oppression is all that's really required in order to explain this rise.
It's a weird space to be in, because -- while I do think a lot of white Americans have experienced oppression -- it really doesn't have anything to do with their race. It has to do with their financial status, their gender, their sexuality, their appearance, their neurology, their mental health, their bodies, the social expectations put upon them...
On top of that, I think a lot of people are afraid -- afraid of an incomprehensibly complex world that's only getting more complicated day by day. Throw in a hyperbolic media that soothes them by flattening everything into ultra-sensationalized talking points with zero nuance -- add a dash of demagoguery, offering simple, "obvious and clear" solutions -- then bake for three hours at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (because fuck-off
with your Pro-Euro Celsius wankery; this is MURRRRCA).
"White identity" seems like an attempt to lay claim to the language of those who are clearly suffering to express a kind of suffering that is much less clear. I mean, that's the only explanation I can accept -- if someone tells me they're being oppressed by liberal jerks telling them they should feel guilty for being white, I am left with only three choices. Presume they're lying, presume they're sincere but misrepresenting a deeper pain, or presume they're blithering blatherskites who can't tell the difference between systematic oppression and obnoxious people being obnoxious. Because if your deal really is
just that somebody once called you a racist asshole for liking Archie Bunker, then I don't know what to do with you. Apparently make you President?
I definitely agree that it sucks to be treated like you're a racist for trivial things; I agree that "white guilt" is a harmful trope. I agree that a lot of liberals are assholes who try to simplify everyone they meet into "one of us" or "one of them". But this isn't, in any way, oppression; not unless your definition of oppression is so hyper-sensitive that you think the post I've written here qualifies.EDIT:
And maybe I'm glossing over a problem with liberals (myself included) which helps add accelerant to the fire of 'white identity': The tendency to speak as if being white somehow makes it impossible
to experience oppression. It's hard to imagine how you could be oppressed because
you're white, but it's not hard to see how you could be oppressed despite
being white. I think this is a distinction a lot of liberals fail to make (especially the more obnoxious ones).
As gross as it might sound to say, even Donald Trump
can experience systematic oppression. We might not really care when he does, but that doesn't mean he can't still experience it -- and if you're a liberal who doesn't get that nuance, I can see how you might push white conservatives to identify with their whiteness as a sort of defense mechanism.
(But that defense mechanism is still