Michele Obama’s senior year thesis at Princeton University leads one to conclude that she has the proverbial chip on her shoulder regarding race relations in America. So do I. Let me explain.
There are two groups of white people for whom the “racial equation” will never change. The first one is dedicated racists. For them, the color of a man’s skin determines everything, and being non-white guarantees inferiority. Nothing will convince them otherwise.
The second group is commonly referred to as “guilty white liberals.” For them, the color of a man’s skin also determines everything, but in this case being non-white confers a sense of permanent victimhood coupled with permanent entitlement. Non-whites can never accomplish anything without government set-asides, affirmative action, quotas, etc., all of which were/are provided by the “enlightened” segment of the white population. Any white who does not subscribe to such a worldview gets tossed into the dedicated racist category. Nothing will convince them otherwise, either.
No doubt Michele Obama, along with many other blacks, has run into her fair share of members in both groups. The trouble starts when Mrs. Obama, et al, believe that those two groups comprise the vast majority, if not the totality, of white people.
Most white people I know are in neither group. They neither despise people of color nor find it necessary to accommodate their every wish. In fact, most whites never think about race unless it is thrust into the limelight by a news story–from a mainstream media where the political correctness of “guilty white liberalism” reigns supreme.
A lot of whites, however, do walk on eggshells around non-whites. Not because they harbor racist hearts, but because they are afraid of saying something that might be inadvertently offensive in an age of hypersensitivity. I suspect most non-whites pick up on this timidness. Some use it to press an advantage, some find it amusing, and some suspect such reticence is indeed hidden racism.
That’s where the chip on my shoulder, and I imagine a lot of other reasonable white people, comes from. I get tired of paying for the sins of overt racists and their equally odious counterparts, guilty white liberals. Truth is, the liberals are worse because their insulting paternalism–without us non-whites would be totally helpless–is racism covered with a patina of self-righteousness. At least overt racists are up front with their prejudice.
In my personal experience I’ve found that something “magic” is easily accomplished by adhering to one simple rule: treat everyone like a human being and all else becomes possible. Don’t buy into any of the established narratives about how you’re “supposed” to treat people of a different race.
That advice isn’t limited to white people. Non-whites have their presuppositions as well. Maybe Mrs. Obama needs to widen her circle of acquaintances.
It’s a big country, Mrs. Obama.
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