Really!?😳, or Should I say Really!🤨
This phenomena of motivated blindness corresponds to the fable “The Emperor‘s New Clothes” and if it still hasn’t occurred to you yet that this man is coopting you to help him defraud your government and encourage you to engage in belligerence against your fellow citizens then you might simply be affected by some illusory superiority complex as well as delusional privilege and entitlement.
All one needs to do is swap the words naked for stupidness and this tale becomes a living reincarnation of that fable. The subjects in the background who admire the emperor’s new clothes invoke what I believe is a pluralistic ignorance that is distinctively characterized by their identitarian whiteness.
What makes whiteness effectively bemusing is that none of them (individually) actually believe they are really exceptionally superior, but they all think that everyone in their ingroup including some outside of their fictionalized race — that has been colonized or acculturated — believes them to be collectively superior and therefore privileged and entitled to behave in ways that project that superiority and assume that privilege.
Oh the vanity and insanity of it all.
Privilege is unearned advantage derived from one’s group membership, and privilege based on race is embedded in the foundation of the United States (Haney-López, 1996; McIntosh, 1988) Early European settlers hewed the United States from the expropriated land of native peoples, robbed labor from enslaved Africans, and enacted myriad policies and practices designed to produce racialized benefits (Baptist, 2014; Katznelson, 2005). Descendants of these settlers and newer European immigrants continue to benefit from racist policies and practices, both past and present: Black/White disparities persist in the domains of health, housing, education, employment, finances, and criminal justice, to name a few (e.g., Alexander, 2012; Katznelson, 2005). Evidence that race-based privilege persists to the present day comes close to irrefutable.¹
The prolonged project of racialization is steeped in deception but bedeviled by this nuanced mode of invisibility. This strategy rewards them this majority dominance while effectively cloaked by their proclaimed innocence. One clichèd example of their self-proclaimed innocence is what Senator Mitch McConnell stated on Tuesday in response to the debate and deliberation of reparations for slavery in which he replied…
“I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, for whom none of us currently living are responsible, is a good idea.” “We tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation, elected an African American president,” Barack Obama, in 2008, McConnell said. “I don’t think we should be trying to figure out how to compensate for it. First of all, it would be hard to figure out whom to compensate.”
Let Me Tell You What’s Not A Good Idea Senate Leader McConnell
I can hear identitarian whites breathing a sigh of relief at what the senate leader said
That the “currently living” are not responsible, is in fact a strategy deployed through this innocence which in essence is a means to continue this charade of invisibility to the disproportionate rewards and benefits they continue to reap from past slavery coupled with the continued pseudo-justified unequal treatment of Blacks in particular, and Brown immigrants by extension, by cloaking these racial privileges.
First, Whites want to feel innocent, and the basic desire to think well of the self constrains acceptable means of maintaining dominance and the privilege it entails. This puts pressure on individuals to hide privilege and its illegitimacy from themselves. Second, Whites want to maintain privilege, and racial privileges depend on the stability of an unequal racialized social system that tends to provoke resistance (Sidanius & Pratto, 1999). This puts pressure on individuals to hide privilege and its illegitimacy from others. Importantly, when enough individual Whites act on either of these motives, they generate societal-level invisibility. As a result, not all individual Whites need to act on innocence or maintenance motives: Herd invisibility can emerge from the aggregate of individual actions, protecting the innocence and privileges of all members of the group.¹
But this innocence is always being called out by the renown author Ta Nehesi Coates and other intellectuals who see this for what it really is — injustice. It is why myself, Marley K., and many other writers here on Medium will never just let it go.
There are too many examples of why we can’t just let it go and it is glaringly obvious that there is nothing superior about whiteness. One example that comes to mind is the aptly named movie Hidden Figures that exposed the brilliance of these Black female mathematicians who were instrumental to the success of space missions for NASA but hidden from public view so as to not give any doubt to our alleged inferiority. Or if I may when it it comes to major sports.
So really! 🤨
In private there has to be this dissonance amongst the more rational among identitarian whites in both retrospect and introspect. Under the remarkable socialized circumstances of oppression, how could they honestly believe that they are superior when in fact we have disproven that myth each and every time. In fact we are more than just equal, we have evolved into a resistant strain of persistence in humanity.
¹ Phillips, L. T., & Lowery, B. S. (2018). Herd Invisibility: The Psychology of Racial Privilege. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27(3), 156–162. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721417753600