The Psychological Wages of Antiracism

“White people really don’t like being generalized about.” Robin DiAngelo claims. Do black people like being generalized about? If we say “yes,” we’re already generalizing.

DiAngelo in action (video): Robin DiAngelo on “White Fragility”

I suppose there are white people who love to be generalized about. DiAngelo, perhaps? It seems so. But does she think it is right or wrong to generalize about people based on race? Here’s DiAngelo’s article in the International Journal of Critical Pedagogy on “white fragility”.

DiAngelo began her career in racial politics as a “diversity trainer.” She constructed her worldview in order to justify her work. DiAngelo is explicitly telling people—some people, at least—that it is wrong to see themselves as individuals. White people must see themselves as a race and learn what they are supposed to be thinking as the “white race.”

DiAngelo is not working to emancipate any individuals from racial categories. On the contrary. She is essentializing racial categories and generalizing about what people think who belong to those categories.

This is a new religion with white people (who buy this nonsense) simultaneously existing as folk devils and salvation seekers. Yet our rational institutions—corporations and universities—are compelling employees and students to participate in indoctrination sessions. They are being told how to think under penalty of discipline or dismissal. If they don’t agree with DiAngelo’s politics they are “fragile.”

Where it is not required, the masochism is sought out by affluent white women, hosting dinners in their homes for other affluent white women (at $2500 a dinner), their unconscious racism pulled from them (or at least constructed) by Regina Jackson and Saira Rao. “If you did this in a conference room, they’d leave,” Rao says. “But wealthy white women have been taught never to leave the dinner table.”

They call the program “Race to Dinner.” Robin DiAngelo’s book White Fragility supplies the scripture.

For some, this is a joyful place to be. It comes with a psychological wage. For others, it is undignified. But then what does Proverbs say? Pride goeth before destruction? 

Of course, tribal stigma of this sort has a name. It’s name is racism. 

But woe to you who have ever made a provocative statement, had a deviant opinion, played devil’s advocate, had a change of heart, or articulated a half-formed thought in working out a full one. The progressive archeologists may be excavating your past for evidence of transgression.

If you are ever called up, you will be called to an impossible position. This is characteristic of inquisitions. Even if exonerated, you will always have been accused. You may get the same treatment if you defend the accused.

It is an act of cruelty, beyond the obvious fallacy that the color of one’s skin—the stain of whiteness—makes her eternally suspicious. People are terrified to talk honestly for fear of making a faux pas. I mean committing a “microaggression.” (Part of antiracism is learning a jargon. Rituals must have myths and spells.)

Ignoring social pressure, autonomous individuals might brush all this off as the work of insecure narcissists looking for strokes. Except that, because he is useful to somebody, the antiracist has assumed command of the disciplinary machinery of the institution. He is, like the priest and his church, an authority appointed to defend doctrine and secure compliance. He seeks obedience. And he is on the prowl to make examples of people while ingratiating himself to the “community.”

Antiracism is the new theology. It proliferates councils with clergy who minister to those in need of saving. It has scripture for you to recite. It lets you see what a piece of shit you are. It instructs you to loathe yourself for things you did not do and cannot change. 

Failure to seek its wise counsel is proof that you are more than unwise. Failure to seek help makes a bad person an even worse person.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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