Right, hands up, this opening paragraph is going to make a lazy, not particularly insightful point. In this case, however, there are not many other obvious points to make, so here goes:
Imagine somebody wrote this in an academic paper about Black People:
Whiteness is a condition one first acquires and then one has—a malignant, parasitic-like condition to which “white” people have a particular susceptibility. The condition is foundational, generating characteristic ways of being in one’s body, in one’s mind, and in one’s world. Parasitic Whiteness renders its hosts’ appetites voracious, insatiable, and perverse. These deformed appetites particularly target nonwhite peoples. Once established, these appetites are nearly impossible to eliminate. Effective treatment consists of a combination of psychic and social-historical interventions. Such interventions can reasonably aim only to reshape Whiteness’s infiltrated appetites—to reduce their intensity, redistribute their aims, and occasionally turn those aims toward the work of reparation. When remembered and represented, the ravages wreaked by the chronic condition can function either as warning (“never again”) or as temptation (“great again”). Memorialization alone, therefore, is no guarantee against regression. There is not yet a permanent cure.
The interesting thing here is not the entirely ridiculous contents of the academic paper in question, which appears, frankly, to have been written entirely for the purpose of giving people like me something to write about on a relatively slow-news Thursday (it was this, or the Sinn Fein opinion polling story – easy choice). Even the absurd last sentence – “not yet a permanent cure” – with its nod towards racial genocide, seems calculated more to provoke outrage than it is to start a serious discussion.
White people, it says, have “deformed appetites” “targeting nonwhite peoples”. In other words, simply by virtue of the colour of your skin, you have an inbuilt desire to dominate and oppress other races.
Interestingly, this almost perfectly mirrors the language that actual white racists use about the people they consider inferior – think back to the depiction of Africans, for example, as dangerous savages and cannibals with an inbuilt appetite for human flesh. It is the exact same racism that once appeared in punch-and-judy type magazines in the early 1800’s – except now it appears in academic journals.
And, of course, to escape the charge of racism, the author tells us that whiteness only “particularly” affects white people. In other words, black, Asian, or middle eastern people can suffer from “whiteness”, too. It’s not racist, you see, because it attacks a condition, not a skin colour.
Conveniently, of course, in most of these analyses, whiteness is diagnosed by your views. And usually, it is targeted at people who do not conform to a particular set of political views. In the United States, for instance, black conservatives are increasingly accused of holding “white” attitudes. The whole thing is perverse. And not really, on its face, interesting.
No, the interesting thing is how socially acceptable it is becoming to be openly racially antagonistic in your language towards white people and whiteness.
This, of course, is a direct result of the rise of intersectional left-wing identity politics, which divides people, based on characteristics outside of their own control, into groups of oppressors and oppressed people. A straight white woman, for example, is oppressed by a straight white man – but is an oppressor of almost everybody else, according to this hierarchy, which also doles out bonus points for people with one or more “oppressed” characteristics. Many eminent people have written more eloquently on this than we can here at Gript, but it is worth noting that this ideology, and all the ills that accompany it, is growing in popularity and influence here in Ireland.
It is, of course, like most left-wing ideas, not new. The left has always been committed to equality. Equality, though, is hard to achieve. It is hard, for example, to make a bad school as good as a private school. So, what the left usually ends up trying to do is to abolish the private school. The outcome is that people are more equal, but the equality is much closer to everybody going to the bad school, than everybody going to the good school. So it is, in a slightly different way, with race and oppression and privilege, and all of that.
The thinking, you will note, is never about raising the quality of life of those who suffer disadvantages, black, or white. It is almost always about tearing down those with perceived advantages over others and taking them down a peg or two. In that sense, with Ireland’s history of begrudgery, it is an ideology almost perfectly suited to us.
Or it would be, if that self-same ideology did not believe that white Irish people, infected as we are with genetic and ideological whiteness, are amongst the most privileged on the planet. You might be naïve enough to think, in modern society, that you are the oppressed. Believe me: If people like this are ever in charge, you will find quickly enough that you, and your family, and your friends, are actually perceived as the oppressors.