Why ‘White Identity’ Must Be Destroyed
Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, September 6, 2019
Ashley Jardina, White Identity Politics, Cambridge University Press, 2019, 365 pp. $24.99 (soft cover)
White racial consciousness is growing to the point that American academics have begun to study it. They fear it and hate it, but some of their polling data can be useful for white advocates. White Identity Politics by Duke University Assistant Professor Ashley Jardina is a good example. She wants to understand white consciousness in order to destroy it. She is worried that whites will mobilize politically and wants to neuter them psychologically, but in the process has unearthed useful, sometimes surprising data.
Prof. Jardina follows every fashion on race: The idea that “humans could be organized into distinct racial groups” is based on “pseudoscientific techniques.” White supremacy is so deeply rooted that because of the resulting white privilege “white Americans benefit tremendously from their position at the top of the hierarchy.” There are hardly any segregationists left, and most whites want simply to stop seeing race, but “these views can be just as problematic and pervasive as overt racism.” This is because “color-blind racism allows whites to deny the existence of racial discrimination, and it legitimizes practices that maintain racial inequality.”
This is current college-prof dogma: If whites are sincerely trying to treat all people equally as individuals, they are practicing “color-blind racism” and are “fighting to maintain a racial hierarchy, one that privileges their group.” Therefore, whites must perpetually atone for unearned privilege and struggle every day to tear down the racial hierarchy. This is hard for them because, as Prof. Jardina notes several times and with obvious relish, “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”
So what can we possibly learn from such a person? Something about the nature of white identity.
Prof. Jardina points out that the study of white attitudes has generally been limited to hunting down and attacking “racial prejudice, resentment, and animus,” but this perspective is too narrow: “Whites’ racial attitudes are not merely defined by prejudice” and can be “concerned with their in-group and desire to protect its status.”
Prof. Jardina concedes—remarkably for an academic—that whites can have a racial identity without hating people of other races: “White identity is not . . . synonymous with racial animus” and is “not a proxy for white supremacy or extremism.”
She measures this kind of “non-hateful” (but still dangerous) white identity by asking whites to rate their answers to the following questions on a 5-point scale:
- How important is being white to your identity?
- To what extent do you feel that white people in this country have a lot to be proud of?
- How much would you say that whites in this country have a lot in common with one another?
From various polls, Prof. Jardina finds that 30 to 40 percent of whites say that their racial identity is “very, if not extremely, important” to them. She admits that whites may be downplaying racial identity because it is unfashionable, but even so, these figures are surprisingly high. She acknowledges that the figures for non-whites are much higher: 69 to 85 percent for blacks and 49 and 75 percent for Hispanics.
Prof. Jardina thus recognizes that “white identity may be, in part, a reaction to the development of other strong racial identities in American society,” and this raises the obvious question: “Whites wonder, if blacks, Latinos, Asians, and others can organize around their race or ethnicity, why can’t we do the same?” They can’t, she says, because although non-white identities are positive, “whiteness, by its very nature, is still constructed in opposition to other groups.” Even a non-hateful white identity is bad. It is “marked less by a dislike of racial out-groups than by a defense of collective interests—a position potentially as problematic, but perhaps more insidious [than outright “racism”] and easily cloaked in a façade of legitimacy.” Unless it is coupled with an intense desire to destroy racial hierarchy, white identity only shores up white privilege and supremacy.
But who are these 30 to 40 percent of whites with a racial identity? Surprisingly, they are slightly more likely to be women than men. They are also slightly more likely to be Southerners, people living in the country, Christians, and Republicans. There is no correlation with wealth; 79 percent own their home, only 2 percent are unemployed, and 69 percent are middle class.
Liberals love to think that poverty causes racial identity—just as they love to think that that only the dregs could vote for Trump—but Prof. Jardina’s data show they are wrong. All kinds of people have a white identity and voted for Mr. Trump. But she still cannot resist an unsupported and unfootnoted jab: “Working-class whites . . . use race as a means to elevate and distance their own group from those at the bottom of the racial order.”
The 30 to 40 percent of whites with a strong white identity sound like good prospects for white advocacy, but Prof. Jardina finds that racial identity does not seem to have strong political significance. This table that shows the characteristics that make whites favor or oppose immigration. [page 166a]
The gray bars to the right of 0 predict support for limiting immigration, and the gray bars to the left of 0 predict a desire to keep immigration high. The lines over the gray bars are the 95-percent confidence intervals. All these characteristics have an independent effect on white attitudes after controlling for a host of other characteristics, including the others listed on this table.
This shows that a strong white identity has only a modest effect on the desire to limit immigration. A generally conservative political ideology is a much stronger indicator, and the conviction that immigration hurts the country is stronger still. Age and sex are also slightly correlated with wanting to cut immigration.
The traits that have the most powerful independent effect on whites’ desire to keep immigration high are education (the more whites have, the crazier they are) and how they feel about Hispanics (on a 100-point scale with 0 meaning complete hostility and 100 meaning adoration). Again, the independent effect of white identity is in the direction we would expect but surprisingly small.
Prof. Jardina also finds that a strong white identity does not have a noticeable independent effect on whether whites support the Tea Party or oppose the DACA amnesty. Surprisingly, a strong white identity is not even associated with hostility to programs even “conservative” whites often oppose: welfare, Medicaid, and race preferences for non-whites in the form of “affirmative action.” Nor does it strongly predict fears that President Obama might favor blacks over whites; on a scale of 0 to 1, whites with the least racial identity had an average fear level of 0.06 and those with the strongest racial identity had a fear level of only 0.16.
White identity does, however, predict a desire for the United States to stay out of the world’s problems—an interesting finding—and it is correlated with support for Social Security and Medicare. Prof. Jardina reasons that whites support these two programs because they expect a payout from them. This is certainly true, but whites also like programs that are based on contributions, and don’t like what they think of as unearned handouts. Prof. Jardina notes that any politician who wants to win white votes should not talk about cutting Medicare and Social Security the way Republicans sometimes do.
Prof. Jardina studies something else that is even more interesting: “white racial resentment,” which she also calls racial “animus.”
This is measured by how strongly whites feel about the following:
- Blacks should work their way up without any special favors.
- Generations of slavery and discrimination make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class.
- Blacks have gotten less than they deserve
- Blacks must try harder to get ahead.
Any white person who answers these questions the wrong way suffers from “racial resentment” or “animus.” Again, fully 30 to 40 percent of whites score high in “racial resentment,” but it is different from racial identity: The two have a correlation of only .13 or .23. About 3 percent of whites reportedly score high on both racial identity and racial resentment, and these are the people Prof. Jardina calls “white supremacists.”
Unlike “racial identity,” “racial resentment” does predict views that are typically called “racist:” opposition to welfare and to race preferences for non-whites. Put differently, white identity does not predict how whites answer the question, “Should government help blacks or should blacks help themselves?” but “racial resentment” does. “Racial resentment” also had a weak correlation with support for the Tea Party.
This table shows how certain characteristics influenced whites to vote for either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney in 2012.
Bars extending to the left mean a greater likelihood to vote for Mr. Romney and the lengths of the bars show how powerfully each trait influenced a voter. Racial resentment, at the bottom, did push whites towards a Romney vote, as did white identity at the top. However, party identity, ideology, and the conviction that Mr. Obama would be bad for the economy had stronger independent effects. Interestingly, age, education, and sex appear not to have made much difference, and the only variable decisively associated with a vote for Obama was being unemployed. This, too, refutes liberal assumptions: that the lower orders, including the unemployed, are so bigoted they would vote for the white Republican rather than place their hopes in a black Democrat.
White identification was an equally weak predictor for a vote for Donald Trump in 2016; again, much weaker than party identification, for example. However, unlike in 2012, “racial resentment” strongly predicted a vote for the Republican.
Prof. Jardina reports other interesting findings. When asked how they feel about the Ku Klux Klan on a 100 degree “thermometer” scale, about 9 percent of whites give it 51 degrees or more. Also, most whites feel little racial guilt. Twenty-two percent feel none, and most are clustered in the low ranges. Whites high in “racial resentment” feel no guilt at all.
How should white advocates interpret these findings? The most interesting is that there is a lot of what academics call “racial identity” and “racial resentment” and that they are not the same thing—and it’s encouraging that so many whites are willing to give answers pollsters might disdain.
But why are these two things so different? What kind of person has a strong racial identity but no “resentment,” and vice versa? (“Resentment” is a silly word to use for people who don’t think blacks should get special treatment.) People with “resentment” but low white identity must be old-fashioned liberals of the classic civil-rights kind; they really do want to eliminate all race consciousness, treat everyone equally, and build a color-blind society. They must be the whites who are most confused when they are told color-blindness is just another form of “racism.”
It’s harder to fathom people with a strong white identity but little “resentment.” Their own race may be important to them, but they are happy for blacks to get an official leg-up, and racial identity doesn’t much change the way they think about immigration. At least they know they are white and feel strongly about it, which, in these anti-white times, is important. Along with the “resenters,” they are promising candidates for a fully political white racial consciousness. Because there is only moderate overlap between the “identifiers” and the “resenters,” it’s fair to assume that at least half of white Americans either think whiteness is important to them or are tired of handouts for blacks.
Our goal should be clear: encourage more whites of both kinds to have a strong racial identity that they direct towards political goals.
Prof. Jardina wants to do exactly the same thing, but her political goals are different. She wants whites to have a vivid racial identity, but only as oppressors. She is deeply worried by whites who resent being yelled at about race and racism, and who think the country should treat people as individuals. As noted above, she thinks trying to ignore race can be just as bad as “overt racism”! That’s because “equality is achieved not merely by changing the negative attitudes whites directed at racial and ethnic minorities . . . .” Wiping the minds of whites clean of prejudice or even awareness of race—which was the then-considered-lofty goal of the Civil Rights movement—isn’t enough. “[E]quality is realized by dismantling a system of racial stratification. It requires us to deconstruct the racial hierarchy.”
It may be that that is exactly how some small number of whites who are “identifiers” but not “resenters” think. Their whiteness is important to them, but only as a curse, and they are trying mightily to “deconstruct the racial hierarchy.” Perhaps they believe, as Prof. Jardina tells us over and over, that whites are always, everywhere on top, in a system deliberately slanted to put them there. Like her, they apparently have no idea how many Asians are in the Ivy League or how much they earn.
The problem for the United States in their view is that although we no longer have segregationists and lynch mobs, we have “a new type of racial prejudice—one that is subtle, and a combination of anti-black affect [what’s that?] and the belief that blacks do not adhere to traditional American values associated with the Protestant work ethic.” Prof. Jardina adds: “Whites are taught to subscribe to these beliefs as children.” In fact, whites discover this despite being taught that all races are equal.
However it came about, Americas now express a “new form of racial animus:”
Blacks should behave themselves. They should take quiet advantage of the ample opportunities now provided them. . . . Blacks should work their way up without handouts or special favors in a society that [is] now color-blind.
To think such things is “animus.”
Color-blindness won’t do, because it only preserves hierarchy, and “regardless of whether whites identify with their racial group, their objective categorization into the group imbues them with considerable status and privilege.” Alas, “whites actively try to minimize or deny their privileged status, often though subscription to ideologies like color-blind racism.”
Whites must stop being color-blind: “[W]hen members of dominant groups recognize that their group is somehow illegitimately privileged, they are more likely to support practices that reduce their relative power.”
That is why whites must be constantly badgered about “white privilege.” That will make them understand that ignoring race perpetuates oppression. Prof. Jardina recognizes racial self-sacrifice may be a tough sell: “It is likely difficult to convince some whites that there’s something normatively objectionable about identifying with one’s racial group and wanting to protect its interests.”
Prof. Jardina even wonders whether as whites become a minority, “we might see the impact of white identity and white consciousness grow.” As she notes, “race [already] remains one of the most fundamental organizing features of American politics” and “Americans today remain more polarized around issues of race than ever.” Seven generations after abolition and two generations after the major victories of the Civil Rights movement we are more polarized by race than ever?
If that’s true, it certainly justifies wondering whether we should give up on this ill-fated attempt at multi-racialism and let whites go their own way so they can no longer torment non-whites. Prof. Jardina rules that out: “democratic values” require multi-racialism.
For liberal elites, it isn’t enough for whites to turn their backs on racial identity; they must have a negative identity. It isn’t enough to treat everyone fairly. Whites must treat themselves unfairly. Whites must never question dispossession because “democratic values” require it. Prof. Jardina’s future for whites is clear: oblivion.