The current psychosis of the left is “white privilege” driven by “white guilt”.
Shelby Steele identified the damage this phenomenon does to race relations in his 2006 book “White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era”. In the linked interview with NPR, he associates white America’s lack of ability to authoritatively speak about race is due to a loss of moral authority when white America admitted the evil of centuries of oppression of blacks and the role their race played in that oppression.
He also states that:
“…we have never had a President of the United States since the civil rights victories, you know, Democrat or Republican, who has been able to look at black America and say we talk now about the responsibilities that white America has to make up for the past, but here are some things that black Americans have to do.
So we’ve never had a President of the United States ask anything of black citizens. And I think the reason for that is they’ve all felt that if they presume to do that, that they would be stigmatized as racist. They don’t feel they have the moral authority to speak to us. And that’s, I think, one instance where white guilt has worked against us, because it’s important for a nation to speak freely and honestly with all of its citizens.”
The danger of such a reluctance to speak is that the majority cedes control to the minority. The left presumes this is the “noble” thing to do as they see it as a path to regaining lost moral authority. It is the false idea that there is strength in weakness…
The left sees moral authority the same way it sees economics – as a zero sum game, that there is a finite amount of “righteousness” and that somehow the strong giving way to the weak automatically transfers moral authority and legitimacy from one group to the other – but the greater danger lies in the fact that any given minority does not become moral simply by being the minority. There is no guarantee that the minority possesses any more or less moral authority or legitimacy than the majority.
What does happen is a transfer of power. In its raw state, power is neutral – it is neither moral or legitimate, it can be used to those ends just as it can to be wielded in amoral, immoral or illegitimate ways.
When one evaluates the theory of “white guilt” in the context of the Iran nuclear negotiations, one can see the adoption of this perspective – not as “white” guilt but as “American guilt”. The same liberal calculus is being applied by ceding moral authority to Iran because of America’s involvement in the region. Maybe because Obama holds strong anti-colonialist views or simply because we sided with the Shah and Valerie Jarrett didn’t like him, I don’t know – but it is conceivable the same process is at work here.
Like the recent attempt by Starbucks to generate a “conversation on race”, I can see Obama desiring every hookah shop and falafel stand operator to ask Iranians if they want to have a conversation about how much like Satan the Great Satan is.
Let us all Twitter – #surrendertogether.