This is the text of my latest blog for the Bucks County Courier Times
It goes without saying that those so lacking in sensitivity as to deal in truth deserve what they get. So Robert Huber of the Philadelphia Magazine is under attack for daring to write a thought piece about White Philadelphian’s impressions of race relations. As we all know, writing on race from a white perspective is deeply offensive in polite society.
The article, Being White in Philadelphia is an anodyne exercise in opinion gathering supplemented by an impeccably liberal meditation on how race relations are not going well. There is no hint that the breakdown of amicability perceived by Huber’s White interviewees is the fault of Blacks at large. Huber’s White interviewees relate their interactions with their Black fellow citizens as mostly negative. So what. Are they all lying? Does Huber’s picture of social dysfunction ring broadly false? Do black and White Philadelphians actually live in loving racial comity? Of course not.
The furor over Huber’s article stems from the unwritten taboo against any expression of white group interest. All other population groupings in our society are expressed as communities. How often do we hear of the Black Community, the Hispanic Community, the Jewish Community and even the Gay Community? I can only remember hearing of the White Community as that mass of people who have let some other community down. Yet what are the manifestations of this “White Community”? Who are the local White Community leaders? Can my son join the White Student Union? Where can I pick up a copy of the White voter’s guide? Why can’t I find the local chapter of the National Association of Pale People?
We are living with the results of many social changes. One of these is the regime of racial politics brought about by the fight against racism. In order for this fight to succeed it had to identify an enemy, and the enemy was bigotry expressed in law against non-white citizens. In my view, this fight succeeded with the various civil rights laws enacted in the 1960’s
Unfortunately, two other things happened. The economic and social health of the Black population failed to universally improve and the civil rights movement succumbed to the general tendency of all American movements. It became a racket.
An explanation had to be found for the failure of the legal changes to usher in a new era of Black prosperity and achievement. No amount of Affirmative Action or government spending and programming leveled the achievement and prosperity gap. This posed a fundamental and intolerable affront to all of our liberal leadership class’s belief system. So all the bad stuff must be the fault of the one community that has no actual leadership, or self-consciousness. That group is the White citizenry, and particularly White men.
The problem with this game is that if you blame people long enough in a regime where social goods are divided along group interests, the group you blame may start playing the game too. It is this that infuriates and frightens those who attacked Huber and the editor of the Philadelphia Magazine. Huber’s harmless thought piece crosses the line by suggesting that Whites as Whites might have a collective opinion and interest to be expressed. This cannot be tolerated as it would change the entire calculus of group interest and privilege in the way we live now.
Behind this hysterical reaction is the immensely ugly and insulting assumption that if White interests were expressed, They would take the form of something like the KKK. This is I believe, is nothing more than a psychological projection of the hostility of the previously disadvantaged. A good example is Mayor Nutter’s reaction to the article. Previously , he seemed a reasonable and sincere public official who was, from what I can tell, liked by suburban Whites. But in response to the article he went into full aggrieved minority mode, even calling for legal suppression of the magazine. I can think of no greater evidence for the animus toward Whites than in this call to use an arm of the state to suppress an article that merely asks what white folks think.