Part 1 of 3 (Part 2 here)
Robin DiAngelo, a professor and diversity mystagogue, wrote some books about race relations, heavily promoted by the usual suspects. Snowflake’s fourth ethnomasochistic tome is Nice Racism: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm (Boston: Beacon Press, 2021). Liberals are typically people who pride themselves on niceness, and in actual fact are already too nice for their own good, but the book lambastes them for failing to live up to their standards of niceness. Does this book deserve a nomination for a Theodor Adorno Culture Distortion Prize, or what?
It must be something monumental, given that the High Priestess of White Guilt can pull in $12,000 for a two-hour sermon. Surely society wouldn’t bestow such lavish rewards for anything less than the purest of sterling wisdom!
Several chapters begin with a pithy quote. The introduction doesn’t, so I’ll provide the following by John Harrington, an Elizabethan courtier who lived through some interesting times:
Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason.
Aside from this evocative quote, Sir Harrington was also known for inventing the flush toilet — the original “Ajax” model — so surely he’d know how to deal with all this crap. The book begins thus:
When Carolyn walked into the orientation session, she inwardly rolled her eyes and let out a sigh. Here we go again, she thought, as she looked out at a veritable sea of well-meaning whiteness. She was attending the orientation to learn more about an organization that described itself as committed to social justice. While the organization was overwhelmingly white, they were working hard to educate themselves on various forms of oppression. This wasn’t the first time she was the only Black [sic] person in the room, but Carolyn reasoned that at least these white people were committed social progressives.
Already we can see one way that Robin DiAngelo has evolved over the years. Now she’s become one of those annoying twits who capitalize “black” but not “white,” something which sticks out like a sore thumb throughout the book. She wasn’t doing this in her first book. As we’ve seen so many times, signaling disrespect in increasingly petty ways is now part of the “anti-racism” package. She even capitalizes “indigenous” now, although that’s just an adjective and not a given name designating a specific people; one might as well capitalize “autochthonous.” Perhaps “POC” means “People Of Capitalization” rather than “People Of Color,” as previously assumed . . .
Carolyn was asked to do a presentation about racism, but really has the jitters about it. (That’s odd — isn’t that the favorite topic of diversity mystagogues?) Snowflake agrees to help her friend. Then — you knew it was gonna happen — just eight paragraphs into the book, the white guilt alreadybegins in earnest:
Finally, the evening came. The group listened thoughtfully to both of us and then asked questions or made comments. Toward the end of the evening, a member of the group stated, in a tone somewhat critical of the organization, “I am so glad this organization is finally teaching us about racism. I have been waiting for them to do that.” This statement was a fish-out-of-water moment for me in which I could see a cross-racial dynamic I hadn’t seen before. I had witnessed the tremendous amount of emotional and intellectual work Carolyn had to do in order to make this presentation. Now, watching this group sitting comfortably on their chairs and effortlessly receiving the result of Carolyn’s labor, I saw a metaphor for colonialism.
I’m feeling pretty sick right about now . . .
The group was in essence saying, “We’ll observe you and seek to understand you. In doing so, we’ll relax while you work. You’ll provide us with the fruits of your labor. We’ll receive these fruits and consider them. We’ll decide what to keep and what to reject — what we deem worthy of consideration and what we don’t. We thank the organization for bringing you to us because we’ve desired your knowledge. But if you weren’t brought before us, we wouldn’t (as we have not up until now) expend any effort in seeking it for ourselves.” Critical race scholar Sherene Razack, writing about whiteness and the pattern of studying those who are seen as “different,” describes this mentality as the “cornerstone of imperialism: the colonized possess a series of knowable characteristics that can be studied, known, and managed accordingly by the colonizers whose own complicity remains masked.”
What really happened was that a diversity instructor was invited to discuss her perspective with a friendly audience, and she agreed. Surely they were hanging onto every word for tips on how to conform to correct thought, desiring to be more obedient as repentant white people. Then, Snowflake used her mind-reading powers and transmogrified the scene, likening it to “colonialism,” in which a bunch of idle whites — with half-hearted interest bordering on contempt — observed the toils of an exploited black lady. Then, after this description that pissed on the faces of the acolytes, our plucky author whipped out a snotty quote by some Canadian Women’s Studies professor to rub it in: “[T]he colonizers whose own complicity remains masked.” Melodramatic much?
I understand that Carolyn asked me to support her in that particular way, and to decline was not an option I would have considered. But that does not put me outside the racism she was preparing for. And as I write this, I realize that I never checked myself and my own racial arrogance in that situation.
Ah, it’s the Robin DiAngelo self-flagellation shtick, a signature trope of hers that appears frequently. Then there’s a discussion of her sources of inspiration, including earlier black writers, present-day “Black, Indigenous, People of Color” (BIPOX), and in last place (of course) white “activists and scholars.” The latter includes these:
Ruth Frankenberg’s work in particular has been deeply impactful, as has that of Michelle Fine, David Roediger, Tim Wise, Lillian Smith, Peggy McIntosh, Teun A. van Dijk, and Joe Feagin.
Interesting: It seems that half of them have something else in common as well. These (((fellow white people))) get top billing, too. Coincidence? The intro drags on, almost defensively stating that whites have something to contribute, concluding with this:
My books are only a few of the numerous books on the topic, and white people can and should read many books on racism, especially those written by Black [sic] people and other people of color. But for far too long, because white people tend to see race as “not our problem,” we have off-loaded the work of anti-racism onto BIPOC people and exempted ourselves from the conversation. In this way, we protect and uphold white supremacy while falsely maintaining racial innocence.
I’m bursting into tears of guilt over here. Up next is a dippy analogy referencing Audre Lorde’s “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” Whatever. Then:
My aim is to use my platform to break with white solidarity, decenter whiteness by exposing its workings, interrupt white denial of racism, and motivate white people to act toward a more racially just society.
We already know what a stalwart defender of her people she is. After that is a section on terminology, including the aforementioned capitalization inconsistency:
John Daniszewski, the AP’s vice president for standards, wrote: “We agree that white people’s skin color plays into systemic inequalities and injustices, and we want our journalism to robustly explore these problems. . . . But capitalizing the term “white,” as is done by white supremacists, risks subtly conveying legitimacy to such beliefs.” The Columbia Journalism Review, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, NBC News, and the Chicago Tribune are among the organizations that have recently stated they will capitalize “Black” [sic] but not white. “White doesn’t represent a shared culture and history in the way Black [sic] does,” the New York Times explained. While I argue here that “white” does represent a shared history and culture in a racialized sense, I follow these norms and capitalize “Black” [sic] but not “white.”
“Norms,” is it? No, these are word games tailored to reach a desired outcome. In this case, the slick-talking Lügenpresse munchkins justify the deliberate capitalization inconsistency without admitting that it’s about petty signaling of disrespect. “White doesn’t represent a shared culture and history” is insulting by itself. (That’s basically the same sophistry that Ta-Nehisi Coates was peddling by using weird monikers like “the Dreamers” and “new people who . . . believe they are white” to deny that we exist, while bitterly bellyaching about us in the next breath.) This disingenuous gaslighting would be like saying that African-Americans aren’t real, since they’re only a jumble of assorted Congoid tribesmen, now with little in common besides liking fried chicken, basketball, and expensive tennis shoes. And despite the fact that the Party Line is that whites aren’t an actual race like blacks, the confusion mysteriously disappears when they’re blaming whites for everything that’s wrong with the world.
Finally, the intro wraps up with a word of explanation:
This book is a follow-up to White Fragility. I do not set out to establish that systemic racism and white supremacy exist as I did in that book. Nor do I set out to establish that all white people receive, absorb, and are influenced by the racist messages continuously circulating across the society we live in. Rather, I proceed from these premises and assume that my readers do too. In White Fragility, I made a claim that white progressives cause the most daily harm to Black [sic], Indigenous [sic], and other racialized people. Here I will explain some of the specific ways we do so. Because many of these ways may be less obvious, they are also more insidious.
This isn’t the 101 course: It assumes preexisting belief in the above-mentioned tautologies. As one might guess from the title, the intended audience includes activist types, professional do-gooders, Social Justice Warriors, etc. For those who missed Snowflake’s third ethnomasochistic tome, this fourth one makes some pretty huge unsupported assertions. Moreover, the flogging is targeted at the “white progressives” who “cause the most daily harm” to the precious People Of Capitalization, allegedly in particularly insidious ways. I have to wonder why her audience keeps coming back for more of this browbeating. Do the prog-zombies enjoy getting their faces pissed on? If that’s what twists their nipples, then they need a better hobby than “anti-racism.”
What is a nice racist?
The first chapter begins with an anecdote, which is an important part of the text. When Robin DiAngelo was a college pearl-diver, her lesbian lover took her on a double date with a black couple. Snowflake couldn’t stop virtue-signaling:
I was excited and felt an immediate need to let them know I was not racist. To that end, I proceeded to spend the evening telling them how racist my family was. I shared every racist joke, story, and comment I could remember my family ever making. And yes, I shared these in full, uncensored. “Can you believe they said that?” I would ask. I wanted to establish that I would never say those ridiculous and ignorant things because I knew how racist they were and I was not like the rest of my family.
The couple seemed uncomfortable, but I obliviously plowed ahead, ignoring their signals. I was having a great time regaling them with these anecdotes — the proverbial life of the party! After all, my progressive credentials were impeccable: I was a minority myself — a woman in a committed relationship with another woman. I proudly identified as a feminist. I knew how to talk about patriarchy and heterosexism. I was a cool white progressive, not an ignorant racist. Of course, what I was actually demonstrating was how completely oblivious I was.
Did she expect that they’d think she was Joan of Arc for putting down her own family? (Why didn’t Snowflake’s girlfriend save her from further self-embarrassment by nudging her, trying to change the subject, or plugging her big yap with a dinner roll?) It’s true that all this was remarkably gauche. She explains why, here and elsewhere, but the following is my take: The black couple probably realized that she was a self-flagellating weirdo. Even so, constantly bringing up race around them emphasized their differences; the effect was what Leftist academic types call “otherization.” It would be similar to meeting a homosexual and then bringing up anal sex incessantly. There’s wisdom in knowing when to keep one’s yap shut.
After that, Snowflake begins criticizing moderate white Leftists. Bolstering the argument, she quotes from St. Dr. Rev. MLK Jr., the Eternal Plastic Jesus of the civil rights movement. Then there’s this dollop of guilt, a framing tactic with such sheer effrontery that it merits a digression:
As for admonishing the oppressed to “be patient,” legal scholar Michelle Alexander points out that 155 years after the end of chattel slavery, “more African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began.”
That factoid was obviously trotted out to reinforce the Leftist axiom that blacks are an “oppressed” victim group. It shocks the reader without mentioning their vastly disproportionate crime rate, not even trying to explain it away. This inconvenient detail is the real problem — and a very serious one, indeed. The sky-high black crime rate is one of the major impediments to racial harmony. Now Robin DiAngelo has the balls to suggest that whites are the bad guys here.
It’s stunning how readily these types reflexively force all data to fit their ideological dogma, with a crowbar if necessary. Leftists could create an Olympic sport out of confirmation bias. They can’t imagine that black rates of incarceration, probation, and parole could have anything to do with black misbehavior. Much less would they admit that low IQ and low impulse control factor into the problem, or likewise the rebellion for its own sake that was nurtured by decades of grievance politics and nasty ol’ rap music. Someone should inform these legal scholars that not committing crimes does wonders for staying out of trouble.
Moreover, expectations of civility constitute an undue restraint on the precious minorities to bellyache about us:
Note, for example, the common guidelines many white organizations use when setting up discussions on race: assume good intentions, respect differences, speak for yourself. Whose interests do these guidelines serve? They serve white expectations for racial comfort: ensuring niceness and warding off direct challenges. In so doing, they are not accounting for the ever-present dynamics of power, assuming a universal (white) experience, and policing BIPOC (Black [sic], Indigenous [sic], and people of color) people into not engaging with authenticity lest they face the punitive power of white fragility.
After that, she keeps castigating white Leftists for having the wrong attitudes, making the precious People Of Capitalization uncomfortable, und so weiter. For any CivNat wanting to make a misguided “but the Democrats are the real racists” argument, Nice Racism has a gold mine of quotes. In fact, Snowflake does an impressive job throughout the book of repeating herself ad nauseam using different words.
She actually has a point. There’s something shared in common by prog-zombies, and especially white grifters who get a paycheck to be anti-white. The commonality is that they’re far more obsessed with race than skinheads who chew raw meat for breakfast. Even she admits that white Leftists collectively “undermine Black [sic] people daily in ways both harder to identify and easier to deny” more than White Nationalists. According to Snowflake, white Leftists are getting their approach to race relations all wrong. That much is true, of course, but it’s for very different reasons than she thinks.
As one might expect, she’s not scolding any other race about their behavior. Surely, asking the precious minorities to dial down on the truculence or bad attitudes would constitute “policing” them “into not engaging with authenticity” and all that. Then, here’s another precious gem, right from the Herbert Marcuse Academy of Double Standards:
Professor of media Melissa Phruksachart notes, “White feelings structure the everyday realities of BIPOC in ways that engender material consequences, such as the toxic bodily tolls of allostatic load and minority stress.” “Allostatic load” refers to the wear and tear on the body, which accumulates as an individual is exposed to chronic stress. When this load is due to chronic racial stress, health researcher Arline Geronimus termed the consequences “racial weathering.” Racial weathering is the result of systemic injustice — which is not just policies but the million daily cuts inflicted by unaware white people, including progressives.
Golly, aren’t we such a toxic race? If the psychobabble above is to be believed, even those of us who walk on eggshells to avoid offending the sacred BIPOX are offending them, anyway. Did it ever occur to Mesdames Phruksachart and Geronimus (why do they so often have names like this? Why?) that multiracialism isn’t always a bed of roses for us? Again, there’s the obviously elevated crime rate we have to put up with; those aren’t the microaggressions that Leftists fashionably moan about, but rather macroaggressions. Other than that, our wise politicians are determined to ruin our people’s future, giving away our homelands to third-worlders who seldom show a scintilla of appreciation for the founding population; some of us find it a bit irksome. I could go on all day about how compulsory diversity is detrimental to us and imposed against our will.
All told, Snowflake generalizes about white Leftists a lot, and obviously knows it, since that’s what the next chapter is about. There are several other whoppers, but I’d have to write another book to refute Nice Racism thoroughly. In brief, one major observation of hers is that white liberals deny being “racists.” Once again, I have to explain the obvious: People tend to dislike having accusations hurled at them. (Who knew, right?) If you try to defend yourself, it’s “white fragility,” which is what her last book was about. If you clam up, that’s bad, too, which her first book explains ad nauseam, and there’s a refresher in this one as well.
She also says these normie-libs don’t even like discussing “racism.” For a representative example:
At an impasse, the group brought in facilitators to mediate. The facilitators conducted an exercise to allow the people of color to share the impact of the white resistance. The members of color expressed their deep disappointment about the degree of white fragility and their hurtful surprise at the white members’ lack of anti-racist skills and understanding. Still, the majority of white people remained resistant and took the feedback very personally; the facilitators described their efforts as being met with a “wall of white defensiveness.”
Well, the problem with these “conversations about race” is that they’re struggle sessions rather than real dialogues, and nobody is supposed to raise even mild dissent about the Party Line. That’s as much fun as a cactus suppository. As ethnomasochistic as normie-libs are, even they have their limits, but there’s no safe word. Again, staying silent isn’t an option. Later, Snowflake heaps blame on whites who clam up during these samokritika fiestas.
Why it’s okay to generalize about white people
Yes, the above is literally the title of the second chapter. Scintillating, isn’t it? The text opens with an irate email criticizing her for generalizing about white people, rather than judging everyone for the content of their character — poor, unappreciated Robin! The address it came from, [email protected], seems curious, and is perhaps a product of Snowflake’s fertile imagination.
She then describes individualism as a narrative “that creates, communicates, reproduces, and reinforces the concept that we are all unique and that our group memberships (such as our race, class, or gender) are not important or relevant to our opportunities.” Now this –and you knew it was coming!
Individualism is a deeply imbedded narrative in Western cultures, and it plays a particularly important role in the maintenance of white supremacy.
This makes for a curious contrast to Ayn Rand’s assertion that “racism” is a crude kind of collectivism. That’s not to say that I endorse that sentiment either, but yanno . . . The key to unwinding this is that wokesters want whites to recognize the right of other peoples to act collectively, yet not assert any collective interests and rights of their own, or even pride in their heritage. Back to Snowflake:
People who raise an objection to generalizing about white people may be confusing speaking about people at the group level with stereotyping. Stereotyping occurs when we take a trait demonstrated by one or a few members of a social group and project that trait onto all members of that group.
Now that’s some Talmudic-league hair splitting right there. So if I were to look at official crime statistics and observe that a certain race comprises an eighth of the population, but commits over half the violent crimes, then am I legitimately generalizing or unfairly stereotyping? Let me guess: I’m obviously stereotyping, because I’m describing blacks, and everything those cuddly darkies do wrong is our fault. QED.
Making statements about well-documented social patterns and outcomes such as “Our institutions were set up to advantage white people” and “White identity is shaped by the ubiquitous messages of white superiority that circulate in the culture at large” is not the same as stereotyping. Systemic racism is well documented throughout society and across history.
Leftists are endowed with the ability to pull axioms out of their asses and expect the audience never to challenge them. By hand-waving it as “well-documented,” she doesn’t even feel the need to find some Leftist propaganda textbook to cite that says these things. Neither must she explain why — assuming that “systemic racism” works the way she thinks it does — mouthing off about whites is permitted, while the mildest, well-grounded criticism of other races is taboo — and why “affirmative action” is official policy, but discriminating against non-whites is illegal.
Although I could recap a lot more slick talk from the Variations and Fugue on the Theme Of Why Individualism Is Problematic sonata, this is getting pretty long as it is. The above quotes should give you a fairly good idea of the overall tenor. I’ll have to hand it to Snowflake for wrapping together quite an impressive tapestry of Leftist special pleading, disingenuousness, and double standards. I’m not sure how much was original and how much was Professor Dorkheimer’s distilled talking points, but it adds up to an amazing pile of poppycock.
* * *
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I understand that some unfortunate souls have to sit through these struggle sessions to keep their jobs, but who would listen by choice to this aggressively anti-intellectual crap? This is virtue signaling taken to an obscene extreme, and I’ve mentioned somewhere else Ms. DiAngelo’s stringy neck won’t be spared from the guillotine.
From the customer book reviews, there are lots of leftists who eat this up like candy. I know it’s a long shot, but I hope this will make at least a few of them reconsider following this false prophet.
As for Snowflake’s ultimate destiny, I’m tempted to say something witty, but instead I’ll just say that I hope her next book will be titled I Was Wrong About Everything.
Thanks for the update on this particular traitor’s most recent bilge.
It was good of her to include in the book John Denisewski’s (VP Standards at Associated Press) tortured reasoning for not capitalising ‘White’. That may be useful. Although Wikipedia’s early life of Denisewski is blank he is married with children, to one Dru Menaker ( a jewish or Jewish surname ) and they of course abide in New York. She (one assumes the sex here) is the Chief Operating officer for PEN America, formerly PEN America Center, founded in 1922, to protect freedom of expression in the US and abroad. Booth Tarkington was the first president and the international organisation was headed by John Galsworthy. It sounds a bit like a Communist front but Robert Frost is listed as a founding member, and so is Eugene O’Neill. Fortunately the current CEO is the thoroughly cosmopolitan Suzanne Nossel, whose grandparents were of course refugees from the ‘Nazis’. Evidently a smart cookie, Wikipedia says MCL at Harvard and Harvard Law, she is committed to free expression, having been inspired to pursue human rights by her grandparents traumatic relocation in the 1930s to the black slums of South Africa (or it might have been an idyllic white paradise).
Since you mentioned it, I did a little looking around, and I think your answer is here: DANISZEWSKI – daniszewski meaning – Jewish Genealogy (hebrewsurnames.com)
At first I figured old Johnny boy might be a wayward member of Lech’s folk – a garden-variety Polack, you know, the kind who likes beer, potatoes, pierogi, and sausage, and has a near-perfect bowling score. Looks like I was wrong about that!
Come to think of it, that kind of seems to play into a certain stereotype, now doesn’t it? Unfortunately, by playing word games like that, he degrades the reputation of his noble Hebrew ancestors. How embarrassing for them! They should stop doing that.
My reaction nowadays to blacks (Blacks?) after 60 years of conscious awareness of their existence and convoluted needs, and after enduring hours of college-level-scholarly lectures from ‘Ms. Snowflake’ types such as DeAngelo’s above, has left me vacant as to their rants, and instead seeking solace in “I See Nothing, I Hear Nothing” as the good sergeant in “Hogan’s Heros’s” wisely enunciated when placed in totally bewildering and inescapable plight. Isn’t that nice?
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