In the last article I shared a story about a girl I met in Mexico who asked me “Why can’t men just act naturally?”
The conversation didn’t end on this subject. It went on to immigration, sexuality and white guilt.
Before I go on, let me say I wouldn’t cover this topic unless it was something that repeatedly cropped up in offline conversation, not just with women, but even with some of my liberal male friends.
White Guilt is a hot and trendy topic amongst millennials. The basic premise is that white people, more specifically white heterosexual males, should be aware of their white privilege, their history of oppressing minorities, and be overtly conscious of it.
The Wikipedia entry reads:
White guilt is the individual or collective guilt felt by some white people for harm resulting from racist treatment of ethnic minorities by other white people both historically and currently.
Basically, this girl told me I should always be checking my white privilege, because white people are racist, and responsible for most of the bad things that happen in the world. Awareness was the key, to something.
The conversation didn’t end well.
“So, if I acknowledge my white privilege, what next?” I asked her.
“That’s all. You just need to be aware.”
“Be aware of my privilege?”
“Yes. That’s a start.”
“What if I am aware, but I just don’t care?”
“Don’t care about what?”
“You have to!”
“Why should I feel guilty for something I didn’t do? Why should I feel guilty for being born white? I didn’t choose to be born white, or where.” I said.
“You didn’t choose to be white, but you must be aware of your white privilege.”
“I am aware. I just don’t care, because it’s pointless.”
“You don’t care about people!?”
“No. I care deeply about people. I just don’t feel guilty for something that happened before I was even born. And I refuse to feel guilty for being born this colour. And if you’re thinking about slavery, or the oppression of women, well every single culture in the world has bought and sold slaves, and oppressed women. Many still are. It’s not solely the legacy of white men.
“I just read this book,” I continued, “called “Civilization,” a fantastic book about the history of civilizations, and I learned that European nations have only been on top for a short time. Before that, the Asian and Arab nations were the world’s superpowers. Africa was the #1 exporter of slaves. The Aztecs and Mayans used slaves to build their empires. The Africans even sold their own people to Arab nations. What I’m saying is, why should I feel guilty for being white when people of all colours and nations have committed atrocities? Oppression isn’t solely the domain of white people. Neither is privilege.”
Her cheeks turned a sort of crimson. She started grinding her jaw. “Yeah, but that was like, hundreds of years ago. I’m talking about now.”
“Now is the best time to be alive in the history of man.” I said. “White people have done a pretty good job.”
“You think what!?” She exclaimed. “You can’t be serious?!”
“Totally. Well, there are oil wars, and global warming, and the slavery. But we have smart phones, equality, modern medicine, air conditioning, cool clothes, cheap electricity, Internet, there are no world wars, our water is clean, we can afford cars, and vacations. White countries are some of the best countries to live in, aren’t they? It’s not just white people. But capitalist democratic nations and their people. We’re not dying of plagues or anything. Life is easy and good here.”
“I can’t believe! I just can’t believe what you’re saying! What about the colonialism, the refugee crisis was caused by that.”
“If you’re talking about Syria. They made their choice. They wanted a civil war and they have one.”
“But all those people need help. It’s our fault.”
“No, it’s not.”
“Yes it is!”
“So, I should feel guilty about Syria?”
“We should let them come here. Let them in.”
“I agree it’s sad, and I want to help them. But you can’t help everyone. You just can’t. And it’s easy for you to say you want to help them, but would you want a million Muslim refugees to set up camp in your neighbourhood? You have opinions because you read blog posts on the Internet from your first world apartment. A religion that segregates and oppresses women, that tosses gay people off roof tops? Mohammed raped and beat his nine year old wife. That’s the religion they follow. You need to integrate people slowly to allow the moderates in, and not the extremists.”
“I can’t even.”
“This whole thing in my opinion, comes down to female nurturing instinct, vs male protection instinct. Women want to help and nurture all of the world, and men want to protect their women, friends children and resources. We balance each other. Well, we’re supposed to. But now things are not balanced. Gender and race relations are the worst they’ve been in decades, mostly because people spend too much time reading the Internet. The media is biased and brainwashes us.
“It’s like that show the walking dead. When a bunch of people land at your gate asking to be let in. It’s too risky. In that show, the nice people almost always die.”
“So you would rather they just all die!? Oh my god. I can’t believe what you’re saying! That’s so…”
“Racist? No. I just want to use rationality and logic. I want to protect my people. And I don’t mean white people. Oh, you don’t want to understand.”
“I just can’t believe you don’t want to help people. I can’t believe you won’t recognize your privilege.”
I took a bite of my taco. Was I racist? Am I a bad man? Am I on the wrong side? No, I thought. I’m not. I’m just not brainwashed. I didn’t go to University. I didn’t take gender studies or liberal arts, or whatever is filling Millennials with these crazy ideas.
And at that moment, I realized, I won’t hook up with this girl. She’s one of…them. The people who try to destroy your life and career because you have a different opinion. That try to fight racism by segregating. That try to fight sexism by focusing on gender. That try to play strong and empowered by whining about trivialities. She is part of the new religion of hating white men, and not to be dated.
So I decided to troll her.
“Well look,” I continued, “we’re here in Mexico because our system is so awesome that we can come here and exploit the Mexican economy. Isn’t that what you’re doing now? Using your first world privilege in order to travel to exotic third world countries and live cheaply and hedonistically?”
“I can’t even.” She huffed, stood up, then sat down. “You are saying I’m exploiting the Mexicans?”
“Well. Yes. You are.”
“Oh my god. You sound like a Trump supporter.”
“I’m not a Trump or a Hillary supporter. I’m just not about to be intellectually bullied into admitting guilt for something I have no control over. Unless you go now to the nearest Mexican and give him your Iphone, which was invented by a white man, then you are just regurgitating the same narrative I’ve had crammed down my throat since kindergarten. The whole concept of white guilt is racist because it puts focus on race, rather than individual character or foreign policy.”
Her skin grew a darker shade of red. She dug her nails into the table.
I didn’t want to fight with her, as she was pretty, and a nice girl. We were swimming earlier and laughing it up, talking about travel, food, and all that. I should know better than to discuss politics with political minded women. But it was too much fun. Ego maybe.
“There’s a famous old punk song” I said, “that I used to sing along to in high school called ‘Guilty of Being White.’ The lyrics went: “I’m sorry, For something that I didn’t do, Lynched somebody, But I don’t know who, You blame me for slavery, A hundred years before I was born.’
They were a liberal punk band. I learned from them, and I won’t allow my thoughts to be policed when I knew they were benign.
“There has never been a time in history where women and people of colour have been less oppressed,” I said,”or more equal than now. And countries where the majority of people are white, are by far the most tolerant and accepting in the world. That’s the truth. It’s not racist. I’ve been to other countries and talked to other people. Thai’s, Mexicans, Cambodians, are some of the most racist people I’ve ever met. Nice people, but racist as fuck. The Mexican guy at the restaurant told me yesterday they don’t sell any ‘ching, chang chong food.”
“I have to go. I just, I can’t believe what I’m hearing.”
“That’s ok. It’s because you’ve just never heard it before. But lots of people agree with me.”
“I know they do!” And at that, she stormed back to the hostel.
I finished my Corona, read some Huraki Murakami and went to bed…alone. Which is what happens when you discuss politics with liberal women.