Last week we reported on the release of a new documentary film – Great American Race Game. We had the chance to ask the director, Martin Durkin, a few questions. Below is one of them and his answer to it.
Q: Clearly the left has exploited white guilt. Are there ways in which outside parties can have a meaningful positive impact on American race relations without apologizing for who they are?
A: I think we should forget all this nonsense about ‘white guilt’. If someone is a racist (I mean a real racist, not just someone whom the Left wants to smear) then they’re guilty. If they’re not racist, they’re not guilty. Period. The whole idea of ‘white’ people, as opposed to ‘black’ people, is a terrible legacy of racism that should be consigned to the historical dustbin. We should all oppose racism. We should also oppose the manipulative use of race and racism for cynical political purposes.
Not long after I sent my question to his office, I noticed a flaw in my choice of words. After some reflection, I have to thank Mr. Durkin for granting me the premise of my question and kindly answering without berating me for my ignorance.
The political left has exploited white guilt to the point that it could be mistaken for a parody of hypocrisy if they didn’t take themselves so seriously. There should be some way to positively impact race relations without having to apologize about who you are.
What I didn’t fully consider is the fact that there are no outside parties in the discussion of race. We are all forced to come to terms with it, no matter if we are interested or not. This is not to repeat some garble about implicit bias or critical race theory. Only that we must know where we stand so that those who traffic in the ideas of white fragility and supposed anti-racism won’t be able to convince us otherwise.
Those of us who aren’t racist and aren’t old enough to have experienced state-sanctioned Jim Crowe era racism find ourselves reluctantly in the middle of someone else’s argument. The ugly truths of racism are somewhat of an unknown. For many, it’s somewhat like being at a restaurant and overhearing a quarrel at another table, only to find out it’s between the guests and an innocent busboy because another table was served out of turn. You already have your food but didn’t see when the other table was seated. What are you to do? If you go on eating, you could feel dispassionate. If you offer your food, others may assume that you knew you were guilty. Consider that if you hadn’t overheard the argument in the first place, you could have gone on eating with no potential involvement. Nonetheless, you have overheard, and now you are involved.
So, to reflect on the error in my question – who could possibly be an outside party in the broad and sweeping discussion of race relations in the United States? Well, this would have to be a person without a race. That is to say, no one. You would have to make yourself into an amorphous being, neither black nor white, neither Hispanic nor Asian, to render yourself an outside party to this discussion. You would need to have no culture, no family history, and no heritage. If you have no standing in the discussion on race, you must be like the children in Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World, born with no family association, and a heritage rooted only in the present politics of the state. This non-identity is neither possible nor desirable.
However, the left would like nothing more than to convince Americans that forgetting their culture is much better, and easier than having a firm footing in our shared western heritage and the framework it provides for our society. If we forget the reasons for our values, we become morally adrift – subject to the very real bullying and intimidation of modern cancel culture. If we remain grounded in our faith, that all men were created in God’s own image, we have nothing to worry about.
The profiteers and politicians who sell books about critical race theory and get votes by race-baiting and slandering their opponents stand no chance against the truth. These societal leeches pick and irritate the wounds of our collective past to use the pain of guilt as blackmail against us. If we have no guilt, we shouldn’t have to suffer the pain of it. Our best shot at affecting positive change is to emphasize the hypocrisy of the cancel culture mob and the cowardice of those who submit to it.