white guilt, give me a break

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Here's a subject that comes up all the time. Just how guilty should "white people" feel about what people in the past with their skin color did?

Me? Here's my view, and sure, I'm white, get over it. If you're white, ask yourself these questions. Have you harmed another person of another race simply because of their race? No? Have you supported such things? No? Then why should you feel guilty? When a person is killed in your community, you may feel sad or even scared, but do you feel guilty? No, of course not, you didn't do it. I'm sorry, but being "white" (we should really call it "pale" because the only true "white people" are albinos, but that's another issue) is something you have no control over which does not constitute any kind of crime.

Then again, some seem to reason to me, that if you're white, and you don't support anti-racist causes, you're therefore helping to keep racism going for other white people. You're not setting a good example, and as your race has caused so much trouble, you have a responsibility to set that example. How reasonable is that? Seriously, what if you actually don't trust that the ACLU has anyone's best interest at heart other than their own? Wouldn't supporting them then actually be counterproductive by very definition? What if you realize you're a freaking limited human being and you can't devote yourself to every cause that comes along and expect to do any good? What if you do indeed have limited finances and/or spare time? What if the cause being discussed is in a situation so far removed from you that you indeed do barely understand what's going on? These aren't exactly extreme what ifs.

Really, to me, white people trying to "make up for what happened" or "feeling guilty" is about as pointless as a group of Japanese folks trying to go on an "I'm sorry" campaign to Korea and China. Their attempt would fall on deaf ears anyway, most likely those who would participate weren't associated with anything they would be apologizing for and it wouldn't help anyway. You want to support an anti racist cause regardless of your race? Go for it! But in the meantime, just concentrate on not being a jerk and don't worry about making up for things you didn't do. Regardless of race, we've all screwed up enough times in our lives and have enough things to say sorry about, without apologizing for the things people who look like us did. Besides, isn't focusing more on a person's color then their character (ie, saying a white person should feel guilty) the very essence of racism anyway?

I've done nothing wrong so I'm not guilty so I don't have the problem. Yes some people in the past did horrible things, I didn't and thus no guilt.

Torkuda:

Then again, some seem to reason to me, that if you're white, and you don't support anti-racist causes, you're therefore helping to keep racism going for other white people. You're not setting a good example, and as your race has caused so much trouble, you have a responsibility to set that example. How reasonable is that? Seriously, what if you actually don't trust that the ACLU has anyone's best interest at heart other than their own? Wouldn't supporting them then actually be counterproductive by very definition? What if you realize you're a freaking limited human being and you can't devote yourself to every cause that comes along and expect to do any good? What if you do indeed have limited finances and/or spare time? What if the cause being discussed is in a situation so far removed from you that you indeed do barely understand what's going on? These aren't exactly extreme what ifs.

It wouldn't be counter-productive to help them, why would it be? You are not your skincolour.

Saying 'There are so many other causes to support' is true, but doesn't mean their cause is unworthy.

Overall, I have never experienced any 'white guilt' or met anyone who does, because I am not my skin-color or my cultural heritage.
HOWEVER, we as a western society are still largely exploiting earth's resources and unfair trade-relations/debt-relations that were set up by generations past. 20% of the population is exploiting 80% of the resources. There's something you can feel guilty about if you don't act in the slightest against it.

People are only responsible for their actions now. Now this would also include the choices you make now in regards to continuing to benefit at the expense of others, and choices as to whether or not to return ill gotten goods to their rightful owners. If I found out that my inherited wealth came from my great grandfather who had obtained such wealth by wrongful actions, I would not desire to keep such wealth, as I would not feel I was the rightful owner. It would be the same if I found out that the ring my fiance gave me was stolen, I would want it returned to the rightful owner, or their family and would not wish to keep it. That is just me though. Everyone makes their own choices in life and makes their own path. It matters not what others think, but what you think you can live with.

For me, I think about the ones who had these things taken from them, and how I would feel if the situation was reversed, how it would be to walk in their shoes and if I had been the one who had things taken from me. I personally could not keep something that only came to me due to harm to others. This is also why I boycott the Diamond industry, but to each their own.

I am not even "white" though, but I don't think race has anything to do with it. I think this is more on a personal level as to what people condone or condemn.

"It wouldn't be counter-productive to help them, why would it be? You are not your skincolour."

If you think they're actually not helping and just championing a cause to help a political party you disagree with and probably even doing more harm than good... Then yes, helping the ACLU would be counter productive for you on the issue.

"Saying 'There are so many other causes to support' is true, but doesn't mean their cause is unworthy."

Saying no man can champion every cause that comes along is not even close to saying what causes are or are not worth your time. But go ahead, go and simultaneously be an American firefighter, run an over seas mission to feed the hungry in Russia and run a search and rescue in Korea. "But one person can't do all that at the same time" you say. But does that mean one of those things isn't a worth while endeavor?

"Overall, I have never experienced any 'white guilt' or met anyone who does, because I am not my skin-color or my cultural heritage.
HOWEVER, we as a western society are still largely exploiting earth's resources and unfair trade-relations/debt-relations that were set up by generations past. 20% of the population is exploiting 80% of the resources. There's something you can feel guilty about if you don't act in the slightest against it."

What do you want me to do about that? I ride a bike and take public transit until I have no option but to carpool, I live in a studio apartment, I only eat what I cook most of the time and I contribute to overseas missions. In any case, who has ever helped a situation by feeling guilty about it? If you think you're participating in making something worse, one idea quite frankly, is to stop whatever it is you think you're doing. It's like the man who feels guilty about beating his wife. Fat lot of good that does if he keeps doing it.

I've heard white guilt talked about more than I've seen it in action. That is not to say I haven't seen white people who feel white guilt, it's just less of a widespread thing than you would think from spending time in the Internet.

Also,

Is there a specific example of white guilt that you are upset about or is it just a generic sense of militant disinterested in world affairs?

Lil devils x:
People are only responsible for their actions now. Now this would also include the choices you make now in regards to continuing to benefit at the expense of others, and choices as to whether or not to return ill gotten goods to their rightful owners. If I found out that my inherited wealth came from my great grandfather who had obtained such wealth by wrongful actions, I would not desire to keep such wealth, as I would not feel I was the rightful owner. It would be the same if I found out that the ring my fiance gave me was stolen, I would want it returned to the rightful owner, or their family and would not wish to keep it. That is just me though. Everyone makes their own choices in life and makes their own path. It matters not what others think, but what you think you can live with.

For me, I think about the ones who had these things taken from them, and how I would feel if the situation was reversed, how it would be to walk in their shoes and if I had been the one who had things taken from me. I personally could not keep something that only came to me due to harm to others. This is also why I boycott the Diamond industry, but to each their own.

I am not even "white" though, but I don't think race has anything to do with it. I think this is more on a personal level as to what people condone or condemn.

Can't speak to the whole diamonds issue, couldn't afford one if I wanted one and have no one to give one to.

I can answer what I would do if someone robbed an ancestor of mine and their third or fourth generation offspring was living off somewhere on that land or whatever quite happily. I sincerely hope that I would do nothing at all. After all, I'm living alright, why should I bother them? There's enough blood shed in the world without me trying to revive some feud like that.

If you mean, "what if your dad stole something recently and there was still something you could do?" I guess then I would look into it.

Has anyone ever noticed that white guilt is almost always brought up in the negative sense? Nobody ever says 'us white people should feel guilty,' no. And its always about 'crimes' committed in the past, never about recent or current 'crimes'.

Like because slavery got abolished, somehow racism 'doesn't exist anymore'.

Oh it exist. It always will. But the definition of racism is not "not liking black people". It's, hating someone because of their skin color or nationality, or discriminating against them for the same reason. Actually I have talked to people, white and otherwise, telling me I should feel bad and be made to fix things I never broke and can't fix anyway. Why? Because I'm white.

More to the point, sure, if I saw a black person being attacked on the bus I would try to help him, but that's not generally something you see happening in midwest Oregon. Otherwise, no, I'm not gonna head over to Texas to deal with those creeps in the KKK. You think a 29 year old aspiring cartoonist with minimal fire arms experience could do much anyway?

Torkuda:
Oh it exist. It always will. But the definition of racism is not "not liking black people". It's, hating someone because of their skin color or nationality, or discriminating against them for the same reason. Actually I have talked to people, white and otherwise, telling me I should feel bad and be made to fix things I never broke and can't fix anyway. Why? Because I'm white.

You seem to have missed the point. The point was not about black people or slavery at all, but about the attitude behind the refuting of 'white guilt'. By relegating 'white guilt' to the past it ignores ongoing structural problems that continue to plague minorities and denies the difficulty faced by disenfranchised people.

Torkuda:
Oh it exist. It always will. But the definition of racism is not "not liking black people". It's, hating someone because of their skin color or nationality, or discriminating against them for the same reason. Actually I have talked to people, white and otherwise, telling me I should feel bad and be made to fix things I never broke and can't fix anyway. Why? Because I'm white.

Do you feel that 'not liking black people' doesn't come out in your body language and actions, thus further marginalizing a minority? I would say thats a perfect example of racism. Yes, not liking black people because they are black, or because of percieved traits you attribute to black people in general is racism.

As far as white guilt goes, I don't feel guilty for what white people 200 years ago did. I do feel guilty though (and try to stay mindful of) the privelege I have as a hetero white man here and today, which was enabled because of the white people of the past, and perpetuated by white people today. I find nothing wrong with feeling guilt over that, mainly because for a long time, I wasn't aware of it, and thus was complicit.

And perhaps you could drop the revenge fantasies on behalf of another and examine what you can do to combat social injustices.

When you support politicians who seek to enact legislation which castigates minority groups based on ethnicity and/or race, then yes, you should feel guilty. But that's also a much larger issue.

Jux:

Torkuda:
Oh it exist. It always will. But the definition of racism is not "not liking black people". It's, hating someone because of their skin color or nationality, or discriminating against them for the same reason. Actually I have talked to people, white and otherwise, telling me I should feel bad and be made to fix things I never broke and can't fix anyway. Why? Because I'm white.

Do you feel that 'not liking black people' doesn't come out in your body language and actions, thus further marginalizing a minority? I would say thats a perfect example of racism. Yes, not liking black people because they are black, or because of percieved traits you attribute to black people in general is racism.

As far as white guilt goes, I don't feel guilty for what white people 200 years ago did. I do feel guilty though (and try to stay mindful of) the privelege I have as a hetero white man here and today, which was enabled because of the white people of the past, and perpetuated by white people today. I find nothing wrong with feeling guilt over that, mainly because for a long time, I wasn't aware of it, and thus was complicit.

And perhaps you could drop the revenge fantasies on behalf of another and examine what you can do to combat social injustices.

Sure, I've got a bike, live in an apartment on about minimum wage and doubt the motives of most activist groups, I'll go do... what? Give a begger of any skin color food or a bus ticket for the asking? Done that several times. Direct poor people to my church which runs a self help charity? Check. Try to learn about the issue? Sure. Feel guilty about things I didn't do? Screw that.

As far as my body language... um, no. In Alaska during my childhood my favorite pastor was a black man from Africa with a heavy accent, I had both friends and enemies who were black. As an adult the only time I ever feel threatened by a black person is in situations I would feel threatened by a white person. Maybe if YOU don't function this way, you should evaluate why not.

Why do I keep referring to racist actions as things I haven't done, precisely because, I haven't. I have sins of my own to account for, I'm not accounting for someone else's.

Torkuda:
Sure, I've got a bike, live in an apartment on about minimum wage and doubt the motives of most activist groups, I'll go do... what? Give a begger of any skin color food or a bus ticket for the asking? Done that several times. Direct poor people to my church which runs a self help charity? Check. Try to learn about the issue? Sure. Feel guilty about things I didn't do? Screw that.

As far as my body language... um, no. In Alaska during my childhood my favorite pastor was a black man from Africa with a heavy accent, I had both friends and enemies who were black. As an adult the only time I ever feel threatened by a black person is in situations I would feel threatened by a white person. Maybe if YOU don't function this way, you should evaluate why not.

Why do I keep referring to racist actions as things I haven't done, precisely because, I haven't. I have sins of my own to account for, I'm not accounting for someone else's.

I'm not sure what this tirade is about, but you're not really responding to anything I said. I think your view of 'white guilt' is a very narrow one, and you're completely missing what I said.

I never said your actions specifically were racist. I was countering what you said about the definition of racism, and suggesting that your idea of going out and shooting people was both rediculous and unwarranted, as there are much more realistic things you can do.

Torkuda:
Here's a subject that comes up all the time. Just how guilty should "white people" feel about what people in the past with their skin color did?

"Comes up all the time"? Really? Where do you live where this "comes up all the time"? I could see it being a topic that a teacher might go over in a sociology class, but outside of academia I can't recall this subject repeatedly coming up in conversation.

As for how guilty a White person should feel, about as guilty as Black American should feel about the Hutu committing genocide against the Tutsi people....which is to none at all. Black Americans are not responsible for the actions of the Hutu people and White people are not responsible for the actions of previous generations.

Torkuda:

I'm sorry, but being "white" is something you have no control over which does not constitute any kind of crime.

True.

Torkuda:
Then again, some seem to reason to me, that if you're white, and you don't support anti-racist causes, you're therefore helping to keep racism going for other white people. You're not setting a good example, and as your race has caused so much trouble, you have a responsibility to set that example.

Then those are people that you should not waste by giving them any attention. Let them make their angry blog post on Tumblr but don't respond/react/pay attention to what they write.

Torkuda:
How reasonable is that? Seriously, what if you actually don't trust that the ACLU has anyone's best interest at heart other than their own? Wouldn't supporting them then actually be counterproductive by very definition? What if you realize you're a freaking limited human being and you can't devote yourself to every cause that comes along and expect to do any good? What if you do indeed have limited finances and/or spare time? What if the cause being discussed is in a situation so far removed from you that you indeed do barely understand what's going on? These aren't exactly extreme what ifs.

Again, your better off letting them make their rants on their blog/tumblr and paying no attention to it than trying to convince them that you are not responsible for the actions of over a million strangers.

Torkuda:
Really, to me, white people trying to "make up for what happened" or "feeling guilty" is about as pointless as a group of Japanese folks trying to go on an "I'm sorry" campaign to Korea and China.

.... um, that is a different issue. The issue with Japan, Korea, and China has more to do with the Japanese government apologizing for raping Korean and Chinese women during WWII and then later having signifigant Japanese political figures later saying that Japan shouldn't have to apologies for anything because they never raped any Korean or Chinese women. The fact that Yasukuni Shrine has the names of Class-A war criminals there and that Prime Ministers have gone their doesn't help the situation. To give an comparison, its like if the US had the president say that slavery never happened and that Black Americans should stop "lying" about the past and "just get over it". Obviously, Black America would be justifiably be angry if the US government denied the fact that the ancestors of Black Americans were forced to live as slaves.

So in other words, that comparison doesn't hold up.

Torkuda:
Their attempt would fall on deaf ears anyway, most likely those who would participate weren't associated with anything they would be apologizing for and it wouldn't help anyway. You want to support an anti racist cause regardless of your race? Go for it! But in the meantime, just concentrate on not being a jerk and don't worry about making up for things you didn't do.

Agreed.

Torkuda:
Regardless of race, we've all screwed up enough times in our lives and have enough things to say sorry about, without apologizing for the things people who look like us did. Besides, isn't focusing more on a person's color then their character (ie, saying a white person should feel guilty) the very essence of racism anyway?

Yes, and it is also a perfect example of collective guilt.

Jux:

Torkuda:
Sure, I've got a bike, live in an apartment on about minimum wage and doubt the motives of most activist groups, I'll go do... what? Give a begger of any skin color food or a bus ticket for the asking? Done that several times. Direct poor people to my church which runs a self help charity? Check. Try to learn about the issue? Sure. Feel guilty about things I didn't do? Screw that.

As far as my body language... um, no. In Alaska during my childhood my favorite pastor was a black man from Africa with a heavy accent, I had both friends and enemies who were black. As an adult the only time I ever feel threatened by a black person is in situations I would feel threatened by a white person. Maybe if YOU don't function this way, you should evaluate why not.

Why do I keep referring to racist actions as things I haven't done, precisely because, I haven't. I have sins of my own to account for, I'm not accounting for someone else's.

I'm not sure what this tirade is about, but you're not really responding to anything I said. I think your view of 'white guilt' is a very narrow one, and you're completely missing what I said.

I never said your actions specifically were racist. I was countering what you said about the definition of racism, and suggesting that your idea of going out and shooting people was both rediculous and unwarranted, as there are much more realistic things you can do.

My idea of going out and shooting people? Oh you mean my idea about fighting a ligit white supremest terrorist organization? I was saying I couldn't do it, but in actuality, if I could I would.

You also talked about my body language, which no, I don't have problems with black people regarding my body language that I am aware of. I am able to discuss anything I want with them maturely, so I doubt my body language has evolved to counter a situation I haven't had. A few weeks ago I even discussed racism openly with a black classmate who is still in my class, that I still joke with on a regular basis. I have to remind myself that he is black, because frankly, I didn't care then and I don't care now.

I suppose you meant I could improve my body language as an example, but it's a poor example. A better example would be that if I found a cause I could get behind on the issue, I could get behind it.

And yes, I do get riled up and passionate about racial issues. I seriously wish our representatives and activist groups would do something about school zones that continue to make it difficult for black parents to send their kids to better schools. I wish the government would finally recognize the KKK as a terrorist organization. And finally I'm pissed off that the ACLU seems more concerned about the ballot offices closing early in select states, than either of those issues. Actually a member of the ACLU admitted to my face on the issue of districting that he felt it was a "shame" that his group wasn't seriously addressing the issue. I inform my friends about these things and most of my stories as a writer are about learning to rise above and fight against prejudice. Do I think I deserve a medal, of course not, but no, I feel no guilt.

I don't think anyone particularly cares about the emotional state.

It's more your ability to recognise an objective reality of discrimination, act to help encourage equality and well-being where it's needed out of basic human empathy and perhaps (just perhaps) pay special attention to the kinds of inequality which have advantaged you at a cost to others because you are still directly profiting from discrimination even if you aren't responsible for it's origins.

Torkuda:
Here's a subject that comes up all the time. Just how guilty should "white people" feel about what people in the past with their skin color did?

Well, hi there!

It's been a while since we've had a good "White Guilt" post, so let's go over and prepare the ground a bit.

1) It's not "in the past".

Racism and colonialism continue to have lasting impact on the world we live in. Not often as directly as they did in the past, but they do. Why are people in Bangladesh working 14 hour shifts in sweatshops while you and I don't have to? Why are so many non-white Americans crammed into socially isolated poor areas with few prospects? Why are right-wing academics getting paid by the US government to write books about how Muslims and Africans are part of a fundamentally different "civilization" which must be seen as incompatible or hostile to our own?

These things are not 100 years ago. They're not 50 years ago. They're today. They're affecting people's lives right now as we speak.

2) "Guilt" is a highly inappropriate term for what is being asked in this case.

What is increasingly being asked of so-called white people in the modern world is not guilt, but recognition. In particular, recognition of the enormous benefits they have incurred and continue to incur as a result of being white, of not having that historical legacy of persecution which has resulted in systemic social inequality, of not having to deal with being constantly stereotyped and marked, of being able to just live your life and be a normal person and not specifically having to deal with being perceived as a special class of "white person" all the time (because, you know, there's no such thing).

If you genuinely feel that doing that constitutes guilt, that being asked to recognize that you actually have an ethnicity somehow means you're being lumped in with everyone else who ever had approximately the same ethnicity. then that in itself is a problem. It's a really big problem, because how the hell are you meant to be an effective antiracist if you can't accept that you, yourself, are the product of a society in which racism exists, not just in the past but today, and which you (whether you are racist or not) have in all probability benefited enormously from.

3) "White guilt" is only ever used in a politically reactionary way.

Have you noticed that the only people who use the term "white guilt" are defensive white people who are generally not being asked to feel guilt at all?

For example, if "white guilt" comes up in the context of a discussion on colonialism, it will inevitably be in the form of an argument that merely talking about or discussing colonialism (or focusing on the abuses, horrors and atrocities it entailed rather than the supposed and fallacious "benefits" it entailed for colonized people) constitutes an attack on white people. Now, given your opening premise that white people shouldn't have to feel any connection to their ancestors who did horrible things, why would any given white person feel upset or defensive about discussing the horrors of colonialism?

Look back at your own post. Essentially what you're saying is that you don't feel you should be judged for not caring about or challenging racism, but why not? Who in this world doesn't have the right to judge you for being actively disinterested in something which is very, very important to many people's material existence? If being judged upsets you, maybe you should ask yourself why instead of instantly accusing everyone of trying to impose "white guilt" on you.

..Because what people are generally saying is not "you should feel bad about other people's racism". If that's what your hearing, then again, it makes your opening premise ring pretty hollow. What people are asking is that you take responsibility for yourself and how you are in the world, and if you don't care about racism and don't want to contribute to a project of bringing about social justice for those affected by racism because it's "not in your interests", you can be held responsible for that decision.

I disagree with you so I'm clearly trying to excuse not doing anything and am trying to rewrite history huh? This despite what I said I actually do, and never trying to rewrite anything to your knowledge. Oh and good job with the whole putting words in my mouth thing. I should have known better than to start this discussion.

Torkuda:
My idea of going out and shooting people? Oh you mean my idea about fighting a ligit white supremest terrorist organization? I was saying I couldn't do it, but in actuality, if I could I would.

That's more than a bit disturbing.

Torkuda:
You also talked about my body language, which no, I don't have problems with black people regarding my body language that I am aware of. I am able to discuss anything I want with them maturely, so I doubt my body language has evolved to counter a situation I haven't had. A few weeks ago I even discussed racism openly with a black classmate who is still in my class, that I still joke with on a regular basis. I have to remind myself that he is black, because frankly, I didn't care then and I don't care now.

You mean this? If it wasn't clear, I was using the impersonal 'your'. I don't know you personally, so I figured that it was a given that I wasn't speaking directly to your body language.

Do you feel that 'not liking black people' doesn't come out in your body language and actions, thus further marginalizing a minority? I would say thats a perfect example of racism. Yes, not liking black people because they are black, or because of percieved traits you attribute to black people in general is racism.

Torkuda:
And yes, I do get riled up and passionate about racial issues. I seriously wish our representatives and activist groups would do something about school zones that continue to make it difficult for black parents to send their kids to better schools. I wish the government would finally recognize the KKK as a terrorist organization. And finally I'm pissed off that the ACLU seems more concerned about the ballot offices closing early in select states, than either of those issues. Actually a member of the ACLU admitted to my face on the issue of districting that he felt it was a "shame" that his group wasn't seriously addressing the issue. I inform my friends about these things and most of my stories as a writer are about learning to rise above and fight against prejudice. Do I think I deserve a medal, of course not, but no, I feel no guilt.

I don't see the problem about the ACLU addressing ballot offices closing. Narrower windows for voting affects the poor more, which ammounts to political disenfranchisement. Why does the ACLU need to worry about how the government labels the KKK? The ACLU already has them listed as a hate group.

So you're doing what you can, that's great. I still don't get where this misplaced vitriol is coming from though.

It's better than thinking you're a victim. At least it puts my experience in perspective an context. I wouldn't feel guilty but I'm aware I've got privileges that other don't and understand the context and history as to where those privileges came from. So yeah, I understand that people who look like me were pretty awful to people who don't look like me and therefore I have a bit more comfort as a result. If I understand that I won't be doomed to repeat the ideas of my ancestors.

I've never once seen or heard anybody being asked or told to feel guilty for their race, or the crimes of their race. Examples I have been given are usually people asking for recognition or recompense from the system, rather than guilt.

I've seen people complaining about being told to feel guilty many, many times.

Strawman McFallacy:
It's better than thinking you're a victim. At least it puts my experience in perspective an context. I wouldn't feel guilty but I'm aware I've got privileges that other don't and understand the context and history as to where those privileges came from. So yeah, I understand that people who look like me were pretty awful to people who don't look like me and therefore I have a bit more comfort as a result. If I understand that I won't be doomed to repeat the ideas of my ancestors.

privleges in a western context maybe... but the fact is the majority race will always have "privlege" over the minority race of that given country

their are exceptions of course like minority rule countries like apartheid south africa, or rhodesia....but most the time the majority race will have more "benefits" then the minority race

in China, their is "Han privlege"...as they are the majority race of that country

GameCalmer:

Strawman McFallacy:
It's better than thinking you're a victim. At least it puts my experience in perspective an context. I wouldn't feel guilty but I'm aware I've got privileges that other don't and understand the context and history as to where those privileges came from. So yeah, I understand that people who look like me were pretty awful to people who don't look like me and therefore I have a bit more comfort as a result. If I understand that I won't be doomed to repeat the ideas of my ancestors.

privleges in a western context maybe... but the fact is the majority race will always have "privlege" over the minority race of that given country

their are exceptions of course like minority rule countries like apartheid south africa, or rhodesia....but most the time the majority race will have more "benefits" then the minority race

in China, their is "Han privlege"...as they are the majority race of that country

Well it's also an understanding that white folks have thought of themselves as superior and have done some horrible, horrible things to other races because of that line of thinking. I understand that has shaped much of the landscape of the world today and in understanding that I'm less likely to make actions or opinions without understanding that context.

I understand the economy of Africa is in shambles because of white colonizations, that aboriginals were driven to alcoholism because of subjugation, that black people still have high poverty rates because of slavery.

Again, I'd rather understand that than play the victim of society.

The only time I've heard "white guilt" being brought up is by a conservative, usually during an incredibly racist rant, who doesn't actually have a decent argument against the other side. And usually the behavior that is pointed out as "white guilt" is simply not being a colossal dick to everyone else.

Torkuda:
Here's a subject that comes up all the time. Just how guilty should "white people" feel about what people in the past with their skin color did?

Really? How odd. I've been deeply immersed in liberal environments for years, and I've not once heard anyone anyone propose that anyone should feel guilty about what their ancestors did. Are you sure you're not misrepresenting someone's argument? Perhaps as a way of avoiding having to deal with that thing Santayana warned us about?

Me? Here's my view, and sure, I'm white, get over it.

Such confrontation straight from the get-go. Is it necessary? Do you sincerely think there are people who have a problem with you being white?

(we should really call it "pale" because the only true "white people" are albinos, but that's another issue)

Not to be side-tracked, but this comment is meaningless pedantry. "White" when referring to people doesn't signify the color white any more than "black" refers to that color. It's a race description, not a Crayola label. "Pale" is a terrible way to describe white people, as there are numerous white people who are not pale (anyone who has had a tan for a start) and likewise there are plenty of people from other races who can be pale. Let's not waste time muddying the water by re-hashing the meanings of words that are already perfectly understood.

Really, to me, white people trying to "make up for what happened" or "feeling guilty" is about as pointless as a group of Japanese folks trying to go on an "I'm sorry" campaign to Korea and China.

I wonder if you are aware of the geopolitical issues you're referencing. In recent years there has been a rise in tensions in Asia precisely because it is perceived that Japanese people do not regret Imperial Japanese aggression in WWII. And this perception comes about because I believe in the 1990s, a Japanese PM issued a rather sweeping apology to countries Japan has invaded, and then a large number of subsequent politicians have since then gotten away with gestures like visiting shrines where war criminals from WWII are worshiped as kami or making comments that cause the apology to appear insincere. I've since met Chinese (and I suspect Koreans, though Koreans tend to be socially-savvy with western conversation norms and appear to hide it better) who are deeply uncomfortable with the fact that I have moved to Japan to teach English instead of their countries. A large enough campaign of Japanese people making connections with people from China and Korea, learning first-hand about the consequences of the Japanese invasions and building personal relationships with locals while assuring people that though Japan is willing to defend its territory, it has no aspirations toward conquest of others, would do a lot of good for the area.

I don't think a war in Asia is likely, but due to disagreements about contested islands and provocation between both sides, there is a very real possibility that one wrong step could lead to an actual shooting war between the two countries- and that is something nobody wants. So actually, this whole campaign you're complaining about would be a really good thing for everyone involved.

Torkuda:
Here's a subject that comes up all the time. Just how guilty should "white people" feel about what people in the past with their skin color did?

White people should feel very guilty.

...says just about no-one ever.

The only people making a fuss about white guilt are those who don't want to have to care about racism.

Why should anyone want to make you feel guilty? What good is your guilt to anyone? Go find a discussion about racism, and say "I, as a white person, have decided to feel guilty", see what response you will get[1].

The only use for the concept is to derail discussions of modern racism by strawmanning the opposition as only caring about long forgotten things.

Now, certainly, as a white person in our modern society, you do have white privilege, you have been brought up to view race in a certain way, which is something you really need to address, but guilt is something you do to avoid that while still pretending to care.

[1] Really, really don't do this

Torkuda:

Me? Here's my view, and sure, I'm white, get over it.

I don't think the idea is quite that simple.

I think the idea isn't that you should feel 'guilty'- that is, remorseful, for things in the past that you didn't do.

Rather you should be aware that you are existing in the premier league of life.

Torkuda:

Lil devils x:
People are only responsible for their actions now. Now this would also include the choices you make now in regards to continuing to benefit at the expense of others, and choices as to whether or not to return ill gotten goods to their rightful owners. If I found out that my inherited wealth came from my great grandfather who had obtained such wealth by wrongful actions, I would not desire to keep such wealth, as I would not feel I was the rightful owner. It would be the same if I found out that the ring my fiance gave me was stolen, I would want it returned to the rightful owner, or their family and would not wish to keep it. That is just me though. Everyone makes their own choices in life and makes their own path. It matters not what others think, but what you think you can live with.

For me, I think about the ones who had these things taken from them, and how I would feel if the situation was reversed, how it would be to walk in their shoes and if I had been the one who had things taken from me. I personally could not keep something that only came to me due to harm to others. This is also why I boycott the Diamond industry, but to each their own.

I am not even "white" though, but I don't think race has anything to do with it. I think this is more on a personal level as to what people condone or condemn.

Can't speak to the whole diamonds issue, couldn't afford one if I wanted one and have no one to give one to.

I can answer what I would do if someone robbed an ancestor of mine and their third or fourth generation offspring was living off somewhere on that land or whatever quite happily. I sincerely hope that I would do nothing at all. After all, I'm living alright, why should I bother them? There's enough blood shed in the world without me trying to revive some feud like that.

If you mean, "what if your dad stole something recently and there was still something you could do?" I guess then I would look into it.

I was looking at it from the point of view of " what if I found out" That instead MY grandfather made the wealth I inherited from slavery, fraud, exploiting others, I personally wouldn't want to keep it, instead, if I could not find the families that were directly affected by his actions to help, I would find a charity dealing with those issues caused by such actions. I sure as hell could not keep it knowing how it came to me. I would view that the same as if I had done those actions myself, because I was the one profiting from it.

I wouldn't think the victims should have to do anything, nor would I think they would want to. People should not have to ask for what was stolen from them, instead they should be found if at all possible to return it. If they are being forced to ask for what was taken, something is wrong with the society that thinks they should reward the theft rather than try to give it back to the rightful owners. Rewarding theft only enables theft to increase and continue.

Strawman McFallacy:
Well it's also an understanding that white folks have thought of themselves as superior and have done some horrible, horrible things to other races because of that line of thinking.

Please regale us with the stories about how all of Europe thought exactly like Western Europe and how it wasn't just major players like England, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands that did "horrible, horrible things to other races because of that line of thinking", but in fact countries like Estonia and Latvia also operated under the assumption of "that line of thinking" when they joined Western Europe in colonizing and abusing Africa, Central/South America, and Asia. I only ask because I've never heard of said countries operating under the same assumptions and thus in turn, acting in the same manner that countries like the major players[1] did when they did "horrible, horrible things to [Africa, Asia and the Americas]".

Strawman McFallacy:
I understand the economy of Africa is in shambles because of white colonizations, that aboriginals were driven to alcoholism because of subjugation, that black people still have high poverty rates because of slavery.

"White" colonizations? Really? Are you sure you don't mean specific countries like the major players I listed above or do care to point out at what point of time during the Scramble for Africa that Switzerland or Finland also controlled a major portion of African land?

thaluikhain:

Now, certainly, as a white person in our modern society, you have white privilege

No you don't, no matter how many tumblr SJW [2] blog otherwise.

[1] Said countries would be England, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and the Netherlands.
[2] I'm not calling you a SJW

The only thing making it an issue is people like yourself. Life is exclusionary, that is why 25 species go extinct every day. I am not saying I condone racism or am racist, there is however some people and establishments are, they are however uncommon and becoming more so every year.

I have legitimately only heard of 'white guilt' from media and media parrots.

Please regale us with the stories about how all of Europe thought exactly like Western Europe and how it wasn't just major players like England, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands that did "horrible, horrible things to other races because of that line of thinking", but in fact countries like Estonia and Latvia also operated under the assumption of "that line of thinking" when they joined Western Europe in colonizing and abusing Africa, Central/South America, and Asia. I only ask because I've never heard of said countries operating under the same assumptions and thus in turn, acting in the same manner that countries like the major players[1] did when they did "horrible, horrible things to [Africa, Asia and the Americas]".[/quote]

Well Estonia and Latvia are Baltic states, and thus many Europeans might consider them to be Slavic, rather than white per se.

"White" colonizations? Really? Are you sure you don't mean specific countries like the major players I listed above or do care to point out at what point of time during the Scramble for Africa that Switzerland or Finland also controlled a major portion of African land?

True but also irrelevant. While not every European country participated in Colonization, this does not change the underlying ideologies which were common throughout European thought at the time.

[1] Said countries would be England, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and the Netherlands.

R Man:

Well Estonia and Latvia are Baltic states, and thus many Europeans might consider them to be Slavic, rather than white per se.

I see that you're Australian, so perhaps you guys have a different view of what is considered "White". However here in the US, Slavic/East-European people are just as White as Germanic people. In fact, despite our previous Cold War with Russia, I've never heard anybody accuse Russians, or Latvians, Estonians, or any other East Europeans as not being considered "White People".

However, if you would prefer that I pick a different country, perhaps you or Strawman McFallacy could tell me about the time when Finland abused the indigenous people of Central/South America, gave them smallpox, and stole their land from them , or when Finland decided to go to war with the Zulu people or when Finland decide to have a Merchant/Trading company dominate the South Asian continent.

R Man:

True but also irrelevant. While not every European country participated in Colonization, this does not change the underlying ideologies which were common throughout European thought at the time.

Care to back up the clam that all of Europe agreed with this line of thinking? Furthermore, even if it is the case, I fail to see how the opinions of the Estonian or Latvian people, who lived during the colonization of Africa, had serious effects on the way that African people were treated given the fact that Estonia and Latvia had no say in what countries like England or France did.
As for its relevance, it is completely relevant to point out an ignorant assumption that somehow the actions of Western Europe at the time, are representative of the actions of all of Europe. As it stands now, such a comment is nothing more that an ugly example of collective guilt.

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