By now most of us have seen the hashtag #ItsOKToBeWhite and heard about the slogan and campaign to disseminate the slogan on high school and college campuses. Most of us have also heard the hyperbolic hue and cry raised upon discovering these little missives scattered like autumn leaves to the four corners of America. The campaign and slogan have been denounced as racially offensive, motivated by hate, intolerable and unacceptable, a “hate crime,” and of course, “racist.”
Never mind the slogan “it’s OK to be white,” by itself, says nothing offensive about, nor hostile toward, any other race. It does not insult or denigrate other races. It does not even taunt or mock any other race. It does not express supremacy or priority over other races. It neither states it is “bad” to be non-white, nor that being white is “better”. It does not even encourage people to be “proud” to be white.
It simply says being white is OK.
The fact that simply saying such a thing offends people is a telling sign of our times. Getting angry about it, trying to twist it into saying something it does not, reading ideas into it which the words themselves do not express, is very telling. It tells us this offense is entirely manufactured in the minds of those reacting indignantly about it. It tells us something about the mindset of those minds as well. I mean, what do they want everyone to think about “being white” – that it’s bad, horrible, wrong, unforgivable?
Apparently, yes. So what do they hope to accomplish by that?
A Word on Evolutionary Strategies
Homo sapiens have evolved to cooperate as well as compete. As a species, we continue to refine our balance between competition and cooperation.
Obviously, cooperation is a completely different game from competition. In competition we must be tough, strong, and enduring. We often have to go against our cooperative impulses to compete effectively, turning off empathy and compassion when a situation calls for competitive maneuvers. Likewise, in cooperation we must set aside our instincts to guard our own interests primarily and exclusively and allow ourselves to act alongside others toward meeting the goals of the group, be it the family, tribe, workplace or community.
Both successful competition as well as successful cooperation yield useful data about what works and what does not. Experience with both will demonstrate certain actions result in certain reactions, and a particular type of input will yield a particular type of outcome. Even as a raw survival strategy, from the most pragmatic perspective, evolutionary cooperation teaches us that human beings respond more cooperatively to positive prompts – to cues that make them feel included, appreciated, and connected – than negative ones. We are more likely to elicit a cooperative response from exuding warmth rather than hostility.
While this should be obvious, let’s state it outright anyway. Agreeing with others on every point, buying into their hobby-horses, or coddling them, is never necessary in order to act inclusively, appreciatively, respectfully, or connectively. Anyone telling you the latter constitutes the former, or even necessitates it, is woefully misguided and probably should not be consulted as a guide to cooperative strategies.
Common Goals make for Common Ground
As a teenager, I resented both being told what to do and getting disciplined for disobedience. When my dearly beloved father passed away from cancer, I had just turned fifteen. My mother got stuck having to deal with me by herself. At one point, following up on a recommendation, we attempted family therapy.
The counselor welcomed my mother warmly while pointedly overlooking my presence, completely ignoring me. Throughout the session, she would smile encouragingly at my mother, listen to her and engage her with the sort of empathy and interest one might expect from a professional charging over $100 per hour in the 1980s. Yet whenever I spoke, her eyes became cold daggers of contempt and ire. She continually interrupted me rudely and spoke right through me and over me as if I were not there.
As the session wore on, this “therapist” escalated from cold, dismissive rudeness into full-scale hostility. I do not use that last term lightly. Her tone and comments turned blatantly vicious and shredding, and no matter how I responded, she would not let up. This was not any sort of “bullying” with which most people are familiar, the usual barrage of taunts, insults, and verbal jabs, but something closer to what one might see in movies about spy interrogation or cult programming. It was of a nature intended to “break” a person, and can really only be fairly described as psychological torture.
After about fifteen minutes of this vile onslaught, the toxic quack managed to precipitate a complete PTSD-style meltdown in me. She then gleefully crowed at my mother, “You see? There’s the problem right there!” and proceeded to call me several distinctively unflattering things, most of which are improper for mixed company and none of which are ever appropriate when meeting someone for the first time, let alone if you have caused them bona fide medical distress. Meanwhile, she implicitly denied the nature of that distress by describing it as though it were a mere petty tantrum, a spoiled brat ploy rather than a terrifying moment in which reality dissolved out from under me and left my brain scrambling for purchase. All this she did with overt glee, as if revealing some key intrinsic flaw in the very core of my being, a clandestine exorcist exposing her demonic prey to the light.
For obvious reasons, I cannot recall everything that happened next. What I do remember is how my mother rose to the occasion. “What on earth did you expect, treating her that way? You haven’t stopped needling and haranguing her since we came through the door!” I remember her saying, or something to that effect. Anger tightened her face and her voice, though none of it appeared aimed at me. Meanwhile, I had “checked out,” and sat in a daze until the time came to leave.
On the way home in the car, Mom turned to me and said, “We don’t ever have to go back there if you don’t want to.”
“Good,” I answered, “Let’s not.” We never did, not because my mother suddenly lost interest in wanting my behavior to improve, or because I turned into a compliant, delightful daughter overnight. We never returned because, in spite of being locked into opposition over our conflicting needs and agendas at the time, we had discovered common ground and a common goal. Neither one of us had any desire to spend another minute with, or waste another dollar upon, that sadistic charlatan ever again.
Let me clarify something about my mother: she is not a coddler. She’ll rip off the bandage without hesitation. She’s not one to tiptoe around the scent of self-pity. Complain to my mother about someone doing you wrong, and she is likely to ask, “what did you do to deserve that?” So when my mother reacts to something as if it is weird or wrong, it actually is weird or wrong, not just all in my head. For my part, I felt honestly amazed she even saw what actually transpired; I had been terrified at first she might buy into the poisonous lies that quack was spewing. She didn’t. She came through for me, saving me from something far worse than whatever fate my own youthful follies might earn me by themselves instead.
Overlooking the Efficacy of Common Goals
Today we see people spreading disgusting, abhorrent, racist lies about “white people,” saying things most of us, for at least three generations in America now, would never think of saying about non-whites, nor tolerate hearing. These vile propagandists claim being white is exclusively and inherently bad, that the ancestors of white people are uniquely horrible for having conquered and/or subjugated other races – horrible and evil for this in ways no other race has been deemed – that being white is something one must not only feel shame about but publically signal that shame, etc. These same noisy groups of vile slanderers demand white people erase ourselves from this world: give up our seats at the tables of industry and leadership to anyone who is not white, divest our estates upon death to strangers instead of our families, pony up extra taxes to be designated “reparations” for the “sins” of our forefathers, and above all, stop making white babies and stop “perpetuating whiteness,” whatever that means.
Had they intended all along to deliberately craft a foolproof social mechanism for turning former color-blind, inclusive, and cosmopolitan-minded white folks into outraged, indignant racists, they could not have done a better job. They will tell you differently, though. Grinning smugly, they will point fingers and pretend they have done nothing of the sort, and that this sort of reaction is evidence of deep-seated racism which their tactics are intended to “expose.”
In other words, just like the malicious quack who wasted my mother’s hard-earned money, these peddlers of cultural Marxist narrative intentionally grow and elicit these responses. They expend vast amounts of time and energy sowing hostilities and stoking resentments through a combination of overblown racist hypocrisy, a continual barrage of race-baiting harassment in the media and in society, and a stubbornly defensive pretense that they are just “being woke” and all objections, rational or emotional, are simply evidence that someone “can’t handle the truth.”
Then when the inevitable response and backlash ensue, they pretend it is not a response to their campaign of deliberate provocation, but simply that pesky, latent racism actually lurking there all along as an inherent component of “whiteness,” suddenly boiling to the surface.
In reality, it is usually the cumulative result of tormenting decent folks until they are forced by these repeated experiences to change their opinion of how accepting, inclusive, and equitable the ally- hemorrhaging “diversity clique” really is.
What it actually demonstrates is how easily some people lose sight of the evolutionary lessons about the success yielded through cooperative strategy.
So what does this have to do with #ItsOKToBeWhite? Everything, in fact. “It’s OK to be white” is not just a better attitude for white people to have – it is a better attitude for everyone.
White people – just like everyone else – are more likely to exhibit civil behavior with people of other races when they can interact authentically as individuals with other individuals, instead of being suffocated by racist stereotypes.
White people – just like everyone else – are more likely to treat individuals of other races with compassion, respect and dignity, when they are not constantly being surmised against and wrongfully judged for everything they say or do.
White people – just like everyone else – tend to unconsciously meet the expectations placed upon them by others. If they feel others are going to slander and vilify them regardless of how they act, there is less incentive to care how they interact than when they believe others have positive expectations of them. When we believe others expect nothing from us, we try to get away with slacking. When we believe others expect the worst from us, we either go around feeling defensive (and it shows) or we shut down and stop caring. When we believe others are counting on us to deliver results, we step up our game. When we think others expect us to exceed, succeed and win, we become exponentially more primed to do just that.
White people, in other words, act just like everyone else when it comes to things like this. Evolutionary strategies of cooperation work better for cooperative outcomes with white people, just like they do with everyone else. Surprise, surprise!
Most white people are neither racist nor supremacist – and would remain that way if the bigoted rhetoric and behavior of others were not so hell-bent upon swaying their opinion in that regard. Yet even those who do hold supremacist ideas will still be civil, polite and respectful to individuals of other races, precisely because that is simply what civilized human beings do. Those who do not, simply demonstrate that their ideals are a thin veil to hide from self-loathing. Let’s be clear: self-loathing has never worked for anyone. Not only is it corrosive to the individuals suffering from it, it makes them corrosive to everyone else around them – regardless of race or racial factors.
“It’s OK to be white” is an idea whose time has come, not just for white people, but for everyone. It’s high time people stop being racist against white people and pretending either that does not exist or it is somehow “not real racism” because it is against whites. It is high time to quit with the ridiculous and idiotic ruse that being racist against white people should get a free pass any more than any other type of racism.
“It’s OK to be white” is is a positive racial statement, not a negative one. It is not saying it is ONLY OK to be white, or that it is NOT OK to be non-white; it is simply saying “it’s OK to be white.” Claiming this is racist against others somehow is completely ridiculous and false. It would be like claiming the slogan “black lives matter” is racist against anyone who is not black.
We have seen the slogan “black lives matter” for some time now. By itself, this slogan does not indicate anything hostile or negative toward anyone who isn’t black. It does not say “ONLY black lives matter”. It does not say “white lives do NOT matter”. The proponents of this slogan have been very insistent upon this fact, and furthermore, very indignant and resistant against the attempt to introduce “all lives matter” alongside it, because (they say) this distracts from the message.
If “black lives matter,” then “it’s OK to be white.” There is nothing inherently negative about any other race in either statement. There is nothing inherently racially offensive toward any other race in either statement. However, if someone wants to introduce the slogan “it’s OK to be any race,” alongside “it’s OK to be white,” we aren’t going to fuss and complain.
We’re just going to nod and ask, “what took you so long?”