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Old White Men: Who? Whom? Chapter MLXVII
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From the Washington Post:

If old white men feel maligned, they should take their own advice to minorities

Not Old White Man

BY ALYSSA ROSENBERG

June 2 at 2:30 pm

Daily Caller editor Matt Lewis pulled off a rare feat last week with a piece about what he describes as an unfair bias against older white men. In the wake of a major conversation about reparations and a massacre in Isla Vista, Calif., Lewis set himself up to argue that white men have become a group that “it’s socially acceptable to stereotype and criticize en masse.”

That is not really what the Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates is saying when he outlines the ways in which government entities and private companies made deliberate decisions to keep black communities from accumulating wealth. It is not what my colleague Ann Hornaday means when she turns a gimlet eye on the cultural tropes produced by a movie industry dominated by white men.

Old White Man

And it is not actually what Brittney Cooper is arguing for in Salon when she ponders how particular conceptions of gender and race seem to produce a disproportionate number of mass killings in America.

But by suggesting that is the case, Lewis seems to have done a pretty effective job of inducing other people to work themselves up into a lather. “No one should have to feel this way about who they are,” he laments. “Not even historically privileged white males.” Lewis is a cordial correspondent of mine, so I will give him credit for pulling off an intentional act of provocation, rather than tilting at windmills.

In the spirit of Lewis’s piece, I would like to offer him some advice. If older white men feel maligned, they might try taking some of the recommendations that they routinely offer to people of color and women who want to better their lot.

Abe Foxman of Anti-Defamation League.
Q. Is he an Old White Man?
A. Why do you ask that question?
A.What are you implying?
A. Why do you think that’s important?

Such as: organize politically, assert your racial identities, sue for discrimination, intentional and unintentional; defame all critics as defamers; make discussions of how many white men are on the Forbes 400 a non-topic in the mainstream media; getting university presidents, science lab leaders, and CEOs fired for not being 100% on board with your view of the world; complain about how your group is depicted in movies, television, fiction, and advertising; and just generally control the Narrative?

Excellent, time-tested advice!

Oh, but that’s not what Ms. Rosenberg suggests.

… Unlike many women and people of color, white men as a whole have plenty of financial resources, positions of power and social capital to bring to their own defense.

In contrast, to say, poor, oppressed Alyssa Rosenberg.

Maybe guys like Lewis can marshal their considerable assets not simply to make themselves more comfortable, but to help change the terms of an unproductive conversation that they did so much to create.

To understand how the game is played, think back to the 2012 election, which broke down demographically into the core v. the fringes of America, with the fringes lashed together by resentment, fear, and hatred of the core of America — e.g., a white male successful grandfather like Mitt Romney.

But keep in mind that just about anybody other than Mitt Romney can come up with a theory of why I am part of the noble but oppressed fringe. Alyssa Rosenberg, for example, may be a Yalie who writes for the Washington Post, but she’s also victim because of Old White Men because she’s not a Man and she’s not Old, and maybe or maybe not quite she’s White: being Jewish means she can play or not play the race/ethnic card pretty much however she feels like without much worry that non-Jews would criticize her for it.

The endless slipperiness of the thinking allows all sorts of opportunities for the clever to work an angle.

 
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  1. “and maybe or maybe not quite she’s White: being Jewish means she can play or not play the race/ethnic card pretty much however she feels like without much worry that non-Jews would criticize her for it.”

    I’m not so sure of that, Steve. I dwell in the body of the liberal beast, and I can testify to the fact that Jews who try to play at POC status get slapped down pretty hard. I can recall a seminar a while back where one Jewish girl offered a few comments that seemed to suggest that she was attempting to qualify her Whiteness. The assembled good people instantly turned on her, telling her that she had to “own her privilege as a White woman,” etc.

  2. SFG says:

    I’m sorry. I’m not denying all the liberal junk my extended relatives like this harpy do, but that is the whitest-looking white woman I have ever seen. She exudes that dorky SWPL look. You can just see her in Greenpoint attached to a guy with creative facial hair.

    I don’t think anyone actually thinks your average Ashkenazi isn’t white except for liberal idiots like Alyssa and paleocons.

  3. You have to understand that old white men, whatever our individual circumstances, are collectively responsible for all the misery that exists in the world and that we thereby owe reparations to everyone who isn’t an old white man, except possibly to young, straight white men.

    The question is: how shall we pay them?

    I propose that we get guilt trip, stereotype and ridicule credits the way that polluting industries qualify for green credits. Each time old white men get guilt-tripped, stereotyped and ridiculed, we get a reparation credit. Since we’re the group whom it’s socially and politically acceptable to guilt trip, stereotype and ridicule and since this goes on pretty much 24/7 these days, we should quickly build up a hefty fund of credits against the reparations that privileged writers who specialize in spewing self-serving b.s. for publications like Atlantic Magazine say we owe.

    By the way, being of Ashkenazi (ash can nazi) background myself, I am dee-lighted to have been admitted to the white race for purposes of owing reparations to everyone who isn’t an old white man. In fact, I’m going to tell the folks at Stormfront that they can stick their Nazi ideology where the sun don’t shine ’cause I am now as white as the driven snow, I don’t care what they say.

    Like Dr. Pangloss told Candide before the Jacobin heads rolled in Revolutionary France circa 1789, every cloud has a silver lining!

  4. Rich says:

    99% of Jews in America are white, Judaism may be the whitest religion on earth, but because there was some discrimination 100 years ago, some Liberals want to play victim. You can see the same thing in many Irish Americans who bring up the old “Irish Need Not Apply” signs. Strangely, you never hear this kind of thing from Italians or Poles who faced as much discrimination as the Jews and the Irish did.

  5. MQ says:

    Obviously Jews are white, and European. Not only is Judaism right at the roots of European civilization, but Jews are an unusually wealthy and powerful group in the U.S. Believe me, no official ‘person of color’ has any doubt that Abe Foxman is white, nor would the Abe Foxmans of the world count against any non-white quota. Rosenberg is building her affirmative action career around being a woman, being Jewish has nothing to do with it.

  6. SFG says:

    “99% of Jews in America are white, Judaism may be the whitest religion on earth, but because there was some discrimination 100 years ago, some Liberals want to play victim. You can see the same thing in many Irish Americans who bring up the old “Irish Need Not Apply” signs. Strangely, you never hear this kind of thing from Italians or Poles who faced as much discrimination as the Jews and the Irish did.”

    I don’t know about 99%, and there are certainly whiter religions.

    It has to do with politics and history. The European Old Right was really, really antisemitic, and something like Hitler is going to rattle anyone. There were echoes of that in America with Lindbergh and Coughlin, though nothing anywhere near as strong. (Heck, the governor tried to *protect* Leo Frank a little earlier.)

    Now, the right is dominated by religious Christians. Jews aren’t Christians, and Christians are supposed to convert them (to save them from hellfire). So you can see how this might be a problem.

    Also, the longstanding association of Jews with the left means the Democrats have a long history of being receptive to Jewish interests. So it’s kind of a natural fit.

    I find it horribly depressing, because the American Jewish community actually shows what happens if you practice the conservative virtues of hard work, thrift, and community–you do pretty well in the USA. Combine that with a lack of anti-intellectualism (one of this country’s less promising aspects–it forces us to import our scientists) and you can do pretty well indeed. But, no, keep voting Democrat. Whatever, guys. I’m getting a blonde girl and a pork sausage.

    Italians and Poles versus Irish is an interesting aspect. I haven’t seen it much these days–all three groups are socially conservative and economically liberal Catholics (to the degree they differ from average Americans anymore at all)–but it could be that America was settled by Englishmen, and the Irish were the designated outgroup for the English for a few hundred years, whereas the Italians and Poles were oppressed by more distant groups that didn’t really have a lot of pull in the USA. Who in America was fond of the czar?

  7. SFG says:

    “Obviously Jews are white, and European. Not only is Judaism right at the roots of European civilization, but Jews are an unusually wealthy and powerful group in the U.S. Believe me, no official ‘person of color’ has any doubt that Abe Foxman is white, nor would the Abe Foxmans of the world count against any non-white quota. Rosenberg is building her affirmative action career around being a woman, being Jewish has nothing to do with it.”

    Technically Israel is in Asia. Your average Ashkenazi has huge amounts of European admixture, particularly Italian.

    European civilization is an interesting question. You’ve heard the formulation of ‘Athens and Jerusalem’, but that was by a Jewish guy (Strauss). Then again, the Greeks have found themselves on the periphery of Europe as well, largely due to geography–the boundaries of civilizations just change over time. (They’re closer to the center if you count the Orthodox countries–Russians often have Russified Greek names due to the influence of Byzantium, for example, and the two-headed Russian eagle echoes the Roman Empire.) Still, two-thirds of the Bible is Jewish holy books. The Greeks were influenced by Egypt, but the pharaonic civilization is dead, and Egypt itself is pretty solidly Islamic. So…it’s a wash.

    I think the line from Jewish liberals is that their history of oppression gives them a sensitivity to oppressed groups. (There is probably some truth to this.) As a halfie in New York (not a bad fate as a kid–you get two sets of holiday gifts) it made little sense to me–every other building was named Rosenfeld or Lachman.

    They do occasionally try to claim they’re not white, but it’s pretty laughable, because the color line in the USA is based on visible skin pigmentation, and even Sephardim aren’t dark enough to pass for Hispanic, let alone black. What is true is that you can find very few Jews, even on the nominal right, arguing in favor of immigration restriction, let alone further support of the white majority. Of course, if WN are fond of the Nazis, what do you expect them to do?

    I mean, you have people engaging in ridiculous stuff like Holocaust denial. As Norman Finkelstein pointed out, people can exploit a very real tragedy for fun and profit. But instead they just do the equivalent of claiming WW1 never happened. I think it’d be more effective to claim Jewish liberals have a persecution complex due to historical factors. It’s like the guy whose mother got killed in a car accident and sees drunk drivers behind every wheel. You don’t have to take him seriously, but you see where he’s coming from.

  8. OK, I need to shut up now.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Dear SFG:

    Your comments are much appreciated.

  9. RE: Jews and Whiteness,

    John McWhorter, in his “Mr Mimic” essay in the CITY JOURNAL, talks about how Sammy Davis jr’s celebrated conversion to Judaism was part of Davis’ “White fever,’ his deep longing to be White.

  10. SFG:”I don’t know about 99%, and there are certainly whiter religions.”

    Are there? What is the Whitest religion in America, anyway? Off-hand, the only Christian denominations in the USA that I can think of that might be “Whiter” than Judaism are the various branches of Eastern Othodoxy. Does anyone have solid data?

  11. How long can a car engine last without an oil change? That’s about how long civilization can last without old white men.

  12. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    You can see all of Whiskey’s obsessions collide on this panel as Ms. Rosenberg moderates a panel about superheroes with blog favorite Ta-Nehisi Coates, a writer from X-Men First Class, and another bespectacled white dude. She’s kind of the female Matt Yglesias: from the Northeastern elite, yet obviously worked hard to get where she is.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PogqGQmxdW8

  13. @SFG
    OK, I need to shut up now.

    Dear SFG:

    Your comments are much appreciated.

  14. ray says:

    America teems with Alyssas.

    Utterly privileged lives, for which they are utterly ungrateful, only demanding more entitlements and special treatments and favored placements and Equalities that are only for Alyssa and Some. But it won’t be enough until all the Evil White Males that gave our millions of Alyssas their bubble-lives of security are psychologically gelded and legally stamped out, for no service except the endless resentments and inferiorities of Alyssa and the Alyssaites.

    Having taught her that she is the Center of the Universe, she now assumes she is. And expects compliance with her political agenda. If the President complies with Alyssa’s Agenda — and he does — then she figures, so should you.

    Thx Steve, glad to see you branching out here at UNZ.

  15. SFG:”European civilization is an interesting question. You’ve heard the formulation of ‘Athens and Jerusalem’, but that was by a Jewish guy (Strauss). ”

    Well, the formulation was pretty solid. Of course, he was playing off Tertullian’s “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” line. Of course, this does elide the the important role played by Rome. An old history class staple: Western Civilization is a Frankenstein’s Monster. It has a Hebrew heart, a Greek mind, and a Roman body.

    SFG:”Then again, the Greeks have found themselves on the periphery of Europe as well, largely due to geography–the boundaries of civilizations just change over time. (They’re closer to the center if you count the Orthodox countries–Russians often have Russified Greek names due to the influence of Byzantium, for example, and the two-headed Russian eagle echoes the Roman Empire.)”

    Funny thing about Greece is that, technically speaking, one could make a solid case for it not being a Western country. It is, after all, Eastern Orthodox in religion, and the Orthodox realms are, ipso facto, not Western.

    SFG:” Still, two-thirds of the Bible is Jewish holy books. ”

    And the overwhelming bulk of the New Testament was written by Jews as well.

  16. SFG says:

    “She’s kind of the female Matt Yglesias: from the Northeastern elite, yet obviously worked hard to get where she is.”

    Oh, all the Northeastern elite work hard to get where they are. That’s part of the problem. Getting into Harvard or Yale and then going to work in media actually requires genuinely hard work on top of inherited (social *and* genetic) privilege–studying, extracurriculars, and loads and loads of networking. That’s why these guys (and gals) think they’re self-made men (and women). Our aristocracy actually does bust their butts. The problem is, putting in the same amount of work from flyover country won’t get you there, and that’s what they don’t get.

  17. SFG, great comment at 10:58.

  18. SFG says:

    “Western Civilization is a Frankenstein’s Monster. It has a Hebrew heart, a Greek mind, and a Roman body.”

    And German muscles. But, you know, that’s most cultural traditions–look at the way Buddhism spread through Asia.

    “Funny thing about Greece is that, technically speaking, one could make a solid case for it not being a Western country. It is, after all, Eastern Orthodox in religion, and the Orthodox realms are, ipso facto, not Western.”

    ‘The West’ is the secular term for what used to be called ‘Christendom’. I actually think it’s more appropriate in the modern day, as its relative secularism is one of the unusual aspects of Western Civ vis-a-vis, say, Islam. I hate to poop on the Greeks too much, though–Byzantium did keep Islam from taking over Europe for almost a thousand years.

  19. SFG:”‘The West’ is the secular term for what used to be called ‘Christendom’.”

    Be more accurate to say that it is a secular term for what used to be Western/Latin Christendom; the divide between East and West has deep roots (Great Schism of 1054, sack of Constantinople in 1204), etc.

  20. Mike Wallace says he is Jewish and not White at .15 of this clip with Morgan Freeman.

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