White supremacy does not explain the disparity between races
The great black writer Shelby Steele argues that after acknowledging the sin of racism in the mid-1960s, Americans, and whites in particular, lost their moral authority. To regain it, white liberals or those in elite positions virtue signal their anti-racism by declaring — through words and policies — that only mainstream white society, not individual responsibility, can deliver ‘black uplift.’ The result is to place responsibility for minority problems squarely at the foot of white America while stripping agency from minorities, consigning them to perpetual failure. Whites are self-determining agents, while minorities are other-determined objects.
The latest example of this double-consciousness over racial free will emerged in response to the latest American life expectancy statistics showing a 3-year decline in the country’s lifespan from 79 in 2019 to 76 in 2021. The progressive American media, determined to, in Steele’s words, ‘dissociate’ from racism in order to legitimate its moral authority and status, lavished microscopic attention on the racial disparities in the numbers.
Eric Kaufmann is professor of politics at Birkbeck College, University of London and an adjunct fellow of the Manhattan Institute.
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