This month’s protests started out as a black movement against police brutality, but they have a different look now. In many cases, whites have taken over. They apologize for their “white privilege” and, in at least one case, wash black people’s feet to expiate their collective sins.
Celebrities, athletes and corporate America followed suit. Portland’s police chief resigned, asking to be replaced by a black man, and the CEO of Chick-fil-A urged whites to shine the shoes of black people to show a “sense of shame.” But why now?
To find out, I had to hear what whites were saying. I listened to the protesters, talked with my white friends and read articles and social media posts. What I found was white people overwhelmingly depicting black people as desperate and defeated, with no way to pull themselves out of their misery.
“I understand your point,” a white friend said when I objected to this simplistic narrative. “But don’t you think blacks are being oppressed?”
That’s when I realized that white wokeness is the new factor in our national life. It has been embedded into the consciousness of whites that all blacks are the same and that they all face impossible barriers to improvement — from standardized tests to the black men being arrested on the nightly news. A growing number of whites believe that black life is unrelentingly grim.
Charles Love is the assistant executive director of Seeking Educational Excellence. This piece was adapted from City Journal.
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