To be white and an “anti-racist” requires a constant dance of fanciful rhetoric, huddled clichés, and scapegoats.
Put another way: Whites who believe in egalitarianism need excuses for why they live in white neighborhoods, send their kids to white schools, and consume almost exclusively white culture. They also need to be ready to look down their noses at other whites who are worse (i.e. more racist) than they. This explains most liberal writing on race.
This would be typical:
I send my kids to private instead of public school not because of the difference in demographics, but because of the difference in quality. That difference in quality is entirely a product of funding. Those evil Republicans permanently cripple public schools by funding them poorly. Which is why I always vote Democrat.
It’s easy to claim this is cynicism, but I find that almost every white person who thinks along these lines really means it. He believes racism is an abhorrent and unforgivable evil, and is driven to find ways to escape from its taint.
Thursday night, I attended a very large gathering of white liberals desperately seeking exoneration. It was in Washington DC, a city that is 55 percent black and 36 percent white. Specifically, it was at the Quaker school, “Sidwell Friends,” which is 59 percent white and 13 percent black. That school is in the wealthy northwest part of Washington DC, zip code 20016, which is 73 percent white and 3.9 percent black. The audience of about 200 people was about 80 percent white. The sponsor was the very progressive bookstore “Politics & Prose,” whose three staff members at this event were all white.
Can you guess what event attracted all those whites?
It was the release of a new book on the history of housing discrimination, The Color of Law, written by liberal wonk Richard Rothstein, who appeared with none other than Ta-Nehisi Coates. The organizers so feared that Mr. Coates would steal the show, that even though no books of his would be sold there, the announcement of the event warned: “Coates will not be signing.”