For us, the first generation of immigrants, or the previous − my friend’s parents, white or otherwise – this search for “white guilt” is sickening. It appears to us like a defect in mentality, an addiction to self-flagellation, similar to blooding oneself with chains, or for “progressives” a power grab.
My fellow immigrants share this assessment reading articles like Jessie James DeConto’s (“White people’s privilege,” CHN, nando.com/1bb). It disturbs my acquaintances. Can I ask my friend Harry, a very dark skinned Sikh, from Punjab, to feel “white guilt”? Both his sons are doctors. Take John, the Assyrian. After escaping persecution he came destitute, and now he is a plant manager.
Here are two more cases out of many which touched my life to show the absurdity of this whining.
My Italian friend Vincent, whose parents struggled to assure his future and it also took hard work for him to succeed. If I tell him that he should feel “white guilt,” he will slap me.
I see a Chinese family on the street corner. They lovingly take care of their house, and I know the meaning. It is surely earned by hard work. Should I go up and ask for some sacrifice because of their “white privilege”? All these people went through hardship one way or another, because of the new language, ethnicity, etc.
Let’s look at American born, white, the descendants of old immigrants. Many have forgotten where their ancestors came from and their struggle to build a life here. They should learn, but not from the official history books − politically correct stuff. Whether the Civil War was fought to end slavery or because of the Northerners’ love for cotton – the fact is, their forefathers fought and died. Just the Union causalities were 360,222; the South was devastated. Many families lost their loved ones and their possessions.
Not enough sacrifice? What happened afterward? Never mind the official ink spilled to befuddle.
At this point a memory comes to mind. It is in the black quarters in Ohio. My coworker Bill took me there to show his old neighborhood. Bill starts reminiscing, “You see this house? I lived next door. There were 10 kids, all on drugs or in prison, but one. The parents had sent him South to be brought up by grandparents. He is a postmaster now.”
After abolition, the former slaves had a hard time in a society of self-reliance, and the expectation was that they would fare for themselves having gotten rights. Very many did make it in spite of all the prejudices, adversities and obstacles. Just look around you. An African-American middle class has emerged: they do not need your sacrifices. However, the old discrimination was flipped on its head: affirmative action.
Calls for sacrifice will not stop the looting and violence of Baltimore or Chicago as long as the hustlers of victimhood run round and foment unrest and resentments. Your “sacrifices” will do nothing but perpetuate the situation.
“But as soon as someone suggests that we, collectively, might have a responsibility to make some sacrifices, to lift others up so that we might share in a more equal society…”
Liberals’ unending hogwash is a sign of their incompetence. I say – what and whose sacrifices? You yourselves managed those cities! I remember Detroit, a nice city in past, now it’s an after Hiroshima-like landscape.
I regretted that I had not walked to my African-American X-ray doctor across the street, to ask for sacrifices since he joined the White Privileged Class. How did he do it?
Sven Sonnenberg lives in Chapel Hill.