The Great White Debate

The Great White Debate. By Scott Greer.

That simple message set off a firestorm.

Anti-woke activist Christopher Rufo took issue with the tweet as a “rhetorical move.” Meghan McCain’s husband Ben Domenech denounced it more explicitly. “It’s dumb,” Domenech asserted. “White is a color. Be proud of being Irish or French or Dutch or, I dunno, American?”

“There is something more tangible to specific ethnic identities and traditions,” Rufo replied. “I am proud of my Anglo-American ancestry and my Italian ancestry, but do not find meaning in the concept of ‘whiteness,’ which signals a racial essence.”

Neither of these common refrains are true. “White” is not just a color in a society that celebrates Black History Month, promotes black studies at every college, and has a Black Entertainment Television network. It’s an operating, identifiable racial category.

Everyone knows what it means to be a white guy. There are even a set of stereotypes attached to the label.

Saying that black is “just a color” would be a cancellable offense in contemporary America. That’s because black isn’t just a color, it’s considered a legitimate basis for the group identification of roughly 47 million people. The left generalizes even further from this. They say that People of Color also have a distinct and valid collective identity on the basis of nothing more than the color of their skin.

That’s no coincidence. In fact, it’s part of the left’s explicit goal. White has only been relegated to “just a color” status in the last 50 years. Over that same period, we have encouraged racial identitarianism for every non-white group.

Claiming ethnic identity is more important than race denies the historic and modern experience in America. Race has mattered more than ethnicity since our founding. …

Ethnic identity did matter in the days of ethnic enclaves. Many Italians, Irish, and Poles have insisted that their ethnicity defines who they are for most of the twentieth century. But those days are long gone. In modern America, ethnic identity is far less tangible than whiteness. The vast majority of whites are of mixed ethnicity. They were not raised in ethnic communities and have no ties to the old homeland. The only semblance of ethnic identity for whites is a particular fondness for Italian cuisine or St. Patrick’s Day. Otherwise, a particular European heritage is just something a white person shows off on their 23&Me.

Meanwhile, whiteness defines how people see you on the street, how you dress, whether you get into the university you want, where you live, what music you listen to, and numerous other things. “Whiteness” affects the average white person much more than being part Italian.

White Americans are an ethnic group. Most of its members are uncomfortable with that and just want to be seen as “individuals.” But the entire world sees them as a distinct group, because that’s exactly what they are.

Right-wing anon Lomez argues that whites are now experiencing an “ethnogenesis” in the face of unrelenting anti-white racism from the establishment. But whites were already part of an ethnogenesis. Throughout its history, the word “American” has been practically synonymous with white people. White culture, values, habits, and traditions served as the national norms. Whites were the solid majority of the country and made up nearly all of its great heroes and leaders. Whites identified themselves as American because the nation reflected who they are. This has only changed with the demographic transformation of America. Now Americanism is no longer as synonymous with whiteness. …

White Americans in the past were willing to acknowledge the racial aspects of national identity. Today, only woke liberals will remind us of that truth.

White Americans still identify primarily with America, not with their particular ethnicity. This country and its heritage define who they are. A new ethnogenesis would create an explicitly white identity separate from America. So far, few whites seem interested in that. The present models aren’t that attractive. …

The fate of America and its white population are intertwined. You cannot separate the two.

Whether the best strategy for whites is to pursue “colorblind” strategies versus more explicit white identity politics is a discussion worth having. But that discussion should dispense with delusions. Our enemies are honest about American heritage and how “anti-woke” policies benefit whites. We shouldn’t flee from these implications. A serious conservatism will always amount to white identity politics no matter how much its advocates deny it. The sooner we acknowledge this, the sooner we can make America great again.

Radical thoughts, but the left is forcing this conversation on the rest of us.