Exhibit 1. A packed movie theatre, “Batman Begins” is playing. There is a scene in which Bruce Wayne fires his company’s corrupt CEO and promotes Morgan Freeman’s humble character into that position. The nearly all-White audience erupts in spontaneous applause.
Exhibit 2. Bright-faced office workers get together on a sunny Saturday morning to paint houses in a low-income Black neighborhood as part of their Corporate Responsibility program, a volunteering initiative coordinated by an energetic group of interns. Box lunches for the volunteers are delivered at noon and tensions rise as residents of the painted houses want their sandwiches too. A large-screen plasma television is jabbering in the background.
Exhibit 3. A somber dinner in memory of the untimely death of a promising young girl. There are tears, but mostly there is soft, warm laughter as grief gives way to peace. At the meal’s conclusion, as guests pick up to part and goodbyes are exchanged, Peter Biehl shakes hands with three young African men.
Let us understand “White guilt.” It is not White guilt.
When European missionaries came to Africa to baptize heathen souls, they wondered at the wild faces and savage customs of the natives. “Childlike,” as the cliché in colonial memoirs goes. And many other words.
From the biography of 19th century Christian missionary Dr. David Livingstone:
Various methods of salutation were in vogue among the different tribes. Some would pick up a handful of sand or ashes and rub it on their arms and chest. Others would drum their ribs with their elbows. The people of the Batonga tribe greeted Livingstone by lying on their backs on the ground, rolling from one side to the other, and beating their sides with their hands.
– (Giants of the Missionary Trial by Eugene Myers Harrison).
In Dr. Livingstone’s own words:
The more intimately I become acquainted with barbarians, the more disgusting does heathenism become. It is lamentable to see those who might be children of God, dwelling in peace and love, so utterly the children of the devil. Oh, Almighty God, help! help! and leave not this wretched people to the slave-dealer and Satan. Help them to look to Christ and live.
As is evident from Livingtone’s journals and other reports of colonial visitors to the Dark Continent, Africans in their native state are, in the European’s preconscious perception, so removed from our most basic template of fellow man that our instinctual response is to see him as cursed or depraved. The missionaries felt the pity. And now we feel that same pity. This had led to anti-racism infecting the body politic and metastasizing to its present quasi-religious cult.
It’s fitting then, that the most luminous of Europeans, the Nordics, have now gone the most full-retard with anti-racism.
That pity, it is an involuntary reflex. If pressed, most would admit that the low-income Black neighborhood where office workers were painting walls is not poor; not when judging by the residents’ evident effects of robust caloric intake, ubiquity of electronic toys, and cultural coherence of the neighborhood (lots of White folks can’t afford that last one!). Yet, all that the pitying White liberal sees is Black faces and hears Black talking, and those things trigger for him thoughts of poverty that is beyond material. The cheering audience at the “Batman” movie — there is catharsis Whites feel when our innate pity for the Black is discharged. And when a White father shakes hands with… eh, just picture it if your stomach lets you.
But you know what? It is easy to point fingers. And this blog is not a place where we point-and-rage or point-and-mock. That would be a waste of my time, and yours. What I want this place to be is a vehicle for understanding ourselves and our world toward doing the things that need to be done — starting with ourselves.