Filed under: United States
Via Ezra Klein, Publius writes that the South isn’t so racist anymore, but is full of white resentment — “A lot of white people honestly think they have been significantly deprived of various things because of minorities….It’s the animosity of the aggrieved. They feel like they are the victims.” And Andrew Sullivan then replies, “This is the poisoned fruit of that poisonous, if well-intentioned, policy of affirmative action.” Ezra says this is a funny way to read the timelines: surely white resentment began in the Reconstruction era, not after affirmative action.
I’d second Ezra and take it one step beyond: white resentment of blacks probably began at the moment whites enslaved blacks, just as 19th and 20th-century German, British and Russian anti-semitism is chock full of resentment towards invented Jewish privilege, or as homophobic resentment towards gays cloaks itself in the language of opposition to “special rights”. People who have done violence to others and are called out on it scrabble for excuses to salve their consciences. They have to place themselves in the right somehow. Wifebeaters abandoned by their wives will find something to blame the wives for. White resentment of “special treatment” for blacks, the advent of the claim of “black racism”, is entirely predictable. If it weren’t affirmative action, it would be something else.
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