me: *wears black during March 22*
mom: it’s the middle of summer why are you dressed like that?
me: Mama, It’s Not a Fashion Statement, It’s a Death Wish
mom: are you okay?
me: …well if you wanted honesty
mom: I’m going to have to call your father–

White resentment is the ‘new’ identity politics

 'White resentment’ is the newly visible version of the oldest ‘identity politics’ in (white) history. The politics of the ‘human condition’, ‘human rights’, ‘human civilisation’ has always relied on the assumption the the identity of the ‘human’ in question is white. When non-white people challenge this, white people get tearful & mad.

What is pathetic about this new ‘identity politics’, emerging with Trump, Brexit etc, is that it is recognising two things which are really happening, but giving lazy & crap explanations.

White people can see that:

  1. being paid more because you are white is less and less common,
  2. all positions in the labour market are getting paid less.

They’re not wrong, everyone can see this happening. However, white identity politics is pretending: 

(1) is unjust (it isn’t; non-white people are entering jobs and incomes that white people used to monopolise) & 

(2) is only happening to white people - because black people / immigrants are choosing to make whites poorer (they isn’t; it’s happening to the entire multiracial working class).

This ignores the fact that brown/black/immigrant peoples are workers too, and because: 

(1) is still true, & 

(2) happens to everyone…

white people are getting relatively AND in real terms poorer - this is not fair (we should organise society so everyone has what they need & want), but ‘white resentment’ says it is the fault of black people (it isn’t), that black people are immune somehow (they aren’t), and that if black people went away / sat down everything would be nice again (it wouldn’t).

Basically, white people don’t want to admit that white people suffer the same amount - and in the same ways - as black people, because to do that would to say that black people (who are in the white imagination are still, poor, dirty, diseased, slightly less-than-human) suffer as much - and in the same ways - as white people.

White people are terrified of becoming black.  

‘White resentment’ says: my identity is determined by not being poor, not getting poor, not being like black people, and I will do anything to avoid becoming black - this is the new white identity politics that is playing out in majority white nations. It’s like a racialised version of ‘gay panic’.

The counter-intuitive things is that the white identity is based on being superior, both by being privileged and being privileged in the quality of their suffering. For the rich to suffer is more acute, apparantly, than for the poor to suffer. Poor people, after all, are used to suffering - the skin of the rich is too thin for that treatment! Similarly, black people are used to being black (poor etc), white people aren’t built for it! White people want to suffer less, and suffer more simultaneously - they want to continue the inequality of suffering, and of feeling that suffering.

Fascism always says the same thing; the Other (Jews, Muslims, Mexicans, Irish, Chines, Japanese - pick your historical figure of hated) is a monstrous threat AND the the Other is pathetically weak - therefore we must crush the beast (because it is strong) and we can (because it is weak)).

Black / feminist ‘identity politics’ is being characterised as illegitimate exactly because it has a genuine grievance which must be denied for the White grievance to exist: white supremacy can’t deal with not being special, it must believe it is the biggest victim (the most important member) of a shitty system.

Or whiteness could learn to be less pathetic; that what it hates about black people (poverty, powerlessness) is nothing to do with the colour of our skins, but something capitalism does to us all. However, while the white working class continues to work on behalf of the white capitalist class, we will all lose. White people need to leave their ghettos and understand the system as a whole.

Think about it. Or, just watch this video - its the same argument but funnier: Patrice O'Neal Breaks Down Radiohead’s Creep! 

  • It’s 1977
  • The Maraduers are in their final year at Hogwarts
  • Remus decides to take Sirius to a muggle record store for his birthday
  • Sirius is so excited
  • He doesn’t know too many muggle musicians but he likes Queen
  • Remus finds Sirius’ eagerness endearing 
  • It’s at the record store that things really pick up though
  • Low and behold after no more than five minutes of perusing the stacks, a bright yellow and pink cover in the new releases section immediately catches Sirius’ eye
  • Never Mind the Bullocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols
  • Sirius practically drools all over the floor he wants it so bad
  • But he doesn’t have any muggle money
  • So he begs Remus
  • And Remus buys it for him
  • How bad can it be right?
  • Pretty bad
  • Over the next few weeks Sirius Does. Not. Stop. Playing. The Sex Pistols Vinyl.
  • At first it’s okay
  • Remus doesn’t really like the sound that much (he prefers music that makes him feel good, happy; not so…jarring)
  •  But Sirius loves it
  • He pretends he knows all about the muggle monarchy after listening to God Save the Queen
  • And asks Remus about the Berlin Wall after listening to Holiday in the Sun
  • And he calls himself an anarchist now
  • And Remus just laughs and rolls his eyes
  • But eventually weeks turn into months 
  • And Remus starts to dread coming back to the common room, because you can bet Sirius will be there playing his vinyl loud enough so that everyone in Gryffindor can hear it  
  • And now Remus can say for certain that he hates the Sex Pistols
  • There’s only so many times you can listen to the same 12 songs, after all
  • Until one day Remus comes to the common room and its unusually quiet
  • He enjoys briefly the lack of punk rock
  • Until he walks into his dorm to find Sirius Black standing wide-eyed with one half of a broken record in each hand
  • And Sirius explains that the record wouldn’t play (It finally wore out), so he snapped it in half and also busted the record player out of frustration
  • At first Remus breathes a sigh of relief 
  • But Sirius is genuinely mopey for the next couple of days
  • The Sex Pistols made him happy  
  • They helped him forget about his family and let him dream about a different future for himself
  • And suddenly, Remus Lupin doesn’t hate The Sex Pistols anymore,because–well damn,
  • The Sex Pistols made Sirius happy
  • So Remus goes back to the muggle record store
  • And he spends the absolute last of his muggle money on a brand new record player and a brand new Never Mind the Bullocks… vinyl for Sirius