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–
me: wHEN I WAS A YOUNG BOY MY FATHER
'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:
being paid more because you are white is less and less common,
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 moresimultaneously - they want to continue the inequality of suffering, and offeeling 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.