Written on Monday, August 20, 2012 by David L. Goetsch
For years one of the most effective weapons in the arsenal of the radical left has been “white guilt.” White guilt is the collective guilt many white people in America feel over slavery and the racist treatment of blacks in the days before passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Over the years liberals have used white guilt to convince Americans to accept a plethora of government enforced programs that give minorities preferential treatment on the basis of race. One example of this phenomenon is affirmative action—a policy that gives government sanction to what it was supposed to eliminate: discrimination on the basis of race. White guilt also played a prominent role in the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. Obama’s election was secured by the support of naïve independent voters who thought electing our nation’s first black president would prove we are not a nation of racists and somehow assuage the misplaced guilt they feel.
White guilt has been an effective weapon for the left, but as they are prone to do liberals have overplayed their hand. They have used this weapon so often and so indiscriminately that their abuse is having the unwittingly effect of eradicating white guilt. Americans who are appalled by our nation’s unhappy racial past and are neither racists nor bigots have grown weary of being called these odious names. In response, they have begun to challenge liberals on the concept of white guilt by asking such logical questions as: How can I be blamed for conditions that existed before I was even born? Why should Americans who have never condoned or participated in racial discrimination and who have been a part of eliminating it feel guilty about America’s past sins?
Ann Coulter takes on the issue of white guilt in her new book: Mugged. Here is what Townhall Magazine has to say about Coulter’s book: “For decades, the left has been putting on a play with themselves as heroes in an ongoing civil rights movement—which they were mostly absent from at the time. Long after pervasive racial discrimination ended, they kept pretending America was being run by the Klan and that liberals were black America’s only protectors. It took the O.J. Simpson verdict—the race-based acquittal of a spectacularly guilty black celebrity as blacks across America erupted in cheers—to shut down the white guilt bank. But now, fewer than two decades later, our ‘postracial’ president has returned us to the pre-OJ era of nonstop racial posturing.”
Shelby Steele, a conservative political commentator who also happens to be black, has written extensively on the concept of white guilt. The title of his 2006 book says it all: White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era. I am of the generation that grew up during the great battles of the civil rights era, and not just anywhere, but in the deep South. As a youngster I witnessed the heavy hand of Jim Crow: the segregated facilities, separate and unequal education systems, intimidation of black voters, and being “hushed” by adults for asking why black kids had to sit in the balcony at the neighborhood theater.
I understand that our country once had much to feel guilty about when it comes to race relations. But I also understand that it took courageous action on the part of not just black Americans but also white Americans to do what was necessary to set things right. People being people, there will always be a certain amount of racial tension in a country as diverse as America. But it is important to remember that no race holds a monopoly on racism. Now that pervasive racial discrimination no longer exists, the only thing worse than liberals trying to perpetuate white guilt for political gain is conservatives letting them get away with it.