White Identity: A Review Essay
White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century
Oakton, VA: New Century Books, 2011
I readily agreed to review Jared Taylor’s new book, White Identity. How could I refuse? During the last two decades Taylor has greatly influenced my thinking about racial matters.
Taylor has said that his book will be a success “if at least a few readers … become open to the possibility that … people of all races generally prefer the company of people like themselves; [that] racial diversity is a source of conflict, not strength.” He hopes to persuade readers to break away from racial assumptions that have become con- ventional in modern America. He aims to revive opinions that are akin to the views of most of the America’s Founding Fathers, to the beliefs of the men who are commemorated on Mount Rushmore, and to the ideas of the great majority of White Americans up until the 1950s and 1960s.
Effecting this “renaissance” requires tact and strategy as well as a thorough knowledge of the relevant history and science. In White Identity, Taylor does not mention “the Jewish question” that is often discussed in The Occidental Quarterly, and recent discoveries about evolution and advances in genome science receive less attention in Taylor’s new book than in his magazine, American Renaissance. Some critics have taken exception to the omission and soft pedaling. Nevertheless, White Identity is the single best summary of the evidence against racial sentimentalism and for race realism.
I am one of Taylor’s converts and, that being so, the story of my conversion may shed light on the prospects for a revival of White identity. My hope is that, since Taylor’s goal is to bring over people from one belief to another, an account of my awakening will be more than a self-indulgent reminiscence. My hope is that a recounting of my personal journey will provide some insight into what needs to be done to make additional converts.
From 1944 until 1956, I attended Catholic schools in Los Angeles County. During those years, my life revolved around activities at either the schools or at my local parish. At my high school, St. Francis High School near Pasadena, most of the teachers were Capuchin priests from Ireland, and never since have I known a better company of men. In 2002, I dedicated one of my books to the memory of five of these teacher-priests.
Although I spent my youth within the orbit of Catholicism, most of the people in my family’s neighborhood were White Protestant Christians with traditional cultural values and conservative views on politics. Edgar W. Hiestand was the local Congressman, and Hiestand was an avowed member of the John Birch Society. So was John Rousselot, the Congressman from the neighboring district in San Marino. At one town meeting I heard Rousselot scoff about his critics, saying, “Some of them say I think there is a Communist under every bed. That’s not true. Sometimes there are two of them!”
When I left Pasadena in 1956 to go to college at Stanford, my mother warned that the professors there would say that people like my parents and most of their friends were suffering from fright fantasy. The professors would say there was no Communist subversion in Washington. They would say that investigations of this matter were the products of a feverish “Red Scare.” The professors would rail against “McCarthyism” and “witch hunts.” And so they did.
Some years later I thought of my parents when I was reading We Now Know (1997), a book by historian John Lewis Gaddis. By then my parents had passed on, but I could imagine quite a scene. “What’s that book about?” they would have asked. Then I would explain that thanks to conclusive evidence in the former Soviet archives, the Venona files that had been closed prior to the 1990s, scholars now knew that during the presidencies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman the U.S. government had employed hundreds of people who were spying for the Soviet Union. “Heck,” Mom and Dad would say, “We knew that all along.”
Although my background was conservative in its views about religion, culture, and Communism, the prevailing views on race and civil rights were ambivalent. My parents and their friends regarded Blacks as a distinctive group that should be kept at a distance socially. They gave me to understand that there were boundaries, the most significant being a taboo against inter-racial dating or marriage. At the same time, my parents and their friends also believed that Blacks were often treated unfairly, and they wanted to end the abuses. They were opposed to discriminating against Black workers or to disparaging the Negro race. They were opposed to laws that required segregation.
Any tension that might have resulted from this ambivalence was obscured at the time, for America was a predominantly White country then, and everyone assumed it would remain that way. In these circumstances, the significant adults in my world believed that the courtesies of life could be exchanged across the color line without any danger to the established order. Formal segregation was not needed, but only because there was an informal consensus that Blacks and Whites, while interacting in public life and in the world of work, should live in different neighborhoods and remain separate in most things social.
I was exposed to different views during the years when I was an undergraduate student at Stanford and a graduate student at the Uni- versity of California, Berkeley (1956—1965). On these campuses, the prevailing beliefs were that Blacks had not just been treated unfairly but were, in addition, as capable as Whites when it came to intellectual aptitude and the ability to develop and maintain civilizations. One of my favorite professors, Kenneth M. Stampp, summed up this view in memorable language, “Negroes are after all only White men with Black skins, nothing more, nothing less.”
When it came time for me to write a doctoral dissertation, I asked Charles Sellers to be my major professor. I did so because Sellers was both an outstanding historian and a civil rights activist who was then serving as the president of the Berkeley chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). I joined Professor Sellers in one demonstration where I carried a sign that urged Blacks, “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work.” Later I participated in demonstrations that urged upscale restaurants to hire Blacks as waiters and car dealers to employ Blacks as salesmen. As had been the case when I was a teenager, during my twenties I went along with the views that prevailed among those who had become the most significant adults in my life.
Yet there was an abiding ambivalence. I had left Pasadena for Berkeley, but I retained many middle-class values. One was a conventional desire to get ahead in my chosen profession and eventually to support a family. I decided to write a dissertation on a racial matter — how African Americans were affected by the policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. But that choice was influenced by more than sympathy for the civil rights movement. I also calculated that this subject would be a good way to “make it” in academe. I was betting that racial topics would be in vogue during the years to come, and my choice of the New Deal and the Negro was confirmed in 1963 when I learned that there were thousands of hitherto unexamined letters and other documents in the files of the NAACP. I was 25-years old at the time, and I reckoned that even if I did not have the maturity to analyze the New Deal or to illuminate race relations, I could make a contribution to knowledge simply by summarizing the contents of those documents. To this day, I continue to urge young graduate students to work with neglected primary sources. Since the 1970s, however, I have warned that most universities discriminate against White people when it comes to filling positions that deal with racial matters.
My ambivalence was also manifest in my personal life. In 1962 I married a young Berkeley graduate who had been reared as a Southern Baptist. By then Mary and I had moved away from the religious milieu of our youths, but we were married in a Catholic church, and we never embraced even a smidgen of the lifestyle liberalism that was coming into fashion. We cringed when we heard about feminist consciousness-raising sessions. When we were blessed with three sons, we spent time with traditional activities like scouts and youth sports. We sent our boys to a predominantly White Catholic high school and, after having lapsed for several years, we began to attend Mass every Sunday. When we were able to buy a summer home on the water, we eschewed trendy Rehoboth Beach for the Chesapeake Bay, where our neighbors relaxed with boating, hunting, and classic American cars.
Meanwhile I forged through the academic ranks. My dissertation received favorable notice when it was published in 1970, and another book of 1975 received even better reviews. At the age of 36, I was promoted to the rank of full professor at the University of Delaware, and I began to think about research for yet another book. At that time, civil rights lawyers had brought a lawsuit seeking metropolitan busing for racial balance throughout the northern portion of my home county, New Castle County, Delaware. From reading the local newspaper, I learned that the nearby city of Wilmington had been one of the first five jurisdictions that the Supreme Court, in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education (1954), had ordered to desegregate its public schools. Wilmington complied immediately, but desegregation led to inter-racial scuffles and a decline in cultural and academic standards. This touched off White flight, and enrollment in Wilmington’s public schools went from 73% White to 90% Black. I then learned that much the same had happened in three of the four other “Brown districts” — in Prince Edward County, Virginia, in Summerton, South Carolina, and in Washington, D.C. Only in Topeka, Kansas, where Blacks made up 8% of the students, had a sizeable number of Whites continued to patronize the public schools. And desegregation had been problematic even in Topeka.
In The Burden of Brown (1984), I told the story of how education had fared in these five school districts where desegregation began. In the introduction and conclusion, and in a few statements that were interspersed in the text, I maintained that the misbehavior of Black students had created serious problems and that federal judges had made matters worse be redefining desegregation to mean something quite different from the original understanding. When the implementation order for Brown was handed down in 1955, “desegregation” was understood to mean that students should be assigned to public schools on a racially non-discriminatory basis. Then, beginning in the mid-1960s and continuing for about 25 years, federal judges required assignment by race to ensure that the mix of races at individual schools would be approximately the same as the proportions that existed in a larger region or state. The constitutional mandate had thus been changed from prohibiting racial discrimination to separate the races to requiring racial discrimination to mix them.
The body of my book, however, was a straightforward account of how things had worked out in the five school districts. One reviewer has described my style as “of the Sgt. Joe Friday school of analysis (for those too young to remember the TV program Dragnet, Joe Friday was the hard-boiled detective known for his ‘Just the facts, Ma’am’ style.)” Another reviewer praised this detail for showing “what the ruling meant to real people in real schools.” A third noted that in addition to analyzing the rationale of the federal courts, I showed “what those august deliberations did to real children in the classrooms, and hallways, and lavatories.”
In a field where upholding the unalloyed benefits of integration was the official party line, there were some critics. One disparaged Burden as a “biased ideological brief” that had been disguised “in the garb of careful scholarship.” But most reviews were favorable, and one senior scholar said that my “depressing thesis … probably represents the new ‘prevailing wisdom.’” The American Bar Association, which previously had supported everything the federal courts had required in the name of desegregation, seemed to second this opinion in 1985 when it gave its annual Silver Gavel Award to The Burden of Brown. Civil rights activists picketed the awards dinner and said the book was “clearly racist in sentiment and tone.” But the awards committee stood by its decision, explaining that “the award was made for literary merit and for shedding interesting light on legal history and issues.”
In retrospect, it may seem that I was destined to embrace the views that Jared Taylor propounds. Prior to the 1990s, however, I had never heard of Taylor. I was a tenured professor at a good university. I was familiar with major historians of the United States, but I knew nothing about race realism, evolutionary biology, DNA, or the critique of culture.
My awakening occurred by chance. In 1993 my publisher sent me a review of a paperback edition of The Burden of Brown. The review had appeared in American Renaissance, a magazine that was unknown to me then, and the comments were so lively and insightful that I want- ed to know more about the magazine and its editor, Jared Taylor. Reading American Renaissance turned out to be a fateful step on my road to Damascus. The magazine exposed me to racial views that differed markedly from the opinions that prevailed in the mainstream of academe. American Renaissance offered a modern defense of racial views that had prevailed in America before the 1960s.
What lessons are to be learned from my experience? Perhaps the most important is that one must get out the word if one wishes to make converts. For half a century, the schools and mainstream media have been indoctrinating students and readers with the view that racial differences are insignificant and that anyone who says otherwise is a deplorable racist. In my case, Jared Taylor broke through what might be called “the paper curtain” of racial correctness. But this happened quite by chance.
To make more converts, Taylor must reach a larger audience. Yet, as can be seen by the publication imprint for White Identity, this is no easy task. Taylor is, in the words of Peter Brimelow, “arguably the most brilliant of the leaders of what is now sometimes called the ‘Alternative Right.’” Nevertheless, “two literary agents … attracted by the manuscript’s undeniable skill and power, spent years trying to place it before giving up in surprised despair.” White Identity was finally published, to be sure, but by a small foundation rather than by a major commercial press. It is only because of the internet and new developments in publishing technology that one can hope that Taylor’s views eventually will reach a large audience.
White Identity is a polished compendium of many of the views that have been the standard fare of American Renaissance. Taylor begins by challenging the belief that racial diversity is a positive good. He concedes that it has become commonplace for American leaders to celebrate diversity. He notes that Barack Obama has declared, “the vast diversity of race and ethnicity is fundamental to our nation’s strength” (p. 53). He quotes a statement of George W. Bush: “Diversity is one of America’s greatest strengths.” He notes that Bill Clinton announced a new national goal: “We want to become a multiracial, multiethnic society … to prove that we literally can live without … having a dominant European culture” (p. xii).
Taylor challenges the assumption that underlies these statements — the assumption “that [race] is a trivial distinction it is our destiny to transcend.” Taylor maintains, rather, that “diversity is a weakness” and that it is natural for people “to prefer the company of people like themselves” (p. xvi).
In making his case, Taylor takes exception to two social science theories that provided a rationale for what eventually became the politically correct conventional wisdom about race. One was the sociology of Swedish scholar Gunnar Myrdal, the author of An American Dilemma (1944). When the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the Court celebrated Myrdal’s book as the epitome of “modern authority” on the relevant social science.
As Myrdal saw it, White discrimination and low Negro standards caused one another. Segregation and discrimination depressed the Negro’s standards of living and morality, and Whites then pointed to the poverty and immorality as justification for segregation. According to Myrdal, segregation damaged Blacks, and the extent of the damage was reflected in the way Blacks lived. “The instability of the Negro family … the emotionalism of the Negro church … provincialism … high Negro crime rate … and other characteristic traits are mainly forms of social pathology which, for the most part, are created by the caste pressures.” Conversely, Myrdal believed that if society was desegregated, the behavior of Blacks would improve. Then White attitudes would improve further, and Blacks would continue to make progress. Myrdal thought the United States could reach a higher level of civilization and social justice if the vicious cycle were turned into a virtuous cycle (p. 23).
Another influential concept emanated from Harvard University, where psychologist Gordon W. Allport developed the “contact theory” of racial attitudes According to Allport, the vicious cycle could be broken if society was not just desegregated but, in addition, was integrated so as to encourage interaction among Blacks and Whites. If Whites and Blacks of similar status interacted frequently, Allport predicted, each group would discover a common humanity, and each group would form a favorable opinion of the other.
Taylor, on the other hand, maintains that racial and ethnic consciousness is deeply rooted in human history. “Much of our evolution as a species,” Taylor writes, “took place before the invention of agriculture, during the millions of years our human and proto-human ancestors lived in hunter-gatherer bands. The members of small bands were usually related to each other, and it was important for them to cooperate and even sacrifice for each other.” In these circumstances, “strangers were potentially dangerous competitors for food and territory” (p. 114) and groups that did not defend territory against intruders were less likely to survive.
Of course our lives today differ from those of hunter-gatherers, but Taylor maintains that many basic instincts remain unchanged. To support this point, he cites the work of several modern scholars. One is Finnish political scientist and evolutionary biologist Tatu Vanhanen, who has written that “ethnic nepotism evolved in the struggle for existence because it was rational and useful” (p. 23). Another is University of Washington anthropologist Pierre L. van den Berghe, who maintains that “the degree of cooperation between organisms can be expected to be a direct function of the proportion of genes they share” (p. 114). A third is Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam who, after studying 41 different American communities that ranged from the extreme homogeneity of rural South Dakota to the very mixed population of Los Angeles, reported that there is a strong correlation between homogeneity and trust, social cohesion, and civic engagement. Putnam was so troubled by the politically incorrect implications of this research that he delayed publication for five years while he checked his findings and tried in vain to find something other than racial and ethnic diversity that would explain “why people in Maine and North Dakota trusted each other more than people in Los Angeles” (p. 130).
Whether or not wariness and hostility toward strangers is a legacy of mankind’s evolutionary past, Taylor shows that it is alive and well in the modern world — and not just among humans. Taylor notes that animals also “have a preference for close kin, and study after study has shown that they have a remarkable ability to tell kin from strangers” (p. 114). Chimpanzees, “our nearest living relatives … live in bands within territories and show a ferocious in group-out group consciousness” (pp. 114–115). So it is also with ants, frogs, and squirrels. “Even bees know who their relatives are. In one experiment, bees were bred for 14 different degrees of relatedness — sisters, cousins, second cousins, etc. — to bees in a particular hive. When the bees were then released near the hive, guard bees had to decide which ones to let in. They distinguished between degrees of kinship with almost perfect accuracy, letting in the closest relatives and chasing away more distant kin” (p. 115).
Taylor reports that human beings have the same instincts. Like E. Raymond Hall, a professor of biology at the University of Kansas and the author of a well-regarded book on American wildlife, The Mammals of North America, Taylor believes that the races of man are biological subspecies and, quoting Hall, that “two subspecies of the same species do not occur in the same geographic area.” Taylor notes that Hall has further written, “to imagine one subspecies of man living on equal terms for long with another is but wishful thinking and leads only to disaster and oblivion for one or the other.”
The Berkeley sociologist A. James Gregor has similarly observed that “social creatures throughout the animal kingdom” have manifested a “disposition to identify with only select members of [their] species.” Hence, “anything more than a casual or temporary contact between widely diverse races” has led, at the least, to “prejudice and discrimination and a subsequent rationalization for felt preferences.” On many occasions, mixing has led either to subordination or extermination. According to A. James Gregor, the nature of the racial separation or subordination has varied from place to place, but true amalgamation has occurred only rarely — and then only over the course of centuries.
Taylor drives this point home with a quotation from the Roman writer, Horace: “Though you drive Nature out with a pitchfork, she will ever find her way back” (p. 115).
Assaying the lives of ordinary Americans, Taylor presents a mountain of evidence to show that people of every race will go to great lengths to limit familiar interaction with members of another race. Countering the argument that racial consciousness will dissipate if people with different racial ancestries come together, Taylor shows that the presence of interracial acquaintance, not its absence, leads to increased racial consciousness and tensions. To prove his point, Taylor builds a temple of facts, brick-by-brick.
James S. Coleman and other sociologists had previously documented the pattern of White avoidance with respect to school integration, where the rule of thumb is that an increase of 5% in Black pupils will cause about 10% of Whites to depart. But Taylor shows that this pattern extends far beyond school enrollments. He shows that racial separation occurs in almost every area where Blacks and White have a choice. It is evident in their choice of the churches they attend, in their choice of TV shows and other entertainments, in their choice of names for children, and in their preference for living in racially homogeneous communities. Taylor cites a Florida study that reported that although Blacks made substantial economic gains in comparison to Whites during the 1990s, “it was particularly surprising that we saw no [neighborhood integration] effect from the growing convergence of Black and White incomes” (p. 36). He cites a Berkeley study that reported that majorities of Whites, Hispanics, Blacks, and Asians agreed with the statement, “People are happier when segregated” (p. 41). He quotes a Black Berkeley professor who said integration “has not been approached or achieved because nobody wants it. Blacks have always wanted to associate with themselves” (p. 44). He cites a New Jersey study that reported that “of the 13,000 Black families in the area making more than $114,000 … two-thirds chose to live in mostly Black neighborhoods.” He mentions a Black journalist’s account of a backyard gathering in an affluent Black suburb of Atlanta. “The party suddenly went silent when a realtor’s car bearing a White couple, cruised down the street. ‘I hope they don’t find anything they like,’ said one of the guests; ‘otherwise, there goes the neighborhood’” (p. 42).
During the 1960s and 1970s, when there were a number of race riots and when federal courts demanded racially balanced mixing in many school districts, the national press devoted a good deal of attention to friction between Blacks and Whites. Those tensions (and the accompanying media accounts) have subsided, thanks to White flight and a new jurisprudence that came to the fore during the tenure of Supreme Court Chief Justices William H. Rehnquist and John G. Roberts. “Now that the Supreme Court has virtually ruled out race-based student assignment,” Taylor notes, “the country is reverting to what was common in the North before the Brown decision: neighborhood schools that reflect segregated housing patterns” (p. 35). Yet there is one difference. To get away from Blacks, Whites have had to move farther and farther out into exurbs and small towns.
Of course many people who lack economic wherewithal have had no choice but to live near predominantly Black inner cities, and this situation has ensured the persistence of strife in some schools. Taylor devotes several pages to discussing the conflicts between Blacks and Hispanics. Since there is a large population of both groups in Los Angeles, the schools and neighborhoods there should be “a showcase for diversity’s strengths.” In fact, however, Hispanics and Blacks have “stubbornly defied the expectations of those who praise diversity.” For decades, the schools and neighborhoods in Los Angeles have been virtual battlegrounds.
The failure of integration has been especially evident in the nation’s prisons, where inmates have no choice but to submit to official dictates. By now, Hispanic inmates outnumber Blacks and racial tensions have been mounting. Incarcerated Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics all regard sticking together as “’Rule No. 1’ for survival,” and Taylor opines that, for prisoners and guards alike, segregation would be a blessing. “It would save lives, relieve tension and probably … improve race relations on the outside by sparing convicts racial violence that permanently embitters them.” Nevertheless, “because the United States is committed to integration, we ignore those who have the strongest case against it” (p. 75). We insist that prisoners must be racially integrated.
White Identity contains three hundred pages of evidence demonstrating that humans “prefer to live in homogeneous communities rather than endure the tension and conflict that arise from differences” (p. 135). Given the extent of this evidence, one might expect the advocates of diversity to present concrete evidence to show that heterogeneity is beneficial. Yet this has not been the case. There are occasional references to the contributions of individual immigrants, but there is no extensive research to show that diversity increases community cohesiveness or that diverse countries are happier and more peaceful than homogeneous ones. Some observers have expressed the hope that diversity of race, language, and ethnicity might become an advantage for the United States in the emerging global economy. But so far homogeneous nations like China, Japan, and South Korea have fared better than diverse rivals like Brazil, Indonesia, and the U.S.
The most persuasive argument for diversity does not come from systematic research in history or social science. It comes, rather, from an analogy — the assimilation of millions of ethnic White Americans who immigrated to the United States during the years from about 1840 to 1920. Most of these newcomers hailed from non-English speaking European countries, and they initially identified themselves by nationality, such as “Italian” or “Polish.” Eventually, however, these immigrants inter-married and became amalgamated. A new ethnic group has emerged among Whites, who now have little lingering identification with a geographic homeland and view themselves simply as “European Americans.”
Taylor attributes the successful amalgamation of different European ethnic groups to the fact that they were of the same race. He might have added that this amalgamation was also facilitated because America’s leaders at the time were committed to amalgamation for Whites but only for Whites. Theodore Roosevelt, for example, worked assiduously to unite disparate groups of Europeans into one American people, but Roosevelt insisted that the reformed population had to be White. Israel Zangwill, the author of the famous 1908 play The Melting Pot, similarly celebrated America as “God’s crucible, where all the races of Europe are melting and reforming!”
Taylor considers the modern American celebration of multi-racial diversity a form of misguided national “cheerleading” (p. 135). He writes that “almost as an accidental by-product” of the immigration reform act of 1965, “the U.S. opened itself to large numbers of non-White newcomers who are now the primary source of diversity” (p. 136). As a result of its new immigration policy, the United States, which previously been a bi-racial society that ranged from 80 to 90 percent White and 10–20 percent Black, is destined to become a multi-racial society in which no race will be a majority. In these circumstances, criticism of diversity “raises the intolerable possibility that the U.S. has been acting on mistaken assumptions for half a century” (p. 135).
Taylor nevertheless reminds readers that “even orthodoxies crumble when they are obviously wrong” (p. 137). He notes that communism failed for many reasons, “not least because it was a misreading of human nature” (p. xvi). The communists failed because they built their society on the mistaken assumption that selfishness could be abolished.
Taylor insists that America’s current leaders have also embraced “mistaken assumptions about race [that] are leading us in dangerous directions” (p. xv). The Soviet Union imploded after about 70 years, and Taylor expects that politically correct assumptions about race and diversity eventually will lead to the demise of the United States. Some readers will find it hard to accept this prospect. After all, as Taylor writes, “Americans are proud of their country and do not like to think it may have made a serious mistake” (p. 135). Taylor, however, presents himself as a teller of hard truths. For years the masthead of American Renaissance has featured Thomas Jefferson’s statement, “There is not a truth existing which I fear or would wish unknown to the whole world.”
Most modern Whites are loath to acknowledge the importance of race and ethnicity, but such has not been the case with Blacks and with recent immigrants from Latin America and Asia. “Racial identity comes naturally to all non-White groups,” Taylor writes. Thus “Blacks call each other ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ and do not hesitate to work for explicitly racial ends” (p. 290). There is general acceptance of the Black Congressional Caucus and of the fact that in general elections the great majority of Blacks, regardless of their socioeconomic or educational backgrounds, vote the same way.
“Like Blacks,” Taylor writes, “Hispanics simply put their people first.” They call their people la raza and affirm solidarity in their slogans. One group, the Chicano Student Movement proclaims, Por La Raza todo, Fuera de La Raza, nada. “For the race, everything. For those outside the race, nothing” (p. 137). Even Asians, who in the past generally tried to assimilate as individuals, have recently begun to adopt “the tactics that other groups have found successful” (p. 203). Thus one pan-Asian organization whose founders included a former lieutenant governor of Delaware and a former chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, aims to deliver a massive 80 percent of the Asian vote to candidates who agree to its demands (p. 209).
Whites, on the other hand, “have a consciousness of race that is very different from that of minorities. They do not consciously attach much importance to the fact that they are White, and they view race as an illegitimate reason for decision-making of any kind.” Most White leaders have professed “color-blindness” as their goal, and some influential writers and scholars see the White race “as uniquely guilty and without moral standing.” Among Whites, Taylor writes, the “current assumptions about race are a dramatic reversal of the views … of the Founding Fathers [and] of the great majority of Americans up until the 1950s and 1960s” (p. 217).
The turnabout with respect to miscegenation has been especially notable. “Since colonial times the great fear of Whites was that if other races were not held at a distance the result would be a mixing that would denature the [White] race.” Today, however, many White intellectuals, on the right as well as the left, regard miscegenation with favor. Thus Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom have written that the “crumbling of the taboo on sexual relations between the two races [Black and White]” is “good news.” “My great wish,” the conservative pundit Michael Barone has written, “is that 50 years from now we will be so mixed there will be no more racial categories” (p. 237).
Writers on the left have been especially outspoken. The masthead of one publication, Race Traitor, promotes the slogan, “Treason to Whiteness is loyalty to humanity.” One of the journal’s lead editorials was entitled, “Abolish the White Race — by Any Means Necessary.” The editors did not mean that Whites should be physically eliminated, but that they should be converted to the idea that race is purely a so- cial construct and that Whites should be denied any sense of common identity (p. 230).
Mainstream writers have picked up on this theme. Thus science writers Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman regard ethnic pride is an important way to promote self-esteem among minority groups. But they draw the line at Whites: “It’s horrifying to imagine kids being ‘proud to be White.” Writing in The New Yorker, journalist James Traub similarly declared that when it comes to any discussion of race, Whites must acknowledge that they are the offending party, the perpetrators “of innumerable past hurts and misdeeds.” And Joe Klein, in New York Magazine, wrote that Whites should begin any conversation about race with a confession: “It’s our fault; we’re racists” (pp. 231–232).
The Black writer Shelby Steele included some especially forceful comments in his book White Guilt (2006). “Beyond an identity that apologizes for white supremacy, absolutely no white identity is permissible. In fact, if there is a white racial identity today it would have to be white guilt — a shared, even unifying, lack of racial and moral authority.” By way of explanation, Steele called attention to “the extraordinary human evil” that Whites have exhibited at one time or another. Steele made light of instances of slavery, conquest, genocide, and repression by non-Whites — instances that persist to this day in parts of Africa and Asia. Instead, he wrote, “no group in recent history has more aggressively seized power in the name of its racial superiority than Western whites. This race illustrated for all time — through colonialism, slavery, white racism, Nazism — the extraordinary human evil that follows when great power is joined to an atavistic sense of superiority and destiny. That is why today’s whites, the world over, cannot openly have a racial identity.”
Many commentators have noted that the civil rights movement initially focused on eliminating non-merit based discrimination but later shifted to the goal of promoting “diversity.” Demands for “equal opportunity” eventually were supplanted by demands for “equality of results.” Until recently, I focused on this transition when I thought about my own estrangement from the civil rights movement. I had begun with the belief that it was wrong for the government to discriminate among citizens on the basis of race. And I had also opposed racial discrimination by private companies that were doing business with the general public. But I never questioned the right to discriminate in choosing one’s friends, and I was opposed to affirmative racial discrimination.
More recently, as a result of reading White Identity and seeing some of the statements that have been chiseled in stone at the Martin Luther King Monument in Washington, I have had additional second thoughts about the civil rights movement. The statements point to the universalist elements in King’s thought. One proclaims. “Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.” Another declares, “Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole.”
In point of fact, as Taylor shows, whatever Martin Luther King may have intended, King’s rhetoric eventually led to yet another transition in the civil rights movement — from eliminating racial discrimination to destroying White identity. As Taylor explains, it turned out that “Whites — but only Whites — must never take pride in their own people. Only Whites must pretend they do not prefer to associate with people like themselves” (p. 290). Non-Whites may “celebrate their growing numbers — just as Whites once did.” But contemporary White people, “not only in America but around the world, [must] cheerfully contemplate their disappearance as a distinct people” (p. 239).
Of course Whites are not yet extinct. In the United States, they have not been completely dispossessed. But Taylor notes that White Americans have already been compelled to surrender many jobs to the beneficiaries of affirmative discrimination. Whites have been required to bear the expense of providing education and welfare and medical care for increasing numbers of non-Whites. And as more cities come to resemble Detroit and more of the countryside resembles Mexico, Whites have come to feel ill-at-ease in growing portions of the United States. If Whites do not regain a sense of unity and confidence, Taylor opines, the dispossession will continue and Whites will be “pushed aside by people who have a very clear sense of their interests” (pp. 291–292). “Americans must open their eyes to the fact that a changing population could change everything in America. The United States could come to resemble the developing world rather than Europe — in some places it already does” (p. 286).
Taylor finds some solace in the phenomenon of implicit Whiteness. He notes that most Whites, although not openly challenging the precepts of racial correctness, nevertheless take comfort with their own people. “Their actions betray them,” Taylor writes. Whites “leave long-established neighborhoods and institutions when their numbers drop below a certain level of comfort” (p. 290). Whites also cluster together when it comes to choosing restaurants and entertainments and vacation destinations. America’s modern leaders “insist that ‘diversity’ is a great strength, but for most Americans this is mere lip service. They rarely seek diversity in their personal lives, living instead in homogeneous islands that look nothing like the racial and cultural mix this country has become. Anti-discrimination laws ensure integration at work, at school, and in public, but in private the races generally separate. A dinner party, poker game, wedding reception, church service, or backyard barbecue is rarely a multi-racial mosaic” (p. xiv).
At a subconscious level, Whites understand that “the deeper loyalties of most people are to their own group —their extended family.” They implicitly understand that, just as members of a family are close because they are related biologically, so “race is the largest extended family to which [people] feel an instinctive kinship” (p. 290). Taylor’s goal is to make these understandings explicit.
A nagging question arises. If group consciousness is instinctive and deeply rooted in mankind’s evolutionary past, why have Whites, at least at a conscious level, been so acquiescent with respect to their own deracination? Many readers of The Occidental Quarterly have found the answer in the work of Kevin MacDonald. In The Culture of Critique (1998) and Cultural Insurrections (2004), MacDonald has shown that Jews, driven by both an evolutionary strategy and an historic sense of grievance against White Christians, have relentlessly criticized White societies and have pathologized White identity (and only White identity).
In the United States, Jews have also used their disproportionate wealth and influence to promote the immigration law of 1965, which created the conditions that, within a few decades, will result in non-Whites becoming a majority of the American population. Jewish spokesmen regarded this “reform” as a great victory for their ethny, with Charles Silberman explaining that many Jews harbor a belief — “one firmly rooted in history — that [they] are safe only in a society acceptant of a wide range of … ethnic groups.” Earl Raab has further explained that, thanks to the immigration of non-Whites, “we have tipped beyond the point where a Nazi-Aryan party will be able to prevail in this country.”
Changing America’s immigration policy was but one of several methods by which influential Jews undermined the hegemony of Whites. Other methods included fostering the civil rights movement, gaining control of the major media, and exercising disproportionate influence over financial institutions and several academic disciplines.
There has been much discussion of the “capture” of some of these fields — from anthropology to Hollywood to Wall Street — and a similar development has occurred in my own area of expertise, history. In his 1962 presidential address to the American Historical Association, Carl Bridenbaugh noted that “many of the younger practitioners of our craft, and those who are still apprentices, are products of lower middle-class or foreign origins.” As such, Bridenbaugh observed, these newcomers found “themselves in a very real sense outside in our past and feel themselves left out.” Bridenbaugh wondered if this rising generation of alienated young scholars would appreciate the values of those who had led America in the past, or would a new generation of self-consciously ethnic scholars transform academic American history into a critique of the nation’s shortcomings.
Time has proved that Bridenbaugh was on to something. Since he spoke in 1962, the plot line in major textbooks has shifted from the rise of the American nation to a critique of historic failings and a celebration of ethnic diversity. “The growth of the American republic” has given way to particularistic discussions of “race, class, and gender.” In another presidential address to the American Historical Association, in 2008, Gabrielle M. Spiegel discussed a related development — a growing focus on “questions of diaspora … and the rapidly developing field of transnational history.” Spiegel welcomed her colleagues’ celebration of the fact that, instead of regarding themselves as essentially “Americans,” a growing number of U. S. citizens — especially Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians — had begun to emulate the approach of some Jewish sojourners. They were developing “de-territorialized identities.” They no longer identified with their “hostlands” but instead regarded themselves as part of dispersed ethnic communities.
My experience as an historian thus predisposes me to agree with Kevin MacDonald. It seems to me that Jews have played a major role in shaping the understanding of identity in modern America. They have fostered the growth of a diasporic consciousness among immigrants from Africa, Asia, and Latin America while, paradoxically, finding fault with American Whites and stigmatizing a resurgence of White identity.
Jared Taylor sees things differently. He finds it hard to believe that a group that makes up less than 3 percent of America’s total population can exercise decisive influence. [...]
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