Humanist Perspectives: issue 206: “White Privilege” is Newspeak

“White Privilege” is Newspeak
by C.A. Wordsworth

Enlightenment
Photos via (left to right) Aethon Design
N

ewspeak is the unofficial first language of Canada, overlying the two official lan.guages of French and English characteristic of Canadian identity, and forcing, insidiously, a uniform expression of values and identity that was never ours. What is Newspeak? In the words of George Orwell, who coined the word for his novel 1984, it’s a language “designed to diminish the range of thought” and which is used in his fictional totalitarian state to control the people. Dictionary.com defines it as “an official or semi.official style of writing or saying one thing in the guise of its opposite, especially in order to serve a political or ideological cause while pretending to be objective...” Canadians have seen Newspeak in action in language that’s been weaponized and taught to “social justice” advocates who wield the words in the divisive ideological rhetoric of identity politics. It’s like a sledgehammer, battering at the boundaries and structures of national sovereignty and undermining the agency of the populations of Western civilization.

The term “white privilege” is an example of Newspeak. Before refuting the validity of white privilege, I’d like to preface the discussion by distinguishing between the word “racism” and the Newspeak label of “white privilege” because, while evidence for racism as it has traditionally been defined may be proven in a given situation, the concept of white privilege is built upon logical fallacies and should not be conflated with valid discussions about racism. The Oxford English Dictionary defines white privilege as “inherent advantages possessed by a white person on the basis of their race in a society characterized by racial inequality and injustice.” Social justice warriors (SJWs) claim whites receive unearned privileges or advantages because of their skin tone. In practice, the assertion of “white privilege” is not restricted to persons with light skin tone but also refers to “whiteness” or Euro-culture and Christianity. The rationale is that whites have historically and collectively offended people of colour and people of other religions and should appease them.

The terminology deserves scrutiny because “white privilege” is used to justify more affirmative action plans, diversity, inclusion, and immigration demands. Acting on these demands would not only produce permanent demographic changes but also have psychological impacts. Once internalized, the idea that one benefits from white privilege produces an insidious effect upon a person’s self-image, for the belief that they do not deserve what they have compels whites to view themselves as shameful. The term effectively re-engineers one’s self concept, softening a person up, replacing individuality with a compulsion to accept unending punishment, for within a secular society the only salvation for this shame is either endless self-flagellation or surrender. If the object of the exercise can be inferred from the end results, then the aim is less about creating equality and more about manipulating a population into submission to a totalitarian agenda.

Agency and Structure

The study of racism takes place within the social psychology perspective which is organized around concepts of agency and structure. An individual has agency if he has the capacity to act in his own interest to achieve his own goals. “Structures,” which may either facilitate or restrict agency, refers to social structures such as social arrangements, cultural norms, government, and the knowledge and ideology contained within language. For example, Newspeak is an ideological language structure that diminishes knowledge to reduce the agency of a certain segment of the population.

Agency and Context

Language depends on context for meaning. When viewed within the socio-political and historical context, “white privilege” has no meaning. The truth is not apparent to SJWs because indoctrination methods deployed in educational institutions succeed in blinding the Left. Like a fragment torn from a larger picture, classroom representations of populations are torn away from the larger context. When the context is missing, distortions and misrepresentations are created. Context comes from observing things like time and space, history and geography, Eastern and Western civilizations, and the structures and conditions created by the United Nations and Globalization.

Are we in fact experiencing a softer version of the 1984-type totalitarianism, with politically correct and social justice language representing the Newspeak of our times?

Historical context is particularly significant because many people, particularly Canadians who don’t know much of the history of Western civilization, have had their ignorance exploited. Within the ideology of the Left, to which students are routinely exposed, history is often misrepresented in such a way as to falsely justify aggression against Western civilization. The origin of the 1,400 years of conflict between Eastern and Western civilizations, the very successful military and colonial achievements of the East, and the ideologically motivated attacks against and within Western populations are all parts of the historical context and generally ignored by the leftist teachers of future social justice warriors. SJWs point to the history of black slavery as a foundation of inequality. They attempt to establish that whites have inherited privilege because they exclusively profited from violently subjugating others. This belief is problematic because the notion that historically blacks and non-Europeans have exclusively been victims of slavery by whites and never perpetrators is false. Historian Robert Davis recorded that between 1530 and 1780 over a million Europeans were abducted and enslaved by North Africans. Arabs engaged in the slave trade with more cruelty and far more extensively than Europeans and continued to do so after Western civilization banned slavery.

Social justice warriors also point to the European colonization of the Americas. Again, such actions are not exclusive to whites. If Europeans had not colonized the Americas, some other civilization would likely have done it. It’s possible that the indigenous people would have found these other conquerors more onerous than the Europeans. History shows that whites are neither exclusively the perpetrators nor the beneficiaries of violence around the world, and therefore the argument that whites have exclusively inherited privilege is not plausible. If white privilege is defined by the fact that the cultures of Western civilization reflect the people who created them, one could equally well speak of Chinese privilege in China, Arab privilege in Arab countries, Ghanaian privilege in Ghana and so on. The term becomes meaningless.

Loss of Agency

We are currently living through an era in which white people, people with European heritage, and those who value Western civilization have lost the agency to speak freely in defense of “whiteness.” Without the agency afforded by freedom of speech, whites are bereft of basic rights; therefore, once again, the premise of the argument for “white privilege” is not plausible.

There are three ways in which white freedom of speech and thus white agency is restricted. They are (1) terrorist violence, (2) stigmatization and demoralization via accusations of “racism,” and (3) United Nations-sanctioned censorship and legislation against free speech.

Number 1: Terrorism

Terrorist violence results in the inability to speak freely. People are brutally murdered for speaking openly about certain things. Theo van Gogh and the artists at Charlie Hebdo are only a few of many such victims. Molly Norris went into hiding because she received death threats after creating a cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammad and promoting a protest against censorship called Draw Mohammad Day. Cartoonists and filmmakers are not the only targets. In France, over 50 journalists are threatened for exposing the truth and many have been forced to flee France, according to journalist Zvi Yehezkeli in a documentary called Jihad – The Day of Judgment. There have been thousands of Islamist terrorist attacks around the world since 9/11, 2001, and yet we hear about only a fraction of these in the mainstream media. Threats reduce the numbers of people willing to speak openly. Of course, it is not only white people whose freedom of speech is silenced by the threat of terrorism, but one must ask why Western governments in their pursuit of “diversity” are inviting the threat into their own countries.

Number 2: Stigmatization

The UK provides an example of the impact of stigma upon white agency. As a result of prohibitions against discrimination and racism, police in the UK were reluctant to respond to thousands of complaints in several towns over the course of more than a decade that young girls, who were most often white and of English descent, were subjected to rape, extortion and sexual slavery by gangs who were overwhelmingly of Muslim, Pakistani heritage. One of the reasons cited was a fear of being labeled “racist.” If it were not so tragic, it would be comical that a mere word could hold such power over police forces in Britain, comparable to that evoked by a magical incantation or to science fiction, like the kryptonite that paralyses Superman. Unfortunately, those working within the justice system have been demoralized into ineffectiveness because the accusation of “racism” raises fears of stigmatization and censure, and even the possibility of loss of employment, whether the accusation is true or not.

The Rotherham case was exposed in 2014 in a report created after an investigation by Professor Alexis Jay, which covered the period from 1997 to 2013. The lack of police action was often due to fears of being accused of racism because of the ethnicity and religion of the perpetrators. Senior management in various social agencies discouraged employees from attending to the issue. Some people working on the problem were removed from their positions after speaking to senior officials about the crimes. Another ring of grooming gangs was uncovered in March, 2018, in Telford, Shropshire. Approximately 1,000 girls were groomed for sex by 200 “British-Asian” men, a euphemism adopted for fear of drawing attention to the unique common element among the criminals. Prohibitions against naming particular elements are so strong that it is seen as preferable to slur a large swath of the Asian population in an ill-advised attempt at appearing to be discreet, rather than truthful. The girls were allegedly trafficked, beaten, drugged, raped and sometimes murdered. Again, many local authorities were reluctant to get involved for fears of being labeled racist. The same thing happened in Rochdale, Oxford, and Newcastle. Such cases around the UK continue to accumulate. (A 333-page report by Peter McLoughlin on the shameful cover-up by British authorities of the activities of grooming gangs, called Easy Meat (2014), can be found online.)

Political correctness, which promotes the stigmatising label of “racism,” has exacerbated the problem of rape in the UK. The privilege in this case was given to the perpetrators because they belong to a group that is a social minority in the UK. The little white English girls just didn’t seem to matter. Skin color and religion are conflated into “race” by Leftists, so that talking about religion as a set of ideas, laws, or ideology gets shut down, censuring any legitimate criticism. This is exactly the purpose of the term “Islamophobia.” It is a weapon word designed to conflate discrimination against Muslims with criticism of Islam, and thereby silence such criticism.

Number 3: Legislation Undermining Free Speech

Hate speech laws around the world have undermined free speech. Certain groups are protected from criticism even as Leftists impugn whites and dismiss concerns about the loss of free speech as “white fragility.” Western citizens are betrayed by the capitulation of their own governments to United Nations Resolution 16/18, Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief. This Resolution, introduced by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), was signed into existence in March, 2011, by the UN Human Rights Council. The ground for this betrayal is seeded in the globalist worldview that all cultures are equally valid and which therefore ignores differences in conceptions about the rights of the individual, freedom of speech, and the relationship between religious doctrine and secular legislation. Host countries, according to the globalist view, must accommodate immigrants, reversing the traditional expectation that immigrants must accommodate to their new country. The unwholesome fruit of UN Resolution 16/18 can be seen when politicians accommodate demands for policies and laws that criminalize freedom of speech, resulting in restrictions of Western values and freedom. Now, simply making statements about facts, history and truth can be deemed racist, defamatory, and illegal.

The following is a sample of some of the troubling clauses of Resolution 16/18:

3. Condemns any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, whether it involves the use of print, audio-visual or electronic media or any other means;
5. (f) Adopting measures to criminalize incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief;

It is important to understand that the OIC applies a “consequence-based test” to terms such as “incitement to violence.” This means that it places the responsibility for violent responses to something that was written or spoken on the writer and speaker, even if that person did not intend to incite violence. The OIC would therefore place the blame for Muslim violence in response to the “Danish cartoons” on the creators and publishers of the cartoons, rather than on the Muslims engaging in violence.

Despite the surface appearance of lofty goals, clauses within Resolution 16/18 have resulted in the draconian suppression of free speech in Europe. These clauses also threaten free speech in Canada. The ambiguity of the word discrimination, which can have either a positive or negative meaning, has been exploited to the detriment of Western civilization. In drafting the resolution, the OIC originally wanted to include the words “prohibit defamation of religions” but when they finally acceded to the Western argument that only a person can be defamed and not an idea or a religion, they settled on the words “discrimination” and “incitement to violence,” words which have proven to be the slippery slope to authoritarian censorship that is tantamount to imposing Islamic blasphemy laws on the free world. Politicians accommodate demands for policies and laws that criminalize speech if that speech might possibly be perceived some day by someone as criticizing something Islamic. These policies amount to a stealthy assault on free speech that threatens the Western way of life. Canadians should understand that Motion M-103, passed by the Canadian Parliament on March 23, 2017, is the implementation of Resolution 16/18 in Canada.

Legislation against discrimination results in the erasure and criminalization of statements about truth. For example, a German man, Michael Stürzenberger, was sentenced to six months in prison for depicting historical facts in a photo and commentary which he posted on Facebook. The information he posted depicts the collaboration in World War II between the Ottoman Empire and the Nazi party. The judge feared that someone might interpret the information as criticism of Islam and an incitement to violence, even though nothing in the post suggested that it is intended to incite violence. (See Vladtepsblog.com: Journalist sentenced to six months jail for posting Historic Photo.) Here is a case where truth and white history are erased because of the “incitement” clause created by the OIC. It is only one story among many possible examples to illustrate how legislation that undermines free speech has led to the destruction of Western agency.

Conclusion

There is no plausible premise underlying the arguments supporting “white privilege.” The term “white privilege” functions like Newspeak because it’s a false narrative that diminishes knowledge about history and about the threats faced by Western populations and because it shuts down conversation about these threats, thus facilitating the stealthy encroachment of totalitarian control over Western civilization.

Those who advocate for social justice often do not support the impartial application of justice. Early in 2018, “social justice” warriors erected posters at universities for a “white privilege awareness” campaign. This campaign flies in the face of the reality that there is often a high price to be paid for daring to assert the right of Western civilization to define Western societies or even to exist. (Remember the chant: Hey hey, ho ho, Western culture’s has got to go?) Those who assert that right can face censure, job loss, slander, defamation, bullying, intimidation, and even violence. There are in fact unnamed forms of privilege which have carte blanche to attack Western civilization (and by extension whites). Can we talk about them? Can we even name them? What would they be called? “I-word” privilege? Leftist privilege? Social justice privilege? The presentation of “white privilege” as legitimate discourse is craven and treacherous. The accusation intrinsic to the term is intended to set up Western civilization for predation. Given the cultural Marxist state of many of our universities following “the long march through the institutions,” the destruction of Western society might be the intention not only of SJW students, but of the educational authorities themselves. Are we in fact experiencing a softer version of the 1984-type totalitarianism, with politically correct and social justice language representing the Newspeak of our times?

C.A. Wordsworth is beginning a writing career with a focus on challenging academic taboos after graduating from a Canadian college with a B.A. in cultural studies inspired more questions than answers.

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