by Ed West
Monday, 22
February 2021
Idea
15:08

White narcissism, not white supremacy, is plaguing America

Hate crimes against Asian-Americans cannot be explained away by one theory
by Ed West
A poster called “A march Against White Nationalism” for Vicha Ratanapakdee

It’s a curiosity of human psychology that as air travel has become much safer we’ve become more scared of it.

The same is true with racism, at least in the western context. In the US, while openly racist attitudes have hugely decreased, and as any opinion even adjacent to racism has become taboo, so there has been far more focus on the menace of white supremacy.

A genuinely white supremacist society would probably not tolerate and encourage various minorities to become wealthier than the average; they would certainly not have quotas and subsidises for the sake of affirmative action, nor would the most prestigious publications in a white supremacist society have a succession of dreary comment pieces denouncing “white people”; nor would there be a conveyor belt of academics exposed for pretending to be black, Hispanic or Asian.

Of course, there is racial prejudice and racism; there is disease and obesity in Japan, but no one would call Japan an unhealthy society, because we measure most societies against others in time and place, not against an abstract perfect society.

White supremacy is a popular idea partly because it explains away all sorts of problems, many of which can only be logically explained by breaking one of the various taboos that American society has built around race. For instance, after a number of vicious attacks on Asian-Americans, the most horrific being against Vicha Ratanapakdee, activists organised a protest to “end the violence towards Asians”, calling on people to “unite against white nationalism”.

This seems like a strange response when the suspect is African-American, but then psychologically it’s easier to tell a lie than tell a repulsive truth, perhaps because we feel that a dangerous truth can be more dangerous.

In the New York Times report on the spate of hate crimes against Asian-Americans, Donald Trump and “kung flu” are mentioned in paragraph four. And then, somewhere around paragraph 36, we read:

“The people arrested in both the Chinatown incident in Oakland and the fatal assault on Mr. Ratanapakdee are Black, which community organizers said has brought to the fore some anti-Black racism, particularly as outrage about the attacks has spread on social media.”
- Jill Cowan, The New York Times

So rather than just lying, most people will think up wildly convoluted explanations for events that contradict their guiding philosophy. A columnist argues that: “white supremacy is permitted to perpetuate a divide between Asian-Americans and Black and Indigenous people and other people of colour”.

That would, of course, explain the racism Africans experience in China, or indeed the violence meted out against the Chinese in south-east Asia down the years, or conflicts between Africans and Arabs throughout the centuries, and the countless examples of racial conflict throughout human history.

White Americans, overall, hold views on race that are so much more liberal than any other society that, compared to China, South Asia, the Middle East and even most of Europe, they are bizarre anomalies. It’s a facet of a sort of runaway liberalism, and is certainly preferable to the opposite extreme. Yet racial guilt also comes with a form of racial narcissism, and to the White Narcissists every conflict in the world has to be their fault, and to be all about them.

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Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 year ago

First, any violence against Asians in the US was very limited, so please turn off the hype machine. You want to find a group that is regularly attacked and often with the approval of govt? I give you the Jews, especially those in the Northeast.
“White supremacy” was conjured by people who saw that calling someone a racist was losing its punch and as such, it was threatening their grift. Grievance is quite the industry here, with all sorts of groups actively rent-seeking and it is never going to stop. Too many people make a living or draw power from it, so when the demand for bad behavior exceeds the supply, you change the terms and push for solutions to a non-existent problem.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I had a discussion about this yesterday evening but it was deleted, as I read above by someone accidentally. I said that anybody could select periods of history to support their own views and they would prove that they were right. White supremacy is an obvious choice.
I then went on, as an example, to choose three ‘pieces’ of history: enslavement of black people by Europeans and Americans, the Vietnam War and something else. This proved that white people ought to feel guilty. Which is why our systems have changed accordingly.
I then said that a way forward would be to consider extremes and try to find a balance point, which everybody could be comfortable with.
I was badly attacked for saying these things, basically because I had chosen the wrong history – and that was my point. Also I was attacked for suggesting that there could be a balance point because I was obviously wrong so a balance could not exist.
I read a lot of dismal things on this site but feel that there must be a way forward. Otherwise, why bother to type?

DA Johnson
DA Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

This is a spot-on analysis, succinctly put.

Alex Hawk
Alex Hawk
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Naw, white supremacy exists. Sorry bro. https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/crime/2020/07/09/patrick-crusius-faces-new-federal-charges-el-paso-shooting/3286985001/

Better to acknowledge a problem than stick your head in the sand, that’s what I always say. And in general people on this site should not be so silly as to speak in absolutes. Saying white supremacy is somehow ‘invented’ and not a real thing out in the world! Hahahaha! Just so silly.

Dave Weeden
Dave Weeden
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Hawk

I’m unclear about just one thing: how does the linked article demonstrate the existence of white supremacy? No one, certainly not Ed West above, has denied the existence of racism and racially motivated killings in the USA. If “white supremacy” is anything, surely it is systemic. Do you believe that the police officers who arrested the shooter, the prosecution lawyers, and the justice system which which will no doubt punish him are solely controlled by Hispanics? Because it seems to me that at least some of the individuals concerned would be white…

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Hawk

Is that “white supremacy”, or just another in a very, very long line of crazy Americans going crazy with a gun?

David Bottomley
David Bottomley
1 year ago

It would be very interesting to look at what motivates those who are creating such terms as ‘white supremacy’. What is their goal , what is in their minds? I get the increasing suspicion that it’s a mind that is set on increasing division, distrust and antagonism and certainly not one which strives to bring about racial harmony or to take us all to a time where race is completely irrelevant.

Alex Hawk
Alex Hawk
1 year ago

Their goal is probably to stop white supremacists from killing anymore innocent people: https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/crime/2020/07/09/patrick-crusius-faces-new-federal-charges-el-paso-shooting/3286985001/ I think that just might be it.

David Morley
David Morley
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Hawk

Alex – I really ought to have upvoted you for charming naïveté.

Neil John
Neil John
1 year ago

Indeed the left, and more over their ‘useful idiot’ supporters realise divide and conquer is the only way they can destroy the Western democracies. The CCP and it’s agents latch onto ANY opportunity to make any disagreement about ‘race’ to deflect criticism from China at the moment too.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

Race discussion is best compared to religion, and to a religion which has little scholarship attached to it. What is, IS, and trying to take any position outside orthodoxy is Apostasy, and we all know what that means in a religious society.

M Spahn
M Spahn
1 year ago

It’s simple: all problems are white people’s fault. When you recognize that as the core tenet of their religion, none of the mental gymnastics necessary to sustain the faith will surprise you.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

Ain’t Nobody Here but Us Chickens

Mark H
Mark H
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Yep, previous comments have gone down the memory-hole.
Even though there was nothing especially controversial, at least 3 hrs ago when I last looked.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark H

That was my (accidental) doing! Either that or Pres Xi has hacked UnHerd BTL. Managed to wipe out every comment. Have flagged to the moderators – hopefully they will restore.

Mark H
Mark H
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Intriguing… you mean you wrote something like
sudo rm -rf /
?

Tim Bartlett
Tim Bartlett
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark H

No, he has a magic flag button that not only deletes everything, but also seems to (temporarily) stop people from posting. I’m hoping he takes it over to The Guardian.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim Bartlett

Guardian CIF is whitelabelled WeChat, both posters and moderators sitting somewhere in Shenzhen. Long term aim to destroy western civilization. Only thing that makes sense – there cannot possibly be that many people with those views in the UK.

Paul N
Paul N
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

True – there does seem to be an inordinate number of right wing trolls on Grauniad Comment is Free – but only on certain threads. It’s almost like they were organised.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark H

Hahaha. Nothing as sophisticated. I seem to have provoked a bug in the commenting system by accidentally clicking a red flag and then trying to undo it.
Looks like they got their comment system coding done by Wipro or something.

Paul N
Paul N
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

SO what is UnHerd using now instead of Disqus? And when will we be able to get our avatars back?

Paul N
Paul N
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul N

And can you do something about the over-enthusiastic automoderation?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul N

Seems to be homebrew. No idea about the avatars. I’ve had an email conversation with them about the lost comments, they are saying they have restored all the missing posts – clearly not the case, but not worth pursuing as they are only comments.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

No, I have a post that’s disappeared in the last 24 hours.

Dorothy Slater
Dorothy Slater
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark H

what is happening? i looked forward to reading the comments almost more than the article itself and now there are almost none – who is in charge of Unherd these days. There is almost no need to read it anymore. How very sad.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago
Reply to  Dorothy Slater

The comments are where the truth lies, the articles just set out the points to discuss.

Paul N
Paul N
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Some of the comments, anyway. The ones that agree with me, naturally.

John Pade
John Pade
1 year ago

Newspapers don’t have to tell us who is doing the anti-Asian violence. And we’ve learned to look around their delusional hypothesizing.

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
1 year ago

Great article. This article is a good example of why I have given up on the CBC here in Canada in lieu of reading more balanced and logical voices like UnHerd.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
1 year ago

No, for several hundred years (actually, thousands) to be poor has meant to be inferior and to be treated badly. And “progressive” politics are simply making that even more true.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

America is lost. We should severe all contact

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

Biden’s America is lost. I am multinational and can tell you UK is further lost than USA because USA is still roughly 50-50 in left/right wile UK is 50-50 in centrist left/far left.

JP Martin
JP Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

The rot is very deep in both countries, I agree.

Paul N
Paul N
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Depends on your perspective, I suppose. From outside of the USA, they are 50-50 right / far right, and the UK is maybe 10-30-35-20-5 far right / right / centrist / left / far left. Economically at any rate.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul N
Gerald gwarcuri
Gerald gwarcuri
1 year ago

To those – both individuals and groups – who wail and moan and lean constantly on the crutch of the myth of “white privilege”, I have some advice: get on with striving for personal excellence. Prove your own equivalence, and in so doing, overcome your own prejudices. Stop using them as an excuse. There are plenty of individuals and groups who have overcome real social hurdles by focusing on proving their worth. It may be hard work, but it didn’t kill them, and it won’t kill you.

Last edited 1 year ago by Gerald gwarcuri
Andre Lower
Andre Lower
1 year ago

Gerald, try to imagine how you would feel about it if you could end up being murdered by police for being white while driving a car.
The harder racist people strive to deny it, the harder it sticks. And no one will feel sorry for them.

Web Wu
Web Wu
1 year ago

The tribal scene will be interesting in the coming years as, given demographic trends, the people of evil Euro heritage fade away and the grievance entrepreneurs are reduced to targeting one-another.

david stocker
david stocker
1 year ago

As TS Eliot wrote ‘Humankind cannot bear very much reality’.

Peter Dale
Peter Dale
1 year ago

The foot-soldiers may well be evil and moronic, but the leaders aren’t. They are after power and will use any means to get it. Unfortunately, all the major social institutions that might have checked this idiocy have fallen: the church, the universities, and now, even sports and, especially, the corporations. Even more important are the ‘social’ media. All these latter institutions are interested in is the number of clicks they can get. And since outrage prompts clicks, it’s outrage they sell. What we need is a Churchill to speak out, but, I think, we will look long before anyone like him appears.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

I had a rough time on occasions as a teen in London in the 70s, but I can honestly say I have not experienced any discrimination either in academia or in employment or in business since I went to Uni at 18. Perhaps the profession helps: neither logic gates nor lines of code care about your race or religion or gender or age.

Last edited 1 year ago by Prashant Kotak
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

You see, fair-minded is just what you happen to think. I actually agree with you and feel threatened by what I see. But I can also see other viewpoints and the only way to solve a problem is to look at all sides of it and come up with a compromise. Have you actually suggested any way forward except to complain on a site where you know you will get upticks for saying the right thing?
If you seriously think that your anger achieves anything, think again. Above, somebody says we need another Churchill. Hm! That’s going to happen isn’t it? You have to face it – we are in a woke world where BLM is plastered everywhere. How will your anger and insults help in any way?

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Wheatley
Tim Bartlett
Tim Bartlett
1 year ago

I just get a message telling me what the flag icon means, pressing it seems to have no effect. Maybe someone’s listened!

Jeff Chambers
Jeff Chambers
1 year ago

Anti-whitism is the ideological foundation of the Great Replacement. Indeed, the Great Replacement cannot take place without this ideological underpinning. This why the mad-left’s ideologues have to blame whites for black attacks on Asians.

barbara neil
barbara neil
1 year ago

I think the following study explains the problems we have identifying real concerns.
https://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6396/1465

Linnette Gallego
Linnette Gallego
1 year ago

Liberals views < actual behavior

^ This is why things are as they are.

Colonization definitely has an impact on other racial relations but of course all racism doesn’t all stem from white people, true. Arabs have been calling Black people “abeed” or slaves for a long time and still do.

“A genuinely white supremacist society would probably not tolerate and encourage various minorities to become wealthier than the average…”

That’s a limited way of viewing supremacy.

Also, what white people (or any ingroup at the apex of economic and legitimate authority) says < behavior.

Recognize that we live in a dominance hierarchy on steroids with status based on stratification and rankism.

“Know your place aggression” keeps the system running whenever less-powered groups down a peg when they speak up or take up too much space. Here come higher-status groups (but also “crabs in a barrel”) to put them back in their “place” while making exceptions to justify the system.

After White Americans at least, Asian Americans are the next wealthy group but still 20k less wealth than the average white family. Nonblack Hispanics and Black people have a wealth average that is significantly low. For Black people, the average family wealth is the same price of a slave in 1863 when adjusted. Is progress buying on credit?

I don’t know enough about British systems to speak on it. However, I’m well acquainted with American ones. And I ask, do white Americans want marginalized people to succeed?

Then why tie school funding to property taxes and White people (and their current and generational
Wealth) live in segregated neighborhoods, thus depriving Black students funds for better teacher and educational what not? White patents are notoriously opposed to school integration in practice and US schools are more segregated than ever.

Or create a higher education system to be exorbitantly expensive and out-of-pocket, putting Black people at at major economic disadvantages because they’re also less likely to get a call back for an interview that a white personal without a college degree? Or how even when they “make
It” money flows backwards to economically depressed relatives?

Obviously women uphold patriarchy. Nonwhites can still uphold racial caste systems and compete with other less powered racism groups for rank and status. Not that anyone should be let off the hook for interpersonal transgressions. We still have a choice on how we navigate this stratified world of ransoms.

That’s what American white supremacy looks like, at least. Globally it’s more complicated.

Remember: even people who love us don’t want us doing better than themselves in a cultural.

Last edited 1 year ago by Linnette Gallego
GA Woolley
GA Woolley
1 year ago

‘White patents are notoriously opposed to school integration in practice and US schools are more segregated than ever.’ No, responsible parents, black and white, are opposed to forced integration which destroys effective education. So called ‘white flight’ is matched by ‘black flight’; when dysfunctional and poorly behaved black, or indeed white, families move in numbers into schools and neighbourhoods, their criminality and anti-social behaviour drive out those who wish to improve their lot, and build better futures for their children. The facts demonstrate unambiguously that the majority of these anti-social families are black.

Jayne Lago
Jayne Lago
1 year ago

I am so fed up of reading/hearing about the poor black/Asian/any other colour you care to name people. There are a lot of white people suffering around the world too but I don’t hear anyone marching/shouting about that. As for racism, I believe that exists in ALL cultures to some extent……this is because essentially we are all tribal There are people behind the scenes with money and power who are fuelling this current madness……..which the young, poor, academics, celebrities, politicians, teachers, middle aged, are falling for, otherwise known as indoctrination , as seen with social media. Everyone of us is at risk if this division continues. There are people around the world who are fighting tooth and nail to enjoy what we had once……democracy……..now the west is giving it away on a daily basis. No doubt very soon we will see extinction rebellion , supported by Miss Greta , marching to save the planet. Which I don’t disagree with by the way, but I do wish these people would visit the likes of China , Russia, North Korea and others and tell them what to do before they barrack us. I wonder why they don’t?

Paul N
Paul N
1 year ago
Reply to  Jayne Lago

There are a lot of white people suffering around the world too but I don’t hear anyone marching/shouting about that.

Starmer just recently did a speech about reducing suffering of people in eth UK, regardless of colour. At least that included white people. And Labour criticised the massive cut in foreign aid, which was helping people around the world.
What is the specifically white suffering you are thinking of? Poor whites in the US with no work and no medical cover? The unemployed in Greece, Spain and Italy? Something else?

As for racism, I believe that exists in ALL cultures to some extent

That seems undeniable (but I’m sure someone will try, anyway).

Aidan Trimble
Aidan Trimble
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul N

I believe the ‘massive cut’ in overseas aid still leaves us as one of the highest contributors ? This self flagellation is very odd.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
1 year ago

Asian Americans are actually wealthier and better educated than whites. Maybe you’re getting your statistics from a very old source.
Re. your question, I think the overwhelming majority of middle class white Americans want nothing more than for “marginalized people” to succeed. Why on earth wouldn’t they?

Last edited 1 year ago by Kathy Prendergast
Andre Lower
Andre Lower
1 year ago

The author seems to have avoided reading the news in the past few years – convenient ignoring the shameless, coward and “patriotic” murder of black people by police in the USA. This kind of callous disconnect is not helping the international image of the US society as a whole.

Alan Girling
Alan Girling
1 year ago
Reply to  Andre Lower

‘reading the news’ is the problem, and yours. Any proper data analysis will not turn up anything like ‘the murder of black people by police’. That is a media creation orchestrated by bad actors and race grifters such as BLM. White people are killed by cops in very similar circumstances all the time and at similar rates, but are NEVER reported at any national level. Black people are murdered by other black people in their own communities at multiple times the rate, and that is NEVER reported at any national level. If there is a problem with police, it is one of police practices that need reform, and police brutality in particular cases.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alan Girling
Andre Lower
Andre Lower
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Girling

So my viewing of the coward murders filmed and presented for the whole world to see (George Floyd, etc.) require what you call “data analysis” before they actually mean anything other than BLM machinations against the horribly oppressed white people in the US?
If those live-filmed murders were “media creations” then I am certainly unqualified to judge, as you so quickly proposed. Otherwise, it is your credibility that got smeared in this discussion – not the “oppressive media”.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andre Lower
Aidan Trimble
Aidan Trimble
1 year ago
Reply to  Andre Lower

If the very few examples of police killing unarmed black people trump the hundreds of black-on-black murders in your world view, that’s your problem, not anyone else’s. Or should I say, you ARE the problem.

Kendell Wilson
Kendell Wilson
1 year ago
Reply to  Aidan Trimble

this may come as a surprise to you, but quite a few people don’t care if black people kill each other off. and black America isn’t a separate nation that’s tasked with solving it’s own problems, as much as some people might like that. there’s also a slight difference between being murdered by a fellow citizen, and being murdered by an instrument of the state. so maybe a couple things to think about there. or not.

Kendell Wilson
Kendell Wilson
1 year ago
Reply to  Andre Lower

it’s not so much about what you’ve seen, but what you haven’t seen. I read a story about a white guy who was murdered in a very similar fashion to Floyd a couple years ago, and you didn’t hear about it because no one cared. and I suspect that’s the reason I can’t locate the story, atm.

I do however feel the data indicates that black men are being murdered by police in significantly larger numbers. from what I can gather, and I’m certainly no expert, blacks are incarcerated at a rate of roughly 5x that of whites (1 in 3 black men will spend time in prison, while only 1 in 17 white men will), while unarmed black men are shot dead at a rate of about 1.66x that of unarmed whites. so, using incarceration as a gauge of how often either race is “involved’ with the police, blacks are involved at a rate that’s perhaps 3x more disproportionate than the rate at which they’re being murdered. (also keep in mind that the “involvements” cops experience with black suspects are often going to be in more dangerous contexts than they are with white ones – not necessarily because of race, but because of where violent crime takes place)

and while no murder of an unarmed suspect is acceptable, I think this means that focusing on the murder of black men by police as the primary issue is a huge mistake. even if, you know, it inflames passion in ways that less visceral issues would. I mean, you’ve saved someone’s life and now they get to spend the rest it in jail, in other words. not to mention that blacks only own one tenth the net wealth that whites do. and that’s not a number that’s easily explained away, or accounted for without going pretty far back into American history. and one which any murder of black men by police is a symptom, and one “defunding” the police will only exacerbate. which black people well know: Gallop reports that 81% of black people don’t want less police presence in their communities.

while I’m throwing numbers out, I would like to mention that Gallup also tells us that, in the 62 years between 1958 and 2014, the approval rate of black/white marriage went from 6% to 87% – and that was accomplished by and large without the “help” of critical race theory, a “theory” which hasn’t proved it can do anything except make people more racist.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kendell Wilson