Monday, January 11, 2016

A short rant about "if you're white, you're racist because you grew up in a racist society"

By this logic, human progress is impossible—we are all shaped by society and there are no rebels.

You cannot be an atheist if you grew up in a theistic society. Sorry, Voltaire and Mark Twain.

You cannot be a democrat if you grew up in a feudalist society. Sorry, Thomas Paine and Prince Kropotkin.

You cannot be a feminist if you grew up in a sexist society. Sorry, Charles Fourier.

You cannot be a socialist if you grew up in a capitalist society. Sorry, Karl Marx and Rosa Luxemburg.

You cannot oppose poverty if you grew up middle-class. Sorry, Martin Luther King.

You could not have been an abolitionist if you grew up in a slave-owning society. Sorry, Benjamin Franklin, William Wilberforce, and Frederick Douglass.

You could not have believed in sharing freely if you grew up in a plutocracy. Sorry, Zarathustra, Buddha, Ezekiel, Amos, Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, and every great prophet humanity has known.


1. Science does not support the idea that all white people are racist. See  how racist am I? on Project Implicit and other tests for racism.

2. If a few of the choices in my rant seem odd to you:

Fourier gave feminism its name.

Franklin owned slaves when he was young, but ultimately became the president of an abolitionist society.

King's work against racism was usually done within the context of working against poverty—the Dream speech was given at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and when he was killed, he was working on the Poor People's Campaign.

Douglass never owned slaves, but before the Civil War, many middle-class black men and women did, and a few of the richest slaveowners were black. If you're curious about this, you could start with 5 of the Wealthiest Blacks Who Owned Slaves in America.