Interesting piece in Slate on “liberal guilt.”  When I was a kid, it was called “white guilt,” but I suppose this is a far more accurate representation of the phenomenon.  I don’t find too many white conservatives feel too bad about racism.
I think this is part of the reason I tend to get along better with white conservatives than their liberal counterparts, even though one would probably classify me as being pretty left of center.  That’s because the “guilt” thing can be a little hard to deal with at times.
Why?  Because, honestly, I don’t think most of the white people I deal with should feel guilty about slavery or Jim Crow or any of those other long-ago travesties.  When those people tell you that stuff wasn’t their fault, they’re right.  They inherited the game like we did, an interesting analogue to Tupac’s “I was given this world, I didn’t make it” line in “Keep Ya Head Up.”
This piece goes on about how white people should feel guilty about those past injustices.  Poppycock, man.  What people should feel guilty about — particularly white liberals — is the way they see racism continue to exist, they recognize the persistent disparity between races in this group, they know that said disparity cannot be explained by differences in human capital…and so many don’t do a damn thing about that.  That means, unless racism is addressed as a significant factor, if not the significant factor, then the only logical conclusion to be drawn is that black folks are somehow deficient.
That’s what there is to feel guilty for, the same things conservatives should feel guilty for.  The difference is that the right-wing doesn’t even pretend to care much about these things.
I respect that, actually.  It feels a lot less patronizing.
While slavery and Jim Crow were dreadful things, they were rooted in the prevalent belief that black people were naturally inferior.  You know, they needed someone to make them work.  They were stupid, so they needed someone to guide them.  They were, in fact, not on white people’s level inherently.  That’s the basis of all of this.
That’s the same sort of political rhetoric that is still trotted out.  It’s also right beneath the surface of a lot of white liberal rhetoric.
The past is the past.  But the same things that made the past what it was make the present what it is — a time whose outlook, considering the current economic conditions, is bleak with regard to race.
Wanna be guilty?  Be guilty about that.  Then, you’ll actually be able to assuage that guilt, seeing how you can actually do something about what’s going on right now.  Otherwise, your guilt is not praiseworthy.  In fact it’s impotent.