The Damage of the ‘White Privilege’ Smear

Victor Davis Hanson
American Greatness

One of the many satanic paradoxes of the Third Reich’s architecture of the Final Solution was the requirement—mandated after the 1939 outbreak of the war—that Jews anywhere under German rule or occupation had to wear a yellow badge or armband with the Star or David.

Yet was not all this elaborate bureaucratic need for identification embarrassing to the Nazi apparat?

After all, if Nazi doctrine about supposedly manifest Aryan “racial” superiority—Nordic looks and build, superior intelligence, stable disposition—were so persuasive, then why the need for Jews to identify themselves?

In contrast, the Star-of David IDs were prima facie proof that the entire bankrupt Nazi project was based on the unspoken fear that millions of Jews were indistinguishable in all respects from other Europeans.

In other words, on the fascist right, anti-Semitism was predicated on the pseudo-science that Jews were not European and thus somehow racially inferior. Yet currently, the entire industry of anti-Semitic hatred has flipped, from Jews as toxic non-whites to Jews as toxic whites. The two common denominators of racial obsession and hating Jews remain the same.

One of the key reasons leftwing anti-Semites have been so effective at galvanizing campus hatred of Israel, and by association of Jews in general, is their careful effort to brand themselves DEI victims why tarring Jews with the empty white supremacy slur.

Accordingly, Jews and Israel now supposedly enjoy toxic white privilege. They are libeled as veritable white supremacists illegitimately in the Middle East to colonize “Palestine,” and as European imperialists picking up the mantle of the earlier 19th century British and French—as if a prior 400 years of Ottoman imperialism in the Middle East never occurred.

As now-privileged white victimizers, contemporary Jews are not seen as victims of the Holocaust, explaining the comfortable alliance between Islamist Holocaust deniers and the DEI crowd.

It was no accident that a racist BLM on news of the October 7 massacres quickly issued posters glorifying Hamas hang-gliding murderers.

It was no surprise that DEI czars and professors in various ethnic and race studies programs proved the most prominent on campus in damning Israel and its Jewish citizens as racists. And who was shocked when university administrators—the cowardly MIT campus is a good example—simply warned Jews of no-go zones, rather than ensured there were no such zones anywhere on campus for anyone?

Jews seem to be collateral damage from the damning of an entire group of people, namely white Americans and Europeans. In a society that is supposedly wedded to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dictum that we should be judged by the content of our character, not the color of our skin, it is shocking how the racist DEI and woke industries have been given a complete pass to castigate and demonize an entire group, without any concern for individual characteristics, or for class, religious, or ethnic differences.

Indeed, white is as sloppy a term as Hispanic. Just as third generation Cuban-American professionals have almost no intrinsic ethnic, political, class, or often even linguistic affinities with impoverished Oaxacans who just crossed illegally into America—and vice versa—so too a white male from rural America working as a welder in the Ozarks or a logger in the Sierra Nevada has zero solidarity with a white Bay Area techie at Google or an Ivy League legacy preppie screaming “from the river to the sea” in Harvard Yard.

But “white” is not just a ridiculous construct that ignores the multiplicities of European ethnic and religious fault lines, the vast differences in “white” class, income, and politics, and the increasing frequency of whites marrying non-whites. When joined with the tired epithets “privilege,” “supremacy,” and “rage,” the result grows even more incoherent and sinister.

Is proof of the privilege of “whites” that their life expectancy is lower than Hispanics and Asians?

A suicide rate higher than blacks, Asians, and Hispanics?

Dying in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq at double their numbers in the general population?

An inordinate percentage of fentanyl deaths?

A current percentage of whites in Ivy League freshman classes of 20-40 percent, despite making up 55 percent of the youth demographic?

Why does “white rage” not result in whites being overrepresented as perpetrators of “hate crimes,” as are Latinos and blacks? Or in relatively rare interracial crimes, why are blacks far more likely to assault or kill whites than vice versa? In the DEI lexicon of reductionist stereotypes, is there a term “black rage” that reflects FBI statistics on hate or interracial crimes?

Woke and DEI fads have created entire anti- “white privilege” industries. One result was the epidemic of careerism-inspired and media-fed hoaxes, such as the Duke Lacrosse lie, the Covington Kids myth, and the Jussie Smollett fiasco. All were predicated on the idea the white male smear would alone obviate the need for evidence—and would provide exemption when the fakers were exposed.

Another bastard child of the “white privilege” myth was the ironic but pathetic effort of whites to fake a non-white identity to win privileges in hiring, admissions, and status.

What, after all, drove the transitioning of Sen. Elizabeth Warren to declare herself the first “native American” professor of law at Harvard, or careerist professor Ward Churchill to outfit himself in buckskin and beads—not to mention the famous Rachel Dolezal, former head of the NAACP in Spokane, Washington?

Identity fakery is traditionally an empirical guide to privilege, or otherwise nonwhites would be transitioning to white status, as in the segregationist and overtly racist days of the Old South.

In that regard, why did the New York Times dub Hispanic, half-Peruvian George Zimmerman “White Hispanic,” when they had never used that phrase for any other person, even though two thirds of “Hispanic” Americans self-identify as white? Because it was an acceptable affront in demonizing Zimmerman, but would have been considered a racist slander against another Hispanic American?

A hallmark of the white-privilege slander industry is the one-way application of “disproportionality,” or the idea that coveted or celebrity billets must reflect demographics.

Such institutionalized discrimination is now applied in crude fashion throughout companies and universities, but not when inconvenient. In professional sports, where meritocracy is deemed essential and whites are “underrepresented,” or in recording contracts, or even in the US postal service, there is no such sin in any group’s overrepresentation.

Another dividend of the blanket white privilege/supremacy slur is the racial shakedown industry. The BLM movement in the wake of George Floyd’s death ended up extorting millions of dollars from guilty or scared corporations. The vast majority of donations ended up unaccounted for, but likely enriched the founding grifters of BLM.

Ibram X. Kendi earned lucrative fees and honoraria espousing “anti-racism” and founded an “anti-racism” academic center that produced no tangible research. All that and more followed from his academic mish-mash of writings justifying racism against whites to “stop racism.”

The industry of white demonization also plays a role in the drastic reductions in U.S. armed forces recruitment. The Pentagon insists that labor shortages, obesity, criminality, gang affiliations, or drugs explain their current alarming dearth of recruits.

But the drop-off in white rural and suburban males is demonstrable, and the reason is most likely their weariness with constant woke hectoring and discrimination.

Such pandering was on display when Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley in his June 2021 testimony to Congress pontificated about ferreting out “white rage” and “white privilege” in the ranks—despite providing no evidence or data to back up his white bias and racism allegations.

Indeed, the Pentagon publicly quotes in detail the racial makeup of almost every branch and rank of service—except the disproportionately-white demographics of combat deaths, which are considered taboo and inherently macabre and “divisive.”

The DEI virus and the incessant “white privilege” stereotyping infect all areas of American life, and have rendered our society obsessed and hypocritical, if not incoherent as it equates everything from meritocracy to punctuality to toxic “whiteness.”

The normal rules of media sensationalism dictate that when any law enforcement officer lethally shoots an unarmed suspect, especially at a distance that posed no direct threat to the shooter, the name of the officer is immediately released.

But when a capitol officer shot and killed the unarmed January 6 protestor Ashli Babbitt for the likely misdemeanor of entering a broken window in the Capitol, his name and identity were immediately hidden from the public for months.

The same coverup was at work in the suppression of the manifesto and diaries of the self-declared trans mass shooter in Nashville—given that current leaks reveal one of her motivations was sheer hatred of what she deemed “white privileged” children, or, as she also called them, “crackers.”

If New York Prosecutor Letitia James had been a white male conservative activist prosecutor, seeking fame and an upward political career in his state by indicting Barack Obama in an election year for some suspicious financial transactions or sweetheart real estate con from years ago, he would have been denounced as racist.

And what if said prosecutor was on record screaming, not the now socially acceptable and common slogan “too pale, too male, and too stale,” but something about the overrepresentation of the “not pale, not male, but stale?” Would the result be the summary dismissal of an embarrassing, superfluous, and racist writ by a grandstanding, incoherent political hack?

Inconsistency is a final hallmark of “white privilege” ideology. What characterized the exemptions given to the summer of 2020 riots—with 35 dead, 1,500 law enforcement officers injured, $2 billion in damages, and a courthouse, police precinct, and historic church torched—was their pretense that white privilege had resulted in George Floyd’s death and anti-racist violence was justified.

Black Lives Matter therefore was to be immune from consequences in its “rage” against “white supremacy.” During the lockdowns, when minor infractions of the quarantine warranted everything from social ostracism to jailing, thousands of health-care professionals—once the most adamant in insisting on the shutdowns—hit the streets claiming that they were marching against white privilege and therefore exempt from the very protocols they had inflicted on others.

By contrast, both the peaceful protestors and the rioters of January 6 were alike dubbed “white supremacists” and “insurrectionists,” and given harsh sentences. Some no doubt deserved such arrest and punishment, but the single-day event was hardly comparable to the 120 days of rioting, looting, arson, and killing associated with the Antifa/BLM-engineered 2020 riots.

The low bar for “insurrection,” of course, was white-privilege-inspired. Note the contrast with the recent “pro-Palestine” demonstrations. Ostensibly these protests should have qualified for all the new requirements of “insurrection” established by the official responses to January 6.

Some of them entered the Capitol rotunda, where protests are forbidden. They interrupted a session of Congress, yelling and disrupting congressional hearings. They defaced government property, smearing fake-blood on the White House stone wall and swarming iconic statues. The genocide of Jews was the theme of their “river to the sea” monotonous chants.

And to make the analogy with the January 6 “insurrection” complete, a prominent politician, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, delivered a speech to the protestors prior to their entry into the Capitol.  In fact, she too implicitly fired up the volatile crowd by calling for the destruction of Israel by demanding a Palestine “from the river to the sea.” Yet in contrast to the January 6 protestors, there were very few arrests and likely will be fewer convictions.

In sum, for years the left has been exempted for what in normal circumstance would be a cardinal civil rights sin. They demonize and stereotype an entire group solely on the basis of their skin color, attributing to them collective negative characteristics that trump all individual differences by presenting them as if frozen in a time warp of the pre-1960s.

Anti-Semitism is on the rise and fortified by the campus DEI and woke crowd. Hate crimes are soaring. Violent crime in general is on the upswing. Military recruitment is dropping. Trust in the media is plunging. Anti-Semites are proud and not ashamed of acting out their hatred. The progressive woke agenda is imploding.

The one common denominator is the now-acceptable notion that it is not just permissible but encouraged to smear without evidence over two-thirds of Americans as the sole beneficiaries of “privilege,” prone to rage, and conspiring to ensure racial supremacy—all lies.

But they are lies nevertheless as useful to their promulgators as they are toxic and incendiary to a multiracial consensual society if not addressed, refuted, and discredited.

It is past time for Americans to reject all racial stereotyping and the racist careerists who leverage it—before we all descend into tribal nihilism.


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25 thoughts on “The Damage of the ‘White Privilege’ Smear”

  1. It is quite clear: the neo-Marxists need a new oppressed proletariat and a new class of capitalist oppressors. So they invent both: the non-whites are the new oppressed proletariat and the whites (white supremacy) are the new capitalist oppressors. There goal is the same as the original Marxists -power. Philosophers we can thank for Marxist theory: Rousseau and Hegel

  2. As a Canadian from the “great white north” looking in. The left has achieved much of its goal carving up the US into pseudo-hate groups seemingly at each other’s throats night and day. Why does the American left and media hate itself so much.
    I see the US as a beacon of hope & innovation the entire globe is dependent upon to technologically solve the challenges facing us. Divided we fall.

  3. Billye Miles-Seale

    Thank you Professor Hanson.
    I am reminded of Paul’s letter to the Galatians:

    Galatians 3:28-29 AMP
    There is [now no distinction in regard to salvation] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you [who believe] are all one in Christ Jesus [no one can claim a spiritual superiority].

    [29] And if you belong to Christ [if you are in Him], then you are Abraham’s descendants, and [spiritual] heirs according to [God’s] promise.

  4. “Inconsistency is a final hallmark of ‘white privilege’ ideology.” Logic cannot prevail among those who cannot see the obvious answers to simple questions. E.g., why are Jews not victims of the holocaust 80 years ago but African Americans are forever the victims of slavery 160 years ago?

  5. All true. Also true is that arabs/Palestinians were kicked out of their homes and farms to make “Lebensraum” for jews/Israelis, just like the Nazis kicked out Poles, etc. to make room for Germans. The Balfour declaration that promised the Zionists land that was not theirs was an evil thing that has lead to misery for millions.

    1. “Not theirs?” Man, you need to read a bit more. Check out when Jacob aka Israel walked the Earth (ca. 1200 BC). Compare that to Muhammad (7th century CE). That’s 20 centuries. Who’s the interloper?

    2. Anton, the British controlled that land, having gotten it from Turkey, who’d gotten it from someone else, so on. The Brits invited the Jewish refugees from the Holocaust there after WW2. The Jews were attacked by the Arabs then living in that barren, bleak underpopulated land;over and over till they had no choice but to fight back or beexterminated. The Jews won. There are few countries on the global map that weren’t formed by one country defeating another and then claiming the land as their own. But Israel gave some of the land back, twice, idiotically. So whose land is it? Should the map of Europe be changed back to the original owners, too. Israel has never attacked first. Has been repeatedly attacked. Is extorted by global anti-Semites to not take back the land it gave for the peace contract, broken many times by the Arabs. And even now isn’t going all the way and taking back Gaza after Oct.7. It was a sparsely populated, bleak and barren land before the Jews came. They put their blood and sweat into making it a modern, thriving nation.

  6. Your numerous posts since October 7 have been so helpful in making sense of the chaos and I am grateful for your wisdom. Sincerest regards.

  7. Yes . . . I recently felt encouraged by voices (e.g., DeSantis’s, Haley’s, Scott’s, Christie’s in the last debate) against moral equivalency and, fundamentally and ultimately, descent into tribal nihilism.

  8. Lisa McGillicuddy

    Thank you, Victor. Your writings inspire me and help me articulate my thoughts during debates. I watched your conversations with John Anderson, and I was heartened by your thoughts on how America is waking up and will “fight back.” This weekend was a very dark one for me watching all the Pro-Palestine marches here and abroad and listening to the left justify it. I’m not even in the Military, and I’m willing to give my life to save our country. Sounds morbid, but I’d fight (and die) if I had to. We don’t deserve this. Again, thank you for helping us fight the fight. I’m too young to die (57), but I’m old enough to sacrifice my life for others’ freedom. I’m currently looking into legally doing this.

  9. You nailed it, Victor. I agree that much of the present day vitriol toward Jews is a result of them being “White” in opposition to Gazans that are viewed as “POCs”. Things have eclipsed the absurd. We’re deep in it now.

  10. I fear that this is the “new” normal and will only worsen in the coming years. Most people who think woke DEI is abhorrent, are in my generation. (Oh , you Boomer, what do you know?). For people 50 and under (many, not all), they truly believe what has been fed to them since pre-school.

  11. I read as much of VDH’s work as I can. I wish his work was even more widely available. I’d love if he would write a piece now and then for American Thinker.

  12. Actually, “42 . . . companies have pledged roughly $1.6 billion to [BLM, etc.]. Among the top companies are Bank of America, which has pledged $1 billion, followed by Walmart, Comcast, and Apple, who have all pledged $100 million each.” (Statista, “Largest Companies Pledge Over $1.6 Billion . . . “)

    Not just “millions” — BILLIONS.

  13. The poor Jews have had to endure so many “do-overs” and yet their desire to get ahead, study hard, work hard has paid off and those wasted their k-12 years now want to blame a successful group for doing the right thing? Sorry, that does not work.

  14. Victor,
    Great commentary as usual. I believe the USA is basically a single party political system now. The Democrats have far too much power and they lust for even more. I am curious to hear more of your views on our 2A and what role it plays in today’s political environment.

  15. The opening paragraph was excellent and something I, and probably millions, never thought regarding the paradox branding by the Nazi party. Great lead in professor.

    While reading through this article I kept thinking about all my personal “White Privileges”. Mixing plaster for my father’s side jobs when I was 12-16; my job titles of ‘dishwasher’ or ‘donut fry cook’ at age 16/17. Then the second jobs I held even while in the US military as an enlisted man. Having to pay off school loans while in the military since deferred payment only lasted several years for serving.

    How fortunate for me my ‘white privilege’ will continue into my golden years as I am considering going back to work at the age of 69. Social Security and dwindling investments allow me to live such a lavish lifestyle in the Biden economy! I will survive thanks to the lessons I learned growing up with ‘white privilege’.
    I hope both this nation and Israel survive also.

    A little proof read in order though : “is their careful effort to brand themselves DEI victims why tarring Jews with the empty white supremacy slur.” I think ‘while tarring……’ Autospell check messes me up sometimes too.

    1. Similarly, paid for school since grade 8 by working in my father’s bottling plants and construction jobs. Good athlete, student, extra-currics, with choice of any school in the country, but worked at it! Traveled the world and enjoy being independent, some great friends. There’s a certain peace of mind in work, both physical & mental. Current generations are soft; we seem to be victims of our own prosperty.

  16. Oh I reckon america is done, over. The only thing left besides the crying is the war. There is no changing these people. Just look at congress. A bunch of 70 year old adolescents. Nothing will ever go our way in congress. No, seriously, this country is going down and it’s Woodrow Wilson’s fault.

  17. Robert Westmoreland

    I think VDH’s fundamental point is that wokeness shares with earlier types of fascism the open resistance to reason, to even the most obvious empirical evidence. The aggressive denial of the worst atrocities, despite their documentation by the frenzied perpetrators as well as by Israeli authorities, is no less than a proud embrace of complete and ecstatic irrationality. This is what makes it truly terrifying, and what makes the claim that the Israeli-“Palestinian” conflict is a territorial dispute so dangerously misleading.

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