Must one first batter their ears,
that they may learn to hear with their eyes?
Must one clatter like kettledrums and penitential preachers?
Or do they only believe the stammerer?
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, Prologue 5
The true credo of the white race is we have everything, and if you try to take any of it from us we will kill you. This is the essential meaning of whiteness. As the white race turns on itself in an age of diminishing resources it is in the vital interest of the white underclass to understand what its elites and its empire are actually about. These lies, James Baldwin warned, will ultimately have fatal consequences for America.
There are days, this is one of them, when you wonder what your role is in this country and what your future is in it,” Baldwin said. “How precisely you’re going to reconcile yourself to your situation here and how you are going to communicate to the vast, heedless, unthinking, cruel white majority that you are here. I’m terrified at the moral apathy—the death of the heart—which is happening in my country. These people have deluded themselves for so long that they really don’t think I’m human.
“I have reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block toward freedom is not the White citizen’s councilor or the Klu Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension, to a positive peace, which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, ‘I agree with you with the goals that you seek, but can’t agree with your methods of direct action.”
- Martin Luther King Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” 1963
The judiciary as an institution has a history of using its power to rule in favor of those interests deemed to be most important to the white community. A room full of diverse minds and opinions can make better decisions than a room full of people who all think alike or who all share the same interests. A wise person of color who has lived a life that more likely has been negatively impacted by the predominately white judiciary should more likely be able to reach better decisions (subjunctive tense). Unfortunately, the current judiciary remains more than 90 per cent white; it may take while to build up a legal system and a body of law that actually reflects the benefits of our diversity.
“When we [Americans] talk about the rule of law, we assume that we’re talking about a law that promotes freedom, that promotes justice, that promotes equality.”
—U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Interview with ABA President William Neukom (2007)
“White supremacy is a tradition that must be named and a religion that must be renounced. When this work has not been done, those who live in whiteness become oppressive, whether intentional or not.”
― Austin Channing Brown, the Space Between: Embracing Blackness in a White-Dominated World
Peggy McIntosh has identified some of the daily effects of white privilege in her life, conditions which “attach somewhat more to skin-color privilege than to class, religion, ethnic status, or geographic location”. In her view most of these conditions are not what her African American co-workers, friends, and acquaintances can count on.
I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods that fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.
Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.
I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.
I can swear, or dress in second-hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or the illiteracy of my race.
I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.
I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my race.
If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.
I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.
I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of race.
I can choose public accommodations without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.
I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.
If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has racial overtones.
I can choose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more less match my skin.
 Chris Hedges, “James Baldwin and the Meaning of Whiteness” Truthdig 2/17/17