White Guilt: Culture of Victimization


I’m a white guy, so I am not supposed to be making any observations or critiques concerning black culture. To do so would mean that I am a racist that hates black people. I’ll confess up front, in order to save my Liberal critics their valuable time. I do not like many aspects of the modern black victim culture. I find it to be destructive, uninspiring, and a major problem within our society. Please notice that I did not say I don’t like black people. I take people one on one, and I am speaking about certain aspects of a certain segment of black culture, and I am not making broad sweeping judgments concerning all black people or all of black culture.

What I am addressing is the culture of victimization. I am speaking about that segment of black culture that refuses to step off the plantation, and criticizes blacks that do as Uncle Toms, or “house niggers.” I notice that when a black person achieves success, it is said by some that they are not representative of the “true” black community. I see two different black communities in our society today. One where blacks have taken hold of all this great land has to offer, and one that continues to blame their situation on white people.

Shelby Steele, who is a black man, published a book earlier this year that I consider one of the best books I have read on this topic. The title is, White Guilt, how BLACKS and Whites Together DESTROYED the Promise of the Civil Rights Era. His insights cannot be easily brushed aside or discarded if you truly care about race relations.

While Shelby’s book focuses on the civil rights movement, the concept can be applied to any number of issues. The problems of Liberal philosophy, the worshiping of weakness, the victimization of people, and the valuing of diversity over excellence have the same outcomes no matter what issue they are applied to. Ideas are universal. Ideas have consequences.

The main thrust of his insight is that the slogan “black power” in reality has no power. What started out as a movement toward self empowerment turned into nothing more that pan handling off white guilt. Therefore it became disempowering, stifling, and divisive.

Shelby points out that in the beginning of the civil rights movement many whites were involved. That was until they were thrown out of the movement by black militants.

Shelby points out that for him, the only time he experiences racism is when he is around white Liberals who continually see him as a victim. These white Liberals believe that without their social programs, that continually lower the bar for blacks, poor Shelby would have never made it.

Shelby tells the following story that I think clearly shows the result of lowering standards rather than demanding excellence. It is in the heart of every man to be the best that they can be. Liberalism destroys people in their worshiping of weakness rather than propagating of excellence.

“If a young black boy cannot dribble well when he comes out to play basketball, no one will cast his problem as an injustice. No one will worry about his single-parent home, the legacy of slavery that still touches his life, or the inherent racial bias in a game invented by a white man. His deficiency will be allowed to be what it is- poor dribbling. And he will be told to “tighten his game,” which simply means to practice more. Very likely he will his peers will taunt him mercilessly, and even adults will give him no hugs to assuage his self-esteem. Very likely he will live through all this without the consultations of a father. Moreover, the standard of excellence for dribbling will be so high that many will not reach it and nothing less than virtuosity will satisfy it. When and if he meets this standard, he will be told “you bad” even by his competitors. This expression, of course, means its literal opposite: that he has as last earned entrée’ into a fraternity of nothing other than excellence. Surely he will feel proud of himself as a result.

But if this boy’s problem is reading or writing rather than basketball, white guilt will certainly prevent even a modified version of this natural human process from occurring. Career hungry academics will appear in his little world, and they will argue that his weaknesses reflect the circuitous workings of racism. His reading and writing problems will be seen to follow from countless racial and psychological determinism that make it impossible to ask that he and his family be fully responsible for overcoming these problems.


The boy will not be asked to truly work harder, nor will he be guided in the mastery of sentence structure, parts of speech, and verb tenses. No one will righteously insist that he speak correctly. Yet he will be an object of abstract compassion for everyone. And permeating his classroom, like a stalled weather pattern, will be a foggy academic relativism in which scholastic excellence is associated with elitism, and rote skill development with repression. Yet just beyond the window of his classroom, on the pockmarked basketball court with the nettles and bent hoop, another weather pattern prevails. On that court almost nothing is forgiven, and he will be “blamed” and held entirely responsible for all his deficiencies. And all through the torpor of the day structured to spare his feelings around reading, writing, and arithmetic, he will long to be on the other side of that window, where everything is asked of him.” Pg.66-67

Shelby gets to the heart of the problem of Liberal philosophy. Not only on the issue of race, but across the board. Liberalism is an attempt at de-hellenization. The universal value of excellence is a fundamental principle that dwells in the heart of all of humanity. It is this principle that Liberalism seeks to destroy. Liberalism is evil masked within the cloak of good intentions.

We can easily move from the issue of race in America to the war with radical Islam, and find the same flawed philosophy prevailing in the mind of Liberals. To Liberals, Muslims are victims and are not to blame for their violence any more than it is the fault of the young black student that he cannot read or write. American white supremacy is the cause of the violence in Iraq, and the cause of illiteracy within the black community.

The Pope puts forth the premise that religion should not be spread through force of violence, Muslims respond by acting like animals. Liberals give the Muslims a pass while condemning the Pope for his inflammatory words. Conservatives insist that people compete to bring out the best, Liberals lower standards producing even more illiteracy, then turn around and blame Aristotle.

When will radical Muslims ever be held to account for their actions? Why is it always someone else’s fault that people suffer? Even more important, when will Liberals awake to the fact that their philosophy causes more of that which it claims to alleviate?
Liberalism is a worldview that destroys whatever it touches no matter what the issue. Whether it is blacks in America, the environment, or Islam, the Liberal mind chooses to worship weakness, propagate victimization, and invert the reality of the nature of man. Shelby Steele has produced an excellent work that I highly recommend people of all political persuasions take the time to read and seriously contemplate. His insights might not be politically correct, but they are in alignment with reality.