2017 Was the Year I Learned About My White Privilege Reply

Prominent neocon Max Boot moves leftward. In the early 2000s, I predicted that eventually “conservatism” in the USA would look like today’s Democratic Party, and that “liberalism” would look like the present academic left/SJWs. This seems to be the direction in which things are increasingly heading.

Boot says nothing in this article that is particularly insightful. What great epiphanies has he had? That many cops are assholes (duh)? That blacks, poor people, and other disadvantaged folks are more likely to be victims of police brutality than country clubbers (duh)? That some white folks stereotype black folks as criminals and ne’er do wells (duh)? That some men commit sex crimes against women, among other crimes (duh)? That some men (and others) engage in rude, boorish, or inappropriate behavior (duh)?

None of this has anything to do with the critique of totalitarian humanism. That workers are exploited does not legitimize Communism. That the Israel Lobby has too much influence over US foreign policy does not legitimize neo-Nazism. That Islamist extremists engage in terrorism does not legitimize US imperialism or Boot’s own neocon foreign policy outlook. Boot sounds like a guy who has realized that the stock value of “cultural conservatism” is declining, and is looking leftward for a more lucrative gig.

By Max Boot

Foreign Policy

Men wave rainbow and 'black lives matter' flags while marching in the annual LGBTQI Pride Parade on June 25, 2017 in San Francisco. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

In college — this was in the late 1980s and early 1990s at the University of California, Berkeley — I used to be one of those smart-alecky young conservatives who would scoff at the notion of “white male privilege” and claim that anyone propagating such concepts was guilty of “political correctness.” As a Jewish refugee from the Soviet Union, I felt it was ridiculous to expect me to atone for the sins of slavery and segregation, to say nothing of the household drudgery and workplace discrimination suffered by women. I wasn’t racist or sexist. (Or so I thought.) I hadn’t discriminated against anyone. (Or so I thought.) My ancestors were not slave owners or lynchers; they were more likely victims of the pogroms.

I saw America as a land of opportunity, not a bastion of racism or sexism. I didn’t even think that I was a “white” person — the catchall category that has been extended to include everyone from a Mayflower descendant to a recently arrived illegal immigrant from Ireland. I was a newcomer to America who was eager to assimilate into this wondrous new society, and I saw its many merits while blinding myself to its dark side.


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