[This review was published in the Fall 2011 issue of The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, pp. 384-393.]

 

Book Review

 

White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century

Jared Taylor

New Century Books, 2011

 

          The title White Identity is startling.  Nobody knows that better than the author, Jared Taylor, who writes that “most non-whites take pride in their race and cultivate racial consciousness… Whites do the reverse: They condemn white racial pride and shun anyone who would work for explicitly ‘white goals.’”

          To fly in the face of so engrained a taboo is to invite ostracism.  Two literary agents tried without success to find a U.S. publisher, and it is predictable that few booksellers will carry the book and that a great many people, whites among them, will turn away from it with repugnance.

          Why, then, has Taylor chosen a title that so directly challenges the taboo?   One can surmise that it is because he hopes that a dispassionate, data-drive discussion of the idea that lies at the center of the challenge that now so threatens the continued existence of Western civilization will force the subject out into the open.  By confronting it head-on, without histrionics or even a hint of well-justified outrage, he hopes to cause a paradigmatic displacement of the prevailing mentality.  If the incubus that presently lies so heavily upon the body of white self-perception can be dislodged, even ever so slightly, maybe the body can take a deep new breath.  In part, this hope is an act of desperation.  There may be insufficient life left under the incubus to allow such a recuperation.  But Taylor knows that the longer whites embrace their moral self-abnegation, the surer it becomes that they will disappear, swallowed up and displaced by ethnic and racial groups that do proudly trumpet their right to exist.

          What is remarkable about Taylor is that he writes on a subject so existentially vital, and so super-charged with vitriol, with the always-calm demeanor and patient collection of facts that we associate  ideally with the best of scholars.  It is evident that he cares deeply about his subject, to which he is devoting his life as an author and as editor of American Renaissance; but he has never, so far as this reviewer knows, shown any propensity to rant about it.  “Be objective, and let the facts speak for themselves” must be the motto of his quite remarkable temperament.  (That he is also courageous in fighting so lonely and despised a battle is obvious, and is another characteristic of someone who chooses to be truly free mentally.)

          And it is well that he allows the facts to do the talking.  It’s predictable that the challenge will be written off as “racist” in any event, especially with the title Jared has chosen.  The refusal to consider it will be given extra moral sanction, however, if people find any reason at all to consign the work to the “kook” or “moral degenerate” categories that will so readily come to their minds.   Taylor’s careful scholarship will take this away if they pay attention to the actual content of his book, and opens the door to that rare breed of reader who welcomes the honest expression of ideas and who has even the slightest reason to think that the subject of “white identity” is one that deserves consideration.  Taylor expects this sort of reader to become more numerous: realistically contemplating the role of force and counter-force, he writes that “it is only a matter of time before this [black and other ethnic consciousness] gives rise to an increasingly explicit white racial consciousness.”  This would seem to make sense when we remember that in the 1930s and ’40s a number of leading people left the Communist movement precisely because they were “mugged by reality.”  Minds do change, for some at least, when facts come to stare them too starkly in the face.  It remains to be seen whether the moral smugness that currently imprisons white Americans in a mindscape of guilt and self-satisfaction will prove too strong a barrier to any such realization.

          Taylor has clearly wanted to highlight the issue of “white identity,” but a reading of the book as a whole shows that the subtitle, “Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century” is a more accurate description of the book’s contents.  He devotes long chapters, with prodigious but captivating detail, to “Black racial consciousness,” “Hispanic racial consciousness,” and “Asian racial consciousness” – as well as to that of whites.  Readers who wish they had an ability comprehensively to recall the facts, episodes, attitudes and ideas that have comprised race relations in the United States will find that Taylor has done the work for them.  Without losing its readability, his book is encyclopedic and profoundly informative.

          About blacks’ racial solidarity, Taylor cites chapter and verse in support of his generalization that “for many minorities, race or ethnicity is central to their identity.”  He gives many examples of black separatism.  There are “hundreds of organizations explicitly for blacks.”  In bookstores, there is an “African-American” book category, and such a thing as “ghetto lit.”  Schools offer classes in “black history” (and we know that  “Black History Month” is now well established).  Taylor tells of polls that show large numbers of blacks agreeing on beliefs that seem outlandish to whites: that O. J. Simpson was actually innocent of murder; that HIV/AIDS result from a plot to kill blacks; that the CIA imported cocaine to distribute to blacks; that whites are incapable of understanding black culture.  While white support for President Barack Obama dwindled during his first year in office, Obama’s approval rating among blacks, already so high as to show racial solidarity, “rose from 90 to 91 percent.”  The bloc- approval rose even further to 94 percent after the second year. 

          One would think that the pattern would be different with Hispanics, since for the most part they are new to the United States and have no legacy of slavery.  We know, however, that there is a substantial activist literature that has long worked hard to create a “Latino” consciousness that merges Mexicans with all other immigrants from south of the border.  That activism has not sought a celebration of being in the United States or of “becoming an American”; rather, as Taylor tells us, Hispanics have “been quick to assume the black mantle of victimhood.”  The long-standing American ideal of assimilation into American culture has given way to “diversity’s” celebration of each ethnicity’s retaining its identity.  A result is that “it is now common for Hispanics to expect the United States to adjust to them rather than the other way around.”  A parallel society is created, with such national Hispanic organizations as LULAC, MALDEF and La Raza (“the race”).  MEChA[1] is associated with the “Reconquista” movement, which “aims to break the Southwest off from the United States and reattach it to Mexico or establish it as an independent, all-Hispanic nation.”  Continued loyalty is given to Mexico, with many Mexican immigrants voting in Mexican elections. 

          Asian immigrants to the United States have, on average, a higher proportion of educated people, higher incomes, and a presence in American universities considerably larger than their percentage of the population.  They incur few social problems and seldom take an anti-white view.  Nevertheless, Don Nakanishi, who heads the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, tells how a “pan-Asian” consciousness is coming into existence, melding into a bloc the immigrants from the otherwise disparate peoples of Asia.  This, of course, is similar to the pan-Hispanic “Latino” solidarity.  Oddly, Taylor treats what he sees as an increasing ethnic consciousness in “the past few decades” as something rather new.  We say “oddly” because we know that Taylor is fully aware of how during the 1970s and early ’80s Japanese-American militants arising out of the New Left played hand-in-glove with the American “liberal” establishment to create the myth (to which most Americans still subscribe) that the United States incarcerated tens of thousands of Japanese-Americans during World War II.  American Renaissance ran a detailed article on the subject based on this reviewer’s study that was published in this journal.[2]   The episode illustrates a ready willingness on the part of Japanese-Americans in general (with notable individual exceptions) to join in ethnic solidarity, support a militantly anti-United States fiction, and readily (may we say, “greedily”?) to accept generous “reparation” payments.  In light of this, it seems that Taylor is preferring to understate Asian ethnic consciousness.

          When he gets to his chapter on white racial consciousness, Taylor notes the sharp break in the thinking of white Americans that occurred in the mid-20th century.   “Up until the 1950s, most white Americans felt the same kind of racial identity that is common among non-whites.”  He examines the views of a large number of luminaries, including Jefferson, Madison, Clay, Monroe, Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, James Garfield, Theodore Roosevelt, Wilson, Harding, Henry Cabot Lodge, Coolidge, Truman, Eisenhower, Samuel Gompers, Walt Whitman and Mark Twain – even Abolitionists and such whites outside the United States as Cecil Rhodes, Robert Louis Stevenson and Albert Schweitzer.  Without sensing any reason for shame, they proclaimed the merits of white identity.  Jefferson in 1801 wanted “a people speaking the same language, governed by similar forms, and by similar laws; nor can we contemplate with satisfaction either blot or mixture on that surface.”  Lincoln, too, provides an example of the prevailing view, having said during the Lincoln-Douglas debates that “there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will for ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.”  Later here we will consider the “manufactured mindscape” of the present day, a picture of the world formed out of ubiquitous propaganda.  It is pertinent at this point to notice Jefferson’s views, and it will be relevant to that later discussion how those views were misrepresented by the inscriptions placed inside the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.  What appears inside the Memorial are the words “Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people [the Negroes] shall be free.”  What Jefferson actually wrote, Taylor tells us, added the words “nor is it less certain that the two races equally free, cannot live under the same government.”  Walt Whitman asked “Is not America for the Whites?,” which he answered with another question: “ And is it not better so?”  It may surprise Americans today that even many of the abolitionists “repeatedly expressed strong disapproval” of intermarriage between the races.  

          All of this changed sharply in the 1950s.  Today, “across the political spectrum, Americans assert that any form of white racial consciousness or solidarity is despicable.”  During the years “when segregation was being dismantled… our country seemed to be embarking on a morally superior course.”  “Many Americans,” Taylor says, “believed that reconciliation between blacks and whites would lead to a new era of inclusiveness for all peoples of the world.”  Then the immigration legislation in 1965 opened the floodgates to “large numbers of non-Europeans” and the question was no longer just one of black-white relations.  The concept of “diversity” was interjected to sanctify the burgeoning demographic reality, and in the new moral atmosphere it became intolerable that anyone should even question the impact on what had always been a predominantly white, European population.  It has developed to the point where President Clinton “in his 2000 State of the Union speech… welcomed predictions that whites would become a minority by mid-century.”  We cannot be surprised, then, that in late June 2011 the U.S. Census Bureau announced that a majority of children two and under in the United States are no longer white.  Before his reelection defeat by a Latina, California Republican Congressman Robert Dornan said that “if we lose our Northern European stock – your coloring and mine, blue eyes and fair hair – tough!”

          Taylor gives considerable attention to how the programs and effects of this seismic shift in American life have worked.  Often, what has been done has had consequences that are diametrically opposite to the original ideal of racial inclusiveness.  About school busing, Taylor says “one of the ironies of busing is that in many cases, it drove blacks and whites further apart… Whites fled to the suburbs….”  About charter schools, intended to provide parents more choice, he tells us that “for blacks, this often means self-segregation and the promotion of racial consciousness.”  Magnificent magnet schools were created at extraordinary expense in Kansas City, Missouri, and Los Angeles, only to prove spectacular failures.   The “diversity” promoted in universities “sharpens dividing lines,” since “ethnic dormitories are widespread, as are student clubs for different racial and ethnic groups.”  Taylor describes the performance gaps in schools; the terrible conditions in many schools; the rise of crime in the form of gangs, drug cartels, kidnapping, shoplifting and employee theft; the impact on health through HIV/AIDS, obesity, diabetes, cancer, TB, rubella, leprosy, tapeworms and chagas disease; the closing of hospitals as emergency rooms are flooded with immigrants; and many cultural changes, such as in musical tastes, reading habits, use of parks, cockfighting, and the introduction of strange religions such as Voodoo and Santeria.

          Taylor’s calm recital belies the fact that every so often something really outrageous comes to the reader’s eye.  A Maryland judge dismissed charges against a man accused of raping a seven-year-old girl, on the ground that the defendant’s “right to a speedy trial” had been violated.  What caused the delay?  The difficulty in finding an interpreter for the accused’s “tribal language, Vai, which is spoken only in Liberia and Sierra Leone.”  Bone marrow transplants need to be between people of the same race, but there are almost no non-white donors.  This caused the St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute in Boise, Idaho, to announce its closure, for lack of non-white donors, after the National Marrow Donor Program, caught up in the “diversity” imperative, ruled in 2008 that “all marrow registries would be required to meet quotas for minority donors.”  And who received the 1994 La Raza “Chicano of the Year” award?  It was Professor Jose Angel Guitierrez of the University of Texas, “who has said, ‘We have got to eliminate the Gringo, and what I mean by that is that if the worse comes to the worst, we have got to kill him.”  The 2009 International Latino Book Award went to the novel America Libre, which “is set in a near future in which heroic Hispanics slaughter repulsive whites wholesale on their way to creating an independent all-Hispanic nation in the American West.”  And Taylor tells how “the United States is now a nation that can produce headlines such as these [involving about an equal number of blacks and Hispanics]: Baby Dies in Bucket of Mom’s Vomit; 99-Year-Old Woman Among Rapist’s Victims; Town Stunned as 8-Year-Old Charged in Two Killings; North Dade Baby Shower Turns Deadly as Gunfight Breaks Out; Florida Woman Starves Children and Throws Dead Baby into Garbage Can; Parents Fight Over Which Gang Toddler Should Join.” 

          When we told of the selective quoting of Jefferson on the Jefferson Memorial, we referred to the “manufactured mindscape.”   This was a reference to propaganda (from what can only be called “the American establishment”) drumming home through constant and ubiquitous repetition the presumed verities of white self-abnegation and minority ethnic identity.  As with all else, the details that Taylor gives remind us of what all is involved: he tells us that over 8 billion dollars a year are spent on “diversity training.”  Attorneys are required, in some states, to attend classes in diversity.  The media give almost no attention to the many conflicts that occur between minorities, and the media were silent about the racial motive that spurred on the “D.C. snipers,” who, shooting from a snipers’ nest in the trunk of their car, terrorized the United States’ capital with random killings.  Television advertising is carefully structured to picture “a racial utopia.”  (We ought perhaps to notice that the pervasiveness of ideological propaganda extends to matters other than race, and so is typical of the mind-controlling relationship the elite chooses to have with the American public.  For what is now almost forty years, television commercials have exclusively featured perky, intelligent young women dealing with dullard husbands and boyfriends.  With few people noticing, the male is placed by the prevailing feminist ideology in much the same position as whites are in on racial matters.)  The propaganda is accompanied by the silencing of opposing views.  Taylor tells how “serving [military] officers dare not criticize diversity for fear it will kill their careers.”  “In 2009, the conservative New Century Foundation proposed a simple text advertisement to several college newspapers: ‘Is diversity a strength?  We think not.’… Every college paper rejected the ad.”

          This manufactured mindscape is accompanied by a number of dubious concepts, which Taylor critiques as he comes upon them.  One is that corporations need diversity if they are to be competitive in the world market.  It is sufficient, in rebuttal, for Taylor to point to the great success Japanese business, certainly not known for its racial diversity, has in global trade .  Others: that different rates of incarceration arise from justice system bias, not from different rates of criminal behavior; that more contact between people of different races leads them to see each other more favorably; that race isn’t a legitimate biological category; and that people from any race will adapt to Western culture.  An “attractive argument” is that “immigration brings cultural enrichment,” to which Taylor responds by pointing out that “the culture of Americans remains almost completely untouched by millions of Hispanic and Asian immigrants.”  He asks, “What has Yo-Yo Ma taught Americans about China?” 

          Even though White Identity seems comprehensive, it has by no means exhausted the subject.  It would be unreasonable to expect that it would.  We have noted, for example, Taylor’s omission of any mention of the mythology spun around the World War II relocation of the Japanese-Americans from the West Coast.  In like fashion, he has refrained from exploring the myths that have been fashioned around Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez.  (Both King and Chavez have been the subjects of articles by this reviewer in which I have sought to take a realistic view of them.[3])  Perhaps most significantly, but also understandable given the task he assigned himself, Taylor does not explain the role of the Left’s shift after World War II from an alliance with the “proletariat” to one with ethnic minorities.  The “alienated intellectual” within Western society has long sought allies to lend it strength against the predominant culture, and that search for allies has in turn given rise to the particular forms that the ideology of the Left has taken over the past two centuries.   This is a story of great importance in itself,[4] and is one that bears intimately on the matter of “racial consciousness” that Taylor examines; but it is a much broader subject that couldn’t possibly fit into his book here.

 

Dwight D. Murphey



[1]   LULAC is the acronym for “League of United Latin American Citizens.”  MALDEF stands for “The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.”  La Raza, as noted above, means “the race.”  MEChA is “the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan, better known by its Spanish acronym;” the “group’s motto is ‘for the race, everything.  For those outside the race, nothing.’”  

[2]   See Dwight D. Murphey, “Issues in the American Cultural War: The World War II Relocation of the Japanese-Americans,” The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, Spring 1993, pp. 93-117.  The article can be read and downloaded free of charge on www.dwightmurphey-collectedwritings.info, where it is Article 48 (A48).

[3]   See “Understanding Contemporary America: The Martin Luther King Myth,” in the Fall 2003 issue of this Journal, pp. 325-353.  It appears as Article 86 (i.e., item A86) on www.dwightmurphey-collectedwritings.info.  As to Cesar Chavez, see “If Past is Prologue: Americans’ Future ‘Guilt’ About Today’s Use of Low-Pay Immigrant Labor,” in the Fall 2006 issue of this Journal, pp. 339-365.  This can be found as item A92 on the web site.

[4]   This reviewer has discussed the subject at length in several years of writing.  See particularly Chapter 18 of his book Liberalism in Contemporary America, which may be accessed on the web site referred to in the previous footnote as Book 6 (i.e., item B6).