Transmodern Critique of the Postmodern Concept of White Privilege

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"Because transmodernity is an ongoing synthesis between the best of modernity (including standards of investigation and verification) and postmodernity (including the importance of countering alienation and prioritizing adaptability), there are multiple examples of transmodern philosophy. Given that, yes: it's likely that at least one transmodernist is dedicated to preserving—as among what he or she thinks are the best aspects of postmodernity—the leverage it gives demagogues to direct discontent against all that is European and male. Even so, no: the transmodern philosophers who most interest me carry forward a lot more nuance.

They might, for instance, point out that:

The postmodern claim that "as a white person, you benefit from white privilege" assumes that every person with white skin wants access to modernist command-and-control institutions more than he or she wants to build viable alternatives alongside trusted colleagues and friends, regardless of skin color. In command-and-control institutions like investment banking, white skin—yes—confers privilege. In community organizing or intercultural dialogue, in contrast: it is not a privilege to be assumed a racist, expected to identify with and embody guilt feelings on behalf of imperialist anti-heroes, or disavow your expertise for an organizational role if a person of color, regardless of his or her experience, wants the same role. None of these are privileges.

Moreover, if we're to create a better world together, it's vital that people with white skin (among others) retain the rights

(a) to be judged not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character;

(b) to draw motivation from whatever heroes we choose, perhaps including historic white anti-imperialists; and

(c) to work to create a world in which our progeny are included, rather than expected to self-censor because of their skin color.

The postmodern claim that "you can't punch up" assumes every person with white skin is part of a monolithic oppressive presence, against which any minority violence is appropriately directed—so, for instance, "the knockout game" (in which some black youth were sucker punching random white people) was not and cannot be racist, while any white-on-black violence was and is necessarily racist. A transmodernist can reject this and insist: if you react violently to a person based on the color of his or her skin, you're racist, and you need to stop—whether you're "punching down" or "punching up."

The postmodern claim that "the concept of 'whiteness' was invented by whites to keep non-whites down" ignores the frequent use of the concept of "whiteness" to discourage poor whites and poor blacks from uniting forces against the 0.1%, who historically have bribed legislators and judges for preferential treatment, co-oped religion to nurture blind obedience, busted unions instead of trusts, and pit poor man against poor man in an accelerating "race to the bottom." Alienation—especially from oneself—is toxic. We are significantly less likely to build a better world by fostering self-hatred among people with white skin than we are by nurturing a commitment to the common good among the masses.

The common postmodern narrative in which "access to power = white" and "being disenfranchised = black" is de facto not liberating. It routinely undermines broader black achievement by strengthening the sense that "achievement" = "abandoning one's culture," "acting white," or "being an Uncle Tom."

To move forward, it's vital that we label "access to power" as something

(a) possible to use for good,

(b) practical to distribute among oneself and others, and

(c) accessible—to the degree that the Top 2% of wealth is accessible—by people of any race or ethnicity.

Today, people are "kept down" from their parents' lack of preparation for children before having them (especially, by being born to unmarried parents and growing up without a father present), their parents' or their own inability or unwillingness to access and leverage educational opportunities (staying in school and pursuing training that is in demand in the market), and their parents' or their own inability or unwillingness to work full time (if necessary, in a so-called "dirty jobs"). Yes, some difficulties in these areas are inter-generational, even cultural—but blaming a reified "whiteness" doesn't remove them. These difficulties get removed—household by household—as we take both personal responsibility (stepping up to the plate) and, also, interpersonal responsibility (being our brothers' and sisters' keeper, even when doing so is difficult or costly)."