Human beings, regardless of time or place, share in common a perennial fascination with tales of enigmatic creatures, beings that, in spite of the numerous testimonials that have been offered on their behalf, remain questionable. Sasquatch; the Lochness Monster; and the Abominable Snowman, are just some of these who immediately come to mind. While some really believe in the existence of such entities, others are unsure, and still others just don’t care, there is a fourth class of people that never fails to crop up wherever tales of this sort prevail. This class is composed of those who may be either indifferent to or even incredulous regarding such legends, but who, nevertheless—through sales of souvenirs, the production of documentaries, or what have you—stoke the flames of belief in order to turn a profit.
I suggest that to this list of mythic beings we add White Racism.
Just a moment’s worth of sober reflection in no time reveals that there is more than sufficient warrant for treating White Racism of a piece with Bigfoot and the rest of similarly mythic beings.
Actually, there is a sense in which reports of Bigfoot sightings are more credible than similar reports of White Racism. Bigfoot sightings from across time, though they tend to differ in degree as far as relatively trivial specifics are concerned—e.g. height, weight, etc.—nonetheless neatly coincide. Reports of White Racism, on the other hand, diverge wildly from one another. White Racism is the ugliest of creatures; upon this all who claim to have spotted it agree. But beyond this, so varied are the accounts, it is impossible not to think that witnesses are talking about different things altogether.
White Racism is seen rearing his horrific head at a Ku Klux Klan meeting in the Deep Southof yesteryear as well as in the shop owner who keeps a suspicious eye on the group of rowdy black teenagers who wander the aisles of his store. It is spotted in Adolph Hitler’s genocidal regime just as easily as in a Tea Party movement demonstration or a Republican Party convention. In fact, even in the case of Hitler’s Nazism, for as awful as it was, it remains doubtful whether it is actually White Racism that we witness, for biologically or racially speaking, both the Nazis and their Jewish victims are indistinguishable: both are white.
The point is that if Bigfoot exists, we at least have some idea as to what we would see if we were to encounter him. White Racism, on the other hand, is a far different matter.
By some accounts, White Racism sounds as if it may even be something like a god, for it is said to exist independently of individual whites. When it is described as such, it is given the name “institutional racism.” White Racism is at once pervasive and just as destructive as it has ever been, according to this perspective. Indeed, it is much more destructive than it has been in the past. White Racism is embedded in the very “structures” that constitute American society. As such, it informs the worldview of the best intentioned, most magnanimous of whites.
Those individual whites who voted against Barack Obama as well as those who voted for him; Obama’s grandmother, who feared being harassed and molested by a black panhandler who had already harassed and nearly molested her; those who call for an end to “affirmative action” and those who want to preserve it; those who suspect blacks of being inferior and those who think that they are superior; those who believe in a common “human nature” and those who reject it; those who demand race-neutral criteria of evaluation and those who repudiate such criteria; those white employers who provide opportunities to non-whites immigrants and those white citizens who want to diminish the flow of such immigration; Confederate soldiers and Union soldiers; Nazism, Fascism, and “the American Way”; Capitalism and Communism—White Racism allegedly appears in every instance.
There is another respect in which White Racism resembles other legendary figures like Nessie and Bigfoot. Just as there is no shortage of would-be profiteers ready to cash in on the latter, so an entire industry has emerged to capitalize on the notion of White Racism. The captains of this industry comprise a diverse lot, it is true: academics, media pundits, politicians, and racial (“civil rights”) activists receive the lion’s share of the spoils. But it would be a mistake to think that they are the only beneficiaries of the Racism Industrial Complex (RIC). It would be equally mistaken to suppose that the only benefits to be had are material in nature.
Legions of common folk, white, black, and other, gain also, but they gain much more in the way of psychic rewards than they could ever hope to gain monetarily. Against all of the evidence that White Racism hasn’t any more substance than a phantom, the members of the various races, whatever their biological differences, ultimately rail against this mother of all monsters for the same reason: doing so elevates their own self-conceptions.
Like Roman Catholics who, in renewing their baptismal promises, unequivocally renounce Satan and all of his works, “the believers” in White Racism can’t resist the temptation to unequivocally renounce it, for doing so enables them to discern virtue in themselves. This virtue is as much a phantom as the White Racism that fills their imaginations, of course. It is virtue on the cheap, so to speak. The “anti-White Racist” can no more be possessed of wisdom, justice, or courage for standing up to the unadulterated evil of White Racism than can the merchant who decides to set up shop selling souvenirs near a Bigfoot sighting be said to have such virtue.
Neither the committed “anti-White Racist” nor the merchant really believes in that of which he speaks.
In my home state of New Jersey, we have our “Bigfoot.” His name is “the Jersey Devil.” The Jersey Devil is said to dwell in the Pine Barrens, thousands and thousands of acres of forestry. Every year, just about, for several years, my late father, my brother, and I would venture out to the Pine Barrens for camping trips. We are all born and bred in the city, mind you, three of the least “outdoorsy” guys you could ever meet. Yet it was always fun to imagine that we were driving into the wilderness to live off of the land and combat all of the challenges that untamed nature would dare to throw our way—including and especially the abomination of the Jersey Devil.
In reality, we spent the night on a campground with a heated bathroom and showers and a grocery story about a mile or two down the road.
And, obviously, we knew that there was no Jersey Devil.
Likewise, those who rally most ardently to defeat White Racism know, at least at some level, that there is no such thing. They must know this. Not only are they eons apart from reaching agreement as to what White Racism is; there is ample proof of the most virulent anti-white animus all around them and yet their silence is deafening. Worse, the purveyors of the White Racism myth typically seek to deny or even excuse the shocking levels of hatred and violence to which blacks and Hispanics have regularly subjected whites.
If White Racism was really the ubiquitous evil that it is claimed to be, then presumably it is because “racism” is an evil; that it is whites who allegedly promote the “racism” should be neither here nor there. That those who live and die by the ideology of White Racism, our “anti-White Racists,” those contractors of the Racism Industrial Complex, do not really believe in the windmills with which they do battle is effortlessly grasped once we consider that they care not a lick about combating real racial animus as long as the guilty are non-white and the innocent white.
No, White Racism is indeed the new Bigfoot.
Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.