Why We Don't Ask 'What's Wrong With White People'

Chloe Angyal: Stop excusing white racism
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2015 1:14 PM CDT
Why We Don't Ask 'What's Wrong With White People'
Area residents look on as protesters march outside the family home of a former University of Oklahoma Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity member Parker Rice, Wednesday, March 11, 2015, in Dallas.   (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

In his apology for a University of Oklahoma frat's racist chant, expelled student Parker Rice said the incident "likely was fueled by alcohol." Such a statement is a perfect example of how white people's wrongdoings "are routinely defended with excuses of inebriation, misspeaking, and unintentional bigotry," Chloe Angyal writes at New Republic. White people "are never seen to be really wrong even when they clearly are." When black people misbehave, however, we "diagnose black pathology" and "freely generalize about cultures of crime, and shiftlessness, and inadequate commitment to family," Angyal says. "What is wrong, we ask, with African Americans?"

When the tables turn, "we seem to lose the capacity to ask how a culture of white supremacy might shape a white fraternity brother's decision to sing, on camera, about how he'd rather see a black man killed than admit him into his social circle," Angyal writes. "It is the definition of a double standard." Admitting the problem is a challenge, as it means giving up "the mythology of rugged individualism" and accepting that "we aren't special, unique, and different, but subject to the same forces as everyone else in our sociocultural group," Angyal writes. Unfortunately, scapegoating "is far easier, far less confronting, and far less challenging to white supremacy." Click for her full piece. (More racism stories.)

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