There is nothing wrong with seeking to understand a problem or situation thoroughly. To take and examine a situation and draw logical conclusions is a part of human nature. But, to over analyze things can be dangerous. And if we draw logical but incorrect conclusions from our sustained thinking, there can be dire consequences.
This happened to a group of people in the early part of the last century. After years of being told that they as a people were physically and mentally superior to their neighbors, they were badly defeated militarily. After long thought and much discussion, they came to the conclusion that they were defeated because they were not pure. And from this came the Holocaust. Now, there is a thought process that may lead to another egregious philosophical conclusion.
We see this thinking at its worse in a letter published by the New York Times.
The Washington Times reports
An Emory University professor has penned an open letter to white
Americans asking them to admit to “the racist poison” inside of them that’s to blame for a long history of black suffering.
The idea is that we are all responsible in some way for the suffering of those around us that are not like us. Those who are not white suffer because we live in a society that is made by and for white people.
The New York Times reads
After all, it is painful to let go of your “white innocence,” to use this letter as a mirror, one that refuses to show you what you want to see, one that demands that you look at the lies that you tell yourself so that you don’t feel the weight of responsibility for those who live under the yoke of whiteness, your whiteness.
Now, to be fair, what Yancy is seeking to do is to point out the fact that there is a problem with humans. No matter color, no matter sex, we all perpetuate a particular preference. But, the problem with this thinking is that, if people, no matter our race, are guilty of some oppression then we are hopeless to live as a society.
Yancy uses himself as an example of what he is getting at and trying to convey to whites. He tells us:
“As a sexist, I have failed women,” he wrote. “I have failed to speak out when I should have. I have failed to engage critically and extensively their pain and suffering in my writing. I have failed to transcend the rigidity of gender roles in my own life. I have failed to challenge those poisonous assumptions that women are ‘inferior’ to men or to speak out loudly in the company of male philosophers who believe that feminist philosophy is just a nonphilosophical fad.
The problem is that if we are going to get to the root of this problem, then we have to do one of two things.
We can first stop being what we are. That is, we can stop being male, female, or any race whatsoever. But, this is not really possible is it. There is no way that I can stop being a white male any more than Yancy can stop being a black male. No, that won’t do at all.
Second, we can destroy our socio-political system and remake it but in what model. Please do not think that this is not a serious suggestion. If there is one thing that Yancy has right, it is that this socio-political system is set up for white people. The reason is not racial; it is simply that it was set up that way by white people.
Our founders were white; they came from and swam in (as Kant would say) the water of white Europe. But, here is where things can get somewhat scary, into what shall we change this socio-economic system? How do we make things fair?
Yancy says that he is not talking about revenge, but what would he have happened? He claims that he has shown us a disease. A disease that we all have, but he has no real cure. So, though he says his motive is not guilt, can it produce anything other?
No, like most philosophers, Yancy is apt at seeing the evil in men but inept at curing it. The only answer is one that Yancy and his liberal friends would rather die than accept. Christ is the only cure for this disease he has pretended to discover.
It might shock Yancy to find that all white people already knew of this issue. It is to our shame that we look at others who are different than us and fear, and ridicule them. But the scariest thing of all, the Liberal Left, much like the Nazi Right are blind to see this disease in themselves.