Thursday, March 20, 2008

White Guilt?

The other day, I read an article on Alternet that discussed the possibility that some white people support Barack Obama because of "white guilt" about our country's history of slavery and racism.

My comment in response to the article was:

I don't feel any personal guilt about slavery in the US, simply for the fact of being born white. I didn't choose to be born white any more than a black person chooses to be born black.

I don't know if any of my ancestors were slave-owners -- I doubt if they were because one side of my family lived in England until just before WWI and the other side consisted of poor whites who could not have afforded to own slaves.

At any rate, I can only feel guilt for actions I have personally taken, not any for those that my ancestors may have taken or those that members of my race have taken collectively. Racism is our national shame, but it's not something that any individual white person is responsible for, nor should feel guilt about.

Guilt by association just doesn't fly with me.

If Obama is the Democratic nominee, I will be voting for him simply because I believe that he'll be a better president than John McCain. His race, half of which he shares with me, is entirely beside the point. I'd vote for Obama over McCain even if he were a Klingon.


AuntieM said...

You're right in saying that supporting Obama because of a sense of "white guilt" makes no sense. I'd take it further and say that a white person consciously choosing to support an African-American candidate on the basis of race would be a form of racism. The same could be said for supporting a female candidate simply because of her gender. All my life I've wanted to see a woman as President, but now that this is a real possibility, I find that I cannot allocate my vote on the basis of sexism. I prefer to make my choice based on which candidate is best able to do the job.

Anonymous said...

The arguement that whites are racist is in itself a deeply racist statement and reminds me of the Monty Python sketch in which the hippy says 'I'm starting a war for peace'