The toxic legacy of Michel Foucault: Totalitarian antiracism with white masks.
“I’m not a racist” is not even the story at all. You can call me what you want, you can call yourself what you like, but the story of injustice about race began with coercion, violence, and infringement of physical liberty. Anything else is not part of that story even when things can still be improved.
Psychological pressure, emotional distress, unconscious biases, all that is worth considering and discussing, but putting any of it in a moral accusatory tribunal of guilt and shame, is just a deliberate internalization of trauma to get retribution from it at all cost and with intent.
Systemic racism is a fancy word not only to get retribution from those who historically have been and currently are being racist but fundamentally to plant a seed of guilt that hopefully will make the entire white race feel shameful in the same way they deliberately made feel shameful other races in the past.
This is not fighting racism, but perpetuating it via mental-moral revenge. The fallacious logic is simple: If whites are not so much doing it with intent today, then they still should feel uncomfortable with being racist without intent. This is not only utter nonsense but ideologically dangerous and toxic.
From the moment we take our unconscious into a political tribunal for moral punishment and guilt we are aiming to justice with injustice because our unconscious is unruly and, by definition, being legally or morally responsible for it is an attempt at pyrrhic justice. Mind you, this is precisely what this white self-deprecated charade against white people in this video is all about.
We can certainly be mindful and gain more awareness about unconscious racial discrimination, but that is not gained through a fallacious logical mental dictatorship delivered as a moral pill for the whites. Yet, that is precisely what the speaker in the video above suggests to white people and herself as white.
This video is an accurate example not only of the logical fallacy of hasty generalization, but also of substitution of the particular with the general.
If we take, for instance, the word “biased” most of us would agree after a seasoned reasoning that we are all biased.
Yet, such a conclusion would not yet take us into a moral outcome, let say, that being biased is bad per set. We are still initially at a cognitive level.
Our cognition can only operate by making assumptions and also enquires. Making assumptions (being biased) in us, humans is as strong as enquiring (questioning). Hence, there is nothing wrong with being biased and there is nothing wrong with questioning.
They both can be good or bad depending on how we cocktail the two and how we induce the right friction and resonance between them so that we don’t get stuck in being too biased or too questioning.
Now so far we haven’t said we should get rid of being biased or of enquiring. And it is not a matter of “should”, we actually can’t.
Then, if we can’t, is that a damnation to be minimized?
No, it is not a damnation and not, the best set of actions is not always to minimize our biases, but rather to increase it sometimes and reduce it other times.
The speaker in the video is not talking about biases as such, but about racism. She does a mammoth logical effort to equate, without saying it, being biased with being racist and on the same stroke charge being biased with heavy moral implications.
Sometimes we need to reinforce our positive biases to achieve certain things, other times we need to reinforce our negative biases to navigate better certain situations.
The particular word here is “racist” and the general “biased”. Her mammoth logical task was to show us that the particular actually substitute the general.
She stated that the challenge to the civil right movement was to reduce being racist to a simple formula:
1- Is an individual, not a system.
2- Must be conscious of being a racist.
3- To intentionally seek to be mean to them.
Let’s do two things out of this formula. Let’s create a particular version that refers to race and white people and a general version that refers to humans in general.
The first racial version applied to the white race:
1- Your racism as a white person is not down to you but to a system you belong to even without knowing.
2- It is more relevant to blame your unconscious for racism since the root of the problem is predominantly in your unconscious and all white people are guilty and should feel ashamed for being white.
3- Even if you don’t mean to be racist you are racist for being white.
The second racial version applied to the human race:
1- You being sinful as a human is not down to you but to a system you belong to even without knowing.
2- It is more relevant to blame your unconscious for sinfulness since the root of the problem is predominantly in your unconscious and all humans are guilty and should feel ashamed for being humans.
3- Even if you don’t mean to be sinful and evil you are so for being human.
Funnily, if you were to apply the second formula you would most likely disagree entirely. However, since the first formula refers to white people and not to humans in general and white people have been historically racist towards black, the blaming and the “genocide” with their unconscious is justified by their whiteness.
The conclusive logic? White people should feel ashamed of being white and since the problem is unconscious, they should feel so for the rest of their lives because the system is at its root racist and nothing is going to change that apart from repenting being white and constantly reminding yourself as a white person that you are privileged.
Just keep this in mind, if you were to apply this to humans in general as the Catholic Church did during the medieval time it would be utterly unacceptable. Why? Because what this woman has described is giving to white people a Kafkian masochistic moral mental nightmare as a punishment for being white.
The speaker can get away with her dogma without appearing as dogma (you are systemically what I tell because it is unconscious, which is like saying, it is genetic) because she is not associating it to the entire human race, but just to a particular race (whites), which is ideologically and historically loaded with conscious discrimination.
The brain is initially automatically inclined to side with the speaker just because of the ideological backdrop of real racism in which her narrative rest on. You are supposed to empathize with a victim of oppression even if the means to do justice are dodgy. The speaker is doing pure NLP (neurolinguistically programming the listener’s brain to agree) so that we all can sympathize not only with those she speaks for but also with her white self-deprecating act.
This theoretical and conceptual harakiri is common in liberal academic circles and University departments with a background in Critical Theory, who have been influenced great deal by the philosophy of Michel Foucault.
The speaker tells us about the narrowed formulaic definition of racism:
“It seems to be virtually impossible with that definition for the average white person to look deeply at their socialization, to look at the inevitability of internalizing racist biases.”
OK, if we are going to expand the definition of racism beyond what she considers its narrowed formula by using the term racial biases, then we cannot transfer the attributes of racism to being biased or, at least, not to treat with the same weight being biased and being racist.
If anything the word biased, when used with racism does not make it any more racist than biased if we can agree that the meaning of biased is more general than racist.
The speaker not only tries to equate the impact of biases with the impact of racism but completely forces unconscious biases to appear as more fundamentally racist than conscious racism.
Basically, for her, the problem is systemic in two accounts, externally because the social system is white and internally because the unconscious of white people is white.
In other words, whiteness defines the human condition for white people. This is what I would call reverse racism or, to avoid fancy words, passive-aggressive racism.
The speaker tells us:
“That definition of a racist, what I call the good-bad binary is the root of all white defensiveness on this topic.”
The question to ask here is: What is all these fuzz about non-binary relations and an almost witch hunt against binary relations? Are binary relations really that bad and what does it really mean to engage in non-binary relations?
This not only sounds Marxist but also an inheritor of the most vicious and abnormal side of Michel Foucault theory of power.
It sounds Marxist because it applies the general Marxist concept of exploitative class to a race and simultaneously considers it so ingrained to it that the best that race can do is to regret and be ashamed of who they are. The speaker offers no other solution than the internalization of guilt by white people.
The speaker paraphrases Foucault’s theory of power since the work that Foucault did in his understanding of political power was to equate political power with institutional, cultural and knowledge-based power.
Once he equated those powers he ended up saying that cultural power is more determinant than realpolitik in the same way the speaker here is stating that racist biases are more determinant than conscious racism.
The speaker tells us:
“It makes it virtually impossible to talk to the average white person of the inevitable absorption of a racist worldview by being literally swimming in racist water.”
Basically, if you are white you are inherently racist and privileged, but when the speaker concludes that thinking that you are bad for being so is the excuse white people invent to go back to feeling privileged she is just trying to deliver a stoic formula for white people so that they can share the discriminating misery of non white people. This is definitely a zero-sum game of retribution by a white person speaking for colored people.
The speaker puts words in every single white person when saying:
“I have deep racist biases… It serves me really well. It is comfortable.”
This is putting vicious intent in the unconscious of every white person and it is racist at its core.
And the speaker carries on:
“I didn’t choose to be that. I don’t feel guilty about it. It is the inevitable result of being born in this society in which racism is the bedrock.”
Racism is not the bedrock of society. That is just giving far too much relevance to one of the many problems in society. I could say that corruption is the bedrock, or greed or money or concentration of capital, etc.
If all these weren’t enough she goes into implying that the unconscious of a white person is bullying by nature when saying:
“White fragility function as a kind of white racial bullying, to be frank.”
If white fragility were white racial bullying, considering that racial biases operate at the unconscious level white people would be bullies by nature. Basically, the speaker is implying that white people have internalized so much racism that by being white that makes them automatically bullies.
Only in a totalitarian society would a person imply that unconscious behaviors should be moralized and even penalized.
This white speaker has internalized racism so much against herself as a white person that I wouldn’t doubt how liberating she has been feeling herself as she crucified herself in her own narrative and like Tom Cruise in the film The Last Samurai, it is the white showing the non white how sacrificial they can be for the cause of the black. Seriously, this is just nonsense.
And the speaker tells us:
“None of that has to be intentional or conscious, but that is how it functions.”
Thus, it is in the nature of white people to be racist. Racism function unconsciously. Basically, what the speaker is saying is that white people are racist because they are white.
So, let’s think according to the dictum of such logic and stretch our minds into other examples of it. Having been born with a physical look that is attractive to many people should be shameful to those people. Having been born into a family that could send you to the best school should also be something to feel guilty about. Basically, if you are born with any sign of being more privileged than other you should feel bad about yourself. That is precisely what this speaker is promoting underneath her veneer of social justice and racial equality: A bigotry of low expectations so that a feeling of inadequacy can be planted in white people as a retribution for how colored people feel.
Why is this kind of narrative misrepresenting social justice and also encouraging more racial segregation?
Racism is, should be and should remain the formula the speaker referred to. That formula in which racists are individuals and not a system, in which to be racist you need to be conscious of it and you need to have the intent to discriminate. That is the kind of racism that allows us to deal effectively with social discrimination and injustices.
The racism the speaker is calling out is not racism but simply biases. Having racial biases is not racism simply because is not conscious and it doesn’t have intent.
The definition of racism the speaker is promoting is a racism of panoptism a la Foucault, in which others and yourself will constantly survey and monitor your own behaviors for a structural system of oppression to denounce, which will always be present, as much outside in society as inside, in our unconscious.
The speaker just regurgitated Foucault’s philosophy without actually making any reference to him.
If racism were to be equated with racial biases, we would all be horrible individuals that should be ashamed of ourselves since we can always have all sort of biases which can make us more privileged.
The legacy of Michel Foucault has been very corrosive to the liberals aspirations of the left.
I think this is the best answer to the speaker above.