"Cleansing Guilt"

Author: Bill Chapman: email

In a Washington Post article titled The cleansing necessity of guilt Robin Givhan argues that it is healthy for me, as a white person, to feel guilty about the Tulsa race riot of 1921, which happened 39 years before I was born, perpetrated by people who I am not descended from.

We should, as a nation, face our history, warts and all. I'm all for that. But I have some objections to the way it's being done.

The first problem is that the rules of debate that the left has established are that "privileged" or "guilty" demographics are not allowed to speak in self-defense, so the conversation turns into a monologue by malicious, hateful, racist social justice warriors who don't tell the whole story and get their facts wildly wrong, like The 1619 Project, and receive mass accolades without appropriate cross-examination.

The second problem is that ancestral guilt is a flawed concept. Racial guilt is even more flawed. Both are forms of Original Sin. Does the author accept that she bears "original sin" because she is descended from Eve, who ate the apple in the Garden of Eden, the first sin of the human race, so that all women ever since are "born guilty" and "deserve the pain of childbirth" so using anesthesia during childbirth is "against God's will"? When anesthesia was invented, there were people actually saying that. That's where thinking like "original sin" gets us.

How about this: blacks, who are 1/8 of the population, are responsible for a majority of the robberies that take place in this country: here's the FBI data.

So what if we teach a course in high schools where we show a video of white people telling their stories of having been mugged by black people, showing their injuries, and telling the stories of their lost loved ones. And while we do this, we tell the black students in the class that they bear personal responsibility for these actions, because, to quote this article "Guilt is the uncomfortable acceptance of personal fallibility. It’s the ability not only to see that harm has come to others, but also to acknowledge that you have played a part — perhaps not directly but incidentally, perhaps not by action but by inaction, perhaps not by deed but by word, perhaps not individually but collectively. Guilt connects us to our most intimate companions and passing strangers. It reminds us that we are all each other’s keepers. It reminds us to care.".

And any black student who argues with this presentation or offers any resistance is to be lectured that since they are of the "guilty" demographic, they have no right to speak, in fact the fact that they are attempting to speak at all shows that they lack a proper conscience.

Hearing back from people about this essay, some of them are thinking that my intention is that I am seriously suggesting that we subject black high school students to this treatment. I am not. It would not only be wrong, it would be downright sick. But it is exactly analogous to what Robin Givhan is advocating that we do to white high school kids, telling them that they share the guilt for the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.

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