It’s all but inevitable on social media that someone will (sooner rather than later) call me an “old white man.”
This can be in response to practically any topic. I never write about race, for instance. It’s a boring topic. But a politically incorrect comment on poverty, or global warming, or national defense, or whatever—can draw the epithet “old white man.” The implication is that I hold these positions because of my age, and because of what they think is my skin tone.
Of course, the epithet “old white man” is purely racist (and ageist to boot). Any use of skin tone as an insult is racist, period. When you point this out, it catches the leftists entirely off-guard. And I have taken to this as a matter of course. You insult my skin tone; you are a racist. Stop being racist, I say.
“Racism it isn’t!” they protest, because racism is a system whereby whitey oppresses “people of color.” Calling out your skin tone and age is merely stating a fact. You are old, and you are white; I am merely pointing out that whitey is the devil.
I like to point out to them that racists very rarely recognize their own racism. It’s quite fun to throw the charge back in their faces. They do begin to squirm. “How can I be racist? I’m a ‘person of color’.” “How can I be racist? I’m white, and so are you.” It rocks them back on their heels, even if briefly, and it’s deeply satisfying to steal their moral high ground. And, no matter what they say, you can continue the accusation and keep them on the defensive.
Shouting “old white man”—along with “homophobe,” “transphobe,” “white nationalist,” “white supremacist,” etc.—are a species of political Tourette’s but are sadly now a mainstay of the political discourse. As James Kirchick wrote recently in the Tablet, “For a large and growing segment of progressives, absolutely everything has been racialized.” They are even calling Joe Biden racist. Note that this has only happened recently… and only now that he’s up against Kamala Harris and the New Jersey Spartacus. Years ago, he said you had to be Pakistani to work in a 7-11—something that would get any Republican excommunicated, not only by The New Republic but also by National Review.
Kirchick points out that the word white has “become a gleeful synonym for ‘ignorant,’ ‘bigoted,’ or ‘unenlightened’.” He accurately points out that “attacks on ‘straight white men’ are as ubiquitous as they are indiscriminate.” When the odious state representative in Pennsylvania harassed a lady outside an abortion clinic, he described her as an “old white lady.” What does that have to do with anything except for further excoriating a woman who was standing there peacefully?
And then there’s that hideous phrase “person of color,” which even conservatives have taken to using. “Persons of color” are sacred, always victims, often martyrs to “old white men.” Just look at America’s founding. Look at the settlers who did nothing but rape and murder their way across North America. Have you noticed that “person of color” includes everyone but whitey? It was clearly created for that purpose.
In the end, I don’t think this strategy will work electorally. Conservatives are weary of race, race, race. They’re certainly exhausted, and even angry, at being called racist—and for no reason other than political disagreement. I was recently called racist by a relative on Facebook and even now can’t figure out why, except that it’s easy to do. As I said before, it’s a form of political Tourette’s. I have faith that most Americans will see this for what it is: a shameless ploy and not even something the race hustlers genuinely believe.
One of the problems with this stratagem is that it has rendered meaningless the term “racism.” I do believe racism exists, but I don’t believe it’s an urgent national problem. Of course, for this, I will be called a racist. Ho-hum. What is a serious national problem is the racism industry, and this can only bring us grief.
And here’s the real danger: if you push people hard enough, they very well could go where you are pushing them—in this case, into white identity. It would be a disaster for this country, and perhaps its end, if every racial group identified chiefly with their racial group and acted accordingly. Recall that Charles Manson wanted a race war. He thought he could get it by killing rich whites in Beverly Hills. Little did he know there were other ways, including creating new exclusionary terms and indiscriminately charging racism against good and innocent people.
And, by the way. I’m not white. I’m beige tending to pink. Are not beige and pink “of color?”
[Photo credit: Rep. Brian Sims/Periscope]