Victor Davis Hanson in on a roll, The White-Privilege Tedium in National Review:
Which whites really do have privilege? If all whites were uniformly privileged, why would so many whites, such as Rachel Dolezal and Elizabeth Warren, strive so hard to construct a nonwhite identity? Why does progressive upscale white male Texas Senate candidate Robert Francis O’Rourke go by the Hispanic nickname “Beto,” as in “Beto O’Rourke? Would he do so in Maine or Montana? Why did California congressional candidate Kevin Leon rather abruptly become Kevin de León, emphasizing an ethnic cachet — if “whiteness” equaled unearned advantage and non-whiteness earned lifelong discrimination?
The only mystery of the weird white-privilege mantra is motive: Do elite whites racially disparage as privileged middle-class and poor whites as a way of squaring their own circles of advantage, either as a psychological means of assuaging their guilt, or as a more self-interested ploy of pulling up the ladder after they have reached the attic of career success, or ingratiating themselves with perceived new loci of power?
I noticed after decades in academia that the fiercest proponents of racial preferences in faculty hiring were usually older, white male professors nearing retirement (many of them real mediocrities hired under the lax standards of the 1960s and 1970s when university expansion required thousands of sight-unseen Ph.D.s, most of them white and male). On hiring committees, such old white guys selected new faculty applicants by race and gender, and often at the expense of younger, white male Ph.D. job applicants far more gifted than those who were doing the hiring. After watching dozens of these faculty hiring committees operate, I never once saw a 60-year-old white male say, “After 30 years of enjoying white privilege in the days of white exclusivity, and understanding that my publications and teaching record are far less impressive than those of the current applicants for this job, I announce my retirement and step down to allow others better qualified to have my billet.” Virtue was always the loudest expressed when it was at some else’s expense.
The privileged children of Eric Holder apparently need affirmative action in a way that the offspring of Appalachian coal miners do not. If you wish to get into Stanford or Yale, it is helpful either to have rich and influential parents and a lifetime of privilege, or a minority cachet, or both. What is disadvantageous is to have neither, and in today’s America, that often means to be a deplorable and irredeemable white working-class youth or an “overachieving,” middle-class Asian American.
Why are not Corey Booker, Kamala Harris, and Maxine Waters the real leadership faces of the new Democratic Congress — the most diverse in history — rather than the septuagenarian multimillionaire white elite Nancy Pelosi and the near-septuagenarian professional politician Chuck Schumer? So far, left-wing whites have assured themselves that the wave of identity politics will not break on their privileged shores. In other words, their progressivism and superior morality has exempted them from the ramifications of their own identity-politics ideology. A cynic might suggest that they invest in identity politics for others as an indemnity policy for themselves.
It’s not a coincidence that many of the loudest critics decrying white privilege are . . . privileged whites.
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