Why is whiteness a ghost?
Eamon Falloon

Whiteness Is a Ghost Because Ghosts Are Not Real

Hi Eamon,

I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but your reply, though carefully worded, appears to be some sort of apology for White Supremacism. You could have just said so from the outset. I’ve been expecting you.

I don’t intend to argue with you over the neglected merits of the Third Reich, or the Ku Klux Klan. I won’t lay out an indictment of genocide, slavery, lynch mobs, or segregation. I’m not even going to try to persuade you to feel outrage that American police routinely execute American citizens on American streets.

I will not type out those arguments any more than I would trouble myself to type out a defense of the claim that fire is hot. You may call me closed-minded, if you like. For my part, I don’t like getting burned.

What I would like to do is ask you this:

Why do you care about being white?

I must assume that you do. Your response seems to take a favorable position toward this category. Is it what you called the “culture … of individualism”? If so, then it seems you have arrived at a logical contradiction: a truly self-determining individual would have no need of such a group identification.

You do say that:

white people are more likely to view your sense of worth as coming from within you

and I suppose that kind of magnanimity would be worthy of aspiration. But, again, we arrive at a contradiction: If worth really comes from “within you”, then the “white” part is irrelevant. You might contest that the ‘white’ part is relevant because it is only white people that have the capacity to realize this wondrous individualistic potential. Do they only see this potential in other white people? If so, then we must seriously question the soundness and objectivity of this distinctly white judgement. If not, and white people see this capacious potential in people they do not call white, then we return to the original question: If it conveys no real information, then what is this whiteness even for?

Again: Why do you care about being white?

If you think that whiteness makes you better than some other people, please just say so. Be direct. Go and tell everyone. Tell everyone that you are just a little bit better, by nature. People may not be pleased with you, but it is better to act on conviction than live a lie.

If you do not think that whiteness makes you better, then why raise these points at all? You seem to have affirmed my basic thesis: Whiteness is a collective that negates collectivity. If your intent was to affirm my points, then I appreciate the affirmation, but I’m not sure that we see eye-to-eye.

I’m sorry that you feel the way you do.

As one human to another, I want to tell you: No one ever found happiness by placing themselves above others.

As one human to another, I also want to tell you, a second time: Attachment to unreal things always brings suffering.

I invite you to put both of these claims to the test.

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