Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
Black privilege can be a wonderful thing even in its diluted ¼ form. You might not think that being ¼ black gets you much privilege, but this just might change your mind.
Hannah Black is angry.
The ¾ white British-German artist (who has a Jamaican grandparent somewhere in the mix) is outraged over a painting of Emmett Till at the Whitney Biennial because the artist is white.
At least whiter than Black.
Black, who moved from the UK to Germany, rants that the painting must be “destroyed”. Why? "Because it is not acceptable for a white person to transmute Black suffering into profit and fun".
Except if that white person can find a black ancestor somewhere.
Hannah Black indicts the “white gaze”. The white gaze is a fundamentally different thing than the ¾ white gaze that she is gifted with.
"Ongoing debates on the appropriation of Black culture by non-Black artists," writes a woman who is not that much less non-Black than Rachel Dolezal. And who has no connection to African-American issues.
But in the identity politics obsessed era, Black’s hateful call that “the painting be destroyed” found supporters. “Should Art That Infuriates Be Removed?” The New York Times inquired. Such questions are far more likely to be raised at the Times about politically incorrect art than the NEA’s funding of Piss Christ. But there’s nothing infuriating about the art here. Only about the genetic makeup of the artist.
The Nazis believed that art made by Jews was innately tainted. The left has resurrected the argument of art being degenerate at a genetic level. It has even embraced the book burning of the Nazis.
The New Republic pushed a racist piece defending the call to destroy a painting. “When Hannah Black and her co-signers call for the destruction of this painting, try not to interpret them as book-burners doing the work of censorship,” it concludes.
Don’t call it censorship, call it sensitivity.
Should a European artist get veto power over a painting relating to American civil rights because she can lay claim to one Caribbean grandfather? If a ¾ white artist has more right to exploit black pain than a white artist, can a ½ white artist in turn demand that Hannah Black turn her ¾ white gaze elsewhere?
What is at stake, among other things, is freedom. Do we exist in an open society or an apartheid state of affirmative action in which opportunities are accessed based on your blood quantum level?
“Those non-Black artists who sincerely wish to highlight the shameful nature of white violence should first of all stop treating Black pain as raw material. The subject matter is not Schutz’s; white free speech and white creative freedom have been founded on the constraint of others, and are not natural rights.”
That’s the letter signed by a significant number of artists who insist that free speech and creative freedom is not a natural right for white people. But if free speech isn’t a natural right for white people, it isn’t a natural right for anyone. That is how natural rights work. That is why the civil rights movement worked. And in its place, Hannah Black and her sympathizers would like to substitute the same racial tribalism it fought against with blacks (or those who can pretend to be black) substituted for whites.
The glorious vision put forward by her, and backed by so much of the media, is of a world in which free speech is a natural right only if you’re at least ¼ black.
Lara Witt is angry.
The Teen Vogue writer tweeted, "white people are evil. Whiteness is evil."
Witt grew up in Geneva, Switzerland and used to describe herself as "Swiss, Kenyan, Indian and American". These days she leaves the non-ethnic parts of that formula out. She only mentions the Indian-Kenyan part. She neglects however to mention that her father is white.
The daughter of an “upper middle class family” who traveled a lot, Witt “performs whiteness”, which is to say she is white, but resents her half-Indian, half-Kenyan mother for making her “white”.
These days Witt hates “white people” and resents “pieces about black women not written by black women”. Witt herself is about as black as Hannah Black. If not less. Also she claims to have dedicated her “life to dismantling white supremacy”. Her and every Anthropology major out there.
Witt is furious at the publicity that transracial activist Rachel Dolezal is getting. But Witt’s blackness is about as authentic as Rachel’s. Both are striving to perform blackness for its social and economic rewards.
Much like Hannah Black.
It was always easy to miss the importance of Rachel Dolezal because of her inherent absurdity. But it’s easier to spot with Hannah Black or Lara Witt who are one quarter away from being just as absurd.
What sorts of people dig up a black grandparent and then demand special privileges? What does it mean when these same people spew racist abuse at the rest of their ancestry? What does it signify when a society rewards them for this type of behavior? Racial supremacism is not much of a mystery.
Intersectionalists insist that white men have the most privilege while everyone else suffers from a privilege deficit.
Their model is almost accurate. It suffers from one glaring flaw. It’s completely backward.
Those who claim to have the least privilege have the most. And those who are accused of having the most really have the least.
How far would Hannah Black get issuing demands if she weren’t assuming black privilege? Behind her demand is the conviction that artistic topics, like jobs, should operate on affirmative action. An affirmative action in which having one black grandparent would be enough to reserve you a slot.
"I want women of color to be paid what you owe us. Pay us for our threads on Twitter," Lara Witt rants. The only people who demand to be paid for ranting on Twitter have more privilege than they know what to do with.
Pay. That’s what it all comes down to.
Rachel Dolezal was making a very good living as a black woman. As a white woman, she’s on food stamps. Dolezal was always a joke. But once it was revealed that she was a white woman, everyone was finally allowed to laugh. It’s not hard to spot which way the privilege really tilts.
You’re not allowed to laugh at Hannah Black. The Whitney certainly isn’t laughing. Racist intimidation in the name of fighting “white supremacy” gets you through the door of a large range of institutions.
Liberals like to think of themselves as the sorts of people who would react with instinctive revulsion to a call to destroy a painting because of the artist’s race. But these days you can find leftists who will defend that and anything else. The New Republic once championed art. Today it champions its destruction.
The conviction that the right race provides the artist with a purer perspective is a Nazi idea. Today it’s a liberal idea. And that’s one of those monstrous moments in the degeneration of liberals in America.
The new National Socialism, like the old, is absurd and obscene. It deserves to be laughed at.
The old joke was that the Aryan type was as blond as Hitler, as fit as Goering and as tall as Goebbels. The new racial ideal is an angry ¼ black leftist from the UK or Switzerland. Black Nationalism has become as much of a demented joke as Aryan Fuhrerism. And that’s why we need to talk about Black Privilege.
Because at this rate in the future everyone can claim to be ¼ black for 15 minutes.