White Guilt and Gynoguilt: How the Left’s Culture of Victimhood Undermines Equality

As we all know, the left and particularly its kudzu-like interweaving into and strangling of all aspects of academia is very fond of its “isms.”  Feminism, racism,  whateverism–all purportedly designed to “call out” the oppressive white male and to tear down sexist walls, crash through glass ceilings, break out of the cycle of oppression.  So imagine my surprise when, as a graduate student, I learned that I should not be teaching a particular female author in a Modern Literature class.  She’s an excellent, if under-read and under-appreciated, modern writer, but the chair of my department explained to me that her work should be taught in “women’s literature” classes. It turns out that faux feminists were happy to perpetuate the idea that the term “modern writer” actually means “white male modern writer” and that because of this, a woman cannot be a “modern writer” at all.  She’s a writer of “women’s literature.”  

“Women’s literature” classes are chock-full of readings by people whose only qualification as a “writer” is a vagina.  The “literature” is often . . . well, let’s just say, not good.  This isn’t always the case, but often enough that you have to wonder why it’s being taught at all (other than to fill in the entire semester’s reading list by dredging up every female writer who ever put pen to paper).  This gyno-centric reading list and my being told not to teach a truly outstanding female author in a “traditional” lit class initially unnerved and confused me.  But the real reason is actually quite clear, if rather sinister:  if we started selecting excellent female writers and started teaching them as if they were “real” literature, we’d end the hate-fueled gravy train.  Who or what would the leftist intellectual elite write their endless, repetitive, belly-button-gazing critical essays about?  What would happen to their careers if they had no one to demonize and no one to treat as a perpetual victim?  

How on earth can we achieve any kind of gendered or racial harmony if we continue to perpetuate this bizarre notion that women and minorities must be treated with kid gloves or as strange anomalies to be taught in isolation, put on intellectual display as if they are animals in a zoo?   Doesn’t gyno-centric or race-based “grouping” serve only to underscore the “difference,” to highlight the supposed inadequacies of said group/s?  Yet when we on the right want to treat female authors or black authors as the equals of their white, male counterparts (i.e. actually worthy of study on the merits of the text, not because they have a vagina or other-than-white skin), we are not permitted to do so.  In the name of equality.

My experience trying to teach female authors–I had a similar experience when I wanted to teach a black female author–as if they were actual authors and not “women’s lit” or “African-American lit” was a form of “white guilt” being implemented in the university.  I think of it as “gynoguilt,” borrowing, of course, from Shelby Steele’s excellent 2006 White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era.  In short and not doing justice to Steele’s watershed text, white guilt functions by virtue of manipulating white people’s angst over slavery, the guilt and remorse we feel for the enslavement of, brutality toward, and oppression of black people in America. This guilt is fed and fueled, Steele argues, by both black and white leaders who use it to manipulate public policy that effectively makes black people perpetual victims and white people perpetual penance payers. 

Gynoguilt does the same thing, but works by painting women as perpetual victims of an oppressive white male-dominated society and seeks to use that to transfer power and prestige in the form of tenure and full-professorships to truly incompetent, intellectually-lazy people who serve only their own interests. 

The truly rich and deeply-sickening fact is that white and gynoguilt work precisely because we are not a sexist or a racist nation.  If Americans today were as racist as the political elite would have us believe, or as sexist as the academic elite would have us believe, there would be no possible way to leverage the perpetuation of liberal racism on the bogus argument of racial equality or to teach “women’s lit” and “African-American” lit courses as exclusive entities that are not to be mixed with the simultaneously unworthy and (ironically still-) vaunted canon of literature on the bogus arguments of gender and racial equality.  If we thought slavery was great or that black people are “less than,” we would never have worked to enact and comply with the entitlement agenda that we’d been told was about equality.  If we thought sexism was such a boon to the world, we would never comply with the illogical treatment of female writers as “other” (isn’t that what feminism is supposed to end?).  The tragedy here is that if we were pleased with and saw nothing wrong with our sexist and racist past, white and gynoguilt used as tools to silence people who want to open rather than close doors to women and minorities would not work.  But it does.  All too well.
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Cross-posted at NewsReal Blog‘s Feminist Hawk’s Nestgo see it (yay!)

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16 thoughts on “White Guilt and Gynoguilt: How the Left’s Culture of Victimhood Undermines Equality

  1. You poor “White Woman”, you just don't understand. You can't possibly make sense to your male liberal peers, you're a woman. You need help in being equal in the “real” world.

    This is so typical with the liberal mind-set. Everyone needs their help, because the rest of humanity just couldn't make it in this cruel world without them. Does the term “elitist snob” fit here, Fuzzy?

  2. As a victim of gynoguilt, I just want to say that I and millions like me thank you from the bottom of our gynos.

    Kidding aside, the English departments across the country are filled to to the gills with post-modern anti-structuralist, anti-positivist, pre-cambrian, middle-cubismists and other strange names that only make sense to people who enjoy sniffing their own farts. The best way to get your 'degree' in English is to study it and blog about it. Elitists HATE bloggers because we circumvent their whole fenced-off world of fart sniffers.

    Great piece.

  3. @ Odie, lol, why yes, as an oppressed and addled-brained woman, I need to be rescued by the truly intelligent people who have only my best interests at heart. heee!

    @ Born Again American, yes, we are lucky we have them watching our backs (or, you know, stabbing us in them).

    @ Nickie, thanks so much, Nickie! I appreciate the linkage. Would it be too much trouble to link over to NewsReal, too? If so, no worries 🙂

    @ Candle, heh. Thanks.

  4. I have long thought that cultural heritage months, ethnic studies, and racial quotas to not help minorities. It robs many of a sense of well deserved accomplishment, by trivializing their recognition as some kind of charity.

  5. Awesome post. Why? because talking about these “no no” issues that the left has been able to use as a club to this point, takes one more “tool” they can use to de fraud and silence people with. Holder is going to get more than he bargin for with calling us out for being cowards to talk about race and gender issues.

  6. Don't you know that liberals have made slavery the new in thing and freedom or free-thought is out. They want to control every person and decide how they think and I call that brain bondage.

  7. “…White guilt functions by virtue of manipulating white people's angst over slavery, the guilt and remorse we feel for the enslavement of, brutality toward, and oppression of black people in America…

    “…The truly rich and deeply-sickening fact is that white and gynoguilt work precisely because we are not a sexist or a racist nation.” (FS)

    A GREAT and all too often under-appreciated point, although I think there’s something more than the just the fact (and it is an often overlooked and under-appreciated fact) of how fundamentally GOOD Americans are as a people, there’s also the reality that for whatever the reasons, blacks, on average, tend to score significantly lower on ALL standardized written exams (1 standard deviation lower) and women continue to do significantly “less well,” on most physical exams (ie. those for firefighters and other emergency service providers), which via the logically flawed construct of “disparate impact” (such exams constitute “unfair barriers” due to their “disparate adverse impact”) maintains the call for such “remedies” (preferences) despite the fact that since preferences were instituted black/white test gap has actually increased, not decreased and women have not (as promised) magically decreased the male/female disparity in upper body strength. So long as “disparate impact” remains a favored legal construct, those disparities that have always existed and appear to have little if anything to do with “discrimination,” overt or otherwise, will continue to be blamed on “institutional bias/racism.

    The primary issue here is the same as the primary issue with “hate crimes” legislation, by claiming the right and ability to divine attitudes and biases (THOUGHTS), the state has claimed the right to override and eradicate the very basic Constitutional principles of “equality before the law,” and “equality of opportunity,” that are the foundation of ALL individual rights…and individual rights are the ONLY “civil rights.”

  8. Hi Fuzzy! This is a great post.
    I never had any white guilt. I've seen these
    “downtrodden” people make out like bandits while whites and
    American Citizens get screwed….nope, no guilt for me.

    I hope your summer is fun so far.

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