Harris replies, "In a sense you're wrong. I agree with the spirit of it. I think you could say the Bible is just as much of a justification." Harris feebly obfuscates to avoid a simple truth. Why? Because white innocence has always been a pillar of white identity politics.
Klein identifies this during his debate with Harris. He argues that by claiming immutable black intellectual inferiority, Harris is saying, "This is not on us, white America, or America broadly, and we don't have to" feel so bad."
The white innocence central to white identity demands a denial of America's racist history. Self-styled intellectuals with some knowledge of that history may find it difficult to wholly dismiss it. So, to hedge their bets, they produce pseudo-scientific justifications for that race hatred. The end result is the same" 'This is not on us, white America"'
Scholars like Noel Ignatiev in "How the Irish Became White" and Theodore Allen in "The Invention of the White Race," have connected the emergence of "whiteness" to the privileges of freedom. Whiteness was invented as the badge that distinguished the select--the white--from the despised--the black. It distinguished one group from those that same group wished to enslave. Active white identity had toxic beginnings and has been used throughout American history to further toxic, racist ends. Men like Harris and Murray are simply updating an age-old tradition of white identity politics. Unfortunately, they both think too highly of themselves to admit it.
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