Guilt is an unhappy feeling that you have done something wrong or you think you have done something wrong. Or it also refers to the fact that you’ve done something wrong. It also can be explained as the state of having committed to an offense or the remorse caused by feeling responsible foe some offense. However, white guilt is the individual or collective guilt often said to be felt by some people for the racial treatment of people of color by whites both historically and presently.
White guilt has been described as one of several psychosocial costs of racism for white individuals along with the ability to have empathic reasons towards racism, and fear of non-whites. Between 1950s to 1960s, as far as the white guilt was concerned, the whites underwent an archetypal Fall. Because of the great turmoil of the civil rights movement, and later Black Power Movement, whites were confronted for more than a decade whether they should comply with or acknowledge the blacks, and their growing existence and importance.
They had to face their previous bad attitudes towards blacks, in detail; it’s their indifference to human suffering and denigration, their capacity to abide evil for their own benefit and in the distance of their own sacred principles. And with the 1964 Civil Rights passed through the legislation, in a certain sense, the official admission of white guilt finally came to this world. In the 1960s most whites know it was useless t o take a denial attitude towards the blacks.
With this defense lost and with more and more prominent white guilt in white people’s mind, it seemed the only way to solve this problem is the road back to innocence —- through actions and policies that bring redemption. White guilt sometimes truly can be the right motive for doing good works or showing concern, like achieving the parity with whites and finally eliminate the prejudice between these two. But it’s still dangerous because of its tendency to lead us into self-preoccupation and escapism.
Although guilt contains a ‘magic’ emotion fear that sometimes allows guilt to be more selfless and that makes genuine concern possible. But once there was too much fear, guilt would relatively make us be aware of our own status and feel afraid. Thus it would generate a self-preoccupation as concern for others. But this kind of preoccupation is radically the redemption of innocence, the reestablishment of good feeling about oneself.
It ultimately makes us neglect a lot of things and push society in the wrong direction in terms of racial issues. Besides, to be more specific, the redemption which was bombarded with the white guilt has merely contributed to this tragic situation by shaping our policies regarding blacks in ways that may deliver the innocence to society and its institutions do very little actually to uplift the blacks. This hidden need led to a sort of reparation for the blacks instead of developing them, making the relationship better.
These policies and actions were in the nature of some comfort or compensation for both the blacks and the whites. These special entitlements bestowed to the black are of no use but make the black take advantage of them, like the writer mentioned, to get noblesse oblige from the whites. The writer thought the white guilt is much more than just a race problem. He believed that the lack of time between transitioning from white supremacy to white guilt, eventually led to the destruction of the civil rights era.
According to Steele, since the presented society with no cool-off period, the American people were not able to feel a sense of new idea towards racism, and this is when bargainers came about: black in the political spot light appealing to whites to take hold of white guilt and use it as their advantage. In the passage he also gave a ‘race experiment’ example to illustrate this. He talks about hoe being black can be an advantage due to how heavy the white guilt is.
In my opinion, just like the author’s experience in the story, the waitress was irritated to have to carry me out of the restaurant. And soon I found a sense of guilty as I made an imposition of myself, as I bothered her and annoyed the white in the restaurant for arousing them the white guilt. But what can I do then, to say sorry to them? to tell them you don’t need to feel guilty about yourself because you are innocent? I am just a customer.
I was not supposed to show off my current equal status or like the god who is so sacred that every one should acknowledge their guilt and mistake regretfully when facing him. I just wanna get my hamburger! I just wanna find a corner to finish that! Isn’t it strange? Under the social circumstance at that time, the one who should feel sorry about causing the predicament is the black but not the white! I do think it demonstrated the white people they held a classic characteristic not guilty, but cowardice. They dare not admit the historical mistake.
Their psychologically vulnerability made them want to escape from the fact, also from the black, of course. But finally and fortunately they are in the juxtaposition. The white now won’t feel their former ill-gotten advantages are that prominent. They even have a black president, whom they are really proud of. And now it’s so dramatic to have Obama reappointed consecutively. Although now we still cannot say they are definitely or absolutely equal. As time goes by, some thing should take place, would finally take place.
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White Guilt. (2017, Jan 25). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/white-guilt-essay