Charity and the Guilt of a Race
Rod Dreher has an interesting post on the balkanizing dangers of progressive anti-white rhetoric, and readers with an interest in the subject should read it. What most caught my eye, however, was a tangential sentiment in a quotation Dreher includes from an NBC News commentary by Noah Berlatsky:
Even community service can reproduce racist ideas. It’s hard to see people as equals when you always have power over them, or when your primary experience with them involves giving them charity.
The spectacle of well-intentioned people working, half unconsciously, to solidify and perpetuate their own power is not an encouraging one. “I feel like my findings are pretty dismal,” Hagerman admits. “When you have people who have a lot of wealth alongside this racial privilege, they’re ultimately making decision that benefit their own kids, and I don’t know how you really interrupt that.”
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However he arrives at it, Berlatsky’s ideology clearly gets charity wrong.Maybe that’s a progressive versus traditionalist difference. To a traditionalist — specifically a Christian traditionalist — we’re called to charity because we’re all equal in the eyes of God, and we’re to see God most especially in those who are suffering. The last will be first. If we are comfortable, we should be concerned that we have already received our reward, but when we humble ourselves, we will be elevated in Heaven.
There’s plenty of room for hypocrisy and imperfection in the actual application of this principle, but that’s the underlying view. You owe it to the disadvantaged to help them because, ultimately, they are your equals, and what you have is an indication either that your priorities are wrong or that God has given to you so that you may help others.
The penance of progressives’ materialism is much more stern. The obligation of the privileged is complete negation. You don’t give to others because you are equal; you deprive yourself because you are inferior (and give to progressives, so they can profit from the redistribution of your wealth).
Actually, as Dreher explains, it would be more true to say that the altruistic progressive appears obligated mostly to express guilt and continue on with his or her privilege. Culturally, it’s a ritual sacrifice of the less privileged of their own race for the expiation of guilt.