A new book by Brendan O’Neill has punctured much of today’s prevailing illusions. It offers a refreshing alternative to the modern victimology craze. I could start almost anywhere in the book to highlight passages that do justice to Mr. O’Neill’s rapier style, but let me attempt doing so with one short quotation.
“The idea that black students are not really cut out for Shakespeare and Chaucer, or at least will have difficulty relating to such literary embodiments of historical whiteness, is plainly racist. It implicitly proposes the exclusion of blacks from the realm of great literature on the basis that its beauty and art is beyond their racial grasp, beyond their experiential understanding. The depiction of modern scientific thought as ‘white’, and museums’ mission to expand humanity’s knowledge of antiquity as ‘white’, and even Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony as ‘white’, likewise has the baleful effect of locking non-whites out of these cultural kingdoms on the grounds that none of it is really their fit. . . . And the idea that blacks are ‘in pain’, and that they require the performative penance of whites to validate and possibly alleviate that pain, turns them from citizens into patients; it makes them a special infantilized category of human being all over again, dependent for their therapeutic salvation on the coming to awareness of the truly central actors in modern society–white folk.” (p. 103-104)