The white devil’s advocate



The news media inevitably portrays people who move away from diverse areas to more homogenous areas in a negative light: bigoted, uneducated, unfamiliar, fearful, etc. Is it ever okay to just say diversity just wasn’t for me?

Some of the people I’ve spoken to have a story to tell. Either something bad happened to their families or things were going on in the neighborhood that spelled trouble and they could see the writing on the wall and some people just aren’t into diversity. Curiously, the news media and documentary filmmakers don’t include these stories.

I think this is a mistake. It makes people in the communities that whites seek refuge in view them as suspect, it gives people of color the impression that their shit don’t stink, it also entirely removes from the conversation the influence of the politicized behavioral sciences that strongly influences how organizations, schools and courts deal with race issues. see

Not all whites see emulating ‘Legally Blond’ as a psychologically healthy role for themselves. I’ve find dealing with race issues on a personal level makes me feel like a victim of emotional domestic abuse that’s pointless and emotionally and spiritually draining.

Then I look at the music videos from the 50’s and 60’s where people were so full of hope about race relations and I have to ask what happened? Why does it feel like things are getting progressively worse. Why am I expected to act like everything is wonderful when it’s really a drag? What’s going on in the environment that’s causing us to grind gears?

  • Flawed behavioral science research that fosters and exploits racial conflict
  • Social justice via the sledge hammer of litigation.
  • Business culture that is disdainful and apprehensive of its citizen workforce
  • Unchecked immigration that has made a mockery of citizen efforts to control population
  • Investing in prisons instead of education

Sweat equity project

Sometimes the people who leave aren’t white as what happened with a sweat equity housing project developed by a Luther Burbank non-profit in Santa Rosa, CA. I participated in an ethnographic study of this project where we had been told by a Jewish director that whites intolerant of diversity had moved out of the complex but in reality who’d left were second generation Hispanics. They’d been driven out by immigrant Hispanics who viewed them with hostility for having served on the board of the Home Owners Association. The whites who’d left, had backed out of the program early in the earliest phase of construction when they saw the size of the floor plans and the number of people to be housed and realized, “We’re building a ghetto.” Adults of all races that stayed were overwhelmed with by the numbers of children that roamed in packs of 15-30. Something like 11-14 school buses served the development and the children loved it there. Also of issue was the thimble sized front and back yard spaces and that made adults feel as if they were living in a fish bowl with no privacy. When asked about racism, amused residents told us that once everyone learned each others dirty words then it was no longer a problem…

Jews as well, can get entangled in the mind fuck of trying to do demonstrate racial sainthood. A Jewish women at the project had also been the target of hostility because she’d served on the board. She was afraid to be seen inviting me into her home and so we sat a awkwardly in at common picnic table to demonstrate to all she had nothing to hide. As we talked she showed me her son’s drawings, of low rider cars saying this was now a part of his culture. When asked if she would prefer to move elsewhere she was adamant that she was not a racist. Because it was obvious she was highly stressed and that her mental health was suffering I did what I could to convey in my reports that she be given the opportunity to relocate without making her or I look like monsters.

When we presented this in our reports to Burbank, an architect threw down his pencil on a table and said, “yeah, we call that project the barracks.” They then began to tell the real story about the project. Because of loss of government support they’d made the decision to maximize capacity beyond what is recommended so that they could help more people. In other words, Burbank was knowingly portraying the failure of this project as being due to white racism rather than coping to good intentions gone bad. Why would they do that? Possibly as a strategic play to prevent the organization from being sued for violated industry accepted standard capacity design practices?

A free people should be able to discuss these issues openly and honestly. Sometimes that answer is going to be that they left because of racial and cultural differences. That is not just a white issue and homogeneous neighborhoods are not necessarily a bad thing. However, if you’re going to demonize people for telling the truth, don’t expect to hear much of it.

Have you witnessed whites being scapegoated?

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