For years I didn’t even know I had this disorder. It’s a silent form of corrosion that grows in your gut darkly, similar to prostate cancer. Its scientific name is amygdalar sclerosis, which means “hardening of the amygdala”. Sure, with an enlarged prostate you have to pee more often, but that’s a function of age, right? And age alone is not a disorder. But amygdalar sclerosis is tricky, sneaky, internal subterfuge.Other white men may have it and not know so if they are surrounded by other white men who drink coffee or beer, or if they don’t spend time among the diverse people types who inhabit this changing country of ours. The symptoms may include but are not limited to the following:
- intolerance of change that does not directly benefit them
- a cloying fear of minorities as a group but not necessarily as individuals
- disturbing nightmares wherein younger minority males hijack the white man’s car
- self aggrandizement that seems justified by conveniently arranged facts or myths
- feelings of superiority wrapped in flags of state or religion or economic theory
- excessive fear of becoming a minority
- an “us vs. them” mentality, black or white, all or nothing thinking frameworks
- a longing for an imaginary idyllic past where law and order always worked while June Cleaver did not.
While no deaths have directly resulted from Whitetitlement Disorder to date, serious unintended consequences have accumulated. Vigilantism has popped up in various locations where mostly older men suffering from Whitetitlement Disorder have burst into civic action against minority males, throttling them and/or killing them because of a vague sense of being threatened by how the minority men behaved. Whitetitlement may also show up in less dramatic ways, such as applying a double standard to non whites in employment or housing arrangements or invitations for their children’s birthday parties. Whitetitlement is often experienced at 11:00 a.m. on Sundays in houses of the holy despite Biblical imperatives to show no favoritism.
WD is being considered for inclusion in the phobia section of the DSM-VI as an anxiety disorder similar to post traumatic stress disorder. The diagnostic problem is trying to determine time of onset. When did Whitetitlement begin to creep up in my life? I wondered. Clearly its source is not genetic. I tended to like the minority kids I ran into in the suburbs of Northern Virginia. My parents claimed not to be racists. After all they grew up in Boston and were integrated, like way more than these rednecks from below the Mason Dixon Line. Actually, they suffered from Whitetitlement also; it just wasn’t as obvious as our neighbors’ infections. Ruby, two doors down, for instance, once claimed that she told a Black man who wanted to buy her house, “I don’t think so little of my neighbors to sell my house to a Black man.” Simple as that. Her Whitetitlement was overt, because she felt fully justified in words and deeds. Her empathy ended at the color line, though she did not really care about her neighbors either. Those unloved neighbors who snickered without any objections raised were covertly complicit in their Whitetitlement collusion.
Not so subtly we kids were told to lock the doors when my family happened to drive through minority neighborhoods. Not because anything dangerous was actually happening; rather, it was a belief that imminent doom was merely a millisecond away because we were in dark neighborhoods in D.C. or Alexandria. Ironically, we either did not have or did not use seat belts for a statistically real threat, but by God Almighty no invisible minority warrior was gonna yank me out of our 56 Buick at a red light, especially since I wasn’t wearing a seat belt.
[Harry Potter has gone over to the dark side. Source: real weird news.]
Whitetitlement should not be diagnosed when overt racism is present. The distinction has to do with the ulterior motives of the sufferer. Whereas the overt racist wishes harm on the minority member or at minimum great divisions, the Whitetitlement sufferer genuinely believes he is imparting helpful correction to the minority and is unaware of any raw hostility. Whitetitlement sufferers often use words like tolerate and accommodate when speaking of minorities, whereas overt racists speak with far more force, often saying things like eliminate, separate, incarcerate.
I once listened to a retired white police officer explain that he was not racist but facts were facts. “The crimes are in minority neighborhoods. Simple. The facts are not racist.” That’s a comforting over simplification.
He later tried to explain further, “There is no good reason for a Black guy to be walking through a white neighborhood. He’s up to no good clearly.”
My Black friend politely objected.
Captain Curt replied, “It’s no different than a White kid walking through an all Black neighborhood. What’s he doing there? Buying drugs most likely, that’s what.”
My Black friend replied, “Well, my White friends used to visit me in the projects back in Pittsburgh. We didn’t use drugs. We just hung out together.” Huh. Imagine that if you can. It sure doesn’t fit the simple paradigm proposed… makes you think longer and harder. Ouch, that can hurt like an ice cream headache.
Whitetitlement Disorder prevented this good, retired cop from seeing the twists in his “logical narrative”. He wanted to do the right things for right reasons, no doubt. Cultural tunnel vision, WD, prevented him from doing so where stereotypes overrode reality. The more he spoke about not being racist, the more blatantly his Whitetitlement shone through as a sort of mind blindness… ‘I don’t know what I don’t know, and I don’t need you to inform me of my deficit.’ There was an opportunity to be educated by an articulate Black man who supported law enforcement, but Captain Curt already knew what he knew.
Anyway, it is clear that our minorities are over represented in our prisons. A simple answer is that they did the crime so they can do the time. Sure, it makes sense if you don’t scratch the placid surface. If police begin with the assumption that all the big bad crimes happen in the ‘hood, then they don’t police the upscale neighborhoods vigorously where dope is also smoked and opiates injected. Why? They have lawyers and power, money and prestige… the invisible entitlement program of being white.
I’ve never been frisked or stopped while driving because I am white. I wish I could say the same for my black brothers. And yes, this discrepancy bothers me.