During the past few months, more and more “Dear White People” stories have started appearing on my Medium home page. Quite often that phrase appears verbatim in the title, but even when those words don’t appear, the phrase accurately captures the haughty, condescending tone of the essays. The essays pretend that they are written to educate white people like me about some injustice they’ve profited from, some microaggression that white people routinely commit, or some burden placed on non-white people that white people are oblivious to. They all have the same arrogant lecturing tone. They all use the same arguments. There are essays about how white people bathe, essays about white people asking questions, and essays written by white people telling white people just to shut up and listen.
They’re all the same.
I’m done reading about racism and privilege. I love to learn, and Medium has lots of wonderful writing on science, art, history and literature that will help me be a more knowledgeable, more insightful, person. I gain nothing by continuing to study people’s hatred, wading through their dogmatic writing about oppression and the oppressed. I’m sure I profited from the first few essays of this type that I encountered. After all, we all need a reminder that the world looks very different to others, and we should all try and understand how others experience the actions we take. But I’ve found that each successive racism essay I read yields a diminished residue of learning. Someone invented a Postmodern Generator, a scripted web page that conjures a new Humanities academic paper by randomly shuffling Critical Theory jargon and concepts. I’m sure a “Dear White People” essay generator would be just as easy.
It’s my own fault that these articles started to saturate my Medium home page. There was a time when I did read them, quite avidly, and so the Medium personalization algorithm made sure to find me new ones just like the ones I chose to read before. The more I read, the more troubled I felt, because I started to realize I was on a hamster wheel of propaganda. I started noticing their rhetoric, how narrative techniques are used to highlight and magnify the experiences of some, while dismissing the experiences of others. I saw how words and slogans are used to make arguments decided not by truth, but by the lineage of the people making the arguments. When the oppressed experience pain, it’s a call for action. When oppressors express hurt, it is dismissed as whining, as mere “white fragility.” The oppressed are never selfish, they seek only justice. Oppressors are never satisfied. The oppressed can always be trusted to use new power wisely; oppressors use power only to gain even more for themselves.
Apparently there is a robust supply of new essays like this, so no matter how many you read, Medium can always find more. College Humanities and Grievance Studies programs are little more than postmodern clergy mills. Instead of learning about transubstantiation or the Trinity, students learn silly vacuous concepts like “intersectionality” and pretentious nonsense like Critical Race Theory. People that consider themselves too intelligent to be anything other than atheists for some reason are enthralled by this unfalsifiable twaddle — twaddle subsidized by their own indebtedness. Thankfully I left college long ago, and I’m free of such foolishness.
Medium’s new “Mute this Author” feature, together with the “Dismiss this Story” feature, allow you to explicitly identify articles that you want removed from your daily home page suggestions. About a month ago, I started carefully dismissing articles if their title suggested it was yet another formulaic “Dear White People” complaint. Medium still suggests some race articles once in a while, and occasionally I’ll give one a quick glance — just in case it has something new to say. But once I determine it’s yet another hateful word salad of whiteness, privilege, microaggressions, white supremacy, colonization, and appropriation— I’ll quickly close it and move on to something more worthwhile. Since I’ve cleansed my home page of this repetitive and vacuous content, I find the hour or so I spend reading Medium articles each day for more fruitful.
As far as I can see, no one is writing anything new about race.