Social Question

KatawaGrey's avatar

White jellies: do you feel white guilt?

Asked by KatawaGrey (21433points) March 25th, 2010

Last night, I asked this question and it prompted some interesting responses. One in particular got me to thinking about how some white people feel guilt about what has happened to non-white people in the history of the United States, specifically Native Americans and Black Americans.

So, white Americans, do you feel guilt over what has happened in American history to non-whites?

Once again, if you take issue with the terms I have used to describe either racial group, please either start another question or PM me.

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26 Answers

eponymoushipster's avatar

nope. my ancestors came here way after all that sort of stuff happened, so we didn’t have anything to do with it.

and, frankly, you can’t control what your long dead ancestors did, for better or for worse.

mrentropy's avatar

I don’t. I wasn’t around for it. And though I disagree with it on principal, the situation was a bit more complicated than the simple version that goes around.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I didn’t do anything I need to feel guilty for.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I’m not American but I am classed as white so I hope I am qualified to answer this question. The short answer is: no. I can’t be guilty for something that I had absolutely no part in. I wasn’t even born. I can, however, feel disgust about how non-white people were treated in those times (and still today to a certain extent) and I figure that I have a part to play in making sure it never happens again.

Dog's avatar

I have enough guilt dealing with my own actions without heaping the actions of people I never met (and do not agree with) on top of it.

Coloma's avatar

No. This is NOW, that was then. I don’t buy into the ‘sins of the fathers.’ trip.

I see all humans as equals regardless.

I also do not believe the opposite either, that the oppressed races should be still clinging to the race card.

Poverty and other oppressive conditions are the issue, and those issues effect everyone of every color.

meagan's avatar

There shouldn’t really be any guilt. None of us were there. None of us made those decisions. I feel bad about what everyone went through. But guilt? No.

MissAusten's avatar

No, I don’t feel guilty for whatever my ancestors would have done. People are only responsible for their own actions.

Like @Leanne1986 I often feel disgusted and sickened over what people have done, as well as what people still do. All people, not just white people. I don’t like the idea of white people being somehow worse than other people throughout history because there isn’t a group on the planet who hasn’t done awful things to other people at some point. It’s just as basically wrong as the “myth of the noble savage.” Human nature is human nature. People often disgust me regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, or whatever other classification might be used.

Merriment's avatar

No, I don’t feel white guilt over events in the past.

Certain instances of man’s inhumanity to man do make me feel a bit of embarrassment/dismay at the thought of being part of the human race.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Not in the slightest. Why should I?

cheebdragon's avatar

I didn’t do it, why should I feel guilty?

Snarp's avatar

Guilt? No, I don’t feel any guilt at all about what my ancestors did. I feel a lot of it was wrong, but it’s done, it’s in the past, and I didn’t do it. I do feel guilt when I find racist thoughts or feelings creeping into my head, and I do feel that there are some things in our past (and our present) that we still need to make up for. Mainly these are the structural problems in our society that the past created that still exist. That’s why I think affirmative action is important, but it’s definitely not guilt.

Idknown's avatar

HAHAHA this is very funny. I, as an Asian American actually feel bad for White people. There is a HUGE sense of reverse racism now a days. Unfortunately I am on the wrong side, but fortunate that Asians as a whole are doing well enough for me to be on the wrong side.

What I mean is all this talk about diversification, and these scholarships set up to help the minorities. I mean – there are poor white people you know? Not all white people are Wasps with big mansions and shiny cars. But you try and start the United White scholarship for White people…

FutureMemory's avatar

The idea is absurd to me that I would feel guilt over something I had nothing to do with.
but then again, being of “mixed” parentage I don’t really think of myself as “white”. I don’t think of myself as anything other than human. Yay for diversity!

mattbrowne's avatar

No. Likewise I also don’t feel any guilt for being born in Germany in 1962 (which wasn’t my decision anyway).

But I would feel extremely guilty if I didn’t know all the important details of our history which includes white people turning Africans into slaves as well as white people murdering millions and pulling the whole world into horrific war.

People who have learned nothing from history are very guilty. People who try to hide or distort history are extremely guilty. Unfortunately, there are many of them (once recent example is the government of Turkey, shame on them). It’s our job to be vigilant.

goose756's avatar

@Idknown I couldn’t agree more – I’m pretty sure none of us were around during what went on in the past. I don’t feel guilty for something I haven’t done – although it is awful and dsigusting that it happened. I do feel that there is “reverse racism” as @Idknown stated, and that quite frequently white jellies may be treated poorly by non-whites and it is “OK” because they were oppressed at some point.

As stated above – try giving away a White scholarship, creating an all White college, heck even White Entertainment Television, it would never happen.

I’m not saying it should happen, but how can others do it and Whites cannot? How can we be equal when we still segregate ourselves?

Idknown's avatar

@goose756 I’m in the same pool. We get no benefits. I was short of getting into the best high school because I had both my legs intact, both my parents still alive, and I wasn’t African American.

But I own up to my inadequacies.

I just hate it when the minorities encourage their young to fulfill the role of the minority. A lot of Mexicans where I live drop out to go work so they can make ends meet. My parents would never let me do that. They had 3 jobs, worked for pennies so I can go to school and not even need an after school job.

And for what? So the other minorities can get this benefit because they are disadvantaged? I say that’s unfair to my parents that are constantly breaking their backs to make sure I make it up top. I’ve even been rejected to a college because my grades were too high!

I had to be poor, and STUPID to get college aid. Can you effing believe that?

syzygy2600's avatar

Tracing back my family history, we were mostly poor Irish who came to USA/Canada around 1880 to work as laborers. I grew up poor in a rural town. I have nothing to feel guilty about, and if someone tries to make me feel that way because of the color of my skin they can suck my white cock.

Ria777's avatar

only for the racism I have myself perpetuated or allow to pass without doing anything about it. (I can’t think of any specific examples of the latter.)

casheroo's avatar

No.

But, I’m also part Native American, from both sides of my family.

nikipedia's avatar

I don’t feel white guilt per se, but I do acknowledge that I have experienced a great deal of white privilege. It is very clear to me that had I been born with the same skill set and opportunities but been a minority, I would have had to jump through extra hoops to prove myself.

Whether the people who participated in slavery were my ancestors or not seems wholly irrelevant to me. What matters is what repercussions people still experience today. Black and Hispanic people continue to be judged by a different set of standards than white people. Until that is no longer the case we have no choice but to ameliorate those effects in any way we can.

syzygy2600's avatar

@nikipedia try growing up dirt poor and then move to a large city and have a bunch of smug university educated assholes tell you you’re privileged, and see how often you have to restrain yourself from punching someone in the face. It’s ignorant and racist to assume someone is privileged because they are white.

nikipedia's avatar

@syzygy2600: I did grow up dirt poor, and I still recognize that the color of my skin affords me advantages that other people don’t have. It’s ignorant to make assumptions about people while criticizing other people for making assumptions.

syzygy2600's avatar

I live in Ontario, Canada, where we never had slavery and there has never been as big of a gap between races as there is in USA. That probably has something to do with it as well. As a white Canadian who grew up poor, I don’t feel my life would have been any harder had I been black and poor. In fact it might even have been easier, as it’s easier here for minorities to qualify for welfare than white people.

FutureMemory's avatar

@nikipedia

I don’t feel white guilt per se, but I do acknowledge that I have experienced a great deal of white privilege. It is very clear to me that had I been born with the same skill set and opportunities but been a minority, I would have had to jump through extra hoops to prove myself.

Whether the people who participated in slavery were my ancestors or not seems wholly irrelevant to me. What matters is what repercussions people still experience today. Black and Hispanic people continue to be judged by a different set of standards than white people. Until that is no longer the case we have no choice but to ameliorate those effects in any way we can.

It’s a shame more people don’t realize this.

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