“Gotcha” is Preferred to Understanding
At the end of War on the West, Douglas Murray tells a story about Lamont Hill and Chris Rufo that I found disturbing. Mr. Hill is a professor at Temple University and is a television personality who is provocative when it comes to race in America. Chris Rufo is best known for challenging the spread of Critical Race Theory thinking especially in schools.
In a discussion Mr. Hill asked Mr. Rufo the following question:
“What do you like about being white?”
Mr. Rufo responded that he did not accept the premise and added that he tries to be colorblind and said, “I would hope that we could both judge each other as individuals and come to common values on that basis.”
The question was Mr. Hill’s way of suggesting that if you can’t describe what is good about being white, then you should not be concerned about Critical Race Theory and its critique of “whiteness”. However, one slip up in your answer and you will come off at best as ethnocentric and at worst racist.
Murray does a great job explaining different ways of answering the question with varying levels of risk. The riskiest answer is to describe the contributions that the West has made to the world while also recognizing that the West has done things that rate as horrendous, but they do not outweigh the West’s contribution. His most compelling point was that the immigration flows over the last 50 years and especially the last 20. If whites had something to feel badly about, why are many in the rest of the world risking everything to immigrate to Europe and United States.
The disturbing part is that Mr. Hill demonstrated he is not looking for common ground or to improve understanding. He is looking for a gotcha moment that furthers his perspective without having to properly describe or defend his beliefs.