Duluth puts up billboards calling all white people racists

Don Ness, the mayor of Duluth, Minnesota, has had billboards erected in his city that say, “It’s hard to see racism when you’re white,” along with images of white people with words written in ink on their faces listing the “privileges” they unconsciously enjoy by virtue of being white.

Naturally there is controversy, and many local people are unhappy with the billboard, and there is the usual feckless back and forth between the supporters and opponents. See video of the news segment.

But will any of Ness’s critics go beyond the impotent gripes that white people typically express in such circumstances, and have the presence of mind to ask him the following questions?

  • “Since racism is the worst thing you can accuse anyone of in our society, can you tell us what this racism—which you say that we are all ignoring and facilitating—consists of?”

  • “Can you give us specific examples of this racism?”

  • “Since the only way we can know that something truly is bad and can be fixed is to have an idea of the good that is the opposite of the bad, please tell us the following: (a) What can we do to rid ourselves of this racism?, and (b) What will a non-racist America look like, so that we can know when we have rid ourselves of this racism?”

  • “If you are unable or unwilling to answer these questions, then you are admitting that there is NOTHING that we can do to rid ourselves of our supposed racism. Which means that you are morally condemning us for something that is out of our power. Which means that you are morally condemning us for the fact that we are white. Which means that you are an anti-white racist.”

Such questions and arguments, stated firmly and persistently so that the mayor and his supporters could not escape them by changing the subject or calling the questioners racists, would reveal the utter emptiness, falsity, and wickedness of the mayor’s indictment of his fellow whites.

Tragically, however, there are two things that we can be absolutely sure of: no one in mainstream America will ever ask these questions or anything like them; and the indictment of whites as racists will continue as long as America—in its current, liberal incarnation—continues to exist.

- end of initial entry -

Paul K. writes:

Have you seen a picture of Mayor Don Ness? He is the quintessential dweeb, resembling a slightly more feckless Fred Rogers.


Here is a graphic someone posted in support of him.

In an article describing how he is dealing with the backlash his campaign has aroused, Ness says, “They think this is calling every white person racist and it doesn’t, it says racism exists, it’s a problem in our nation and in our community and that white people have a role in being part of the solution,” said Mayor Ness. [LA replies: Yeah, right. That’s like Elizabeth Warren and her fans saying that in her famous diatribe she was not expressing hostility to producers of wealth and owners of property (oh, no, of course not), but was only objectively describing the “social contract.”]

Whites have turned our society upside down trying to deal with racism for the past 60 years, so it’s hardly novel to urge them to “have a role.” One wonders, though, when blacks will play a role beyond voicing complaints and demanding concessions. Much of what is called racism is an understandable reaction by whites to the unacceptable behavior of blacks. For example, whites tend to avoid situations where blacks congregate, out of fear of black violence. Which group can do more to resolve this problem? Would Mayor Ness recommend that blacks be less violent or that whites be less fearful of their violence? A great many social problems are attributed to the fatherless homes in which black children are raised; according to Mayor Ness, is this a problem that it is up to blacks or whites to address? Many whites withdraw their children from public school because the poor performance of black students lowers the academic quality and their disruptive behavior creates a chaotic environment; would Mayor Ness recommend that whites get over these concerns? Examples could continue.

Blacks are responsible for the behavior out of which most racial friction grows. Whites can only choose their reaction to it—resistance, acceptance, or avoidance. Yet to Mayor Ness and his ilk, it is only whites who have the power to change the situation.

Anthony Damato writes:

The mayor of Deluth worked for years at a foundation which seeks to promote liberal and progressive causes. The founder wants, as he says, to make liberalism good/respectable again.

As the story did not make clear who sponsored these anti-white billboards, you can see on on the billboard the name of a group called Un-Fair Campaign. Going to their website answers most, maybe all the questions you posed for the mayor. [LA replies: at their About page, they define their vision as “An evolved community free of individual, systemic and institutionalized racism.” That still leaves unaddressed the question, what would a community free of racism look like? How would we know that we have attained it? What would be the proof that we have attained it? These people must be made to answer those questions. If they do answer, they undoubtedly will say that in a non-racist community blacks would have the same social outcomes as whites. But what can whites do to give blacks the same social outcomes as whites? Can whites make blacks more intelligent and hardworking and better behaved? No. So blacks will continue to be behind whites, and to be far more criminal, disruptive and violent. Therefore black inferiority will continue, and therefore whites will always be seen as “racist,” due to something that is completely outside their power. This is the argument that conservative whites must make, if they are to defeat the liberals who seek their debasement and ruin. But they will remain unequipped to make that argument, so long as they fail to grasp and are unwilling to express publicly the truth about racial differences. Only the recognition of that truth can save them. See my statement, “Why the truth about black dysfunction is so important.”] Apparently, this group has various links to organizations that are doing seminars teaching about “white privilege,” saying that we whites are racist but don’t know it. Interestingly, their tentacles reach into all kinds of places like schools and, of course, the Duluth Mayor’s office.

Though the website has details addressing everything about them, no people are mentioned. There was only a single name given in the body of an email address. Ellen O’Neil, executive director of the Duluth YWCA. She said “we swim in a sea of whiteness, it’s the norm.” Apparently, she is in charge of this billboard campaign. O’Neil had targeted her city because it is 90 percent white.

I wanted to see if the YWCA she is director of is the Young Women’s Christian Association we are familiar with, so I checked. Yes it is. I could not be sure because their website has their name with the tag line above it stating. “Eliminating Racism, Empowering Women.” In their mission statement of 2009, they are dedicated not only to the above slogan, but also to promoting “peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.” No word about Christianity.

So it appears that this project is at least a spin off project of the Duluth YWCA.

Anthony continues:

Notice the offensive mug shot-like images of white people. It is especially egregious when you read what is written on their faces on subsequent pages as used on the billboards. Showing white people with such writing on their faces essentially branding them racist is Nazi-like. [LA replies: Be sure to see the page with photos that Anthony has linked.]

Also, about Mayor Ness:

” … After graduation, he went on to work for Congressman Jim Oberstar and Zeppa Family Foundation.”

Zeppa Family Foundation


“He plans to distribute about $2 million in grants each year to arts organizations and what he calls “groups that make liberalism a good thing again.”

Anthony continues:

I found a blogger who boils it down at least to the major players involved in this anti-white campaign.

Mayor’s office is assisting a group calling itself the “Twin Port’s Coalition” that is a sort of homeless concern. In turn, universities and the Duluth YWCA have taken leadership roles with the mayor now defending this.

But I would like to know where the money for this insane project came from. Who is behind it financially—the Duluth Mayor’s office through some sort of grant?

More information.

February 6

Kilroy M. writes from Australia:

A billboard campaign against allegedly pervasive white racism in a country were the whites voted in a black President? Seriously, I thought you chaps were in financial strife … here’s a campaign that makes more sense to me: “it’s hard to see patterns of black on white crime if you’re a deracinated white liberal” or “it’s easier to slander an ethnic group disarmed through political correctness than tackle real problems by offering real solutions”.

LA replies:

“a country where the whites voted in a black President”

Not exactly. The majority of white voters voted for the Republican candidate in 2008. But that’s been the case in every presidential election since, I believe, the 1970s. Maybe since 1968.

LA continues:

I like your suggestions for a billboard campaign, especially the first.

LA writes:

On a page “See it,” the site says:

It is hard to see racism when you’re white. These resources help you look more carefully at your everyday interactions and listen more openly to what others are saying.

Then it links several posters and billboards.

Then it says:

Local Statistics About Racial Disparities

Duluth has had an overwhelmingly dominant white culture for a very long time. This fact has contributed to the development of a monoculture in which white norms are dominant and considered “normal.” MORE>>>

Poverty impacts people of color more than it has the White population. MORE>>>

Racial disparities and MFIP three-year self-support index. MORE>>>

Racial disparities and employment More >>

Ok, so it’s just as I said in my above reply to Mr. Damato. It’s really the same old song and dance that we’ve had since the ’70s. White “racism” consists (1) in the fact that white communities naturally have a culture that reflects the qualities and norms of white people, and (2) in the fact that blacks are behind whites in various socio-economic indicators.

In other words, whites are “racist” (1) because they, the whites, exist; and (2) because blacks have significantly lower intelligence, self-control, family formation, law-abidingness, etc. than whites.

It is beyond whites’ ability to do anything about (1) or (2). They can’t do anything about the fact that they, the whites, exist (other than commit collective suicide); and they can’t do anything about the existence of lower black abilities, aspirations, etc.

In short, whites as a race are being scorched and blamed and made to feel bad and guilty because of facts that are completely outside their power. This is pure anti-white racism. The liberals are falsely blaming whites as a race (or at least the putatively non-liberal whites) for something that the liberals themselves are actually doing to the (putatively non-liberal) whites.

If the people in Duluth who are opposed to the mayor’s campaign would make these points, they would take the initiative and put the mayor and his allies on the defensive. But they won’t do it, for the reasons already stated. Today’s whites are so whipped that they won’t even point out the obvious fact that an all-white or virtually all-white community will naturally have a culture that reflects the qualities and norms of white people. Because liberalism has told them that it’s immoral even to think of themselves as white, they are incapable of mounting even the most modest positive defense of whiteness, even when whiteness is under a grossly racist assault. All they can do is grumble.

Kilroy replies to LA:

If only there were a conservative mogul who was willing to start a counter campaign like the one I suggested. My belief is that you can’t argue against these people, you have to ridicule them and show them up for the idiots they are. That’s the only way to neutralise and defeat their agitprop.

By the way, your quotations from their web site, namely “Duluth has had an overwhelmingly dominant white culture for a very long time” which “has contributed to the development of a monoculture in which white norms are dominant and considered ‘normal’,” suggests that whites are “guilty” of nothing more than being white, which you correctly assess as “whites are ‘racist’ because they, the whites, exist.” That characterization is in no way inflammatory or extreme. It is a logical deduction from these liberals’ own reasoning process. Anti-racism is therefore an ideology that seeks the psychic genocide or all Caucasians. It’s really as simple as that.

LA replies:

Psychic genocide. I like that. (The term, not the thing.)

February 7

Alexis Zarkov writes:

I realize that Freud is out of fashion, but perhaps he was on to something with his concept of death drive. From the Wikipedia entry:

In classical Freudian psychoanalytic theory, the death drive (“Todestrieb”) is the drive towards death, self-destruction and the return to the inorganic: ‘the hypothesis of a death instinct, the task of which is to lead organic life back into the inanimate state’. It was originally proposed by Sigmund Freud in 1920 in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, where in his first published reference to the term he wrote of the ‘opposition between the ego or death instincts and the sexual or life instincts’. The death drive opposes Eros, the tendency toward survival, propagation, sex, and other creative, life-producing drives. The death drive is sometimes referred to as “Thanatos” in post-Freudian thought, complementing “Eros”, although this term was not used in Freud’s own work, being rather introduced by one of Freud’s followers, Wilhelm Stekel. [I think second sentence is a little garbled, but we get it.]
I observe a seemingly universal desire for extinction by the white race. We see this urge in Europe, North America, and Australia. As of 1950, whites were about a third of global population. Now a demographic study from National Policy Institute says, “Global White Population to Plummet to Single Digit, Black Population to Double.” In 1950 blacks were about 9 percent of world population. If this study is accurate, blacks and whites will change demographic places by 2060. The world’s most successful and productive race changes places with the world’s most dysfunctional race. A race so dysfunctional that it could not maintain itself without white help. The blacks in Africa and the U.S. must suck in resources from other races in order to survive. How could such a thing have happened without some kind of death drive?
Patrick H. writes:

You wrote:

In other words, whites are “racist” (1) because they, the whites, exist; and (2) because blacks have significantly lower intelligence, self-control, family formation, law-abidingness, etc. than whites.

It is beyond whites’ ability to do anything about (1) or (2). They can’t do anything about the fact that they, the whites, exist (other than commit collective suicide); and they can’t do anything about the existence of lower black abilities, aspirations, etc.

To expand a bit on what I take to be your point, I consider that the utterly simple, explicitly stated logic of anti-racism runs like this:

Discrimination is not the cause of black poverty. It is black poverty. It is not something whites consciously do. It is the objective difference in incomes, period. As long as that difference persists, the society is racist. Only whites can be racist, because it is whites who have more income than blacks. The logic is simple, really.

Racism is not the cause of the black/white difference in crime rates. Racism is that difference. Whites are racist because we commit so much less crime than blacks. When that difference no longer exists, whites will no longer be racist. Simple, isn’t it?

A non-racist society is therefore simplicity itself to describe: there will be no differences between blacks and whites on any objective, measurable social outcome of any importance. Simple!

The mistake whites make is assuming the anti-racist is describing racism as a state of mind, or even a set of actions. When the anti-racist says whites are “systemically” or “institutionally” racist, he is not speaking of whites as causally efficacious, morally responsible intentional actors who are doing a bad thing. He is not even saying white racism is a kind of permeating background subjective state of white people that colours and controls all of their conscious thoughts and behaviours. It’s much simpler than that. Remember, anti-racism grows out of Marxism, and Marxism states that only material conditions are causally efficacious.

To the anti-racist, it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks or feels or does. Racism is not about any of that. None of that matters.

The goal of the anti-racist is not to change peoples’ minds. In a certain sense, people have no minds to change. Even if they had minds, and they changed, it would make no difference.

The aim of anti-racism is to eliminate objective external measurable group differences. I must emphasize that they have not been shy about stating this aim. They’ve been shouting it out for decades now. Simple, clear, objective. And we still can’t seem to really grasp the simplicity of what they what they say right out loud what it is they want. [LA replies: Why don’t we (meaning putative non-liberals and conservatives) get it? Because we have a certain framework for understanding things, and what liberalism is really about does not fit into that scheme, and so we don’t see it. We think fairness is about treating people by the same rules. Liberals think that fairness is about assuring that everyone ends up with the same goods. If we recognized that liberals have a view that is so radical and alien to America, then our conservative belief that all Americans share the same basic principles and loyalties would be shattered. The belief in American unity, which is in turn the foundation of conservatism, would be gone. So we persist in not seeing what liberals are really about. In our need to preserve our America (the now-fictional America in which all Americans share the same basic principles and loyalties), we must help the liberals conceal their true aims. We must facilitate their pretense that they are “mainstream” and “moderate.”]

P.S. If it were proved beyond any doubt that the measurable difference between blacks and whites in, say, the propensity to commit violent impulsive crimes, was entirely caused by genetic differences, then the anti-racist program would switch, effortlessly, to the need to eliminate those genetic differences. And they wouldn’t even have to take a breath before making the switch. It would be that fast, that easy. It would be simple, really. So simple.

LA replies:

All I can say is, you’ve got it. You’ve accurately stated the sheer evil of the liberal position on race.

LA writes:

I should add that the ideas being used in the Duluth anti-white campaign are not new at all; they have been staple of “diversity” trainings in U.S. schools and other institutions for at least 20 years. But this is the first time I know of that a municipal government in the U.S. has disseminated these ideas to an entire community, and through the dramatic medium of large public billboards no less.

Paul K. writes:

In response to Patrick H.’s insightful comment, you wrote:

“If we recognized that liberals have a view that is so radical and alien to America, then our conservative belief that all Americans share the same basic principles and loyalties would be shattered.”

I think part of the problem is that liberals—most of them at least—don’t even realize that they have this view. It’s not like it’s their secret and they’re keeping from the rest of us. They’re keeping it from themselves as well.

LA replies:

You are onto something, but need to expand more on what you mean by “keeping it from themselves.”

Paul K. replies:

I’m not sure I can expand on it with any profundity. It’s just that I know a lot of liberals and I know they don’t have a clear idea of what the society they’re striving for would look like, or what the repercussions of their policies would be. They simply fall into line behind the people whose opinions they follow, whatever the cause du jour may be. Their critical thinking shuts off if it conflicts with the groupthink. They think they’re on the right team, the one that’s working to make things better.

I believe Patrick H. has expressed a powerful insight, but I don’t think any liberal would recognize the truth of it. And, as you pointed out, neither would most conservatives.

February 8

Paul T. writes:

Paul K. wrote: “It’s just that I know a lot of liberals and I know they don’t have a clear idea of what the society they’re striving for would look like, or what the repercussions of their policies would be.”

Since it’s a big world, that has to be true of many liberals. But many others seem to have, if not a “clear idea,” then at any rate some powerful instinctive drive towards the endpoint of liberalism. Recently a friend of mine whom I’ve always regarded as a “reasonable leftist”—as walking, breathing proof that such a thing exists—surprised me by saying he’d prefer that his only son (who is, like himself, white) married a black or at any rate a non-white woman. Not that he’d “accept” it—he’d prefer it, because, as he explained, it would be a better world, a non-racist world, if all bloodlines were mixed, and he would like to know that his own bloodline had been absorbed in this way. He’s never struck me as a naive utopian type, nor does he act like a self-hater. It’s as though, having built up a complex of liberal beliefs over many years, he made a sudden imaginative leap into the place to which they all lead…. the land of perfect equality and perfect homogeneity, where one’s own bloodline and ancestry can be safely hidden away, forever.

Robert B. writes from Minnesota:

Missing from all of this, and I apologize for not writing sooner, is the impetus behind this attack on the denizens of Duluth. About three or four years ago there was a series of local newspaper articles about the small colleges “up north” (how we refer to the northern rural areas here) describing the savage rape of white coeds by imported black athletes. Besides the rapes, there were other lessor crimes committed by these “athletes.” The general consensus both here in the metropolitan south of the state and in the northern areas, was that these imports had no business here and that it was reprehensible that our tax dollars were buying their “education.” Of course the colleges replied with the usual need for “diversity”—but again, no one was having any of it. There was a hue and cry and demand for their removal which went so far as the citizenry demanding the funds be cut off that support the sports these men were imported to perform.

The “white culture” targeted by the ad campaign is not just in the “isolated” areas of the state. It is the state as a whole. Minnesota was so overwhelmingly northern European for so long, that the whole state has its own culture that is overwhelmingly white. And none of us ever thought anything of it. It just is. But the people “up north,” they are special once again—as if time does not exist up there. Nothing ever changes. We also call it “lake country” or “cabin country.” They are small town America, as Norman Rockwell would have depicted, to this day. No one is forgotten, no one ever truly is lost. I am, in some ways, very much a part of that. It is for that world, that culture, the life, that I weep for when I think of what is happening to America. I can go more than 30 years without seeing someong I knew in my childhood, and yet, that person acts as if I have always been there and always will be—just as much a part of his world today as I was when I was fourteen. It is truly special—they will not bow down to this.

My understanding is that the billboards are “disappearing” as fast as they go up.

Kathlene M. writes:

It’s apparent that Don Ness, Mayor of Duluth, has enjoyed the unfair privilege of being the mayor because of his whiteness. So if he is serious about combatting unfairness and racism, the first thing he ought to do is to resign as mayor and find a non-white person to fill his shoes. That would be the only fair thing to do. Some enterprising group should plaster his face all over billboards in Duluth with the same words from Ness’s campaign scrawled on his white face, with the largest words being “Resign for the sake of racial fairness.”

This reminds me of the ridiculous expose that came out in the San Jose Mercury News about a year ago in which the paper shockingly discovered that too many whites were members of city councils all over the multi-ethnic San Franciso Bay Area. I noticed that the editorial board of the Mercury News was all white, so I made a comment at their online website that perhaps they ought to consider laying off white people from their own editorial board so that they could practice the virtues they preach. My comment unexpectedly got a lot of support from many commenters.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 05, 2012 05:22 PM | Send

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