Olzhas Yessenbayev isn’t white but gives an interesting defense for those who are when addressing the question, “What sucks about being white?” at Quora, a Google company.
Quick disclaimer here: I am not White. I am not European. I am Asian, and I come from such a part of the world where History lessons are not tied up with Identity Politics and the concept of “White Guilt”. So perhaps you will be a bit shocked.
If you are white, everyone will accuse you of racism, oppression, cultural appropriation, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia – every sin in the world, even though you by all standards are better than 95 percent of the world.
What’s about slavery?
Did you know that slavery existed throughout the entire history of human beings? Europeans were also held as slaves – not only in Ancient Rome, but also quite recently – by historical standards – as part of the Arab, Barbary and Ottoman slave trades.
In Constantinople (present-day Istanbul), the administrative and political center of the Ottoman Empire, about a fifth of the population consisted of slaves in 1609 – many of whom came from Caucasus, Eastern Europe, and Africa.
And yet there is no “Turkish” guilt whatsoever. There is no “Arab” guilt. No one in the Arab or Turkish world has a “White Pride Parade” today, nor are Arabs forced by their educational system to cast aside their glorious history and deride their ancestors for slavery.
You can read the same about Slavery in muslim Spain, in Iran, and so on.
Slavery was ubiquitous until it was ended in the 20th century. By Europeans.
What’s about “colonialism”?
Did you know that it also existed pretty much everywhere in the world?
Here, you can see, that almost a third of the European continent was once a place conquered by the Islamic states, let alone the Islamic conquest of the North Africa. Why no one speaks of Islamic colonialism and Islamic guilt?
Colonialism was ubiquitous until it was ended in the 20th century. By Europeans.
Life was a mess before the 20th century – pretty much everywhere in the world. The whole concept of human rights, that we today take for granted, did not at all exist until it was established by Europeans.
I am by no means claiming that Europeans are – or were – holy.
It is just that everything bad that is ascribed to Europeans – colonialism, racism, slavery, sexism – was ubiquitous everywhere in the world, until it was ended by Europeans. It is just that Europeans were more successful at doing these things.
So please, stop hating your(European) history and take pride in it – just as everyone else in the world does. Every history of every race and ethnicity has its bright and its dark moments. Let’s forget what is long gone and look forward to a world where no such things will exist – only beautiful moments!