News & Politics

White Liberals' 'I Am Spartacus' Moment

Activists put their hands up during a march in the Prospect Heights section of the Brooklyn borough of New York on Sunday, May 31, 2020. Demonstrators took to the streets of the city to protest the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after he was pinned at the neck by a Minneapolis police officer. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)

In the classic movie Spartacus, the climax of the film sees the defeated slave army of Spartacus sitting dejectedly on the ground as a Roman soldier announces that instead of crucifixion, the slaves’ lives would be spared if they identify “the body or the living person of the slave called Spartacus.”

Spartacus, played with great skill and pathos by Kirk Douglas, appears ready to stand up and give himself up when his friend, Tony Curtis, beats him to it.

Slave after slave, one after another, stands up and proclaims “I am Spartacus” in solidarity with their commander. In the end, the Romans crucify all of them.

We are seeing something similar happen today. White, guilt-ridden liberals are proclaiming their solidarity with the radical, sometimes violent black activists of Black Lives Matter.

But unlike the slaves who stood up in solidarity with Spartacus, these white liberals have no such feelings of togetherness and unbreakable affection based on bonds forged in war and fellowship. The white liberals who so openly announce their support are making sure the rest of us know that they are morally superior. They are virtue-signalling — even if they fool themselves into thinking they really, really care about blacks.

Activists aren’t looking for and don’t desire “solidarity” with white liberals. They treat them with almost as much contempt as they treat white racists. But they find them useful to achieve their ends.

Vox:

In the past five years, white liberals have moved so far to the left on questions of race and racism that they are now, on these issues, to the left of even the typical black voter.

This change amounts to a “Great Awokening” — comparable in some ways to the enormous religious fomentin the white North in the years before the American Civil War. It began roughly with the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri, when activists took advantage of ubiquitous digital video and routine use of social media to expose a national audience in a visceral way to what otherwise might have been a routine local news story.

In effect, these white liberals believe being an ally of activists is all about them. It’s their advocacy. It’s their support. It makes them better than the rest of us. It allows them to stand on the battlements, waving the bloody shirt, and calling for the rest of us to follow them.

Black activists know this and are tired of it.

San Francisco Chronicle:

“That’s why black people get brutalized by police officers over and over again, because white people go, ‘That was so bad, I feel so bad.’ But then a couple of weeks later (they say), ‘Back to my yoga classes,’” Bell told Conan O’Brien on his TBS show last week.

“It’s really about how are you in your personal life, because if your personal life is correct, your public life usually is more correct,” Bell said.

White liberals measure their “wokeness” by the level of the grandiosity of their gestures. But the key, always, is to let people know that you are woke and support Black Lives Matter.

Of course, that means dismissing the violence, the burning, the looting, and the murders as “anger” at “systemic racism.” Sacrificing your judgment about condemning riots by calling them “protests” shows just how eager, how desperate while liberals are to be seen as tolerant.

I have no doubt most white liberals sincerely want to help. But the way to assist your black brothers and sisters is to stand up for the law. There is no justice without law. There is no peace without order. To believe otherwise is to believe in the law of the jungle.

And that doesn’t help anyone, whether you’re woke or not.