Thursday, May 19, 2022

There Are No White People

           There Are No White People

          A Counter-Spell

          by Nathaniel Hellerstein


          At First Sight

          This essay is an attempt to see with my own eyes, rather than with other people’s lies. Seeing as you are told to see is socially convenient, but it is illusion, which leads to suffering. Seeing with your own eyes will make you suffer right away, but then liberate you; for the truth shall set you free, but first it’ll hurt.

          Therefore this essay is absurdly literal-minded. In it, I pay close attention to a trivial visual detail. My aim is optical precision.

          I do so out of respect for reality.  The philosopher Voltaire said that those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. This essay is an attack on one of those absurdities.


          Fifty Shades Of Brown


The atrocious absurdity mocked here is belief in the existence of white people. For have you ever actually seen a white person?

Before you answer, please remember that this essay is absurdly literal-minded; so by “white”, I mean the same color as clouds, paper, snow, cotton, milk, and bone. By “white” I mean white.

By this optically-precise standard, I am confident that your skin is not white. If you put your hand on a sheet of blank white paper, then it will stand out, for your hand and the paper are not the same color.

I am also confident that if you investigate further, as I have, then you will see that there are no white people, anywhere. There are plenty of people called white, but that is a misnomer.

Viewed with scientific objectivity, people of European ancestry have a skin with a complex tint. It contains bright red from arterial blood, blue from veins, yellow from subcutaneous fat, and brown from melanin. The color is definitely not white; but what to name it?

This chromatic question so perplexed me that I sought help from an artist. So I visited Katherine McKay, several of whose luminously beautiful paintings I now have the privilege to own. I pointed to the back of my left hand and asked, “What color is this?”

Her answer: “A light warm shade of brown.”

Brown! Just the right word. That light warm shade of brown deserves its own name. I propose “caucasian”, spelled with a small c.

I have since seen, with my own eyes, that normal human skin varies from dark brown to light brown; teak to bamboo. If you wrote with ink the color of Louis Farrakhan on paper the color of Patrick Buchanan, then you’d have to squint to read what you wrote; for they’re both shades of the same color: brown.

It’s true that there is some variation away from normal brown. There are albinos, who are pink. Some people are blue, due to blood defects or silver-based medicines. There are even orange people, such as John Boehner and Donald Trump. But these rare exceptions are neither white, nor a ‘race’.

Not only is ‘race’ a genetic exaggeration, it isn’t even about skin color. It’s about skin tint.

And just how much respect does white racial supremacism deserve, given that race is bogus, supremacy is lawless, and white people don’t even exist?


Politics Of Illusion


Maybe this essay’s absurd literalism annoys you. So what if “white” people aren’t really white? Must we adopt some correct but clumsy term? “Caucasian”, perhaps? “European-American”? How inconvenient! “White” is such a short, simple word; it takes so little time and thought to say; so won’t it do?

No, it won’t. Here’s a riddle, one told by Abraham Lincoln:

Suppose you call a tail a leg. How many legs does a dog have?

Answer: Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.

Likewise, I say: calling people white doesn’t make them white.

Dear reader, I urge you to see with your own eyes, rather than with other people’s lies! For whiteness is a lie. It supports the pseudoscience of race and the tyranny of supremacism, and it is itself an illusion. Anyone who sees white people is literally hallucinating.

Racism requires such hallucinations, for race does not exist. Race is an exaggeration. It is a genetic tan. It’s skin-deep. It is no more than a tribal signifier; and tribalism fights for symbols, not realities.

How spooky, that race doesn’t exist, but racism does; and that the favored race doesn’t exist either. Because nobody is really white, nobody can be white enough. What a scam! And after everything that the world has done for white people, they don’t even have the common courtesy to exist!

Humankind’s skill at manipulating symbols leaves us vulnerable to being manipulated by our own symbols. Thus we can be ruled by illusions. How to dispel such ensorcelment? This essay proposes an aesthetic antidote and a moral tactic. The aesthetic antidote is optical precision. Mark Twain defined the moral tactic with this aphorism:

One horselaugh is worth a thousand syllogisms.


          The Milk Test


          If, despite your eyes, you still believe that there are white people, then consider this scenario:

          David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, is told that there are two glasses in the room next door; that he may drink what he wishes, but he is warned that one of those glasses is full of milk, and the other is full of paint.

          In the next room there are indeed two glasses with two liquids. In one glass, the liquid is the same color as snow. In the other glass, the liquid is the same color as David Duke.

From which glass would David Duke drink?

The snow-white glass, of course; that’s the one full of milk. The Duke-colored glass must be full of paint, not milk; and that’s because milk is white, and David Duke is not white.

What’s more, he knows that he isn’t white.

          There are other versions of the milk test. For instance, if a cloud floated overhead, and it were the same color as you, and it dropped snow the same color as you, then would you go out and play in that you-colored snow? And maybe taste some of it? Or would you instead hide indoors, and call the EPA to report an environmental disaster?

White People That I Have Seen


          I myself have seen white people; but they were always fictional.

          Consider Boris Badenov and his sidekick Natasha Fatale. They’re white! Look at Caspar the Friendly Ghost; he’s white all over! But they don’t count because they’re animated cartoons.

The Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man starred, alongside Bill Murray, in a blockbuster movie. He’s white! But he’s a special effect.

Take Nosferatu. He’s white. Or the Borg. They’re white. But really they’re all actors wearing white grease-paint. Mimes don’t count as real white people, for the same reason.

One Halloween, I saw a man dressed as the Pillsbury Doughboy. He was wearing white shoes, white pants, a white shirt, and a white chef’s hat; and he had white grease-paint on his hands and face. Even his lips were white. A truly spooky Halloween fake!

How about Frosty the Snowman? Here’s a song, sing along:

Frosty the Snowman was a frozen golem freak;

He was so uncanny-valley that he made the children shriek.


Frosty the Snowman, he would joke and jump and dance

And do other undead antics that made children wet their pants.


Frosty the Snowman would affright you at first sight

For like Boris, Caspar and the Borg, he was snowy, creepy white.


Frosty the Snowman had a tint so twee you’d wince

He’s the one white man I’ve ever seen, and I haven’t seen one since!




One morning, when Richard Spencer awoke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a white man.

          The back of his hands were white. White, as in cloud-white, paper-white, snow-white, cotton-white, milk-white, bone-white. White white. So were the palms of his hands. So were his arms, his chest, his stomach, his thighs, his shins and his feet.

“What has happened to me?” he thought. It was no dream. He bolted out of bed and ran to a mirror. In it he saw that his face was white and his hair was white. So were his eyebrows, his irises, his lips and his tongue.

          He pulled out his waistband, and looked down, and yes, even little Richard was as white as a sheet of paper.

          He called for an ambulance. It took ten minutes to arrive, which seemed like forever. The driver took one look at him and ordered him into the wagon. The ambulance hurtled to the hospital, sirens screaming, blowing past stop signs and red lights. It screeched to a halt at the entrance to the Emergency Room.

          The nurse in attendance took one look at Richard Spencer and waved him in, past all the other patients. While filling out the form she said, “Whoo-ee! Ain’t ever seen a white man before!”

          The nurses led him to a bed and attached sensors to him. They took a blood sample, a urine sample, and a stool sample. All three were white.

          As nurses and interns crowded around Richard Spencer, three of the doctors walked over to a corner to quietly confer.

          Rex Morgan, MD, said, “I have never seen a case like this.”

          Dr. Kildare said, “Nor have I.”

          Dr. House said, “Idiopathic symptomology. Diagnosis?”

          Rex Morgan said, “He’s... white?”

          Dr. House said, “Cause?”

          Dr. Kildare said, “Unknown.”

          Dr. House said, “Treatment?”

          Rex Morgan said, “Unknown.”

          Dr. House said, “Prognosis?”

          Dr. Kildare and Rex Morgan looked at each other. Rex Morgan shrugged. Dr. Kildare slowly shook his head.


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