Euromericanism, White Privilege, and Why Race is so Important to Muslims

In his provocative book, White, Richard Dyer observes that the real power of American whiteness lay in its effective invisibility. While Hispanics, Asians, blacks and others are immediately recognized as raced, whites enjoy the presumption of being just “humans.” This raises their perspective above critique, since it presents it as being above the biases and limitations of any particular history, ideology or culture. This in turn allows whites to speak for “humanity” as a whole, while raced people can only speak for their particular “race” or “culture.” This entrenched, inscrutable invisibility is also the secret behind the power and pervasiveness of liberalism today. Words like “freedom,” “equality,” “reason,” “tolerance” are commonly used without the slightest understanding or hint that their users are invoking liberal freedom, liberalequality, liberal reason or liberal tolerance. Faced with these deployments, Muslims often find themselves debilitated by the feeling that they are fighting a losing battle, stuck in a perpetual mode of apology, hopelessly strengthening and reinforcing their inquisitors’ indictments with every would-be response, like the proverbial husband faced with the question of whether he has stopped beating his wife yet.

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