Monday, June 12, 2017

Blaming the Negro

Eishaa Evans at Baton Rouge La. Black Lives Matter protest. Reuters photo 2016

Blaming the Negro: this is not just a matter of rationalizing and verbalizing. It has become a strong emotional need for the white man. Blaming the Negro (and by extension the Communist, the outside agitator, etc.) gives the white a stronger sense of identity, or rather it protects an identity which is seriously threatened with pathological dissolution. It is by blaming the Negro that the white man tries to hold himself together. The Negro is in the unenviable position of being used for everything, even for the white man's security. Unfortunately, a mere outburst of violence will only give the white man the justification he desires. It will convince him that he is for real because he is right. The Negro could really wreak havoc in white society by psychological warfare if he knew how to use it. Already the psychological weapon of nonviolence has proved effective as an attack on the white man's trumped-up image of himself as a righteous and Christian being.

- Thomas Merton, "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander", p. 33


  1. Wow. I had not realised just how prophetic Merton was in regard to social scapegoating. Somehow I didn't take onboard that paragraph at all.
    I must re-read "Conjectures.."

    1. Merton gets at the projection that is going on, both in the larger political world and in personal relationships. What we don't want to see in ourselves so we put it on the "other" person. I'm going to try to tease that out, a little at a time so that it doesn't feel so obtuse.

      A good friend (now deceased) gave me his copy of "Conjectures" many years ago, saying that it was the real gift of Merton. The book was a cheap paperback and has fallen apart. But I can still see the little check marks that my friend had made by certain passages that he felt were especially insightful. Those seem especially relevant now.

  2. Richard Beck writes today of transgressive beauty saving the world, and mentions the very polarized reactions to "Piss Christ".

    I was watching Sister Wendy Becket, the British art historian and consecrated virgin hermit who lives with the Carmelites, discuss its merits as a work of art. What she says fits in so well with Merton's insights.

  3. If you want your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend to come crawling back to you on their knees (no matter why you broke up) you gotta watch this video
    right away...

    (VIDEO) Win your ex back with TEXT messages?


Mary Oliver

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