The Ultimate Gaslighting Victims? It’s Whites
07/03/2024
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A recent New Yorker article on ”gaslighting” broke the concept down nicely, and persuaded me that the real society-wide gaslighting we’ve got right now is against whites [So You Think You’ve Been Gaslit —What happens when a niche clinical concept becomes a ubiquitous cultural diagnosis, by Leslie Jamison April 1, 2024].

In the 1944 film Gaslight (Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer) from which the term is taken, a man marries a woman in 1880s London for the sole purpose of stealing her cache of inherited jewels.  Each night, he turns on all of the gas-powered lights in the attic to search for them while she remains downstairs.  The drawn-off gas causes the ones downstairs to flicker.  (Watch the movie here.)

But when she mentions this, he convinces her that it’s all in her head. Not only that, she is the crazy one with bad intentions, not him.

Thus gaslighting is a double-layered psychological manipulation.  Layer one gets you the perception you want your enemy to have.  Layer two prevents your enemy from thinking their way out of the misperception.  It’s a one-two punch.

Writer Leslie Jamison quotes philosopher Kate Abramson, who describes gaslighting as “a kind of existential silencing,” where the victim of gaslighting is accused not merely of being factually wrong, but also of being in no condition to judge whether they are right or wrong.   

Gaslighting essentially turns its targets against themselves by harnessing the capacity to empathize with others by recognizing the shortcomings of our own self-perception.  Its betrayal is that it takes an ”ethically productive” form of humility—the awareness that one might be wrong—and turns it into a liability.

This seems to capture white displacement beautifully.  The demographic fact of the displacement is irrefutable, yet we are told over and over that it either isn’t happening, or if it is, we shouldn’t worry about it.  

Beyond that, whites are made to feel crazy or stupid for even bringing up the topic.  Like the ”hysterical woman” who notices the flickering lights, whites are ”evil” or ”racist” for noticing that their country no longer belongs to them.

Whites are uniquely sensitive to the imagined feelings of other races. You can get their hearts beating and tear ducts cranking with appeals to the claimed suffering of other races in ways that are not reciprocated.  

This trait, turned inward, works well to prevent excessive intra-racial violence and to promote cooperation, but turned outward, becomes a weakness.  

 

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