by Iskra Fileva Ph.D.

Some supremacists believe they deserve credit for others’ accomplishments.

Marek Peters/Wikimedia Commons
Neo-nazi skinhead with a patch in German that reads “Skinheads – White and proud”Source: Marek Peters/Wikimedia Commons

White supremacists like to say that most of the achievements of Western Civilization were achievements of white men. It is common to respond to such claims by drawing attention to the contributions of non-white, non-male people, or to the cultural conditions (for instance, lack of access to educational opportunities) which, through most of history, made it extremely difficult for non-white, non-male persons to make a significant cultural contribution.

These are important points, but there is something else that is generally missed: When white supremacists make claims of the sort under discussion, they appear to be suggesting that they somehow get to claim credit for the achievements of some great person with whom they share a superficial characteristic such as skin color. Otherwise, why draw attention to that characteristic at all? What difference does it make? That is not the reason the person deserves praise and recognition. 

The problem here is that we simply don’t get to claim credit for the accomplishments of other people unless, perhaps, they are our children or trainees (and even there, we must be careful). If you didn’t do any of the work, you don’t get any of the rewards either. 

The temptation to attempt to proceed on a different assumption is understandable. Actual achievement is hard. It requires years of work, focus, and dedication. It is so much easier to take a shortcut to a flattering self-image, bathing in the reflected glory of others. Unfortunately for those tempted, it simply doesn’t matter what group characteristic you share or don’t share with Newton, Leonardo Da Vinci, or Beethoven. If you want to be like them, you must make significant contributions to science or art. Attending supremacist rallies won’t make anyone else’s successes  rub off on you. To suppose otherwise is simply magical thinking. 

There may, of course, be cases in which we are responsible for what a collective agent whose member we are does or doesn’t do, as when a person from country A goes along with country A’s invasion of another country. But the question of collective responsibility is a separate one. It involves actions that can be attributed, intelligibly, to groups of people. That cannot be done with the achievements of Newton or Leonardo, which is why no one is in fact suggesting that theirs are collective achievements in the relevant sense.   

One can argue also that society as a whole contributes to great accomplishments indirectly, by creating the right social conditions for talented people to realize their talents. There are three things to note here: First, society does not always create favorable conditions, actually. For instance, Giordano Bruno – mathematician, poet, and philosopher, and one of the finest minds of his era – was burned at the stake for heresy. Galileo was ordered by the Inquisition (whose members were white men, incidentally, though white supremacists conveniently focus on people like Galileo rather than on the inquisitors) to abstain from teaching and defending his doctrine; namely, that the Earth is not the center of the universe. Some people succeed despite social conditions, not thanks to them.article continues after advertisement

Second, to the extent that society does create favorable conditions, it is not only people of a particular group who deserve credit. Society, after all, has a wide mix of people.

Finally, note that most of the successes of Western civilization are due to people now long dead. Barring the possibility of a time machine, none of us – regardless of race, gender, or any other characteristic one cares to name – could have possibly contributed, however indirectly, to the discovery of the laws of motion, the painting of Mona Lisa, or the composing of Beethoven’s 5th.

2 thoughts on “The Magical Thinking of White Supremacists”
  1. Scripture condemns magic!
    LBRC- Can you count??? “He said after “400” Years and “He” is not mocked!!! Also- “He said He would confound the wise with simple things”!!! All of this meaning???

    After years 400 means after 400!!!

    Most of America is “Dumbed” down, including those who claim to be educated! For example: Would you construct a chain linked fence to keep out mosquitos, as a fellow Scientist asked? A Covid molecule is a mosquito and mask are akin to a Chin Linked fence!!! Why??? Because of how Science “Measures” in terms of “Microns”!!! And yes, mask do “Diffuse” aka blocks and causes other Covid to interfere in terms of “Forward Movement” of Covid out aka a “Jam” akin to lots of people attempting to get through a doorway simultaneously!!! Common folk are so “Science” dumbed down, even simple concepts, only those in the so- called best schools mostly private, have a clue and honestly- Lots of Negroes aka too many don’t even care enough to get off their duff and go to vote in School Bd. Members who care about their kids enough to ensure they are properly educated!!! Money from “Racist” controlling interest is all ‘Dats needed to dupe Parental ‘Simps who are in themselves from a “Legacy of Stupid ‘Simp Culture”!!! ‘Guv is their “Hook- up”, ‘Git over and daddy! They just ‘luv their “Crazy Checks” and believe themselves to be “Normal” aka “Ward of The State”!!!

    Covid in and of itself is smaller than a human hair in terms of ‘Microns”! The simplest has confounded the smartest of men! “He is not mocked”, yet man still feels he can! Your “400” years are up!!! You can resent us for what we say and how we say it. You can say we don’t believe and deny what you see unfolding before your very eyes! However, nothing tells the truth more than does your Bank Account in this world you confess a reality!!! A song in the nineties said- “You will know”! You do not now, but you will!!! Now mock ‘Dat!!! Peace out…

  2. White aka Caucasion Racist and Supremist are ‘Stuntun in the Absolutely Worst possible way!!!
    LBRC- Want to know if a Negro, or others are ‘Stuntun? A “Certified Black Scholar”, Award winning, published and prolific writer has your answer!!!

    What is wealth? Assets minus debt? Who can survive an emergency notwithstanding Spiritual impacts, aspects? 1st Truth will be revealed, then…, Uh oh!!! “All Pride Will Go Just Before They Fall”!!! 

    YouTube Title: “Heilbroner Memorial Lecture: Lecture by William “Sandy” Darity: Does Racism Make You Sick? 

    Go Here>>>


    You refuse us Reparations for the most “Egregious” Acts ever committed against Humanity, in the History of this world! You’ll reap from across a “Great Gulf Fixed” and Assets will be your last concern or thought for Eternity!!! You will retain memory of your Evil Acts! Believe it or not- Cries from beneath an Altar have been heard!!! Uh oh…!!! You thief, you murderer, Deceiver, Liar…

    Abba Father…,  You deliver us from Emergencies and ‘Stuntun, Continue to Grant “Us” Peace…

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