If you composed a screed claiming that possessing certain Asian, African, or Jewish characteristics was “a malignant, parasitic-like” condition “with no cure,” do you think you would escape widespread opprobrium, or find even a publisher for such nonsense?
You would if you traveled in left-wing psychoanalytic circles and if you sent your piece to the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, because that is precisely what psychoanalyst Donald Moss did this month, seeing the aforementioned professional journal release his illustrious idiocy called “On Having Whiteness” to members who are daft enough to remain members of this “august” group.
But, lest you think that Donald Moss is as obvious as Dr. Aruna Khilanani -- a speaker at Yale who recently proved herself to be his most immediate predecessor in the “psycho” profession to exhibit shameless devotion to racial prejudice and denigration of all white people – Moss is a bit more deft.
For him, “whiteness” is a condition that begins with many – not all -- members of that race, and is not isolated to a single skin color. Moss seems to fancy that he can escape accusations of racism by claiming that this term can be used to diagnose anyone exhibiting “whiteness” - a.k.a., beliefs or behavior he doesn’t like.
Yes, it’s a racist non-starter. No, it likely will not be rebuffed and criticized by many in his psychoanalytic circles.
For example, in his abstract, we see this:
Whiteness is a condition one first acquires and then one has—a malignant, parasitic-like condition to which ‘white’ people have a particular susceptibility.
So, we see his “get out free” card. It’s “whiteness,” sure, but he’s not saying all white people suffer from this “whiteness” malignancy.
Imagine replacing “whiteness” with some other term derived from a skin color or an ethnic, sexual, or religious characteristic, and see how quickly you lose invites to holiday parties – or chances to publish in the Journal of The American Psychoanalytic Association.
The condition is foundational, generating characteristic ways of being in one’s body, in one’s mind, and in one’s world. Parasitic Whiteness renders its hosts’ appetites voracious, insatiable, and perverse. These deformed appetites particularly target nonwhite peoples. Once established, these appetites are nearly impossible to eliminate.
If this sounds like a parody, you’re right. If you think it’s a parody, you’re incorrect.
This is a re-emergence of the logic of slavery and holocaust, the total scapegoating of all societal ills onto an immutable characteristic.
And what are facets of that “whiteness?” Thornebrooke slogs through Moss’s meanderings to see.
“Any infant is vulnerable to the parasite of Whiteness,” Moss wrote. And indeed, the very logic of whiteness, Moss contended, is based on “number and equivalence, fairness and justice.”
And Moss’s assertion that “fairness” and “justice” are part of some overarching malignancy seems a bit awkward, since malignancy connotes evil, and fairness and justice are necessary conditions for the moral assessment of good and evil.
But, of course, a person besotted with the vapors of “whiteness” can be helped, but not cured.
Effective treatment consists of a combination of psychic and social-historical interventions. Such interventions can reasonably aim only to reshape Whiteness’s infiltrated appetites—to reduce their intensity, redistribute their aims, and occasionally turn those aims toward the work of reparation. When remembered and represented, the ravages wreaked by the chronic condition can function either as warning (‘never again’) or as temptation (‘great again’). Memorialization alone, therefore, is no guarantee against regression. There is not yet a permanent cure.
We get it, Moss.
And, as sarcastic as it is, this does not appear to be a joke. As Thornebrooke observes:
’I had nothing to do with this,’ tweeted American philosopher Peter Boghossian, infamously known for submitting fake research articles for peer review in 2018 to expose his colleagues’ political biases. ‘Really. Nothing.’
Boghossian must be breathing a sigh of relief, because sane people would view him as dangerously unhinged, racially fixated, and a towering bore.
But will the members of the American Psychoanalytic Association do the same after reading Moss’s journal piece?