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WaPo under fire for ‘pseudoreligious’ video urging whites to set up cult-like ‘white accountability groups’ to repent for being born white
Image source: Washington Post video screenshot

WaPo under fire for ‘pseudoreligious’ video urging whites to set up cult-like ‘white accountability groups’ to repent for being born white

The Washington Post is taking heat after it recently ran a video encouraging Americans to take part in "white accountability groups" and "force themselves into 'a period of deep shame' over their skin color,'" the Daily Mail reported Monday.

The 5-minute video titled, "What is White racial identity and why is it important?" featured several mental health experts who discussed ways for white people to understand "your whiteness and the ways that white supremacy benefits you."

What are the details of the episode?

The video, the latest in a series titled, "The New Normal" and which aired on Friday, explores the idea of white people coming together to form white privilege accountability groups in order to shame themselves over being born white in a racist world.

Host Nicole Ellis addressed the issue along with Resmaa Manakem — an author and "trauma specialist" — who said that such gatherings ought to take place over a period of years for white people to understand what it means to be black in America.

"An antiracist culture does not exist among white people," Manakem insisted. "White people need to start getting together specifically around race." He also insisted that such groups should meet and work out their identities for a period of at least five years.

Ilyse Kennedy, a trauma therapist, agreed, and said that she personally engaged in such catharsis, and said the move is necessary for white people to experience a "period of deep shame."

Kennedy added that members of such groups need to acknowledge "the harm that our ancestors have caused."

What has been the response?

According to the Daily Mail, the episode faced criticism and derision over its apparent clarion call to perpetuate white shame.

Christopher Rufo, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, blasted the episode and tweeted, "I'm fighting against race supremacy; the Washington Post wants to install it everywhere."

He added, "The game is that they want to create an essentialized racial category ("whiteness"), load it with negative connotations, then impose it on individuals through guilt, shame, and school indoctrination. This approach is reductive, manipulative, and malicious. Don't fall for it."

"This is a very strange pseudoreligious movement that is likely to do more harm than good," Jesse Singal, writer and podcaster, added.

The outlet pointed to Twitter user AG, who blasted the episode and wrote, "A 5 minute video propagating ignorant neoracist nonsense. It's really astonishing the extent to which this stuff is becoming mainstream and normalized, especially by the press."

User Bat Sommelier responded, "It's like a bizarre new religion. They have their own language, their idea of original sins (whiteness), and seeking redemption through 'doing the work' to understand race issues. It's a disconnect from the reality 99% of Americans live in."

Slate contributor Will Saletan responded to AG's tweet, writing, "This video is an example of how otherwise simple and laudable ideas — e.g., becoming aware of problems that affect other people but haven't affected people like you — can be presented in a needlessly abrasive and condescending way. It's not CRT. But it's progressive malpractice."

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