Let’s be clear about what is happening here: this is an effort to establish racial collective guilt for the murderous suffocation of George Floyd. There are two problems with this approach. The first is that collective guilt on the basis of racial origin is always a wicked ideology to pursue. Whether it’s Jews being held collectively guilty of the alleged excesses of ‘rich Jews’ or blacks being collectively punished for the offences of individual black people, such racial extrapolation always leads to prejudice and suffering. There is a twisted irony in the fact that so many commentators and activists who pose as anti-racist are promoting the ideology of collective racial guilt in response to the killing of George Floyd.

The second problem with this sweeping anti-white reaction to Floyd’s death, and with the pathologisation of whiteness more broadly, is that it acts as a distraction from the real problems facing the US and other societies. Collectivising the crime committed by four police officers in Minneapolis turns attention away from the specificity of police brutality and of structural disarray in modern America, in favour of pursuing a blanket suspicion of all whites. The problem is dissipated, then obscured. We are implicitly discouraged from seriously analysing specific residual political problems in the United States in favour of joining in the thrill-inducing project of bashing all whites.