Review of Donald Moss' On Having Whiteness

In The News

Review of Donald Moss' On Having Whiteness

In The News - James Tissot - Going to Business

(PD) James Tissot - Going to Business - In The News

Larry Neal Gowdy

Copyright ©2021 - June 11, 2021

In recent days the news media has been sensationalizing Donald Moss' article titled On Having Whiteness. The news media generally states little more than the first sentence of Moss' abstract: "Whiteness is a condition one first acquires and then one has—a malignant, parasitic-like condition to which "white" people have a particular susceptibility." The far-left believes that the article is a good attack on white people, while the far-right believes that the article is a bad attack on white people, and yet, apparently, both sides — as well as the news reporters — formed their biased opinions without first reading Moss' article.

Whiteness versus White

Moss explained well enough:

"Whiteness as a Way of Being and a Way of Knowing: In what follows, I will capitalize Whiteness to signify Parasitic Whiteness— an acquired multidimensional condition: (1) a way of being, (2) a mode of identity, (3) a way of knowing and sorting the objects constituting one’s human surround. Whiteness should not be confused with lowercase whiteness, a commonly used signifier of racial identity."

Therefore, the topic of Moss' article ought to be interpreted as Moss intended: a specific behaviorism that is given the name "Whiteness". The choice of names is disfavored, and ought not have been chosen — especially not by a psychoanalyst who is supposed to be knowledgeable about psychology. Moss' descriptions of "Parasitic Whiteness" apply to all races and all cultures of all known eras of man, and, so, therefore, a better term might have been something like Normalcy.

Valid Presentation

Moss' explanation for his choice of terms is also the strongest point of the article: Moss wrote from his own firsthand experiences of his own "Parasitic Whiteness":

"This formal peculiarity might be the product of my effort to braid together two incompatible voices, to write simultaneously from both inside and outside the affliction I mean to study. Each position—inside and outside—offers an irreducibly distorted view: the one by the limits of sincere introspection, the other by the limits of theorized observation."

Moss was studying the behavior that he termed to be "Parasitic Whiteness", which he recognized and admitted to be within himself also. If an individual does not possess the firsthand experience, nor the self-observation of a topic, then no quantity of investigation is capable of finding answers. Therefore, Moss' approach is valid and useful.

First Know the Topic

The topic is similar to what William James wrote: "In some men theory is a passion, just as music is in others. The form of inner consistency is pursued far beyond the line at which collateral profits stop. Such men systematize and classify and schematize and make synoptical tables and invent ideal objects for the pure love of unifying. Too often the results, glowing with 'truth' for the inventors, seem pathetically personal and artificial to bystanders. Which is as much as to say that the purely theoretic criterion of truth can leave us in the lurch as easily as any other criterion, and that the absolutists, for all their pretensions, are 'in the same boat' concretely with those whom they attack." (William James, Meaning of Truth)"

Modern psychology might be better given the name of philosophical psychology. There is nothing wrong about having a passion for philosophical psychology, but readers ought to recognize that philosophical psychology is not science; it is a philosophy little different than the philosophical topic of ethics. Philosophy has many noun-names, but few or no verbs. Philosophical psychology has few or no verbs.

If the topic were scientific or Nature-based, then the topic would revolve around — and be defined by — physics. Physics is not included nor considered within modern psychology, and so therefore philosophical psychology is not a field of science.

Moss' article was presented philosophically, and ought to be interpreted accordingly.

Disfavored Portions of the Article

Two items standout as being disfavored: [1] the occupational hazards of negative vulgarity and clients' perversions (but excusable due to the article being published in a psychological association's publication), and [2] no mention of non-whites possessing similar "Parasitic Whiteness" (which might be explained due to the author's inexperience with and limited historical knowledge of non-white populations).

The article might be acceptable for publication in an association's periodical, but the article ought not be read by anyone of innocence (I myself skipped over most of the clients' histories).


The article is especially worthy of being read for the purpose of gathering another person's thoughts on the topics. However, due to the mass news media's hysteria and the sensationalizing of fake news about racism, the general public now too easily assumes that any article about "Whiteness" must be yet another racist attack on white people. If Moss had included references of parallel behaviors within all races — all races are guilty of genocide, aggression, 'us versus them', and the mistreatment of slaves — and if Moss had chosen a different term than "Whiteness", then the article would likely be much better received by the public.

Of the numerous topics omitted within philosophical psychology, one is the 'centering' by an individual. From the article: "All Whiteness needs for a receptor site is an original act of vertical mapping. Whiteness begins with this verticality. It then infiltrates you. You can feel it. It’s like getting high: a new reality, an enhanced stature, a special community." In most cases it is an individual's own choice to 'center' oneself, or to be lax as an emotional state "infiltrates you". Contrast the article's topic with Zhong Yong: 'Happy angry, grieve laugh, it have-not expressed, call it center'. Ignoring the benefits of 'centering' is as self-destructive as is the ignoring of the laws of Nature (physics).

Several of Moss' comments speak of parallel ideas as found within my own articles: Studies of Cognitive and Emotional Decay Leading to Dementia, Mermaid Effect, Consciousness and Dreaming, Consciousness in Dreams Research, and Normalcy.