Daily Beast: Take a Trip Back in Time and Meet Woke J.D. Vance

Columbus, OH — According to a new report from The Daily Beast, U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance, who flip-flopped on opposing Donald Trump, also believed in white privilege.  

Now, Vance has “gone so far against white privilege” even though he “had a very different take” on white privilege not so long ago. Silicon Valley Vance’s political evolution is just the latest example of him doing or saying anything in order to be competitive in this crowded primary. 

“The only consistent thing about Silicon Valley Vance is that he will do the bidding of his wealthy Big Tech donors and sell out Ohioans in order to further his own ambition,” said Michael Beyer, a spokesperson for the Ohio Democratic Party. 

Daily Beast: Take a Trip Back in Time and Meet Woke J.D. Vance

Roger Sollenberger 

January 14, 2022

  • Multimillionaire venture capitalist J.D. Vance has put issues of race and white privilege front and center in his Senate campaign. In fact, he’s gone so far against white privilege that he’s claimed people should be able to sue businesses that tell people they need to “deconstruct their privilege, or they need to sacrifice or repent of their whiteness.”
  • But—like Vance’s flip-flop on his past criticism of Donald Trump—the Silicon Valley veteran had a very different take on white privilege not so long ago.
  • In a 2017 interview published two weeks after Trump’s inauguration, Vance told Ezra Klein that there are “obviously still advantages to being white” and that “there are still disadvantages to being black.”
  • Vance was replying to Klein’s question about how Vance’s much-ballyhooed book, Hillbilly Elegy, addressed the notion of white privilege. Specifically, Klein wanted to know what Vance’s response would be to white people who, confronted with this idea of privilege, might respond, as Klein put it: “Fuck you. Nothing about my community says to me that I’m privileged and should be at the back of the line for getting some help here.”
  • After pointing out the disproportionate support Trump received from the Scots-Irish community, Vance addressed the issue.
  • “But to connect it to the conversation about white privilege, I think it’s always important to note that there are obviously still advantages to being white, there are still disadvantages to being black, even when you control completely for class, income, and so forth,” he said.
  • Vance later added in his response that he understood that “most of the people” making arguments about white privilege are not being “reductive,” but “a lot more sophisticated in what they’re saying [about] how privilege operates along different dimensions in our society.”
  • Vance’s problem, he said, was that it “appears reductive” to other people—specifically white people, perhaps less worldly than himself—who lack the “cognition” to process the concept that Black Americans are historically disadvantaged in a number of ways that white Americans are not.
  • Notably, Vance—who left his blue-collar Ohio hometown for Yale Law School and then San Francisco investment firms—made it clear that, unlike his hypothetical coal miner’s son, he himself had the brains to navigate this issue.
  • Vance even once acknowledged the very example he gave in that interview—that the Obama family, who made it all the way to the White House, first had to overcome hardships predicated specifically on race, while the Trumps did not. In 2016, the self-styled champion of Appalachian poor “liked” a Twitter photo mocking Melania Trump’s famously plagiarized GOP convention speech, captioned, “It wasn’t easy growing up a black woman in Chicago, but I believe the world is safer for my 2 girls, Sasha & Malia.”
  • But Vance’s own words today paint a very different portrait of a race-baiting pugilist, who discusses white privilege with little, if any, admission of nuance or sympathy for minorities.
  • Last March, as the Silicon Valley veteran began dusting off his blue-collar bona fides, he gave a Breitbart interview that resulted in the headline, “J.D. Vance: Narrative of ‘White Privilege’ Is ‘Disgusting.’” Vance inverted the failure to grasp the nuances of the privilege debate, criticizing liberals for the same failure that had evoked his sympathy when applied to the West Virginia kid.
  • “There is a narrative in our country, right now, that if you’re white, you’re privileged, and the idea that there is a family that is white, that is working-class, that is struggling in ways that are identifiable to a lot of non-white Americans—and a lot of white Americans, too—is just not something the current cultural zeitgeist is comfortable with,” Vance said.
  • He also blamed this ideology for the milquetoast reception given the movie adaptation of his book. “That’s not what [those] people want to hear,” Vance said. “This moment met the identity politics—the hyper-woke white privilege moment—and the movie suffered from that, too.”
  • In another interview over the summer—in which the author again complained that criticism of white privilege harmed the reception of his movie—Vance bemoaned that “the liberal narrative” is “to assume every black person is disadvantaged and every white person is privileged.”