I like this article!
I would, however, explore other options re: philosophy. For all of his contributions, C. Wright Mills employed some degree of blindness in his assessments of society, which is required by white supremacy in order for its establishment and maintenance. A closer look at philosophy, especially that which concerns politics, may help the field of sociology move forward.
I would explore another Charles Mills: Charles W. Mills: The Racial Contract. in this book, he explores the way in which white supremacy was able to flourish worldwide as a result of the writing of the C. Mills you quote, because like all philosophers of the time they ignored the factor of ‘race’ and created writing that was blind to their massive unearned advantage, thus allowing them as a group to justify taking things from others, inclusive of land and money. These philosophers are part of history, but I think we can move forward by pointing out the way in which these men were used — and in some ways are still used — to uphold white supremacy.
You describe what has been called ‘channel-shifting’ to personal items when larger issue items are discussed. This channel-shifting is endemic to a population that wants to cast itself as victims but continue to take advantage of free and unearned benefit. Admitting a massive social advantage causes a conflict for white people as a group: not only must they see that they are part of a system that benefits them, but then they will be forced to ask what they can do to change it. This may involve return of historically stolen money/reparations, fewer admissions to college, fewer promotions, etc etc — in other words, it will shift the whole society to a more equitable direction BUT will do so at the expense of those who have the most. This group prefers to cast themselves as victims because it precludes an admission that, at a larger level, whites hold a vast number of resources that history tells us belongs to others.
I believe this is the point at which the subconscious kicks in, and the conversation is switched to a personal ailment. The only way to negotiate this is to remove the ‘remote’ from the picture so that the appropriate conversation is had regardless of whether or not some may not benefit from equality.
All of these behaviors are part and parcel of the same behavior and the economy of thought required to maintain power: white supremacy.
C. Wright Mills was part of this system. It’s irrelevant whether or not he ‘meant it;’ some of his beliefs may have been sound, but it is time for us to move forward again so that we can imagine true equality.
Here’s a Mills for our current times and moving forward: Charles W. Mills.