Sartre's atomistic sovereign self could not be clearer: we are isolated monads confronting an external social and natural world set off against and in opposition to our free projects. The natural state of human affairs, a la Hobbes, is a war of all against all - a bleak reiteration of an a priori and fundamental human asociality. There are no ties binding the individual to the past or holding him in the present. (p.185)
Sartre is clearly a modern. He holds to the following ideas that I criticise so often at this site:
- an atomised self
- an asocial human nature
- a rejection of a given nature (an "external social and natural world") as a predetermined and therefore limiting imposition on the autonomous individual
Simone de Beauvoir followed Sartre in this line of thought, applying it to the lives of women. If the idea is that we should transcend the "muck" of nature, and be active, transforming, rebelling, appropriating, possessing agents, then the traditional role of women will seem inferior. Not surprisingly, Simone de Beauvoir thought that women should aim to throw off the "tyranny" of biology.
But note in particular this quote:
Human civilisation is male; woman is "the incidental, the inessential as opposed to the essential. He is the Subject, he is the Absolute - she is the Other".
The logic would seem to be that you get equality by inviting those who have been "othered" as natural, inessential objects into the entity that is active, transforming and appropriating. The aim is for Woman to not be "othered" as a passive and natural entity, but to become part of the active, transforming Man entity.
I'm just throwing out an idea here, but if whites were identified at this time as the transforming civilisational force, then equality would mean inviting "the Other" to become part of this entity. Perhaps this is one possible reason for the exceptionalism applied to white societies - the exceptionalism being that white societies are expected to be open to the Other, with the openness of non-white societies being a matter of indifference.