Thursday, November 09, 2017


Written before I read the comments on the previous.

Reading over that list from Vox Day about what the main values of the Alt-Right are, as reported by John Derbyshire in yesterday’s post, “Whiteness” just sorta jumps off the page, doesn’t it?  They try to surround it with lots of nice statements about no one being superior, and everyone having their own distinctive abilities, and supporting all nationalisms, but it’s pretty strange that it’s there at all.  As Derb says, it’s not as if white people are in some sort of existential crisis where there won’t be any left if we don’t act now. We’re not exactly an endangered species – not even threatened. I don’t say that they don’t mean all these nice things about other groups.  I imagine at least some of them do. It just seems like insisting repeatedly that your group is in favor of everyone being able to have a favorite flavor ice cream.  “Horace? This ice cream thing just keeps showing up over and over and I just don’t get it. Ice cream seems to be unusually important to you.”

I know their examples, that on college campuses and in some places in the preferred media one does come under immediate attack for a whiteness that you don’t instantly apologize for. I suppose if you are living in one of those situations – a place where other groups can have ice cream but you are told you are not deserving, or people beat you up for asserting your right to ice cream – I could see at a distance how it comes up. But can’t you just take your game and your talents to Miami or something? You can just not read those newspapers, watch those shows. Go next door where they don’t yell at you and they have better manners. If you think you are surrounded by this constant assault on your right to exist, I’m thinking there’s a good chance that’s actually a molehill.

Here’s my prediction: if that stays as a key feature of being alt-right, it will eventually become the only feature.  If it can be made optional, someone will give it a new name and start to market the ideology better.  I’m betting it’s not optional.  A lot of those decorations around point #14 seem to be lead-ins to it, not really separate values. Perhaps I over-interpret.  I really do like that one about Western Civilisation. I don’t like the one about globalism, but I understand it. Neither of those is necessarily racist.  But in this context, they seem to be ushers.

I don’t much care about whiteness, so I’m more than a little puzzled by people who do. If you brought me forward a hundred years I would certainly be first interested in any of my granddaughters who are still alive – though two of them are half-Filipina, so we’re already off the whiteness square a bit.  I would want very much to first talk with them about what had happened and find out what they turned into.  I would care about their children because they did, and might scan them for Wymanish or Walkerish traits. Their grandchildren? I’m not sure but what I’d start staring off into the distance as they told me about them. In telling their own stories, there might be some news about descendants of friends of ours, and that would be interesting for a bit. Look at the older people you know now – not much interested in their great-grandchildren.

And caring about what happened to all the other white people interests me not at all.  I’d be interested in what happened to my own church, and the Christian church in general.  Right now it looks like the center of gravity is moving out of North America as it from Europe to here in recent centuries. If the story is that white people mostly gave up the faith but black people held on to theirs better, or Koreans really stepped up and fill the pews now then those are the people I want to go see. Telling me that there are still all-white churches somewhere else in the country wouldn’t interest me.

I’ve got some genetic legacy, and I think that’s fine, but whiteness seems an unimportant part of that. My legacy is spiritual, cultural, even emotional.


GraniteDad said...

Your example of the church is a good one. As Christians we are called to a higher calling than the color of our skin. But if you don’t have that, I think you go looking for it. Whether sports, whiteness, globalism, or veganism. We are drawn to some higher calling, and if you were transported forward in time, that’s what we would look for.

james said...

How much of the "whiteness" focus is reactionary?

Grim said...

Probably 'cultural' embraces all/most of what people really mean when they talk about 'whiteness' anyway. Derbyshire means something more: he's got a sophisticated account (albeit one that I don't buy). But mostly this is why the Irish/Germans weren't 'white' enough at first, and became quite completely so well before now.

You see some evidence for this in the phrase 'that's very white of you,' which was current in the early 20th century during a time of intense racism. You see the phrase in works of literature from that time, sometimes: I think it's in Greenmantle, or The Thirty-Nine Steps, and I can remember being shocked by it. But it was an expression that pointed out that what was being sought wasn't a skin-color ideal, it was a cultural ideal. The tie with skin color was confused, as plenty of people had the right skin but the wrong mores.

I take that to be some of the force of Derbyshire's criticism, 'let's not get above our station. Aristotle had a philosophy... you have an attitude.' He's thought a lot more about this than most of them, and can see that they haven't.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I have always regarded "that's white of you," and "you're a white man" as more British. Now that you mention it, that may be true only of the latter. I had a British psychiatrist friend, a generation older, who used to say "David, you're a white man" to me with a twinkle whenever I did something honorable. He could get away with it to me because he knew I would get it, and that he of all people didn't mean it. In England, people who weren't white were also foreigners. As for defining whiteness, the English were known to say "After Calais, it's all wogs" in that era.

This sounds terrible to our ears now, but it is actually the way everyone has viewed everyone as far back as we have record. The British actually meant it less than other tribes. Some were curious about other peoples.