Through a Glass Darkly

In a Facebook conversation about my first Pendulum article one of my Black friends, CB, noted:

Not gonna lie, I chuckle everytime I read one of these White Nationalists decrying new ‘colonialism’. I, and everyone else with a passing understanding of recent history, am overjoyed at the very thought of these colonialist societies (who are STILL at it, Especially France and the US, also Fuck Belgium on principle) getting a healthy dose of their own medicine. Especially because they aren’t being literally ‘genocided’ with disease and old-fashioned murder in the way the colonial powers got down…. they’re whining because they’re losing cultural dominance, while continuing to hold the vast majority of wealth and positions of power.

CB is one of the people who led me to question civic nationalism. Not\because of his bad example — quite the opposite! I like CB a great deal. He is a loving family man who has faced personal tragedies with dignity and strength: He has done everything Chris Rock said he was supposed to do and far more. His presence would not raise our local crime rates and his children would not make our schools more dangerous. CB is not just a good Black man, he is a good human being and a good American. Yet throughout our discussions I’ve noted time and again how different our American experience is.

I don’t begrudge CB his schadenfreude. History looks very different to the children of the conquered. My American story starts at Ellis Island: his begins with the Middle Passage. My ancestors came in search of streets paved with gold while his worked in fields full of somebody else’s cotton and tobacco. The heroes of our Origin Myths are more often than not the villains in his. Our cultural differences and historical grievances are at least as profound as those between Serbs, Croats and Bosnians — and we all know how that has played out. Ours is not an uncommon plight: the Balkans and the Levant, among other regions, have long been shared by disparate ethnic and cultural groups. They have not always been shared peacefully, but under strong rule these peoples have lived together with minimal squabbling. But is America currently under strong rule?

We are told we are a “proposition nation” based not on shared ancestry but shared values. Alas, nobody seems able to tell me what those values are. Are the Founding Fathers heroes or genocidal rapist slavers? Is the Constitution a great edifice upon which a great country was built or the antiquated scaffolding of an oppressive system? Is citizenship is a privilege to apologize for, or the building block of a nation? I do not see how a democratic republic comprised of ethnocultural groups who share little in common save geographic space can survive. In the 2016 election 90% of Black voters went for Hillary Clinton while 57% of White voters chose Trump. 80% of Blacks identified as Democrat or Democrat-leaning while only 8% favored Republicans. Black Americans are reliable Democratic voters written off by Republicans: working-class White Americans are staunch Republicans ignored by the Democrats. Should more prosperous Whites follow their lead, and should Republicans discover they have more to gain by embracing White Identity Politics than rejecting them, the next few electoral cycles could prove very interesting indeed.

This uneasy coexistence remains despite our best efforts to get along. I have yet to find an example of any prior dominant culture doing as much as we have to make concrete amends for past wrongdoings. Before the Civil Rights movement the integration of the US Army helped create a Black middle class of trained professionals; the GI Bill sent many Black men to college; White abolitionists from Harriet Beecher Stowe to John Brown fought slavery. This was neither a smooth nor an easy process, but after that 1861-1865 unpleasantness it was relatively peaceful. Compare and contrast Selma and Birmingham with Sadaam Hussein’s handling of Kurdish issues and how China currently deals with the Uighurs of Xinjiang. Troublesome minorities have fared far worse for speaking truth to power: They have rarely received so much sympathetic support within the ruling majority.

Finally, I would call myself a White Identitarian rather than a White Nationalist. I believe America is going to be a multiracial and multicultural nation for the foreseeable future: My primary interest is preserving our European identity and heritage within that nation. Black Americans are generally Identitarians by default. White Americans had the luxury of thinking “White” and “American” synonymous: We are now hyphenated like everybody else. Just as the Harlem Renaissance and Black Consciousness asked “What does it mean to be a Negro in a White world?” we face the question “What does it mean to be White in a multicultural world?” What is our place here? What are our hopes for the future? And how do we live peacefully amongst people who resent our history, who see our misfortunes as “payback” for ancestral sins, and who take our successes as proof we are holding them down?