by Andrea Elizabeth
I don’t think there’s a clear answer to this question. The right tends to defend Western European values and culture, the left tends to call this racist. There is much to criticize in western culture, but there is much to praise as well. This is probably true of most if not all cultures. The west tends to be viewed as the biggest and the strongest, so it invites closer scrutiny and criticism. Additionally, great power brings great responsibility, as the latest Avengers movie, Captain America, Civil War, explores. This is probably the reason racism is charged more vehemently against white people than other people. When an elephant steps on you, it hurts worse.
One reaction is to hate elephants. This is popular enough among those whose gardens get ruined. Self-hatred is a human phenomenon.
Another reaction is to be impressed and awed. This is why there is such British and American (especially) influence elsewhere.
It is all very complicated. “Minority” culture in America is very mixed. On one hand, from the western-European American point of view, other culture’s uniqueness is appreciated in a boutique, eclectic sort of way that we all want to preserve. On another, they have assimilated for many reasons. Convenience, attractedness, and pressure, which includes force. It seems once infiltration has occurred, the less powerful culture’s preservation then becomes almost gratuitous.* Having compelling alternatives changes preservation to an act of will in addition to what is natural. Epi-genetics can’t be erased, but new information is quickly absorbed into it.
Feelings of nationalism are also passed down genetically and environmentally. “Feelings” seems too malleable, unless one believes them to be actual entities that can’t be wished away. Feelings can be somewhat ignored and not acted on, however, especially if one is ashamed, or made to be ashamed of them. Cultural bonds is probably a better term.
The percentage of white ethnicity in America is diminishing, so the elephant has to be more careful now. The push-back isn’t just from minority groups though. It’s also from white people who are so quick and shrill in their racist-accusing rhetoric, which could be either politically motivated, or perhaps heart-felt.
I heard the Good Morning America today anchors all agree that racial, meaning black/white, tensions have never been this high. They were covering the recent police shootings and protests. Observing from my armchair, I am dissatisfied with the coverage. The black accusers seem too quick to dismiss the shootings as hate crimes. The white dismiss-ers of this charge ignore that the trigger finger could have been too quick to fire. However, I do not see an acknowledgment of this as an admission of guilt, as the cop-defenders seem to. This thinking is too black and white. In many cases, it seems the cops are genuinely afraid of lack of complicity, especially in black people who are challenging their authority. Fear can lead to rashness and over-compensation. Some of the cases however do seem racially motivated in a disrespectful way. But there also seems to be an “I dare you” kind of stance in some of the black people. It’s almost baiting to make the cops look bad in the news. If this is an element, I do not think it is helpful for Obama and Hillary to take sides. I feel they are exacerbating the tension and therefore causing the incidents to escalate.
*guerrillas and underdogs can counter this, but I’ll not evaluate this at this time. Not out of fear of giving other cultures the power to topple “white supremacy”, but because the whole point is that we don’t want to erase people’s cultural identity, even white people’s. But what if white culture became gratuitous? This seems almost like revenge. We’re going to make you know what it’s like. My first reaction is that modern education and developments did come from the white people and to use them against us (I don’t think one should be ashamed to say “us” or “them” or “other”) is cheating. I say “modern” because I recognize that the Chinese invented gunpowder, and ancient Arabic culture developed mathematics and science, and that Ethiopia was quite advanced at one time. I don’t think our advancements makes us superior though. I’m somewhat of a Luddite and lover of the primitive as a purer way of life. But if domination is the bad-side of western culture, and it’s only seen as worse because it could dominate more people than less-powerful cultures do (and they do have what is now considered abusive dominations in their societal structures) then to use our more powerful, in the technological sense, tools against us is revenge.
No, the solution is peace, not more might makes right.