This sort of analysis bothers me, in a makes-me-want-to-tear-out-what’s-left-of-my-hair-and-scream sort of way: Trump’s ‘Nationalism’: White-Identity Politics with a Brand Name | National Review
Labels like “white” or “black” hinder more than they help. They shape our train of thought. They actively prevent avenues of inquiry and understanding that might otherwise be available and enlightening to us.
In this particular case the people Goldberg is describing happen to be white, but their world view, beliefs, values, moral matrix, have more to do with their common culture and their intellectual/ideological heritage than with their common color. A more accurate label than “white” would be something like “European cultural heritage,” or “the British intellectual tradition.” Their skin color is mere coincidence, a unfortunate trick of fate.
Our fixation on skin color is an example of what I mean when I say the problems highlighted by Heterodox Academy are far more pervasive and far more insidious than we realize. Liberalism’s monopolistic control of the levers of culture (academia, entertainment, and news) set not only the tone of our discussions and analyses but also even the very limits of our social imagination and the hard boundaries of our intellectual universe.
This problem is far worse than even the campus free speech problem. At least the free speech protesters recognizes that there are different ways of seeing things.
But not this problem. This problem sees no other ways. We’ve swallowed the concept of identity politics by skin color so completely that we simply cannot even IMAGINE that any other explanation is even POSSIBLE. Other potential, and in my opinion far more accurate, explanations don’t even exist in our current cultural-intellectual-analytical universe. We see skin color and our thinking simply, automatically, completely, stops.
If it’s true that most important type of diversity is intellectual/ideological/political/cognitive-style (and it is) then THAT should be the primary parameters of our investigations and discussions; we should be thinking and talking in those terms rather than in terms of skin color.
I’m not saying that skin color doesn’t matter at all. Of course it does. But it’s just one of many, MANY different ways implicit bias rears its ugly head.
Thinking and talking only or even primarily in terms of skin color is regressive, anachronistic, quaint, backwards, stuck in the past, flat-earth thinking.
There’s a consensus building in current analyses that the root of the Muslim immigration problem is ASSIMILATION. Previous cultures that immigrated to America and Britain assimilated themselves into their adopted cultures. But sub-factions of Muslim immigrants not only refuse to do that, they actively rebel against the culture of their adopted land, and wish to change it by force into their own.
Well, here’s a thought: That exact same explanation applies equally to Black Lives Matter. BLM is a sub-culture that not only refuses to assimilate into the European cultural heritage or the British intellectual tradition of America, but further, lashes out angrily and violently at it, preferring instead that it change to comply with its own culture. This explains why blacks who HAVE assimilated are referred to as “Uncle Tom,” or “Oreo” or any number of other pejoratives that are used to describe such perceived traitors.
IT’S NOT ABOUT SKIN COLOR!!! ITS ABOUT CULTURE AND VALUES!!!
Here’s a little thought experiment: What if we made the rule that skin color could not be mentioned, and we had to instead use some other term that was not simply a euphemism or proxy for skin color, but instead was an accurate reference to the values, culture, principle, etc. of the faction, sorry, identity group, being referred to?
The debate would COMPLETELY change. The questions asked would change. The explanations would change. The recommendations would change.
The more accurate label would take the emphasis away from skin color and the incorrect implication of racism that comes with it and replace it with an emphasis that is far more accurate from a sociological, psychological, ideological, perspective. It would literally force us to talk about real root causes rather than “stick to our comforting delusions” about skin color that we currently hide behind.
But no, we see frickin EVERYTHING as ultimately about race (or gender, or sexual orientation) when it’s REALLY NOT ABOUT THOSE THINGS AT ALL!!!!
What it’s really about is social capital. But we’re so fixated on skin color that the debate can’t ever even APPRAOCH what it’s really about. Skin color is an intellectual wall far more effective than any physical in Berlin, China, or anywhere else ever was.
It’s not even a problem of failing to see the forest because of all the trees. It’s a problem of being so blinded by our “comforting delusions” about race-based identity politics that we’re NOT EVEN AWARE OF THE EXISTENCE of trees, forests, or anything else.
I was wondering when you’d move to full capitals on a point, and what it’d be.
> it’s REALLY NOT ABOUT THOSE THINGS AT ALL!!!!
He protesteth too much. I’m mystified why it must be that racism is minor, and that only cultural effects are at play. First of all, I don’t for the life of me see how they can be separated. Secondly, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that color-based discrimination or bias occurs in a myriad of places in society, and in some of those contexts, it’s quite the stretch to attribute it to culture. Black people are even prejudiced against black people; it’s extremely pervasive. It’s not a fixation on skin color; it’s a recognition that skin color, in and of itself, matters. A lot. There’s nothing here that makes any coherent argument that makes clear that cultural effects, especially in general, are much more in play. I’d assert that in many situations, we have no idea, and that in others, they are both integral. You don’t give any evidence to either defend or reject that.
To honor your point re culture, though; color is one signal that we use to relate to cultural issues that we care deeply about in and of themselves. Most definitely. This article is a great example, done by a fellow at Stanford. On the one hand, it’s another of the cavalcade of studies showing basic color-based decisioning happening; but he also did work to show that cultural concerns are right there, looped in inextricably. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/05/13/how-psychologists-used-these-doctored-obama-photos-to-get-white-people-to-support-conservative-politics/
The trippy thing to me about your extravagant claim that it’s this over here, and it doesn’t touch that over there, is that there’s zero need for your point about cultural effects to be paired with a claim that IT’S NOT ABOUT SKIN COLOR!!!
Those are two separate lines of argument that you conflate. Why, exactly? It’s so defensive, and indefensible. You think that the far left screaming about racial prejudice is just terrifically damaging? That the whole left ignores the cultural aspects of socioeconomic debate, supplanting race? Even the far left doesn’t do that. It’s an “and” argument that you’re dying to turn into an “or” argument, for your own reasons.
For that reason, your ‘the debate would completely change’ doesn’t hold water. Primarily because those of us on the front lines of these kinds of issues are talking about socioeconomic aspects of racism, identity, etc. all the time, because it’s all of a piece, inextricable and self-perpetuating. Looping those things in the way we do does change the debate, I hope, but the various forces are all still there, in there varying emphases. Your irrational attempt to excise skin color from the conversation is its own form of political correctness, tiptoeing around a form of prejudice that the right finds justifiably embarrassing and castigatory. Why all the energy toward minimizing the inextracability of skin color prejudice? Is it because it’s counter to your narrative?
>A more accurate label than “white” would be something like “European cultural heritage,” or “the British intellectual tradition.” Their skin color is mere coincidence, a unfortunate trick of fate.
So the correction would be of your astoundingly unscientific claim that skin color is a chance component. Even if that were true, it wouldn’t matter, since whether it’s chance or not, it has large social effects, per research. That’s why your point about European cultural heritage is muddying up things; it’s a perfectly accurate label as well, and helpful in the way you describe (the Irish were the same color, and they were discriminated against). But assuming it’s more accurate, or better to use your language, is its own form of political correctness. I get that you don’t like being called racist as a Trump fan, but that doesn’t mean you get to claim we’re not all prejudiced enough for it to make the kind of differences proven by science; that skin color being “one of many, many” means its a small effect; that your version of it being culture wars is more accurate and helpful. Erp. No. It ain’t all about Muslims and BLM people that don’t assimilate; those are real issues, but they’re not some abiding centerpiece that should frame the whole argument of sociocultural problems.
And no, the capital letters aren’t helping. It’s a morass, and you want to condemn those who “fixate” on skin color, when 1) they’re correctly linking in skin color, and 2) their whole point is that social capital is the problem.