by Samuel Hux (May 2016)
I’m deep into a work-in-progress on race-obsession which this essay is a part of: not race-prejudice, for I’m confident that the notion that “this is a racist society we live in” is nonsense, product of an inability (or perhaps unwillingness) to read significant historical change. The particular race that cliché refers to is, of course, African-American. But American society—or rather that significant part of it so obsessed— does not limit its clichés to that one group, would rather share with us all its superficial knowingness and unearned certainty that other groups as well are embraced by the “white man’s” contempt. And that confidence that the white man’s contempt is boundless is what I am thinking about now in this excerpt. more>>>
IN the digression to a discussion of America's 'racism' regarding the Japanese and the internment of the Nisei, the comment is made that Germans were not interned as well. However, that analogy is false since German Americans had a long history of fighting for America. The Pennsylvania Deutche (Dutch) had been of an integral part of American history and German Americans had been soldiers in the Civil War and the Indian Wars, just to name a few. However, as an American of German ancestry , I must emphasize that the Germans worked to be accepted. German Americans were interned during WWI by the liberal progressive Woodrow Wilson, and after the war the speaking of German and the participation in German only groups was frowned upon. As a small child in the early 1950s, I I spoke German. When my Grandmother noticed that I knew German she stopped speaking it around me. This was after WWII, and learning German was not viewed as an asset. But this decision was made by German Americans who wanted to fit in. It was not imposed from without. Actually the concept of ethnicity came late. During much of American history the real hostility was based on religion, for there was a hatred (or fear) of Catholicism. It was only when I was an adult that I realized some of the kids in my school had German, Polish, Italian, Irish or Hispanic names. We were all Americans, and it was a melting pot. The perversion of ethnic diversity as an end in itself came later. This perversion was a effort to create group identities that could then be placed in opposition to one another. Racism was emphasized because it became a tool to control the 'racist', and as such a way to shut off debate on issues. That this perversion continues can be found in the way the law no longer treats individuals as individuals who are equal under the law and before God, but rather treats them as members of groups who have different rights dependent upon that membership.