The Scourge That Is Identity Politics

The August 12 Charlottesville rally, organized by white nationalists, was one of the biggest white-pride events that included some bizarre chants and which culminated in gruesome carnage. While I never thought something of this scale and degree would occur in 21st century America, I should have seen this coming.

After all, I was aware of white societies being hog-tied and force-fed multiculturalism and the reflexive habit of blaming the ‘white man’ for all of world’s evils. Back someone up into a corner, bully them, slander their identity and one day they will fire back.

Peter Cvjetanovic, one of the participants of the Charlottesville rally, whose picture from the rally served as banner photo for several news articles, in an interview said, “I came to this march for the message that white European culture has a right to be here just like every other culture.”

Another participant in an interview with The Daily Caller said, “We feel like everybody has a right to defend their own group and own ethnic interests and white people are the only ones where this is socially and culturally taboo.”

Check out any leftist or liberal broadcasting outlets or platforms, whether in news media or on social media, and the unending whinging and bitterness towards ‘whiteness’ and white culture is loathsome. The narrative is set: lump all your worries, failures, and shortfalls on white societies and you can walk scot-free, bearing no accountability. If you are white, you have only one dismal option: accept your ‘privilege’ and cower in shame. If you happen to dissent from the narrative and take a stand against the vilification, you should get ready to be ex-communicated and labeled a racist, fascist, and a Nazi. And god forbid if you are non-white and decide to question the liberal narrative, lest you want to be labeled a ‘sellout.’ And all this in the name of _______ justice. (Insert some inane modifier like ‘social,’ or ‘racial,’ or ‘indigenous.’)

Is this a fair characterization of white societies and the culture they are entrenched in?

No society or culture is perfect and trying to establish or expect a utopian society is like trying to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. White societies, notwithstanding their share in the immoral spoils of history, have offered an outsized amount of ‘good’ – economic and social – to the world than have other societies.

North American whites are often pilloried with the crime of slavery, but slavery cuts several ways once one looks at it from historic and contemporary perspectives. It was a pan-colored, pan-racial, and pan-ethnic institution that followed the doctrine of ‘to the victor go the spoils,’ set in a world driven by conquest. In fact, the etymology of the word ‘slave,’ according to some scholars, goes back to the Slavic peoples of Europe, who were subjugated in large numbers in the medieval period.

Some facts about American slavery show that this institution wasn’t a monolith and wasn’t subscribed to by all the whites. At the height of slavery, only about 1.4% of white Americans owned slaves. Brace yourself for impact; blacks owned slaves too! In 1860, close to 20,000 slaves were under the ownership of 3,000 blacks. Not all whites that came to the American colonies embarked on the journey of their free will; many arrived in some form of bondage and they weren’t treated any better than the black slaves. And only 6% of the total slaves shipped across the Atlantic went into North America; the rest were sold off in South America.

Not surprisingly, white societies were the first ones to vociferously condemn slavery as an immoral and inhuman institution and took action to outlaw it. The State of Vermont in 1777, a then newly-minted sovereign state, was the first one in the Americas to abolish slavery. The Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was founded in 1787 in Great Britain and 30 years later, Britain outlawed Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Soon after, the nascent nation of America followed suit. The late 1700s and the first half of the 19th century saw several other European nations strike down slavery and slave trade not only within their sovereign boundaries, but also in the colonies they held.

Fast-forward to present times and slavery still exists, but its hospices have been relocated to Asia, where just 5 countries - India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Uzbekistan - are home to over 50% of the estimated 48.5 million modern slaves, according to a watchdog. The countries founded in white societies are predictably at the bottom of the table.

White societies and the countries they founded have made substantial contributions towards bucking up under-developed nations with economic aid.

A major chunk of the official development assistance (ODA) – a type of foreign aid, which runs into billions of dollars every year - comes, with the exception of Japan, from western nations - United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and western European nation-states.

Then there is the indirect form of aid which is the transfer of soft capital - ideas, know-how, processes, technology, and better goods and services - through globalization and trade deals, the pioneers and staunchest advocates of which are mostly western nations. The introduction of this soft capital has empowered many in the under developed world to better their lives and the state of their nations, often times at the expense of the economies of the West.

Western societies are also responsible for setting up several intergovernmental and international relief organizations like Doctors Without Borders and UN affiliates like UNICEF, UNRWA, WFP, UNHCR, ILO, UNIDO, UNOPS that monitor humanitarian and development issues around the world and provide assistance to countries in need.

European societies pitched in during the Syrian refugee crisis and set an ‘open-door’ policy for refugees, accepting more than a million asylum seekers. Not only are the refugees housed in safe conditions, many are resettled and rehabilitated. Europe shows very little signs of reversing the decision of accepting refugees, despite the negative consequences of such a mass migration that consistently made news headlines in 2016 and the present year.

This is in stark contrast with the wealthy Arab Gulf nations, that don’t recognize asylum-seekers as refugees, haven’t signed the UN 1951 Refugee Convention, and thus, aren’t obligated to treat refugees to acceptable standards.

A large number of economic immigrants have made the West their home and in a few short years achieved unprecedented success; some even went on to hold public office. High achievers aside, even the most mediocre immigrants do far better in the West than in any other part of the world; their children outdo them in most cases. Western societies not only welcome immigrants from different parts of the world, they are incredibly tolerant of different religious practices and cultures, thanks in part to multiculturalism, which has worked to the West’s disadvantage.

Such prosperity and success, however, doesn’t greet immigrants in rich Gulf countries, which are a major hot spot for immigration, where immigrants make between 50% and 90% of the total population. Mired in unethical employment practices, workers’ rights violations, and denial of citizenship for non-natives, it’s no wonder that Gulf Arab societies don’t produce the sort of rags-to-riches stories that are exclusive to white societies.

Identity politics is the lowbrow of social and political discourse. It focuses on colloquial issues and race-baiting, while missing the bigger picture. It’s a sign of intellectual inertia. More importantly, in white societies, it is a tool used by minority groups to beat the majority group into submission, while flagging off any attempts by whites to use their identity as nativist, Nazi, Fascist, or racist.

Eventually, the pressure builds up and some steam must be let off.

Saurabh Malkar

An ex-dentist and a business graduate who is greatly influenced by American conservatism and western values. Having born and brought up in a non-western, third world country, he provides an ‘outside-in’ view on western values. As a budding writer and analyst, he is very much stoked about western culture and looks forward to expound and learn more.

ABOUT MD

Modern Diplomacy is an invaluable platform for assessing and evaluating complex international issues that are often outside the boundaries of mainstream Western media and academia. We provide impartial and unbiased qualitative analysis in the form of political commentary, policy inquiry, in-depth interviews, special reports, and commissioned research.

 

MD Newsletter

 

 

RSS Feeds from MD

Regions
Topics
NewsRoom

Top