Saturday, 30 July 2016

Make Whiteness Great Again

"We Want Our Country Back!" says UKIP.

"Make America Great Again," says Donald Trump.

You want your country back, Leave voters?

Back from whom? From the immigrants of the nations you colonized? From the people who do the jobs the white people didn't want to do? From refugees of nations traumatized by western interference and the lack thereof? From the highly skilled researchers from all over the world who work at your universities and start-ups? 

Or is it just the people of colour you don't want?

And America? Take "your" country back? From whom? The indigenous people whose land you stole?  Those of African descent who were shipped to your country like cattle ? The Latin American immigrants who take care of your children and your gardens and your homes and your farms? You want a wall to keep them out?  Or do you want to take your country back from those from all over the world searching for a better life, your land which you widely advertise as "home of the free"? 

Or maybe, just maybe, you want to take it back from the capitalist profiteers who shipped jobs out of country for shareholder profits?  Or the financiers who retained obscene profits while others lost everything?

 No?  Didn't think that was it.

Conservatives hearken back to the glories of the past. But what glories were these?

The glories of an empire on which the sun never set, an empire built on the resources of the new world and the labour of countless millions of Asians and Africans in colonial times? The moral superiority of a nation that took over entire continents while rejecting the inherent rights of the inhabitants, attempting to break and rebuild children by "killing the Indian in the child" ? Splendid "developed" nations where human rights advocates are assassinated? A free nation where people were refused the ability to drink from water fountains because of the colour of their skin?  A nation whose isolationist policies prolonged world war, leading to the needless death of tens of thousands while war profiteers lined their pockets? 

These past "glories" are nothing to revel in.

Words of UK MP Jo Cox, who was tragically killed prior to the Brexit vote
Look, I'm white. I'm as white as a person could be. My great grandfather was so white it is said he glowed in the dark. I'm not ashamed of being white. I enjoy all the things white people are said to like Christian Lander wrote in his book Stuff White People Like. But I'm also realistic. This stuff I like-the myriad advantages I have-these things do not come from the inherently superior nature of my DNA. They do not come from generations of my ancestors being morally superior, harder working, more intelligent or more deserving than those who have more melanin than I do. I have them because of a set of circumstances including the audacity of my forefathers. 

So UKIP, #Brexit fans and supporters of Donald Trump; French members of the National Front and German members of the "Alternative für Deutschland".

Ban Muslims.
Build walls.
Drive out people of colour.
Return to isolationism.
You will not go back in time. 

You will not stop the clock.
You will not stop the 21st Century.

The future lies before us. It will include people of all colours in a world where the majority of people are neither white nor Christian. The world of the future must include collaboration and understanding and tolerance. And yes, it must include government.

Stop pining for a past that never was. Embrace the future that will be.

And if you don't want to do that, at least watch Stewart Lee.