Thursday, July 18, 2013

Two Hundred Millionth Verse, Same as the First…

So much has been said on the Trayvon Martin case already. It feels a little bit like World War I – when you try to explain that France is fighting Germany because a Serbian nationalist shot the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, it’s not immediately clear why either of the two belligerent parties would give a rat’s @$$.

So it is here – a Hispanic wannabe cop shoots a teenage black thug, but as always, the fault is white racism. Goyim kill Goyim, and they blame the Jews. And so everyone must take up cudgels again to defend their accustomed sides.

After almost a decade of living in this country, it’s hard to express just how dreary all this is. Lordy, I am sick to death of race, and the peculiar American preoccupation with the subject. The faux outrage, the sheer humourlessness, the constant walking on eggshells, the pissant cowardice it inspires, and the way it paralyses people from making even the most straightforward observations about the world around them.

This is the most uniquely American of pathologies. Not racism, of course. America today is perhaps the least racist country on the face of the earth. You may seem surprised, but honestly, who else would lay a claim to the title? The only other contenders are small, mono-ethnic  countries for which issues of race simply don’t arise in daily life.

No, it is the paranoia about racism, regardless of the absence of any actual racial animus, that is America’s most appalling invention. Even if you disagree with my claim that America is the least racist country on the planet, if you formed the ratio of Race Paranoia = (Worrying About Racism) / (Actual Racism), I defy anybody  to claim that America doesn't lead the world on this metric by miles and miles.

The question is not whether racism (that is, racial animus) is a problem. Like the Copernican view of the solar system, it’s absurd to pretend this is still any kind of social controversy. It is a problem, where it occurs. Rather, the question is whether you choose to see expressions of racial animus in ever more innocuous speech and actions. The question is whether you continue to view the possibility that someone, somewhere, is harbouring racial animus as the single most important problem in the world, even as the actual level of racial animus in society drops precipitously.

And what has all this brought? Has being ever more exquisitely sensitive to people’s possibly hurt feelings about the matter of race actually, you know, produced more social harmony? If it has, I can’t see much evidence of it. All I can see is what John Derbyshire memorably described as ‘an evolution towards the ever thinner-skinned’.

Like all American cultural traits, good or bad, race paranoia is slowly taking over the world.  When I left Australia, it was mercifully a place where one was largely spared the constant, relentless hand-wringing, the non-stop ‘Serious You Guys This Is The Most Important Issue In The Whole World’ evangelism of race hucksters, do-gooders and fools.

I suspect, with considerable resignation, that when or if I return, Australia will have become America in my absence.

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