Thursday, September 24, 2009

Race or Culture?

Prime, of Beta Revolution, comments:

I didn't mean to say that the writers of [Sons of Anarchy] were instructing us that it was morally reprehensible to be explicitly white in our associations. I think they were just presenting what is true for the majority of us. We don't feel comfortable in exclusively ethnocentric groupings, for ourselves especially, but we also want to see other groups not completely endogamous. What we find natural and praiseworthy is a grouping based on shared principles and outlook. It just so happens that these often turn out heavily majority white, whether it's in our churches, fraternities, or Motorcycle clubs. But when you create an association as an enclave for a particular ethnic group, then you lose some control over what the principles and outlook are for the association, sacrificing these to an inclusiveness which carries with it dysfunctional co-ethnics.

Hard to argue with. Thirty years ago, in the age before video cameras, I was that kid in Belleville often enough, except that I could never make any generalizations about the race of my tormenters. I was everybody's equal-opportunity target. So I'm not inclined to romaticize America's white working class, at least from the perspective of a skinny, awkward geek. More generally, would my vision of community share more in common with, say, a Berber or Assyrian Christian fleeing persecution, or Ditchkins? The answer isn't obvious.

But then I read this post (H.T.: Ferdinand) about present day Memphis (the demographics, for those of you keeping score at home), and I think, so, if race predicts culture, then what difference does it make?


Justin said...

Unfortunately, ethnic solidarity is the wave of the present and future. Dealing with the odd dysfunctional co-ethnic is a better option than being dominated by dysfunctional non-co-ethnics.

Elusive Wapiti said...

" ethnic solidarity is the wave of the present and future."

I agree. Society is re-forming away from institutional-market lines and toward networks of commonalities, be those commonalities those of congruent interests or ethnic/culture.