Every now and again the clouds part, a shaft of light breaks through and something up ahead is illuminated. In this case, a fresh battlefront in the culture wars now fracturing the West loomed into view, namely the argument that ‘white people have no culture’.
Not just a bad culture, an oppressive, sexist, racist etc. fill-in-the-blanks culture, which has been the zeitgeist in the West since the late Sixties, but literally no culture, no shared values, customs and traditions that could and should unite us.
The trigger for this realisation was a tweet from an NBA player that brought forth a wave of online condemnation and chatter. ‘Clippers’ Sam Dekker regrets controversial white pride tweet’, read the New York Post heading. And what was this outrageous tweet? Poor Sam had tweeted: ‘Don’t put it in my face that being a white guy is something I’m supposed to be ashamed of. I’m proud of who I am and so should you be…’
That’s it. Apparently the words ‘white’ and ‘pride’ shouldn’t nestle so close together, and so unapologetically. The Post notes: ‘The University of Wisconsin alum received heavy backlash for the post, and later deleted the tweet.’
Set aside the separate argument here as to whether there is such a thing as one ‘white’ culture; obviously there is not, there are as many varieties of ‘white’ as any of the other colours of humans, and as many separate cultures, but in these racially charged times we are increasingly defined by others by the colour of our skin, no matter how much or how little such considerations have previously played in our lives.
The hapless Sam was replying to an article shared online by a friend, entitled ‘White People Have No Culture’, in which Portland, Oregon, social justice activist Lorena Wallace travelled to Standing Rock, North Dakota, to support an indigenous protest against the Dakota Access pipeline. While there, she unexpectedly realised, gasp, the power of Sioux prayer ceremony, dance, song, story-telling. Centuries old! Incredible.
If only the late, great Tom Wolfe had been there, to draw out the comedy that seeps through Wallace’s guilt-ridden prose:
‘White people, like me, were arriving to SR in droves, some of us even dressed like it was Burning Man, forcing our way to seats right next to the sacred fire, putting our pasty faces too close to elders and demanding that they teach us their culture, clumsily mimicking centuries old dance traditions, jostling for position in the lines for free food, taking up so much space that the medicine tent had to be guarded 24/7, and young Dakota men were placing themselves in front of elders to protect them from the onslaught of questions and poking and consumption…’
She then posits that Whites Have No Culture and answers:
‘White people do have culture. Our culture is that of colonisation. Of genocide. Of taking. Of envy and of fear. The majority of white people can name no more than two generations back in their families. The majority of white people barely know where their grandparents were from, much less who their ancestors were. The majority of white people have no traditions, and the ones we have, are rooted in consumption and the superficial application of organised religion, both of which are steeped in histories of violence. Christmas is about a severed tree dropping dead needles on heaps of plastic crap… Easter is about disposable plastic balls full of processed sugar…’.
The article is beyond parody, but hits upon the truth that many of young Lorena’s ilk feel they share no traditional Western cultural values. Raised only on what is wrong with our Anglo-Celtic/Judaeo-Christian culture, they have no clue about what might be right and good about it.
I remember reading a Fairfax lifestyle article last December in which numerous writers were asked how they planned to celebrate Christmas. I was interested, knowing that most of them were neither Christian nor inclined to respect the Judaeo-Christian tradition, so what did they actually do during religious celebrations? Most talked lamely about food, one said movies, another said, more truthfully, they had a picnic at the beach, as Christmas had become meaningless for them.
What infuriates me about this new charge that ‘whites’ have no culture is that the Left, in my lifetime, has been dedicated to shredding the culture of the West. Oh the attacks on authority, on the nuclear family and marriage, on traditional male/female behaviors, on manners (who needs them?), on respect for parents; the bagging of the early explorers and pioneers, the articles attacking our Anzac marchers for glorifying war; attacks on small things such as fish on Fridays, meal table decorum and more formal dress, (remember Don Dunstan so pleased with himself wearing his pink shorts in the SA Parliament?) and on big things, where Christianity could be shafted in any old way (Piss Christ et al), while indigenous beliefs were the pinnacle of cool and not to be questioned.
Having done their best to destroy the rich traditions of the West, moderns like Wallace have no idea what they have lost; and go looking for community and shared experiences in other people’s cultures. An excessive disregard for our own culture seems to goes hand in hand with a naive credulity about other cultures.
Christmas is not about a severed tree dropping needles, but about worship and renewal, love and giving and family bonds, transcendence and all the other things that the Wallaces of the world would respect and value. But gutted and diluted by the onslaughts of Baby Boomer leftism, mass immigration and multiculturalism, our communities no longer have the same strong core of shared customs, values and traditions to unite us; a loss that many older people realise but that eludes younger people who have no memory of different times.
And the process continues. Wallaces at the ANU have just rejected the Ramsay Centre’s course on Western Civilisation. Primary schools have recently been the scene of moves to ban ‘praise music’ (i.e. Christmas carols) in Victoria, and Christmas cards in Queensland.
We have been stripped of much of our culture, and may soon be condemned for not having one.
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