A new section has been opened in the so-called ‘West’. Divingsting [Caucasian] Dominated by political legitimacy, the US has begun a new calculation with its past slavery and is beginning to realize its population diversity meaningfully. At the same time, the ruling classes of both France and Britain are stepping back from similar self-examination, seeking to postpone the urgently needed reconstruction of national identity.
Long-running anger over racial injustice erupted in the US last year after the assassination of George Floyd. Conservatives quickly focused on the minority black lives matter protests, while a few tried to completely reject the notion that they were enough. British leaders watched the American protests and similar demonstrations on their shores with disgust and dissatisfaction. British Home Secretary Preity Patel called them “terrible” last week. The Conservative Party, embroiled in a deadly number of deaths, is embroiled in a culture war, gathering public opinion against the removal of slave statues in Britain.
A wide range of French politicians, intellectuals and journalists, including President Emmanuel Macron, went further and made it clear that ideas coming from US campuses posed an existential threat to their country. According to New York Times, They believe that “progressive American ideas — especially race, gender, and post-colonialism — have undermined their society.”
This new mode of anti-Americanism may seem confusing, as its aims have been misinterpreted by ‘Wok’ culture and US academics. But clarity about [Caucasian] Dominance and racial repression strikes at the heart of national identity in the UK and France. In 2014, 6 out of 10 people in the Yugov survey condemned the British Empire as a racist and exploitative organization from George Orwell to Mahatma Gandhi, who felt it was a matter of pride. It is no surprise that the Tory government’s 2016 Brexit campaign combines a nostalgia for the empire with ruthless racial-bait.
In a recent poll, the percentage of imperial lovers dropped to 32 percent. The number is still staggering, with decades of low education about the empire at school, bizarre films about Raj and under-representation of ethnic minorities in TV shows and media and publications. The British have at least acknowledged that their country suffers from severe inequalities of income, education and health in terms of race. Nearly six decades after the collapse of its empire in Algeria in the paroxysm of cruelty, France is in a state of denial, formally refusing to accept systematic racism.
The mask of silence on the brutal tactics commonly used by the French in their war against the Algerian guerrillas was not lifted until the 1990s. Meanwhile, Algeria has shown itself terribly in French politics, with Jean-Marie Le Pen, a former soldier and persecutor in Algeria, today, led by his daughter Marine, creating a space on the right. With Muslim denial of “separatism” and “ideologies imported from the United States”, it should come as no surprise that Macron, who faces a tough re-election next year, is trying to get Marine Le Pen out of the right.
As the ‘West’ loses its unity, this ideological gap between America and Europe is widening. James Baldwin (1924-1987), an African-American who closely observed European mistrust of dark-skinned minorities, wrote that, despite all the atrocities committed against him, he was “not a visitor to the West, but a citizen”; He was “as American as the Americans who despise him.” In other words European [Caucasoid] Strategies of silence and repression or telling people “where they came from” are not effective in the US, where even slaves are “an inescapable part of the normal social fabric”. Furthermore, America “is not just about creating a new black man [had] Also created a new white man. “In Baldwin’s view, [Caucasian] Americans, unlike their European rivals, are better and worse off in the lives of their national racial minorities. What is unforgivable to a racist critic in America like Baldwin can identify it as American ‘practice’. In fact, in the 1960s Europeans prophetically argued that it “proves an inevitable value” to those who cling to their dominant identities.
Today, the kind of racial progress that has been achieved in the US is one that many are overwhelmed with [Caucasian] French and English companies want to postpone lamenting about the culture of ‘awake’ and ‘canceled’. Their efforts to turn America into a bogeyman could achieve electoral victory or two. But such electoral victories come at a cost and are increasingly disconnected from reality. Because, as Baldwin wrote, “This world is no longer white, and it will never be white again.”
Pankaj Mishra Bloomberg Opinion columnist and author of ‘Age of Anger: A History of the Present’