After saving us in the Revolutionary War, will it save us from wokeness?
France deserves our gratitude, at least from those of us who believe that America is worth saving in spite of its imperfections.
First, France helped us in winning the Revolutionary War. That would be the war that is claimed by today’s poorly educated racial revolutionaries to have been started for the expressed purpose of continuing slavery.
Now French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that American wokeness is a threat to the classical liberal foundation of France. By extension, then, it’s also a threat to the United States, because America has the same liberal foundation.
We should thank him for the warning, although it might be too late for the U.S.
Specifically, Macron was referring to the illiberal virus masquerading as social justice and racial equality that has emanated from American universities and spread throughout American government, media, public schools, and corporations. He and his ministers don’t want it to spread to France.
This follows Macron’s criticism in October of “certain social-science theories entirely imported from the United States.”
France’s Minister for Higher Education Frédérique Vidal was more direct when she recently pledged to conduct an investigation into academics who look “at everything through the prism of wanting to fracture and divide.” She was referring to academics seeing all social issues through the prism of race, which is a foundational tenet of American wokeness.
Another foundational tenet is that the way to address the legacy of past prejudices against non-whites is to replace the former prejudices with new prejudices against whites. This is similar to the psychological condition of abused children becoming abusive parents.
Such pathological thinking is reinforced by the removal of science from the social sciences and the removal of impartiality from history, in a process that began decades ago as political correctness and has since morphed into cancel culture and speech codes.
As a result, races that used to be stereotyped negatively are now stereotyped positively, and vice versa. Non-whites now get a positive spin while whites get a negative one.
Forgotten in this wild swing of the pendulum is the fact that many white ethnocultural groups had also been stereotyped negatively in American history and treated accordingly. For example, the founding white Anglo-Saxon Protestants didn’t look kindly on the Irish in the 19th century, on southern Europeans in the 20th century, on Catholics (papists) in general, and on Jews in general.
On a personal note, as this Italian writer knows, Italians were known as swarts or worse and seen as a half-step up from blacks. Some were even lynched.
For sure, my Italian grandparents who emigrated as poor and poorly educated peasants from Italy in the early 20th century were not responsible for slavery or Jim Crow.
That responsibility lies with Anglo-Saxon Protestants, but even that is an unfair generalization. Puritans of New England, along with the admirers of Cromwell known as Roundheads, tended to be anti-slavery. Conversely, Southern Cavaliers and admirers of Charles I tended to be pro-slavery.
In spite of such historic facts and important distinctions between the many white ethnocultural groups, all whites are now stereotyped as homogenous and equally responsible for the nation’s original sins. They’re all tarred as racist and privileged. At the same time, those wielding the tar brushes can’t figure out why this has triggered resentment and a political backlash.
Naturally, progressives among the brush wielders deny their role in causing the social pathologies in so-called minority communities, especially African-American communities. Due to their condescending and paternalistic belief that blacks couldn’t make it without the help of whites like them, they put blacks on the new plantation of welfare dependency, which made men unnecessary in the financial support of children and caused the incidence of families headed by single moms to more than double in short order.
The condescension and paternalism continue today with racial quotas masquerading as diversity and inclusion, with the push to do away with test scores that have a disparate impact on certain races, with formulaic “news” stories that incessantly point out how these same races don’t fare well and need special help because they can’t help themselves, and most noticeably, with advertisers who make sure that the same races are represented in commercials and ads way out of proportion to their population, either because of racial pandering by the advertisers or out of fear of being labeled as racially insensitive by interest groups.
No wonder the French are afraid of importing such racial pandering and divisiveness.
France’s fear is heightened by its problems with the assimilation of Muslim immigrants, especially those from its former colonial outposts.
The fear isn’t due to racism towards Muslims but to the fact that a large number of them are Islamic fundamentalists who don’t hold Western values about equality, democracy, and women’s rights.
Macron and his education minister have warned that the fundamentalists and their leftist enablers are trying to distract the public from the facts with diatribes about colonialism.
On a related note, the newly published book, Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women’s Rights, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Harper, 322 pages) details the dire facts about the treatment of women by fundamentalist immigrants in France, Germany, and Sweden.
The author is a Somalian immigrant with firsthand experience on the subject. Unlike whites in the West who commit cultural suicide by making excuses for aberrant behavior and sanitizing statistics of incriminating evidence, Ali includes pages of statistics on the staggering increase in rapes and other violence towards women at the hands of migrants from societies marked by polygamy, patriarchy, and illiberalism.
She goes on to lambast politicians and authorities for being quick to document discrimination against the migrants and other minorities but reticent to document their violence against women and other crimes, for fear of being called racist. She has special scorn for feminists who vilify white men while excusing immigrant men of crimes against women because they believe the perpetrators to be “victims of racism and colonialism.”
The worst case of sexual assault by migrants happened on Dec. 31, 2015, when 661 women claimed to have been assaulted in downtown Cologne by hundreds of men, most of whom were asylum-seekers of Arab and North African origin. Only three of the alleged perpetrators were convicted.
It’s understandable that Macron doesn’t want to import American wokeness on top of France’s existing racial troubles. The question is, will Americans heed his warning?
Probably not. After all, the U.S. didn’t learn from the French experience in Indochina and the Middle East. Ignoring the warning signs of history, it went ahead and lost lives and treasure in both locales, just as the French did.