Monday, 30 December 2013

Dreams of a Black Christmas.

The American Right have long been engaged in the fight to defend Christmas from the imaginary threat posed to it by secular progressives. The tenth box on your advent calendar marks the day of the Slate article by Aisha Harris on the assumed white-skin of Father Christmas. The following week was filled with the usual hysterical commentary from Fox News in its bid to deflect the ‘liberal agenda’ to destroy Christmas and drown puppies at birth. This is a part of the kulturkampf waged by conservatives since the end of the Cold War and anti-Communism no longer provided the impetus of social hypochondria. The snow had not yet settled in the wake of the spat when the anti-racist campaigner Tim Wise offered some insight:

Now don’t get me wrong, if there were a Santa Claus, there is very little doubt that he would have to be white. After all, no black man could manage to work only one day out of the year and not be called lazy; and surely no black man could get away with breaking into millions of homes, even if he was bearing presents. Some cop or neighborhood watch captain would surely have taken him down long ago, convinced that the red suit he was wearing signified gang colors. So, and let me be the first to admit it: in a world where Santa actually existed, along with unicorns, pixie dust and the Lorax, Megyn Kelly would have a damned good point. Note, this is how one can make a joke about Santa being white, without reinforcing white racial normalcy: but of course no FOX personality would choose to make the joke this way, because such a joke would require, first, an acknowledgment of the reality of racial profiling and anti-black racism, neither of which conservatives can afford to countenance. This is why conservative race humor isn’t funny, just racist; please take note of it. Thank you.

The liberal pretentions of colour-blindness forgo all challenges to the normative claims of the white male power-structure in the US and elsewhere. The racial consciousness of white people remains intact with all of its trappings of ressentiment and anxiety about what the future may hold. The barriers are up against any critical reflections on what white normalcy amounts to in seasonal symbolism. The paucity of the liberal framework leaves open the possibility of coercion clouded by consent and by sameness. As if coincidentally Black America just happens to be poorer and more prone to be incarcerated than White America. The assumed white-skin of the meritorious, intelligent, beautiful and articulate individual so prevalent in contemporary society is not to be disassociated from these patterns. The disparities of class and race are these patterns, and they are anything but natural. The campaign to keep Christmas white fits with the anxiety washing over the Republican Party since they lost the 2012 election.

The entitlement to govern for white people has been challenged by the election and re-election of Barack Obama. And a lot of white people have a problem with this, they feel they're losing their country. There’s some truth in it as anyone can see from the birth-rate of Hispanic-Americans which has outpaced European-Americans. As Mike Davis has suggested, 2012 may have been the last white election. The decline of the angry white male phenomenon may well be underway, the only hope of the GOP is to back-off on immigration and pursue the policies which would appeal to Hispanic-Americans. But the anxiety over this loss is not to be indulged in. It demonstrates that white privilege is real and that it has been a major force in American life for much more than the last decade. The historic construction of a white racial identity has been a means for the class tensions inherent to capitalism to be managed and controlled.

It’s apt then that the reactionary behind the ‘War on Christmas’ phenomenon was the racist columnist Peter Brimelow. Max Blumenthal found Brimelow was first unsettled by receiving ‘Happy Holidays’ greetings from retailers in place of the traditional ‘Merry Christmas’. Around the same time Peter Brimelow had churned out his book Alien Nation (1995) bewailing mass-immigration as undermining the ethno-cultural core of White America. He claimed Clinton’s victory in 1992 was the result of a Black, Hispanic, Jewish and minority white coalition of voters. He suggested that the expansion of this coalition (especially the non-white segments of it) could’ve created the social basis for Jesse Jackson to become President. Brimelow would go on to be increasingly marginalised for his advocacy of a racially-conscious body politic. But the Christmas campaign would be taken up by Fox News in the early years of this century.

In the wilderness Brimelow found new allies in race-baiters of all kinds (neo-eugenicists, white nationalists, cultural conservatives, even eco-racists and racist feminists) and with them he established It would become the leading anti-immigrant web journal, its name a reference to the first English child born in the New World. By 2010 Brimelow was much less careful in his words in describing the Obama administration as a ‘minority occupation government’ given its lack of ‘deep ethnic roots’. He claimed the immigration policies of the US are aimed at population displacement in the pursuit of radical economic and social change. This fits with the Buchanan theory of immigration as an objective of the cultural Marxist plot to vanquish white Christian male society. In concluding that it would be natural for whites to pursue their racial interests he compared white nationalism (although he didn’t use the term) with Zionism and Black nationalism to claim the same legitimacy for its aims.

VDARE continued the War for Christmas and, as Blumenthal has noted, began to be more specific about who was responsible for the attacks on Christian society. Of course, it turned out to be the age-old enemy of Christendom - namely, the Jews - as VDARE readers would find from reading the obscene scribbles of Kevin MacDonald and Steve Sailer. When Blumenthal pushed Brimelow on this matter he found the aging English reactionary ambivalent and insistent that “It’s an argument”. The need for a racial explanation of social ills is necessitated by rightist criticism given its priority in externalising all failures of the system to disruptions of its mechanisms. The assumptions of white success run with this to emphasise what is at stake, whereas the normalcy of being white has to be emphasised against those who are looking to excavate the disavowed record of racial oppression. Any troublesome talk of racism can be attacked as the liberal agenda going after everything white people hold dear.

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