It’s important to understand we’re in the appropriation phase of “civil rights”, a period of wealth confiscation and privilege transfer from white to non-white. From culture to commerce new terms and limits are being rationalized as necessary racial justice as professions, cultural domains and even physical spaces are carved out from which whites are to be excluded. The language is all theory and romance (and sinister; at some point black “scholars” started talking about the white “role”in the New America to come) but the result is very much material and economic.
It began in earnest with the Obama Administration, and was well on its way to finalizing a sort of post-white order, with whites serving as a legacy oppressor even as their numbers dwindled. Most importantly it was about the orderly transfer of that wealth and power–it had to go to the right people after all. Needless to say Trump derailed all that, if only for the moment.
This is what all this talk of cultural appropriation and representation is about. It’s why Google is convulsing right now under its own attempts to transfer half of its employment opportunity to favored groups. It’s everywhere, and a proper economic analysis of its cost, and the costs to come if we continue on this path, would probably make our collective head explode.
The initial fervor that greeted Obama’s rise was based for many whites on the notion it would solve America’s race problem, reassuring black Americans finally of our sincerity and inspiring them to do better. It’s as if the average liberal really understands it isn’t white racism holding people back; he just thinks black people don’t know it yet. Once they do, things will sort out. Eight years after Obama black people show less signs of catching on. The myth of white racism is more jealously held than ever.
If blacks generally hadn’t been paying attention to the culture’s positive encouragement Obama certainly had. He took up the archetype he learned on TV and it worked better than any amount of authenticity. A little fake inflection here, a little pretending to like hip hop there. Authenticity is overrated.
The notion that he, in turn, would inspire, finally, black America to pull its weight resembled something like an economic stimulus program, without even the temporary bump. The “Obama Effect” purported to find its positive effects, and quickly fizzled out. Another social justice perpetual motion machine never got going.
Not that blacks weren’t inspired by Obama’s election. Urban blacks responded right away, discovering and improvising on the flash mob concept. There was a new confidence and energy in black America, but it wasn’t expressed by black America becoming more law abiding and successful, whiter; it was expressed–but of course–by more confident blacks being blacker. As usual, blacks had a whole different idea of what things meant than their white “allies”.
Their position as a group will not be improved through thrift and industry–even if mere discipline and effort were all it took to equalize us economically and every which way, in so succeeding it would remove the source of black America’s unique power and position: their suffering.
But they can’t compete with whites at being white and most importantly they don’t want to. What they want is to be themselves, to assert themselves, to mold their world–just like anyone else–to make it more amenable and less alien. You can’t blame them.
Authenticity–the authenticity Obama lacks, can never attain, is more important than any quality of life metric. To the extent to which the average person feels alienated from his culture–and who doesn’t now?–might be directly proportional to the degree to which that culture has been absorbed by other cultures. Consider the degree to which black culture has molded American culture.
Black America’s position as a group is improved through political power–they’ve already managed to carve out an out-sized degree of autonomy and influence purely through political action and demagogy. That demagogy–BLM and the rest of what passes for black civil rights–complements perfectly the pre-existing violence and mayhem that produce its martyrs.
The malice behind Obama’s toothy grin came out after the Democrats got pummeled hard in Obama’s first mid-terms. The fake gloves came off. The Trayvon Martin campaign was whipped up heading into the 2012 elections and produced Black Lives Matter, by 2016, whipped into a frenzy by the presidential campaign, its supporters were assassinating the same police working security at its demonstrations.
At the same time the seemingly petty grievances grew greater in number and fury. In Google trends the term “cultural approproation” went from obscurity to relevance 2012 with Obama’s second presidential run, increased up to the administration’s second mid-term elections and remains at that plateau now in the time of Trump.
Another conversation we won’t have: the failure of the promised Obama Effect and the scandal of the actual Obama Effect. The reality is racial resentment has gotten so much worse over the last eight years it’s hard to measure because the terms of debate have had to change that much to keep up with it–resistance not being an option.
The effect of eight years of Obama has been to render the race problem insoluble. On the good side, his policies and rhetoric hastened the rise of the alt right and Trump.