I find the change of Oxford’s history programme to be “less white” rather informative. What you’ve got are people, at a European university, in a European country, saying that the history taught by this university is too ethnically European. Rather than a rant piece claiming how “unfair” or “reverse racist” this is, I would rather interrogate what we can learn about the world-views of those making these accusations, and what it can tell us about the future of Europe.
What we can learn from those claiming that British history is “too white” is that the black people in this European country, do not feel apart of its European history, which they call the history of “white people”. In other words, we learn that black people in the UK, do not feel that the history that history of the European country, founded by European people, is “their” history. If they did, there would be no reason to designate it as the history of “white people” and there would be no reason to argue for a “black history” that they may feel more apart of. Instead, there would be no impulse to believe that the history of “white people” is not their history. Notice, how no modern brits with ancestry in Germany, Poland, or Russia, complain that the history of Britain is not inclusive of them, that they, for some reason, do not feel apart of it.
This is a vitally important issue that cuts to the heart of the crisis of history and culture that is soon to engulf Europe. It is the issue of race, and more specifically, that admitting into your society members who look the same as you, and members who look radically different, is not the same thing as civic nationalists will often suggest. Rather than feeling “racist” for considering such a distinction, one ought to notice that, in the case of what history ought to be taught at Oxford and who feels excluded from it, this distinction draws itself. One can either comment on the implications honestly, or play the game of “lalalala, race doesn’t exist”. Clearly it does, when the phenotypical differences between people correspond to obvious evidence of different histories. When the senses of common nation-hood and common culture are so clearly built on common history, this becomes a very real problem.
I have remarked on elsewhere in this blog, that the obvious phenotypical racial differences between the histories of East Asians, South Asians, Sub-saharran Africans and Europeans, means Europeans will always find it easier to slot into other European societies, and those societies will not be as radically transformed, or experience the same degrees of ethnic conflict by accepting them. Third or fourth generation British people, with Polish ancestry in the United Kingdom, do not complain that British history isn’t sufficiently “Polish”. And yet, can the same be said of the third or fourth generation black people in the UK?
On what grounds are the ancient pictures encapsulating British history, for the progeny of the people who made that history, being replaced in the United Kingdom houses of parliament, if not because “people of colour” are so clearly not a part of that history? This is not the thinking of nastly, racist white bigots like me, but it is the only possible motivation for the most politically correct in Western society. If those pictures equally depict the history of the brown citizens who now live in British society, as much as they do for the people of exclusively Norman, Polish, Celtic, or Anglo-Saxon, descent who live in Britain, then why change them to make these brown citizens feel more “included” in the history of the nation? I am not the one excluding them from the European history of the United Kingdom, it is the “anti-racists”, “multi-culturalists”, and in fact non-Europeans themselves, who are doing so. They are changing the existing history to be more “inclusive”. Why on Earth would they be doing so, if not because they believe they were not already included in that history before it was radically altered to accommodate them?
This brings us to the next set of questions. Why could it be that a person with Polish ancestry in the United Kingdom, will not be kicking up a fuss or claim to feel “excluded” from the “white history” of the ethnically European English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish nations, whereas black people in the United Kingdom, who may have been there even longer, will? The answer is that, the obvious differences in European and African phenotypes will always communicate that they are from different kin, and thus have different histories. The Polish/English child will never ask why the people he learns about in the history of the United Kingdom do not look like him, or his family. This makes social cohesion easier, it makes the transformation of societies after immigration less radical, and it allows the indigenous members of a European nation to keep their history without being obliged to transform it, or teach different histories for everyone to feel included.
As we have seen in the case of the campaigns to include history at Oxford, or pictures of British history at the Houses of Parliment that is not so “white”, one way this heretical subject will play out is by the “equally British” “people of colour” in European countries demanding that “their histories” be depicted. Despite, somehow, being as “British”, “German”, “Swedish”, and thus as European, as “White people” which is to say, indigenous Europeans. The obvious inconsistency in the PC logic here will just go unnoticed and unspoken, until it leads to, as all logical inconsistencies do, some consequence that makes avoiding the issues impossible. However, there is a second, equally absurd and inconstant solution of the racial history problem that I am discussing.
The decision by the BBC to casually depict a Norman, which describes a European ethnic group, nobleman as black is an obvious effort to communicate something to British society. We have all heard the argument it is advancing before. It goes something like this: “black, brown, white, whatever, the history of this country is as much the history of black Britons as white Britons, since most actors in British history aren’t the ancestors of modern white Britons either. That Britain is a “nation of immigrants”, and most of its modern white denizens are not descended from William the conqueror and have ancestry from outside the British Isles. The only rational conclusion to draw from this fact is that the United Kingdom acquiring large numbers of black or brown inhabitants is no different to it getting a wave of Norman, Saxon, or Nordic blood, and that to make it seem like the brown or black wave is somehow “less British” could only be racist!” A lovely sentiment, not too dissimilar to the rhetoric taking off regarding there not being such a thing as an “ethnic German”, or “Ethnic Frenchman”. Let’s consider the implications of this logic with respect to the wonderfully inclusive decision of the BBC, Marvel, and many other organizations to depict European historical or mythological figures as black. Surely such behaviour, being based on such sound reasoning, could not be replete with logical inconsistencies and double standards.
With respect to the transformation by making the absurd decision to depict European knights, or Nordic gods, as black people, as though it is perfectly normal and irrelevant, I would ask this. If it is so irrelevant that the history of ethnically-European people get depicted by non ethnically-European black people, then why would it be relevant to depict black people in European history in order for black members of European societies to feel included? If nothing is lost by ethnic-Europeans having their history depicted by non ethnic-Europeans, what is gained by black people seeing other black people depicted in European history? Further, if it is entirely acceptable for a Norman nobleman, or Nordic god Heimdall (the “whitest” of all the gods) to be depicted by a black-man, then when do white people or Asians get to see white or Asian depictions of Martin Luther King, or as Amadioha, the Igbo got of thunder? Would there be nothing wrong with white Afrikaners getting depicted as Shaka Zulu? Sorry the “under-represented, and powerless ethnic minority” argument won’t fly here, since Afrikaners are a tiny, largely poor minority in Africa, and a shrinking one at that.
So the question stands, would anyone who raises an eyebrow at Shaka Zulu being depicted as a white man be “racist” for noticing that something seems a bit off? And indeed, as universalist, liberal Western logic would imply, there is nothing off in depicting Shaka Zulu as a white or Asian man, since most black Africans are no more descended from Shaka Zulu than are East Asians or European people who live in Africa. So tell me you liberals who are "rational" enough to see that race doesn’t exist and is thus irrelevant in human society and experience, would the obvious complaints from black people and social justice warriors the world over be entirely meritless? Is there nothing historically inaccurate about depicting African tribesman with Japanese, or Swedish actors? If your answer is yes, at least you are consistent in your denial of human realities and historical facts, so I respect you for that. If it is no, then why on earth do you feel it is appropriate to turn the history of Europeans, a history that will obviously be one of “white people”, which is to say ethnic Europeans who adapted over tens of thousands of years to live on that continent, into one of ethnic Africans, or ethnic Asians? Since we live in a world, which I believe any honest observer will have to admit we do, in which Shaka Zulu, Mao Zedong, or Tokugawa Leyasu, will only ever be depicted as Black, or Asian, but any African or Asian may depict Merlin, Oenomaus the Gaul, Heimdall, Robert de Beaumont, or Juliette, is this not a world in which the whole world may lay claim to the history of European people, but the history of every other part of the world remains the sole property of the respective races and ethnic groups that enacted that history. Is this not describing a world in which only ethnic Europeans, white people, are left without a history, or mythology, to call their own? What sane society would build such a future for their children. What group of people except white westerners have ever thought this way?
These questions may seem “racist” or “irrelevant”/”obsessive” to some. To those people I have one final question. What happens to the history of Germany, when it is no longer the history of the majority of legal “Germans”? What happens when the history of European countries is no longer the history of the majority non ethnic-Europeans who live there? If it gets to a stage where 80 percent of Sweden is black African or brown middle-eastern, do 80 percent of the visual depictions of Swedish history now have to be by non-ethnically European Swedes? How is a “nation” to survive when the history of that nation is no longer the history of most of the members of that nation? Have Europeans really lost nothing when they are not even allowed to feel ethnic attachment their own histories without being “racist”? Especially when the history of China will always be East Asian, the history of sub-Saharan Africa will always be black African? When Nollywood movies are entirely black and Bolywood Indian? It is time for “colour blind” liberals to start being honest about the obvious absurdities and double-standards that occur in the name of their rather peculiar, and uniquely Western, ideology, before the history wars of Europe turn violent, or before ethnic-European children, and only ethnic-European children, find themselves with no history to call their own.
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