Jun 8, 2023Liked by Michael David Cobb Bowen

Granted I occupy a dot on a speck of a fraction of the world, I've yet to have anyone who identifies as a minority and has passed through my circle of the world (friends. co-workers, acquaintances, or strangers) accost me for my "whiteness" or "white privilege." There are, however, a number of white people who have done so. For a few years, the very white neighborhood in which I live sprouted "We believe" virtue signaling yard signs like dandelion weeds. Those signs are all gone now. One can only hope their virtue is more durable than the dandelions.

Have the endless string of teachable race moments begun to fad into the background noise? Probably not. But my gut tells me, as far as the culture wars go, we've unlearned more good than bad about each other.

I could find a place within a community with the cultural values reflected in the Conservative Brotherhood, as long as I wasn't expected to attend church services. While I have faith in God, I have none in religion. So I can't speak to that. But this resonates:

"Yet I think Kingsnorth understands, as must more of us, that there is something already well-evolved in Western civilization which surpasses and transcends such schismatic mind virus attacks as we have suffered. America may be new and its flowers may be wilted or shorn, but its roots are in the right place."

"Old school" calls forward a time when reasoned choice had more of a toehold. A time when phrases like "common sense" and "use your head" inspired responsibility and accountability rather than dull facial expressions as if speaking a foreign language.

Present day formulations for what counts as a community strike me as at odds with reasonableness and are designed to support those who have an interest in the divisiveness these definitions create. Like a sacrifice made in the temple of some mostly peaceful indigenous race, reasoned choice is to be pulled out of the chest of anyone who dare suggest it doesn't matter how many genders can dance on the head of a pin.

But maybe that's starting to change. Maybe. There are signs that Big Business is fearing being struck by Bud Lightning. Not because people generally want to strike out against people who identify differently, rather they no longer want the core of *their* identity attacked as somehow aberrant from a new State sanctioned standard.

This past week I watched the sequel to "Fisherman's Friends" titled "Fisherman's Friends: One and All." The preview suggested it might have been a PC rehab effort of the first movie, but I was pleasantly surprised that the plot reflected more of a reassertion and affirmation of the small fishing community's culture and history in the context of their global success. All the better the story is based on true events experienced by actual people.

Maybe it's just the kin and kindred I've rolled with all my life, but to a person there was a belief there is room for everyone. There is much more that's common to all of us than is different and if we allow for space and dialog, we can work things out.

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I'm going to write my last racial theory right here, because you've absolutely hit on something which I've known for a long time. That is that what white people believe they know about black people has more social relevance than what black people know about themselves. You could call it a media problem, but the deeper problem is that so-called white people believe their experience with success or failure owes something to their being 'white' and what happens to so-called black people happens for completely other reasons. Almost nobody who really understands what they are doing believe this colorized malarky at all. So you have vast numbers of mediocre 'white' and 'black' people who take their racial identity more seriously than is ever warranted.

What just happened is that the foolishness of Woke went viral, and a lot of mediocrities have just begun to see how simple-minded their counterparts are on the other side of the imaginary racial divide.

It's simpler for me to untangle the racial traffic in terms of culture because I've always been drawn to the highbrow - to what Jefferson called 'the aristocracy of merit'. So I always liked virtuosos. So one leaves crowds behind when this decision is made. The conceit to get rid of is the idea of racial representation. That's the same old trap both sides think they can outwit. But it's all like trying to change the rules of Free Parking on Monopoly. It's always on the board - you always have to do something, until you decide to do nothing. But the way I grew up playing, Free Parking became more valuable than passing Go. That's what racial rules do to fairness.

When you think about it indifferently such ideas as 'decentering whiteness' makes sense, but it still reinscribes everything in race - thus the so-called whites believe that 'white' means everything they are rather than just a stupid label they can walk away from. Perhaps Americans need another 100 years before they can let reality unwash their brains. I don't need to care. Let peasant yokes be what they want. Let elite boneheads destroy the credibility of their institutions. Not my monkey. Not my circus.

I'm an Old School California American. SoCal that is. I've already learned about all the foolishness fools fall for. So I'm disengaged from those cultures which don't fit Western Civilization. I think we get the better movies. We definitely get the better bourbon.

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