A Facebook post (isn’t that how all these things start) led me to a Slate article about possible conservative backlash against Quentin Tarantino’s forthcoming movie Django Unchained. That in turn led me to a piece by someone named Jeffrey Kuhne, who wrote a jeremiad column for something called the Washington Times about Jamie Foxx and black racism.
It’s not worth spending too much time on Kuhne’s piece, because it’s reductive, racist, and tired. But some choice quotes:
In multicultural America, only blacks can say offensive things about other blacks. The same applies to other groups with official “victim” status — Hispanics, homosexuals, lesbians and Asians. The result is a gradual Balkanization whereby our culture is being fractured along ethnic lines.
I’ll come back to this one in a minute. It’s fun to point out (is it? maybe it isn’t actually) how succinctly Kuhne labels and denounces the label-makers. So, I guess, if white people (like Kuhne) were free to say offensive things about “victims” (like what he says later), then we’d be less Balkanized? Hooray! We’re less Balkanized!
A virulent strain of anti-white hatred seeping through parts of black culture…is seen in the disturbing rates of black-on-white violence, especially homicides and flash-mob attacks.
Living in Philly, I’m certainly aware of how terrified some white people can get by roving packs of violent black teenagers. Then again, living in Philly also teaches me how the percentage of black-on-white incidents of violence is, and I’m just ballparking here, maybe ten percent of the number of black-on-black violence. But I guess all violence is disturbing. Maybe that’s his point?
Racial-identity politics is an ugly thing. It tears at the very bonds of our national unity. The problem with black nationalists such as Mr. Foxx is not only that they are peddling racial division and hatred. In society, as in science, a powerful action often causes an equally strong reaction. Black racialism could fuel the rise of an angry white nationalism. That would be very bad for Americans — white and black.
Kuhne wraps up his apple-and-shit strudel with some well-earned reflection upon his own column. “Racial-identity politics is indeed ugly,” Kuhne says between puffs on his pipe. “See the column you just read as proof of that pudding, dollface.” Hey Washington Times payroll guy, be careful when you give Kuhne his checks, he’s armed with a lot of sharp ideas.
Obviously there’s a lot that could be said about Kuhne’s whoever-smelt-the-race-war-dealt-the-race-war brand of journalist fart. I don’t mean to really get into it. My initial reaction was more like, “Really? Can’t we just agree that a Tarantino movie starring Jamie Foxx, Leo DiCaprio, and Christoph Waltz is going to be really fucking entertaining? Does it have to be evidence of culture war and conspiracy?” But that in turn gave me an idea I hadn’t considered before, an idea which prompted this blog post.
To wit: people like Kuhne are vigorous surveyors of our nation, and put in long days at work benches carefully dropping found segments of culture and events into steaming vats of narrative which seek to reinforce their privileges and prejudices. “How can we make frame this innocuous bit of news as evidence of our pet crusade?” they cackle. Somewhere in the sewers below our feet, Kuhne and his black-robed brothers are prying open the water supply and dumping their bilious mixtures into the pipes, their giggles echoing all the way up to the sewer grates. (I’m mixing my metaphors but I’m trying to keep this fun for us.) The rest of us then have to spend time carefully filtering out the floating bits of black crud before we can drink.
To wit (trying it again): what if compassionate, liberal, educated people spent such amounts of time concocting fictitious narratives about how the world and its myriad peoples are secretly nicer and more loving than they appear? What if this drive to see in every shadow a raised knife was met by the paranoid spotting of a raised, um, foam #1 finger? What if there existed the equally persistent production of optimistic speculation on the desires of people other than ourselves? Our country might be a happier, more productive place. That’s not really a leap, that.
Maybe instead of constantly pulling weeds out of the garden (third metaphor’s the charm), we should plant something attractive, productive, and equally aggressive. I’ll leave it to my urban-farming socialist white-apologist liberal brainwashed marriage-destroying friends to tell me the name of such a plant. Kale? Does kale grow quickly? Asparagus. Mmmm, I hope we as a culture plant a fuckload of asparagus.
I’ll close with something worth mentioning (no use pretending this is fun; it isn’t, this is just an exercise in articulation). Does Jeffrey Kuhne believe he speaks for me, a fellow white man? Giving him maximum benefit of the doubt, I’ll guess he thinks he’s telling me things I should know, but he wouldn’t claim to be speaking my mind for me. That’s good, because Kuhne is no more a spokesperson for white people than Jamie Foxx is a spokesperson for black people. But to acknowledge that would nullify the premise and lede of his column.
Now, who’s stoked to see Django Unchained?