Posted by Curt on 25 November, 2021 at 10:55 am. 5 comments already!


by Peter W. Wood

Americans have a great and exuberant tradition that touches our sense of belonging and our pride in coming together. No, I am not referring to Thanksgiving, that festival of gratitude, generosity, and welcome. I am referring to the equally great and exuberant tradition of trash-talking other people.
Supposedly we have reformed. Ethnic slurs that were once common have retreated to the dark corners of dive bars and the even darker corners of anti-social media. We live in a time when a whole new admonitory vocabulary has emerged to warn people away from anything remotely racist. “Cultural appropriation” is taboo—as must be the word “taboo” itself, a Tongan word appropriated into English by Capt. James Cook.
We worry about demeaning stereotypes, microaggressions, implicit bias, normativity, neo-colonialism, and the “othering” of others. Surely we are more enlightened than those vile, imperialistic, hate-filled, white, heteronormative people who… Oops.

Ethnic slurs haven’t disappeared. They have just slipped into a new register. Black lives matter, but “all lives matter?” Them’s fighting words. Attacking someone else, after all, is a classic way of demonstrating loyalty to one’s own group, claiming group superiority, and policing the edges.

Gyasi Ross, a Blackfeet (Native American) author (Huffington Post, Gawker, and Indian Country Today) attorney, “rapper, speaker and storyteller,” explained on MSNBC the other day, speaking of the Mayflower Pilgrims, “Instead of bringing stuffing and biscuits, those settlers brought genocide and violence.” Speaking of Thanksgiving, Ross adds, “That genocide and violence is still on the menu.”

If take this as an attempt to right the historical record, it is hopeless. The Pilgrims didn’t bring “genocide” to America. They barely brought themselves, with half of their company dying that first winter, in 1620-21.
For that matter, genocide was already here among native peoples, who frequently fought wars of extermination against rival tribes. The archaeological record testifies to such events, and Europeans had little to teach the native peoples they encountered anything about ambush, torture, and the death penalty.
But if Ross is simply attempting to show off his command of vituperative insult towards people of a tribe other than his own, he has done a pretty good job. His pitch is that the “white people” have a Thanksgiving “mythology” that portrays the Pilgrims as “having brought something of great value that enriches the people who are already here.” But the truth is that the Pilgrims “were broke,” and “they brought nothing of value.”
That, however, was hardly the view of the Wampanoag, with whom the white settlers of Plymouth celebrated that feast in the fall of 1621 that we call the first Thanksgiving. The Wampanoag first of all saw the Pilgrims as a valuable ally against their enemies, the Narragansett, who appeared ready to attack.
They signed a treaty with the settlers that lasted unbroken for 50 years. The Wampanoag also eagerly engaged the settlers in trade to gain access to European manufactured goods. Moreover, the Pilgrims brought Christianity, which within a generation attracted a large number of Indian converts.
Granted, Ross may see all of this as “nothing of value,” but who is Ross to judge the decisions of 17th century Native Americans, rendered desperate by an epidemic disease that killed most of their tribe—a disease that swept through New England years before the Pilgrims arrived?

The real truth is that Ross has a niche in contemporary American life that has nothing to do with his ancestry or culture. It is the niche of a professional angertainer. It plays well on TV and other media because, after all, articulate displays of anger are indeed entertaining, and also because we need some comic relief dressed up as indignation. This isn’t always or necessarily bad: Let’s go, Brandon!


But humped-up anger is pretty much all the leftist media have to offer us these days.

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