Wanting a strong American culture is not racist

A few years ago, I engaged in conversation with a nice elderly lady.  Her opinions included the full panoply of leftist thought, including approval of redefining marriage and of abortion, both of which I abhor, but I listened.  Then came the shocker: she expressed racist views.  She told me that black people used to be okay as long as they kept to their neighborhoods, "but now they go everywhere."

I term it a shocker because the left is heavy on racial preferences for everyone except Caucasians.  It seemed incongruous that a person on the far left would be racially intolerant, but as I reflect, I can recall other conversations with leftists who hinted at segregationist attitudes.

I mention this because a standard insult from the left is to accuse conservatives of racism.  Indeed, to them, the two are one and the same:  conservatism and racism.  Moreover, the bar for being a racist is so low as to include anyone who decries open borders.  Failing to give the BLM salute when it is demanded is another way of attracting that accusation.

On contemplating this, I think some people, both left and right, conflate race with culture.  A certain degree of "xenophobia" — a better term is aversion to alien intrusion — may actually be necessary to preserve order in any society.

It has been pointed out, quite accurately, that racially homogenous societies tend to be more stable than multicultural societies.  True, but the point is often missed that a society can be multiracial without being multicultural, and vice versa.  The Rwandan genocide was perpetrated by blacks against blacks, but two different tribes and cultures were involved, one as persecutor, the other as victim.

It is ironic that in the United States, Asian people are more victimized by racist policies of the left than what they imagine coming from the right, yet Asian-Americans tend to be more leftist than conservative.  When college admissions policies first began to diverge from those that favored Caucasians, the left soon became appalled by the result — a heavy preponderance of Asians on the campus.  The leftist administrators reacted by implementing the racial quota system to reduce that preponderance.  They succeeded.  They replaced higher-caliber students with less capable ones.

Contrary to conventional belief in some quarters, Asians are not significantly more intelligent than Caucasians or Blacks, at least not in the degree reflected in their college performance.  Their families do, however, tend to be more emphatic about educational success, sometimes to the extreme.  Obviously, the outcome is enhanced academic performance in that group, due not to their race, but to their culture.

An anecdote from my own experience may illustrate the point.  I was in my forties when I returned to college.  My brain was not exactly a steel trap, and so I struggled to maintain satisfactory grades.  One late weekend night in the library, studying hard for final exams, I noticed that I was the only "white guy" in sight.  A large number of others were Asian, and quite a few were black.  The blacks, however, were not American.  I recognized them from my classes as foreign students, mostly from Africa.

The point is that many of my American classmates were at party night.  Culture, not race, drove others of us to the library.

It is also interesting that Asian immigrants, although many are raised in religious traditions such as Buddhism and Taoism, have a strong tendency to join, or form, Christian churches in America — and not so much social justice–themed churches, but Baptist and fundamentalist Protestant.  Why?  I think it is because they bring with them family values and a work ethic that are consistent with those of conservative faith.  African Anglicans are far more conservative than many of their European and American counterparts.

We have no reason to be averse to such people immigrating and no excuse for racism against them.  They are far closer to the American ideal than are many Americans.

Barring people from Islamic cultures from immigrating to America is not racist, and as regards some of them, caution is most certainly advisable.  In those cases, cultural aversion is not a moral flaw, but a rational attitude.

Racism is a moral flaw, one that goes against the grain of conservatism.  Aversion to cultural intrusion — so-called "xenophobia" — is a very different thing.

Image via Pxhere.