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Race, it has now pretty much been proved, is not “just a social construct“ but a fact of nature, but it does have social and cultural meaning. Most of the talk about what race means centers on non-whites, but last week Gregory Rodriguez, a contributing editor at the Los Angeles Times, took a look at what it means to be white in California. What it means is not very encouraging.
What Mr. Rodriguez [Send him email] saw is that while California has historically been the “land of futurists and dreamers,” the place where dreams came true and the future really happened, it is now “increasingly home to pessimists,” with the state’s chattering classes cranking out “jeremiads about paradise lost and the coming apocalypse.” Moreover, “There is a racial dimension to all the gloominess. The downbeat outlook is in large part driven by Anglos, the state’s largest minority.” [Pouty White People, LA Times, September 26, 2004]
“Anglo,” of course, is a racial epithet that can still be used in mainstream publications like the Los Angeles Times, while epithets referring to non-whites usually can’t be.
That fact itself might just explain why California whites feel gloomy: Having ceased to be a majority of the population, they know it’s no longer their state, and they’re starting to see what happens to racial groups that get ousted from cultural dominance.
As Mr. Rodriguez notes, whites have a long way to fall. They still have the largest per capita income of any group in the state and
“still make up a disproportionate share of the electorate. They dominate the state’s business, intellectual and cultural elites,” but “they have become the most pessimistic of any group in the state, according to an August survey of the Public Policy Institute of California. Fully 57 percent felt that the state would be a worse place to live in two decades. At 49 percent, blacks were the second most pessimistic group. Latinos (39 percent) and Asians (34 percent) were significantly less downbeat.” [Survey, PDF]
“What these polls do measure is expectations,” Mr. Rodriguez concludes. “A majority of Anglos clearly believe that their best days in the state are behind them.”
Mr. Rodriguez, a Hispanic himself, has an easy (and rather self-serving) answer as to why Anglos are so sad—“it’s that the Anglo myth that dreams should be achieved without struggle is gone.” Of course there was never any such myth, though it probably makes Mr. Rodriguez feel good to think there was. It’s more likely Anglos are gloomy because they see that the dreams for which they and their families worked so hard are vanishing.
They’re also starting to figure out that, as a result of mass immigration and the implosion of the white birth rate, the future doesn’t belong to them or their descendants. Mr. Rodriguez notes that “the median age of whites (40.3) is significantly higher than all other groups”and suggests that “Anglo declinism may stem from the aging of the Anglo population.” The reason it’s older than everyone else is that it has fewer children.
Mr. Rodriguez himself is not happy about Anglo pessimism. He thinks it’s a cop out, that the state’s problems like a withering school system and creaking infrastructure can’t be fixed until “we re-create the social contract that built postwar California.” “That contract must be founded on a shared vision of the future. If Anglo California is not willing to provide one, then at the very least it should make way for those who do.”
It doesn’t seem to occur to him that the “shared vision of the future” was a white thing, that no other racial or ethnic group in the state, regardless of how chirpy they are about the future, has such a vision or is likely to formulate one, and that whites’ “making way” for others won’t fix much of anything—for California or for the country of which California is only a forerunner.
What the “Anglos” brought to California was not only their genes and a shared vision of the future but a shared heritage from the past. That heritage included a work ethic as well as an ethic of creativity and cultural dynamism that was largely unique to white Anglo-American civilization. That’s the thesis of Samuel Huntington’s recent book “Who Are We?” which received so many sneers when it was published last spring.
Today, not only has mass immigration and differential fertility started displacing the people who carried that vision, but the vision itself is being discarded as—well—too “Anglo”—which means, too snooty, too “elitist,” too “exclusive,” and too “oppressive.” Forerunners of the new civilization like Mr. Rodriguez can’t expect to have it both ways: Either you have the Anglos and the California (and the America) they created, or you have the Third World from which the new America comes.