"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Sunday, February 23, 2020

A Straight Man Walks Into A Dyke Bar…..

America is a multicultural society, one which has welcomed immigrants since the founding of the nation; but it did so for a purpose – to build the railroads, man the lathes, raise the bridges, and provide the labor to convert an agrarian, rural society into a dynamic urban industrial one.   Americans did not ‘celebrate diversity’ when they welcomed Italians, Irish, Poles, and Slovaks.  They were simply welcoming cheap, able, willing labor.  Americans cared little for the cultural values and traditions these immigrants brought to America, and valued only their hard work, discipline, and enterprise.  The country became a pluralistic, multicultural society willy-nilly.  In fact, those  ‘natives’, Englishmen resident  in America before the great immigration of the late 1800s, wanted no part of the newcomers.  They, descendants of the Mayflower, Walter Raleigh,and  John Smith were quite happy to rule and prosper.  Resistance to immigrants was expected, natural, and predictable.

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Immigration – the importation of needed labor – proceeded despite this xenophobic opposition.  There was no stopping the influx of Catholic, whisky-and-wine drinking foreigners as long as the demands of the market prevailed.  As the new century progressed, European immigrants remained in their ghettoes, working by day, celebrating the ways of the old country after hours, and remaining largely unnoticed by the the majority.

The concept of ‘diversity’ is simply a new, useful way of furthering a particular political agenda.   The world would be a far better place, say progressive reformers,  if it resembled the Benneton ads of the 80s – multicolored, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural.  The world is of course already made up of a polyglot smorgasbord of races and ethnicities; but it is one thing for Africans to live in Africa and Latinos in Latin America; but another to actually live together. America was the new Garden of Eden, the birthplace of a new multicultural race.  We were, despite the irony, Ronald Reagan’s ‘shining city on a hill’.

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A chimera of course, for no majority group ever wants to include others.  Newcomers not only dilute cultural blood, but corrode and disassemble well-established institutional principles.  Yet there was no holding them back or keeping them out.  They came, patient at first to remain in their ghettoes, to do employers’ bidding, but later became restive and demanding of equal rights.

Thomas Jefferson was one of the first American political leaders to realize that freed slaves would be a disruptive, disharmonic force in American society.  These Africans, he observed, barely removed from a primitive jungle past – illiterate, unschooled, uninitiated in the ways of Western democracy and culture – should be sent back to Africa or to a Caribbean culture which resembled their primitive origins.  He was refused, and Lincoln’s Emancipation, as morally welcome as it was, did just what Jefferson anticipated.   In freeing the slaves, Lincoln created a black underclass which despite 150 years has yet to fully integrate into American society.  Jefferson was neither racist nor xenophobic when he proposed keeping America homogeneous – a nation of Europeans solidly rooted in their agrarian, rural lands. 

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It was the civil rights movement of the 60s which provided the moral justification and political impetus for a philosophy of ‘inclusivity’.  If former African slaves could be treated no differently than white, European Americans, then all other races and ethnicities were no different.  Soon, the idea of gender entered the social equation.  Not only women but gay men should be welcomed into the Big Tent.

Yet such forced inclusivity has done more to isolate individuals and groups than any social movement in the past.  In an environment in which race, gender, and ethnicity trump all other personal and social values – an era of identity politics – it is not surprising that ‘diversity’ had led to disparity.  No amount of cant, sermons, or a priori canonization, will facilitate social integration.  Americans now just like their ancestors 150 years ago are still suspicious of ‘the other’.  Yet progressive activists are not content to rely on the same economic forces which led to the full integration of Italians, Poles, Irish, and Swedes after the great wave of European immigration.  Once these immigrants dressed like, worked like, played like, and looked like every other American, they were accepted.  Forcing people to accept unquestionably those who have yet to adhere to mainstream values or persist in socially dysfunctional ways results in just the opposite – resentment, hostility, and prejudice.

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The gender spectrum is the most recent extension of the philosophy of inclusivity.  It is a principle which discards traditional sex, rejects biological XXYY genetics, and offers everyone the opportunity to select their own particular sexuality.  There are over 100 possibilities, advocates claim.  No one must ever again be forced into male or female boxes.  Sexuality is an open market. God may have created Adam and Eve, but He never intended for them to remain straight.

All this is well and good and a further expression of ‘diversity’, say advocates. The heady racial and ethnic mix which is modern day America should include sexual diversity.  There is no reason why a transgendered man, happy as a frilly, capricious, delightful, sexy woman should not be married to a transgendered woman who as a man has become strong, disciplined, authoritative, and sexually ambitious.  And no reason whatsoever that this couple should not even be the First Couple of the Land.

While this may sit well in principle, reality is another thing entirely.  Take the case of Renny Slater who rejected his proper New England Presbyterian past and became a cultural seeker who wanted to be part of the woke, inclusive generation.  He rented an apartment in Bernal Heights, the well-known lesbian quartier of San Francisco and  perhaps the most female-only neighborhood in the West, and felt that his obvious commitment to social progress and inclusivity would be immediately recognized and would give him the credentials he needed to become part of the movement.

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Far from being welcomed, Renny felt only suspicion.  What was this white, privileged, straight intruder doing here in Bernal Heights?  There was no way he could be up to anything good.  He was at first dutifully pleasant – handshakes, good-mornings, and the like; but after a month of good will and good intentions with nothing in return, he became angry and hostile. Who were they, these flannel-shirted, jack-booted, Marine haircut women, to give him the finger? He was the one offering solidarity, belonging, and peace, and they gave him nothing but the royal ‘fuck you’.  He came to them as a person, neither male nor female bringing sentiment, philosophy, and goodwill and for his efforts was sent packing.

Diversity wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. To Renny dyke ghettoes were worse than black inner cities and more isolated and angry than the male-gay Castro ever was.  Live and let live; and as offensive as Bay To Breakers, Halloween, or Folsom Street might have been to straight men, the Castro was a self-identified, homogeneous, self-sufficient community.  Despite its sexuality, it was a mirror image of Wilder’s Grover’s Corners –a tightly woven place of likeminded residents.  Bernal Heights was different because it was aggressively political, and militantly exclusive.  It was the perfect expression of identity politics – being lesbian was the be-all and end-all in Bernal Heights.  Until the usual and expected infighting began (all communities seem to begin with brotherhood and end up stratified, fragmented, and heretical), all women who professed lesbianism were admitted and accepted.  Race, ethnicity, philosophy or religion were of no interest whatsoever. 

What was Renny thinking? How had political philosophy so intruded on his personal life?  He may have sympathized with the cause of oppressed minorities, but a few months in Bernal Heights showed him the angry, self-centered, arrogant side of diversity; and he wanted no part of it.

Frustrated and disgusted, he left both Bernal Heights and the progressive cabal he had joined – men who had been enticed and then convinced by feminism; men who attended women’s conferences, championed the electoral challenges of women of color, and who espoused the gender spectrum; and men who assumed ipso facto the righteousness of right causes.  Renny had had it with the faux sexuality of his era, wokeness, and the political infection of progressivism.

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