Every day we hear on television, "We need an honest discussion about race in this country".
Many well-meaning Americans, however, may have had enough of this endless, empty and dysfunctional discussion of race. To an outsider, Americans seem obsessed with race; and the discussion always deteriorates to shouting, insulting, blaming, finger-pointing, distorting reality and removing any hope of taking responsibility for oneself. The goal of the discussion always seems to be to try to claim that "I am holier than thou."
We immigrants, on the other hand, the minute we land in the US, we feel the political struggle for our vote.
The day I got my citizenship and went out to register to vote, some people in the room told me to register as a Democrat because the Democrats would protect my rights from the racist establishment and give me "stuff." Many of the people who had come with me did register that way, but I found the urging alarming. I grew up under a socialist, totalitarian system under the leadership of President Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt -- a nanny state that also gives you "stuff'." What many Americans do not realize is that the free stuff can be too expensive
Many Americans do not seem to learn much from history; perhaps (to everyone's peril) it is not even being taught. The outcome is that these understandably frustrated citizens appear to hope that the failed socialist systems will right the wrongs they feel done to them, or at least allow them to live comfortable lives without worries about healthcare or education.
Nasser's Egypt, however, revealed the danger of falling into the trap of a government's false promises. Nasser said he wanted to change Egypt fundamentally. Unfortunately, he succeeded. To this day, Egypt can hardly get itself out of the rot of Nasser's 1952 revolution. He promised to give all Egyptians free education and free health care. He seized properties, businesses and vast farmland so he could redistribute the wealth by dividing it into tiny portions for everyone to have a little. In the process, a new, even more corrupt class, was born. Most people ended up with virtually nothing. Just look, for example, at Venezuela -- free stuff and corruption have turned an oil-rich country into a poverty-stricken hell.
Several generations of Americans seem to have been brought up on the false premise that if someone loves this country, its liberties, its culture and its way of life or God, they must be "racist." If they are white and not Democrats, the assumption goes, they must be "racist." As the majority of the population of America happens to be white, whites are supposedly the face of America: "racists" holding on to their guns and Bibles and depriving the rest of the country of a socialist Utopia.
Generations of Americans also seem to have been brought up with an exaggerated view of "white privilege" -- to the degree that at this point it is probably a bit of a lie, as though achieving success and wealth in America were due to the luck of the skin-color lottery rather than, as Justice Clarence Thomas has been arguing, to hard work. Here, however, "free" education may be at fault. Yes, everybody is able to get it, but it is terrible. So, in reality, nobody really gets much of an education -- at least one that provides an equal opportunity to compete with someone who has receive a private education. The best once can say is that it is still better than no education at all, which is what much of the world still gets. At bottom, if you are born into a home where education is not valued, you may be permanently lost.
The use of the word "racist" in the West is used similarly the word "infidel" in Islamic societies. Such words become useful shaming tools to coerce people into compliance. They are not used to discuss matters; they are used to abort discussion, silence opposition, and often to threaten the livelihood and even the life of those who dissent. These are words are intended to render anyone who does not agree as evil and a pariah.
Like the shame-based culture of the Middle East, many Americans today, presumably to avoid the backlash of being shamed, seem to have fallen into the trap of "group think". If, God forbid, you are seen as Republican, conservative, or if you prefer capitalism to socialism or do not belong to a victim group, shaming will be directed at you. Impressionable new generations of Americans naively take this bait. They are fearful of giving an opinion lest they be called "racist."
The Muslim world has successfully been using this tyranny of shaming for centuries to enforce compliance. Today if you ask a question to a man on the Arab street, you will most likely get a prefabricated answer -- one that is probably the un-thought-through opinion of the majority. This technique is frequently used in the Islamic culture -- in addition to terror of course -- to crush the non-Muslim "infidels" out of existence. Today, in the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity, hardly anyone is living peacefully.
That many Democrats seem to be planning "fundamentally to change America" by making white people the minority and replacing them with immigrants -- both legal and illegal -- is no longer a secret. In 2015, former Vice President Joe Biden said that "whites" becoming a minority in America is a "good thing":
"An unrelenting stream of immigration. Nonstop, nonstop. Folks like me who are Caucasian, of European descent, for the first time in 2017 we'll be an absolute minority in the United States of America. Absolute minority. Fewer than 50% of the people in America from then and on will be white European stock. That's not a bad thing. That's a source of our strength."
Minority leader Nancy Pelosi recently joined in, saying that President Trump's immigration plan would 'make America White again."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer cited "skin color" in voting against a white federal judge nominee. He justified the vote as, "Having a diversity of views and experience on the federal bench is necessary for the equal administration of justice."
That view, however, while trying to right a perceived wrong, is itself fundamentally racist.
Ironically, it is the white leaders in politics and media who have become central in advocating the elimination of "white American culture" -- presumably to assemble a majority of voters who would elect Democrats and a socialist economy forever. Such attacks on the white majority in Americans are, bluntly, racist. It is a shame that many Americans are unable or refuse to see what many immigrants see: That it was under this white majority that millions of oppressed people from around the world, of all colors and creeds, were rescued from tyranny, Sharia law, slavery, discrimination, Islamism and a miserable existence under corrupt, war-torn and famine-stricken nations. Instead, many seem to want to bring much of that here.
How could politicians who advocate displacing white people in America to make them a minority think it is a good thing? This logic is cruel towards great citizens of a great nation that did so much good in the world. It was not Africa, China, South America, Europe or Russia that spoke for the oppressed and brought them to live in freedom; it was America -- white, black, Indian, Asian and everything in between -- and its Judeo-Christian values that did this.
Is it any wonder that many Americans today feel cheated, alienated and that their country, culture and way of life are being ripped apart along racial, gender and economic lines, by politicians, media and academics, all seemingly hell-bent on changing America's culture, demography, laws and Constitution?
Even ambitious globalists seem interested in changing only the West, not in promoting changes for the rest of the world, no matter how oppressive it clearly is. To them, the number one enemy to their plans for America is most likely independent-thinking Americans, who treasure its accomplishments, Constitution and freedoms – all of which have been fought for, so hard won, and built over many decades.
Globalists, who seem to prefer "international values" over Western ones, seem convinced that only if white America is out of the way, then the progressive plan, to change America fundamentally, could be achieved faster. Immigrants, especially from third world countries, are seemingly to them the solution to injecting "new blood" into the country. The argument, however, is not about immigrants -- no one is objecting to having more people come to America. The question is about two decisions. One is: Who should be preferred -- skilled or unskilled people or a mixture of both. The second is: How they get here -- legally, by waiting for years, or illegally.
The mind-set currently in fashion -- again similar to the mind-set used in the Middle East to defend Islamic goals -- is to blame everything wrong in the system on the outside world, especially the West. Loathing oneself, in Western culture, has now been elevated to a badge of honor. This view does not go unnoticed by enemies of the West. Instead of searching for solutions that work for America to make it better, many Americans seem to want to overthrow everything – even the good parts. America's enemies love watching that, especially when Americans agree with them to blaming the West and especially white people. It is a marriage of Western self-loathing with Islamic loathing-of-the-other: they both loathe the same thing.
I remember, as a new immigrant, hearing a distinguished white professor in Berkeley say, "The white male is the most oppressive in the world'. I told him, "I was raised under the cruelty of Sharia law and the Islamic authority for thirty years. I find the Western white male culture to be more gentlemanly towards women than any other culture in the world". I asked him if he knew that slavery flourished under Muslims before America was ever discovered, and that it still does today.
Many in America who have already bought into this lie about "oppression" sound as if they are in a state of rage against their own country. To these dissatisfied Americans -- as to Muslims who love Sharia -- any resistance to their goals is seen as "racism" and as a treason that should never be forgiven. To them, as to Muslim extremists, people who do not agree with them deserve to be humiliated, made into examples before the rest of the population, reduced to a minority status, then, if they keep "causing trouble," eventually eliminated.
As an immigrant to the US I could not get over how uncomfortable it is to see American pop culture have made it "cool" to suppress the natural tendency of citizens to love and want to preserve one's country, culture and way of life. In the new equation, loving and treasuring America and its history, errors and all, has become an unforgivable racial sin. What these critics also fail to see is that America is one of the few countries that owns up to what is wrong and often tries to fix it.
When it comes to non-white immigrants, however, many Americans are inconsistent. Immigrants are frequently encouraged to do just the opposite of what many in America urge white Americans to do: take pride in their original culture and continue practicing and preserving their old customs and way of life. It was so uncomfortable when Americans shamed me for being critical of my old culture -- life under Sharia -- and for wanting to change, adapt to America, assimilate. The bias of many Americans against American values has blinded them from seeing the reasons we immigrants went through hell to come to this country. Many Americans believe that those who criticize the culture from which we escaped must be "Islamophobic." They seem not to understand why we never again want to see what we have gone through so much to escape from.
It is, in fact, much harder to choose not to assimilate than just to go along and assimilate. That is why progressives, in my opinion, are repressive and wrong for encouraging immigrants and minorities to stay just the way they were in the old country. It is against human nature to continue living in a sub-culture from which one has just fled.
American capitalism, while perhaps not perfect, has lifted more people out of poverty than any other economic system in history, yet it is viewed by progressives, as "racist." Many American seem to be trying to drill that into in the mind of Americans. They seem to think that because the current president is white and a Republican who loves America, then he must be a racist, so they thus have the right to bring him down by any means.
America's sharp divisions have never been clearer. To Americans who like the current administration, it represents independence from government and saving America from a nanny state that risks becoming increasingly authoritarian and that wants to destroy American sovereignty. To Americans who dislike the current administration, it is thwarting their plans to change America fundamentally by bringing in new voters to replace those from the old American culture.
The bad news -- from someone who was born and raised in Egypt -- to those who think that replacing Americans or Europeans with a third world citizenry is a good idea: it is actually reckless, destructive and will end up burning those who are playing with such fire. Just ask any third world leaders how easily they manage their population.
As one of the millions of grateful immigrants, we have been watching America on our televisions and in movies to take our minds off of the oppressive reality of life in third world countries. We loved the American movies of John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and James Dean whose name until today is used in Egyptian pop culture as a symbol for being "cool." We watched American freedoms as a dream: to be able to smile back at a man who opened the door for you without accusations of being a loose woman for smiling. To be able to wear what you want, go out when you want, work or get an education or not and venture to hope one day to live under a system that respects monogamy and equal rights for women and minorities. Yes, it is the American culture where whites are the majority, no problem with that, that made our dreams come true. Despite its shortcomings no other country in the world offers its citizens the chance to be whatever they would like. We might never get back what we already have.
(Image source: Lisa Norwood/Flickr)
Nonie Darwish, born and raised in Egypt, is the author of: "Wholly Different; Why I Chose Biblical Values Over Islamic Values"