Taking White Interests Seriously?05-26-2019
...first the decline of white majorities and second, the claim that white majorities will be replaced by a “very rapidly rising mixed-race population that will become the majority and will take over the consciousness, memories, and myths of that current ethnic majority.” Kauffman argues that this transformation from a white to a mixed-race ethnic majority needs to be taken seriously if it is not to lead to right-wing populism and polarization. Chotiner asks Kauffman:
You write, “If politics in the West is ever to return to normal rather than becoming even more polarized, white interests will need to be discussed. I realize this is very controversial for left-modernists. Yet not only is white group self-interest legitimate, but I maintain that in an era of unprecedented white demographic decline it is absolutely vital for it to have a democratic outlet.” Can you say a little bit more about what specifically you’re arguing for?
Kauffman responds explaining the thesis of his book, that white interests need to be accounted for.
Kauffman will be speaking at the Hannah Arendt Center Conference on Racism and Antisemitism on Oct. 10-11, 2019. . You can read about the conference here.
Yes. Part of this comes from a view that what’s ultimately behind the rise of right-wing populism are these ethnic-majority grievances, particularly around their decline, and that ultimately this is about nostalgia and attachment to a way of life or to a particular traditional ethnic composition of a nation. Wanting for that not to erode too quickly is the motivation. I think the survey data show that it’s much more about that than about material things, for example, or even fears. It’s about attachment to one’s own group rather than hatred of other groups. This is an important distinction. The survey data from the American National Elections Study show that whites who feel very warmly toward whites are not any more cold toward, say, African-Americans, than whites who aren’t very warm toward whites.
[Chotiner] When you say that “white interests” will need to be discussed in politics, I presume you acknowledge that the interests of white people are generally taken into account as much as any group, if not more than other groups. Do you mean explicitly discussed?
[Kauffman] There should be an equal treatment of groups in the cultural sphere. There’s no question whites are advantaged economically, politically. I’m not going to dispute that. But in the cultural sphere, on immigration, the group whose numbers have declined, or who experienced a more rapid sense of change and loss due to migration, are the white majority. If, for example, they’re saying, “We would like to have a slower rate of change to enable assimilation to take place,” I think that’s actually a legitimate cultural interest. It doesn’t mean that it should drive policy. I think a moderate group self-interest is fine.