These are some comments in response to an e-mail Vox posted. They are reasonably general and can therefore be applied to most foreigners living in America. Vox’s response is in the original post.
I’m English and I moved to the States more than 20 years ago, as a young man. I’m a naturalized citizen. I voted for Obama twice and, this time around, I voted for Clinton, but I can understand why people recoil from the worst parts of her candidacy. Regardless, to me, as a European liberal, she was going to protect things that believe in. Not as much as Bernie might have, and I voted for him in the primaries. Anyway, this is all incidental and background. I wanted to ask you about the language of race ebing used by the alt-right and by Trump both during the election and afterward. And whether it makes you feel at all queasy.
As an empathetic person I’m always trying to understand both sides: I can see why someone in Virginia, or Pennsylvania, or Florida, or wherever, is upset that illegal immigrants have taken their jobs. And I understand, and have been outspoken in my way, about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism here, and everywhere. I understand it all. These are real threats, not imagined. But here’s my problem: how do we become unified as a country if some groups have been singled out to be treated differently? My wife was born here in the States, but her family is Filipino. Both her parents are doctors who came to the States in the 1970s. They have lived the American dream. They worked like dogs for years and now they own a big house in the middle of the country, and a house in California, and a house in the Philippines. They have their Audis and there Mercedes and their Porsches. Clearly, they deserve what they have worked for. We disagree politically. They voted for Trump, I think.
My wife is American. Speaks like an American. Went to school and got a master’s degree in America. Highly educated. And we’re waiting for the moment that someone who doesn’t know her walks up to her in a grocery store and tells her to go home. Where is home? She doesn’t speak Tagalog. She can’t go to the Philippines. And why should she. She’s American. Our children, we have three boys. I’m waiting for them to come home from school to tell me a classmate told them they’re different, not American enough, not good enough. That they are what’s wrong with America.
So I’m wondering, does the alt-right have any reservations at all about framing the discussion in this way. Identity politics is only okay if you can know for certain you’re getting the identities right. Isn’t diversity good? Right now, we’re wondering if we should take our American kids and try to get jobs in my native England instead. I’m not being egotistical but I think we have so much to offer America. We can’t do it if people look at my brown children and assume they have no place in shaping it. Do you have any concerns that demonizing the groups that people belong to instead of the bad actors within them will have negative results?
Taken to its logical conclusion: if Trump’s candidacy ignites a race war, would you be happy, or sad, or indifferent?
This e-mail is, itself, an expression of identity politics.
Moving to England would be a very bad idea. The fact is that the UK is going to be far more racist and identitarian than the US in the near future, either because it becomes all Muslim or because it becomes all white.
If you move, move to the Phillipines: your children will integrate much better there around people who look like them. Hell, being a bit lighter-skinned will give them a bit of a leg-up socially.
That said, I don’t necessarily advise moving. On the policy level, I’d support a law that sends you back. On the personal level…I’d say stick it out for now, we aren’t sure how this thing is gonna shake out yet. There might be a small Chinese nation on the West coast soon that you and yours could thrive in, or a reasonably integrated South. All we know is that race war is coming, because that’s what happens when the gravy train stops.
Imagine your neighbors looking at you down a rifle scope and wondering “Is this guy on my side or not?” This is why skin color is so important in a race war, even though it’s not all that important for studying genetic ancestry (unlike, say, bone structure). Go where you look as much like your neighbors as possible.
Diversity + Proximity + Economic Hardship = War. This is why working whites are already up in arms, whereas white elites are being caught completely by surprise.