letter from a reader

In response to this post, Christopher Evatt wrote thoughtfully and incisively (I post with his permission): 

Beyond what you mention, I think equating “protection of white, Western cultural heritage” with white nationalism or white supremacy is foolish. It plays into one of many false binaries afflicting our current society – that in order to oppose racism, one must reject Western culture in toto. In the process it gives up far too much. I’m a classical pianist, and most of my work involves performing the music of dead European composers. In that sense, one could say that I have devoted much of my life to the protection and preservation of white, Western cultural heritage. (Of course, the words “white” and “Western”, while meaningful to some extent in present-day American society, elide a lot of finer distinctions otherwise.) But I’m certainly no white nationalist or supremacist because of that. There’s no way I’m going to give up Bach or Beethoven to cosplaying Nazi-wannabes. Just because some people want to use the masterpieces of Western culture to claim superiority for themselves despite not having contributed anything to culture themselves doesn’t mean we should declare appreciation of Western culture as inevitably linked to racial supremacy. I know it’s human nature to swing the pendulum all the way to the other end in reaction to some form of excess (and to be fair, Morris’ piece is among the better of the ex-evangelical genre of writing to which it belongs), but that’s all the more reason why we need to be cautious in our reactions, against all the incentives our present politics and culture hold out to us.

December 5, 2019

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