African America, Polyglot Britain
My Sunday column tries to channel and summarize a week's "Whose Country?" discussion on the Dish. Money quote:
In human history there is no purity, only change. There is no stability, only flux. The past always inhabits the present, even as the present tries to distort or co-opt the past in its own myths and dreams. That many white Americans do not even acknowledge or realise how black they are and that many African-Americans do not grasp how utterly different they have become from those Africans they were forced to leave behind centuries ago does not alter this reality. In some ways, it deepens it. It is so deep it has become unconscious.
These varied roots, these mongrel evolutions, this hybrid inheritance make us who we are. And it is this mixture that is authentically American, just as the wave after wave of immigration, ancient and modern, has made Britain Britain.
It is a pied kind of beauty, this diversity. And those who wish to simplify it, to reduce it to some biological or racial element that renders us something other than we actually are, are not in any way conservatives. They are fantasists and bigots, deaf to the music true nations make, and the many variations that still make their melodies soar.