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As I have noted before, the 21st narrative of white privilege is in many ways simply a normative inversion of the 19th century narrative of white supremacy.All this leads to the strangeness of American in 2012 which might perplex outsiders.After 250 years they have only the vaguest recollections of the nature of their British antecedents.In Ornamentalism David Cannadine makes the case that the British saw their Empire through the lens of class as much, or more than, race.The poorest white was superior to the wealthiest non-white in the social culture of the United States in the 19th century. But today the elision of distinctions among white Americans without explicit ethnicity (e.g., Polish, Jewish, etc.), those whites whose Anglo-American heritage is part of the cultural DNA of this nation, results in the bracketing of all together as beneficiaries of white privilege.This position of Scots-Irish as part of the aristocracy of race and white skin privilege leads to perverse situations.That is, a parochial clannish folk trying to hold onto to their traditions, albeit with the downside of being inward looking and often regressive (downside from the perspective of Westerners that is).
If you are not aware (e.g., you are not American) the Scots-Irish in this context refers to a melange of peoples who emigrated to the New World from Ireland and the border region between Scotland and England in the middle of the 1700s.On the other hand, when I’ve been introduced to their clan-based social structures by close friends, it is a uniquely close-knit and life-affirming culture that I’ve been honored to participate in.