On hyper-racism & speciation, pt. 2

On hyper-racism & speciation, pt. 2

Do not, gentle reader, think that I’ve forgotten about my earlier unsavory post on this subject, or my equally unsavory commitment to a post on “hyper-racism” in The Book of Mormon.

I haven’t forgotten. I’m actively avoiding it, so I don’t have to write sentences like these:

“[ineffectual prepositional clause of moral handwringing], there is a wealth of textual evidence, especially for Mormons, suggesting that otherness, racial paranoia, discrimination up to the point of genocide, and neo-speciation—that is, exit pursued at the genetic level, either through isolation & time, gene-editing, or divine intervention—these are capital-D Divine tools used to achieve the ends of providential Xtianity. God smirks (yes, He smirks) when he reads (yes, He reads) a passage like the following, from Parkman’s The Oregon Trail (1849),

For the most part, a civilized white man can discover but very few points of sympathy between his own nature and that of an Indian. With every disposition to do justice to their good qualities, he must be conscious that an impassible gulf lies between him and his red brethren of the prairie. Nay, so alien to himself do they appear, that having breathed for a few months or a few weeks the air of this region, he begins to look upon them as a troublesome and dangerous species of wild beast, and if expedient, he could shoot them with as little compunction as they themselves would experience after performing the same office upon him.

“because his plan of cursing Native Americans with a sore cursing, so that ‘they shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in the ways of remembrance,’ is working out just fine.” I don’t want to write stuff like that.

But I should at least, in light of recent news that the first human embryos have been edited in the U.S., draw your attention to poet Ronald Johnson, and his farsightedness when he said that “the old God may have had his home in church, but the new one lives at M.I.T.

He’s right. Except that he’s wrong—the location has changed, but it’s the same God up to his old tricks. Any guesses on who’s going to get scourged?

3 thoughts on “On hyper-racism & speciation, pt. 2

  1. Pursuant to our conversation about the tedious Marilynne Robinson, the Indian-as-scourge motif is also a Puritan trope, as in Mary Rowlandson’s Narrative: “Though many times they would eat that, that a hog or a dog would hardly touch; yet by that God strengthened them to be a scourge to His people.” Taken together, Rowlandson and Robinson make me think that one object of any coming scourge will be, to refer to another phrase we once discussed, “the cultural authority of middle-class woman.” Which, if history is cyclical rather than providential/progressive, very much did get scourged the last time spiralling inequality and racial/ist terror had to be violently arrested–by two world wars, several revolutions, and the ascension of “big government” in all political/economic systems, as well as, in culture, modernism. Hence the nearly half century trough between first and second waves of feminism.

    1. I cringe at the return of that phase (you have no fear), but you’re right: from fixations on “cucks,” sexual violence, #tradlife, etc. on the right, to irruptions like The Handmaid’s Tale, the Women’s March, Themyscira, et al. on the left, “the cultural authority of middle-class women” seems to be one of the lost objects out of which our current collective hysteria & outrage is constituted.

      Our Moirai—like the “two girls of early college age” in your “They Are in the Truth” (I still think about that one), they “frighten [us] obscurely.” Even the Emersons among us. I’m mystifying it—the reality won’t be pretty.

      (By the way, I owe you a naīve & glowing fan email for Portraits and Ashes. It was excellent!)

      1. Yes, great examples–I hadn’t put those all together in evidence of my own thesis. As for “two girls of early college age,” they were taken directly from life.

        And thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the book–I look forward to that email!

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