|Global Divestment Day: South Africa|
82% of African Americans say the world is getting hotter, and 56% correctly identify fossil fuel pollution as the chief cause. That's the reality that 54% of Latinos recognize as well. Compared with 37% of white Americans surveyed.
So the question arises: are white people inherently inferior?
A glance at American politics would suggest that conclusion. Especially when one of the two major political parties is officially stupid on the subject. And most white people are Republicans, as most Republicans are white people. So if a Republican politician is not actually a moron, he or she still has to pretend to be one.
Willed ignorance and strategic stupidity, while probably more dangerous than sincere if psychologically twisted ignorance and stupidity, in the end amount to the same thing, for their clueless selfishness risks the well-being of the planet and the future. Which makes white people seem inferior in more than intelligence.
Those of us Americans who don't get out much anymore may be surprised as how the world views our willed ignorance and sociopathic stupidity, so a reminder such as Ann Jones' bracing piece in TomDispatch ("Is This Country Crazy? Inquiring Minds Elsewhere Want to Know") is a much needed splash of perspective.
Which is why political activities such as Global Divestment Day (today and tomorrow, according to datelines) organized by 350 and related organizations are in fact international, even when their chief aim is to affect policy in the US.
Especially since, as Jones' piece points out, white dominated America is seen not only as shockingly brutal, it is recognized as falling behind the rest of the world, both internally (collapsing physical and social infrastructure) and internationally (collapsing education, health etc. compared to many other countries, including some that Americans have long considered inferior.) It's not that America is the worst. It's the contrast with America at its best, as well as this comparative fall.
That's far from the whole story--America still has vast resources of intelligence and compassion, knowledge and resilience. (It actually takes a lot of energy to keep up the pretense that there is credible evidence the climate crisis isn't happening, or that frigid winter weather in the Eastern US is an argument that there is no global heating.) But it also seems that America is becoming too much like the last days of Rome, decaying at a very bad moment for the world. That possibility also should motivate people to step up their efforts to meet these challenges. Old assumptions no longer accurately reflect the whole reality, for the whole world.