Channel 4 News in the UK has been promoting that Gary Younge, author, broadcaster and editor-at-large for The Guardian, interviewed Richard Spencer as part of Younge’s “personal journey across white America.” Based on the promoted video, the “interview” lasted for less than three minutes, and it mostly involved Younge arguing with and speaking over Spencer. There were two real points of contention. First, Younge rejected the notion that blacks are better off today in the West than those in Africa because slavery happened to their ancestors. Second, he also rejected the notion that ethnicity is defining for a person or people relative to modern citizenship papers. Spencer calmly discussing those two issues is all that it took for Younge to become irritated, begin insulting Spencer, and storm off without finishing the interview.
This would be interesting in its own right because it shows a supposed journalist being incapable of contending with an opposing viewpoint in a civilized manner, but it is also interesting in that leftists have responded positively to his behavior. An Amra Rafiq said that Younge is an “awesome man.” Another leftist said that Younge “was hugely professional in the face of patronising racism and staggering ignorance.” A Jo Plumridge said that Younge “handled that ignorant racist beautifully.” Again, all Younge did was loudly make his own assertions with no factual or logical basis before storming off in a huff. The interview segment of the video lasted for less than three minutes, and most of that involved the interviewer talking over the interviewee. And the supposed intellectual giants of the Left see nothing whatsoever wrong with that.
And, to be sure, there was no factual or logical basis for Younge’s assertions. For example, per the CDC, 86.4% of non-Hispanic blacks in America are rated as having good to excellent health, 76.3% are overweight or obese, 88.8% under the age of 65 have some sort of health insurance coverage, and they have an infant mortality rate of 10.93 per 100,000. Life expectancy for black Americans is 76 years. Compare this to Sub-Saharan Africa where 1 in 4 people is undernourished despite tens of billions of dollars in aid being sent by the West, life expectancy is only 46 years, and an infant mortality rate that is more than 3 times as high as black Americans. By any reasonable measure, blacks in America are better off than blacks in Africa, and it isn’t even close. If you took race out of it and offered a chance to live in A or B based on the above, no rational person would choose Africa. Younge tried to avoid this reality in two ways. First, he asserted that slavery counterbalanced any benefit today so that it is still offensive to suggest blacks benefit from being in the West. Second, he suggested that Africa would actually be much better off today had the slaves been left there.
This is interesting, but Younge does not give any reasoned arguments beyond the assertions. Africans in America are demonstrably better off than those in Africa today, but somehow a practice that ended 152 years ago negates reality today. Also, he fails to explain how the 10 million or so Africans embarked on the transatlantic slave trade would have benefited Sub-Saharan Africa by remaining, which is a rather important detail considering that “the majority of people who were transported to the Americas were enslaved by other Africans” with Europeans having “little contact with the actual process of enslavement.” Is Younge then suggesting that Africa would have benefited by keeping their slaves as domestic labor as opposed to trading them for rum and weapons? This speaks to the revisionist history that liberals peddle about slavery today. Mr. Younge clearly views slavery as being black and white (literally), and there is no thought given to what actually happened. In essence, blacks were forced to do what whites couldn’t or wouldn’t do themselves.
This helps to explain what we can call the “tool theory of art” wherein the means by which a work of art is completed is more important than the artist wielding said means. For example, let’s say that an artist has something in mind, and he can choose the hammer and chisel to make a beautiful statue or the brush and palette for a beautiful painting. The artist weighs his options and decides that the painting would be easier. Once done, Mr. Younge would tell the artist that it was the brush that was actually responsible for the resulting work of art. That is why he claims that blacks built the US and UK, even declaring that slaves “literally built the White House.” When Spencer laughingly replied, “Because we made them do it,” he got to the heart of the mental gymnastics involved here. Look at the great castles and cathedrals of Europe that were built entirely without African labor. Does anyone doubt that whites could have built the White House without the same? Now, look at African architecture in the absence of outside influence. Do we have any reason to believe the White House needed their input? In other words, the artist may have chosen the brush, but he could have just as easily chosen the chisel. The brush was not responsible for how it was wielded.
The reason the “tool theory of art” exists is because even the radical Republicans in the 1860’s considered deporting blacks, and “Back to Africa” movements have even existed among blacks into the 20th century. The radical progressives, which controlled the Republicans during the Progressive era and later the Democrats, knew, however, that they would need black voters to support their Marxist agenda, which is why the NAACP was founded by Jewish and white Marxists and supported early by the Communists. Blacks looking at America knew it was not of their making and was not born from their peoples or cultures, which is precisely why the early 20th century saw “Moorish Science” rise leading to misguided notions about “Moor” referring to blacks, that Islam is the native religion of blacks, and, ultimately, that the Ancient Egyptians were black. In short, the blacks themselves were looking to Africa and Asia for meaning with popular figures encouraging them to actually move there. The “tool theory” instead teaches blacks to not only view America as being their creation but that it was stolen from them, or “appropriated,” by whites.
That is why blacks today claim responsibility for music based on European instruments and hymns; claim food and spices that Europeans cultivated and imported; claim fashion derived from European clothing; and so on. They are responsible for literally everything in the West because of slavery. You can point out that the agricultural labor force in 1860 was 5.9 million while there were only 2.3 million slaves, but they will tell you that slaves were the labor force, that they built the White House, that they laid the railroads, and probably that they won the Revolution. They not only feel part of host nations, but they actually feel entitled to them.
Indeed, when Spencer stated that Younge’s ancestors did not build the UK, he responded, “My ancestors built it tenfold and weren’t paid for it.” That is interesting considering that Younge’s parents were from Barbados, an island that used West African slaves on sugar plantations from the 1640’s to the 1830’s. We must then assume that Mr. Younge thinks that less than 200 years of slavery meant tenfold to the UK relative to everything that happened prior to the mid-17th century. Britons, Gaels, Picts, Saxons, Normans, Norse… all of their contributions combined cannot match the “tenfold” contribution of Younge’s ancestors spending a few generations on sugar plantations. Mr. Younge obviously knows that his people are not British, but he feels entitled to Britain anyway because his ancestors were slaves and he was born in England. When he was challenged by someone who is ethnically English, all he could do was declare the interview over, his baseless entitlement to someone else’s nation, culture, and heritage exposed for any rational person to see.
Thus, the leftists witnessing the show must rely on mental gymnastics to avoid the obvious and preserve the narrative. That is why Jo Plumridge asked, “He’s as British as I am. What is ethnically British anyway?” She simultaneously assures us that Younge is just as British as her yet also that “British” is meaningless anyway. His ancestors did not build the UK. They were not in Britain for any of the grand events throughout its history. It is not his culture or heritage. Britain was already a unique entity by the time Barbados had its first African slaves, and no amount of sugar produced by those plantations would give the descendant of those slaves a “tenfold” claim to Britain today. It is beyond offensive to people whose ancestors actually built it.
Despite the Left’s constant blathering about loving facts, science, and the like, this situation perfectly demonstrates their anti-intellectualism. Spencer could have pointed out the myriad of ways that blacks are better off in the West than in Africa. He could have highlighted the fact that Mr. Younge’s ancestors were enslaved and sold by other Africans and that a few generations providing labor on sugar plantations in the early modern period has nothing whatsoever to do with building Britain. Spencer also could have highlighted that slaves were never a majority of agricultural labor in the United States, and he could have elaborated on the fact that the artist is responsible for the art rather than the tool that he wielded. No amount of facts would have changed Mr. Younge’s beliefs, and nothing would have prevented Ms. Plumridge from saying, “I adore our vibrant culture and heritage” while actually referring to it as “a multicultural society.”
They are two sides of the same rootless coin. One stealing another’s heritage, the other trying to give it away, neither really understanding how ludicrous they sound trying to justify it. And this is being presented by Channel 4 as news, something worthy of consumption as a serious look at “white America.” An African pretending to be an Englishman yelling at an Americo-Englishman about how it is racist to think England is for Englishmen, all while the liberal horde of rootless orcs cheer and snarl their approval of the African’s cultural thievery. These same leftists would tell us that it is “cultural appropriation” for a white person to have dreadlocks, but they see nothing wrong with an African wearing Britishness as a costume that is entirely disconnected from the peoples and cultures of Britain, a costume anyone can simply “wear.”