Class / Fun / writing

Poor Writing? Or Bad Idea?


This from discussion of 12 Years a Slave  in Salon.com

Fassbender, the German-born star who plays Ejiofor’s character’s owner, noted that Europe had worked out many of the issues America still grapples with. “America is such a young country and with that it has all the promise and hope and the land of opportunity and people can really start at the bottom and make whatever they want out of their lives if they put the energy in and luck and anything else alongside it,” he said. “I think it’s an extraordinary place. But you know, I guess we just have a longer history of beating each other up in Europe and wars and whatnot.” (He noted that, in Europe, people of Romani descent “get the rough end of the stick.”)

“The issues America still grapples with” is, you know, race, history of racism, equality and so on.  Ok, this irks me because  either

1) The quote from Fassbender is utterly unrelated to “those issues.”

2) Or, it is somehow, and Fassbender somehow thinks Europe gets a higher grade on racial and ethnic pluralism.  Ahem ahem.  Well, you know, White America, WAS Europe/European.  The colonization of the rest of the world.  Race/ethnicity riots, especially since the 1990s…

Their whole history since the onset of nation states in 1500-1600s can be read as one long march toward homogeneity, with the Balkan wars being one of the last spasms.  And now that globalization puts pressure on their borders and changing demographics, they hand-wring endlessly about how the “others’ in their midst need “assimilation.”

I can love and criticize the USA.  But I hardly think Europe is the benchmark for having “worked through these issues.”

I hope it is #1.

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