The Fallacy of Swarthmore’s Anti-Americanism

For those who are unaware, a student group called the Swarthmore Indigenous Students Association (SISA) is currently leading a petition to remove the American flag from Parrish. More disturbingly, they decided to hold a private ceremony with about 40 people on Columbus Day, which involved the burning of an American flag. I felt that it was worth discussing the event and SISA’s general sentiments with two participants after its conclusion. I approached two girls to ask about the event. I was met with suspicion because it was apparently a closed event reserved for dedicated neo-Marxist radicals. One girl confirmed that there was a flag burning held. I pressed her for the justification, and her explanation essentially conveyed that the United States is an irredeemable terror state which was founded upon genocide, racism, and imperialism. When I inquired as to her personal background, she revealed that her father was a migrant refugee, who today does not have strong personal objections to his move here.

This implies a fundamental contradiction in leftist doctrine. If America is indeed an irredeemable hellhole of racism and oppression, what possible benefit would people gain from migrating here from their own diverse and inclusive countries? Wouldn’t bringing up America’s horribleness be a great argument in favor of Trump’s wall, as it would protect innocent migrants from inadvertently arriving at the gates of their doom? And why would those who hold our flag in such contempt not choose to emigrate?

My mother grew up in the former Soviet Union. She claimed that Russians had promoted an intolerant, jingoistic culture which strove to violently subjugate all dissent, that she had faced intense discrimination as a Jewish woman, and that the Communist Party’s economic policies resulted in a great lack of essential resources. Accordingly, she fled the country as soon as she finished college. Thus, it is certainly plausible that some of those who claim to despise our flag actually recognize America’s inherent greatness, and are only acting this way to fluster their Baby Boomer parents.

All jokes aside, it is a travesty that so many of our own fellow community members seem to hate their own nation. It reflects massive failures on the part of our educations. Apparently students are not aware that in recent years, America has enjoyed one of the most tolerant cultures in the world [1]. It is magnificent that we have the potential to see past each other’s ethnicities and regard all fellow Americans equally; the Far-Left’s promotion of divisive identity politics [2] and America-bashing is the greatest threat to reversing this progress. Additionally, the mainstream media needs to stop validating the Alt-Right demagogues by making an extreme minority of racists appear as a formidable political school. I am not arguing that all criticisms of US society are unwarranted, as people of color continue to face systemic oppression in tangible forms, but not by the party you’re thinking of [3], or by the police [4].

However, what is objectionable is that modern Americans are stereotyped as racist colonizers, encouraged to forget the societal and technological advances which their country has promoted, and even worse, are fed the outright lie that no other cultures have engaged in imperialism or violence. By neo-Marxist logic, we need to burn Chinese flags to protest the invasions of Tibet and Manchuria, Russian flags for the entirety of Central Asia and the Caucasus, Aztec symbols for the innumerable children they sacrificed, Islamic flags for the Armenians, Bedouins, and North Africans, and so on. I’m not justifying warlike behavior, all I’m saying is that it is absurd to only complain, with such vitriol, about America having done it decades ago.

Now, before the flag-burners rush down to the comments section to accuse me of being a “Nazi”, as radicals are always wont to do when faced with contradictory facts, I want to again make it clear that I consider all racial hatred and collectivism to be abhorrent, and regard everyone as equals. I am a great believer in Sun Tsu’s saying that one should always know their enemies, so I would encourage all readers to research what neo-Nazi bigots are like in their own words. No, they aren’t [5] “everyone who voted for Trump”, you’ll have to look at Stormfront or The Daily Stormer. You will find that they despise the idea of peaceful coexistence with people of different origins and opinions. They are blind worshippers of Hitler, an America-hating Socialist dictator who blamed all of his problems on ethnicities he deemed privileged, and tried to rewrite Western history and traditions to suit his own perverse narrative; which side of today’s Culture War does that sound more like?

(Image Credit: ShutterStock)

  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/05/15/a-fascinating-map-of-the-worlds-most-and-least-racially-tolerant-countries/?utm_term=.8a917434c45b
  2. https://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/opinion/sunday/the-end-of-identity-liberalism.html?mc=aud_dev&mcid=fb-nytimes&mccr=NovMidMC&mcdt=2016-11&subid=NovMidMC&ad-keywords=AudDevGate&referer=http%3A%2F%2F
  3. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/440412/democrats-favoring-blacks-has-only-hurt-them-culturally-and-politically
  4. https://www.wsj.com/articles/time-to-end-the-demonizing-of-police-1468363042?mg=prod/accounts-wsj
  5. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/08/us/politics/election-exit-polls.html

7 comments

  1. “I would argue that people of color continue to face systemic oppression in tangible forms, but not by the party you’re thinking of [3], or by the police [4].”

    ???!!?

    That’s literally false. How can you say you’re against racial hatred and still believe that POC aren’t facing oppression by the police? Maybe you should tell that to Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland and Eric Garner OH WAIT YOU CANT BECAUSE THE COPS MURDERED THEM

    Sounds oppressive to me idk

  2. There’s an essential question in this piece that I don’t think you’ve adequately addressed: “Why are so many Americans disillusioned by their country?” If your only interest in writing is to critique belief systems to which you don’t subscribe, you 1) open yourself up to scrutiny, because it reveals your essential lack of knowledge about the thing your critiquing [is it neo-liberalism, of which you are an active participant by attending Swarthmore? is it leftism, because you chose to come to a liberal arts college with a tradition of leftist activism? Is it the ways that people of color move through space and experience history? Because if it is, you can’t really know how indigenous folks see American history outside of what they’ve told you, and you still managed to project your beliefs onto that, which isn’t good journalistic practice, even if it’s an op/ed] and 2) further, and do not remedy, the political rifts you’re attempting to bring attention to. Writing things like this don’t make leftists look at themselves in the mirror; it only rallies conservatives to despise them even more. That’s not an intervention. It’s a circle jerk.

    Perhaps you should interrogate your unabated patriotism, which for many people of color, is just as alarming as their lack thereof. It seems this is the limitation of your critique; your unwillingness to see how YOU as the writer-critic figure in all of this, and how your positionality influences the ways you are seeing things. People of color are tired of people like you being the ones who get to dictate history, and when the histories of the world have been written by people like you, their presences are erased. Perhaps after doing that, you won’t be so inclined to write such things and feel so confidently about your offensive beliefs.

  3. In my opinion, this was a terrible opinion piece. The points you decide to make: arguing that welfare programs are more oppressive than police brutality (and that’s why Dems are worse for PoC), implying that protesting the state of our country is a tantrum directed at our parents, and finally the self-victimizing “inb4 you call me a nazi” all were very weak points that only serve to divide people further and show your misguided condescension.

  4. this is literally such a terrible piece of writing. how can u have such an un-nuanced understanding of something, and yet feel confident enough to write about it…oh wait I know exactly the circumstances of how this might happen 🙂

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