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In which country have you discovered after spending some years that local citizens are chauvinists? Not racists but extreme nationalists?
What you’re after is a country with an exaggeratedly strong nationalism, to the point of chauvinism, but not spilling over into racism. So you want a maxed out civic nationalism.
France invented civic nationalism, but they asssimilated all their indigenous minorities aggressively, and they’ve botched their assimilation of the Beurs, so that’s not a good example.
I’ve lived in three countries, Australia, America, and Greece, all with healthy chauvinism.
There is a (popular?) school of thought in Greece that is xenophobic and racist. There is an (elite?) school of thought in Greece that emphasises culture over ethnicity, and exults that as long as you embrace our culture, you’re one of us. And they trot out Isocrates, Panegyricus §50 to support that: Isocrates
I have no problem accepting what Wikipedia says—that this is not what Isocrates meant at all, and the passage was actually an assertion of Athenian cultural chauvinism. And I don’t care. It’s a valid viewpoint, not because Isocrates did or didn’t say it, but because civic nationalism is a healthy thing that the Balkans needs more of.
Historically, “people are called Greeks because they share in our education” is what’s happened with the Arvanites and the Vlachs, to mention the two “loyal minorities”. And my (elite?) heart rejoices, when I see little second generation Zaireans speaking in Greek slang. Or knowing that the Nigerian Dr. Sam Chekwas so fell in love with Greek culture while he studied there, that he ran the only Greek bookstore in Astoria NY (Greektown, America), for decades.
You know the Greek Nazis chanting Δε θα γίνεις έλληνας ποτέ, Αλβανέ, Αλβανέ? (“You’ll never be a Greek, Albanian!”)
Those fuckers will never be as Greek as Dr Sam Checkwas.
… But. That’s the elite storyline. I think the popular storyline is winning. And that Greek nationalism is contaminated with racism.
Australian nationalism was contaminated with racism from the beginning. The White Australia policy wasn’t an aberration, it was part of what defined both the Commonwealth of Australia and the Australian labour movement.
It got up-ended in the late seventies, by the elite. The elite defined Australia to have civic nationalism. That was the actual point of multiculturalism—a point lost on the masses, who think it was only about “um… cuisine?”
Once again, I rejoice in that civic nationalism. I rejoice that I can be proud to be a citizen of this country, without having to genuflect at the altar of Damper (food) and Aussie Rules. I rejoice that no fucker gets to tell me “Go back to where you came from”.
But that’s a luxury of Greeks now being pretty well assimilated (I’m an outlier generationally—my parents came here at the end of the wave, and I spent time growing up in Greece). As you may know from the news, plenty of Australians never stopped telling people to Go back to where they came from; they just have been targeting more recent arrivals. And blocking even more.
So Australia’s not off the hook either.
The US, too, was founded on racism.
But you tell me, American Quorans. Can an African-American, despite the lynchings and the whips, despite the microaggressions and the macroaggressions, despite feeling besieged and occupied in their own country—look at the flag, and still say “USA! Fuck yeah!”?
If they can, Dimitris, you have your answer.
For every meme, there is an equal and opposite, except even dumber meme. But somehow…
… I think the existence of this meme means something.