All of the attempts to right former wrongs by multiculturalism have been perpetuated in an attempt to garner the resonance of truer voices, voices more real because they are more diverse. Brown eyed writers and blue eyed ones we used to joke were next, but with the culture of ignorance besetting all contemporary attempts at multicultural reevaluation, I wonder what kind of multicultural world has been envisioned because too much of what we should have been managing ourselves, interpersonally, we have left in the hands of bureaucracy to manipulate, set protocols, establish codes, deliver to us the set of received ideas complete with State sponsored rhetoric and slogans to parrot. We have done much to combat institutional racism, so long as the racism attacked was set against the black bourgeoisie (let’s not consider what we have not done for the black working poor and other poor among African Americans because our Totalitarian Bourgeois Capitalist America has done little for any working poor, working classes, real blue collar classes, or any kind of poor from among any people anywhere).
I met an educated man, a college educated one, post-1960s, somewhere in his forties or early fifties, who could not understand why an American poet made allusions to Greek poetry or mythology in his poems, finding it pretentious . . .but then what has passed for literacy from among educated liberals in America has been too narrowly proscribed leading to narrowing prescriptions held in a system of under-education leading us to where we imagined, in some grotesque Politically Grand Guignol Ping Pong, that Hilary and the Donald were viable candidates for President of the U.S. The contemporary American politically correct version of multiculturalism is definitely too horribly narrowed, far too terribly proscribed to help us manage our social, political and economic affairs. Equally heinously conceived has been the digital tech world thinking it no longer needs the humanities to excel in our world, which is why we have far too many techies from foreign countries working for less than Americans would, and without English. Why? Again, because we have come to a place where the digital middle manager imagines his techies do not need English because his English is already less than what it should be; his semi-literacy is no longer glaring because he surrounds himself with non-natives. Globalization gone wrong, and this is not an appeal to nationalism, which is in reality, the flip side of globalism, neither one organic in its continued ismic referencing of politics, economics or the States relationship to the People, or more impressively, the People’s relationship to State, separate from the State’s manipulation and transformative effects on the People for their becoming a Public in its place. The Public is always the People in service of the State, whether it be Globalized or nationalized.
I’m not speaking of my preferences for a Golden Age in my critique of multiculturalism, not even against multiculturalism in itself. I see the ping-pong played in social commentary between those who believe that it is the best of times or that it is the worst of times, and I ascent to neither. I do not often have an aversion for using superlatives, except where they are inappropriate, and here in analyzing our age, it is inappropriate to assert that it is either the best or worst time. Of course, the same is true of any age throughout history. I have asserted before in another essay, history is not progressive. No, as I have said elsewhere, History is not a river, but an Ocean.
We tell ourselves that our moves toward multicultural corrections are necessary, instead of saying what seems to me to be the prime motive in all diversity, which is, increasing profits by sub-dividing the market. Everything everywhere is in a marketplace. Ideas are in a marketplace; political opinion and policy are in a marketplace, to provide some nominal references. It is not simply our autos or cell phones or fashion that are exchanged in the marketplace, political candidates too are in a marketplace, and it is the nature of the marketplace and how it serves the people’s interests or desires that has changed. There has always been a marketplace for ideas; Socrates philosophized in the marketplaces of Athens. Of course, the objects exchanged are virtually innumerable.
Publishing, for instance, has never been more enamored with any marketing ploy as much as they are with the mandates and dogmas of multiculturalism. Diversity, diversity, diversity, all and only in the name of dollars. I am not so naive that I think dollars are either inappropriate or an evil when considering social change. I am not so pure as to think that money is incidental to how change can be effected. I never respond to the evils of capitalism with communist ideas or ideals.
It is macroeconomics to subdivide the market to increase profit; multiculturalism has subdivided the marketplace for ideas to achieve greater dissemination, thus in the end, greater hegemony, which is exactly what the monied and power eites, with the help of media elites, have become attached to. With enough resenters from formerly beleaguered camps, dollars are right enough. Did we expect a bourgeois capitalist populist society to envision literary truth any other way? Is it different because the authors are women or persons of color or post-colonial, all of these the new status quo?