Furthest Right

Outsiders Forever: The Plight Of Near-Whites In White Society

Disgraced and disheveled starlet groper Harvey Weinstein made them news when someone forgot to pay image protection money and the casting couch, which everyone has known about for almost a century, was thrust into the public light. Weinstein was not the bad guy he was made out to be, but a businessman offering to use his position of power to give exposure to starlets in exchange for, er, exposure of a different kind.

On a broader level, his predictable but unexpected downfall reveals to us the struggle of near-whites in a white society that they can never enter because genetically, they belong to a different society. As Tablet Magazine reveals, Weinstein’s desires echo a familiar theme for outsiders who can never quite be white:

Roth captured the particular anxiety of the Jewish American man in the twentieth century, finally coming into power but, having not grown up with it, unsure of what he’s supposed to do now. All those years craving unattainable Gentiles, but never before the means to entice them. The result is Alexander Portnoy of Portnoy’s Complaint, a grown man whose emotional and sexual life is still all one big performance piece, just as it had been when he was a teenager and pleasured himself with a piece of liver.

Roth is crap; for whatever reason, Jews cannot do literature or classical music, at least at any level that matches the upper echelon of the Western canon. But he hits on the outsider nature of being a near-white, which is to have many of the same abilities as the WASP elite, but never to be able to join. Whether Jewish, Irish, Italian, Greek, Polish or half-Syrian like Steve Jobs, the boundary is always there.

Through this condition we can see how diversity fails those that it claims to raise: they may be granted access to a society, but they can never become part of its founding group or do what that group did, so they are thrust into the role of actors, playing out a script in which they emulate but can never join the core of that society.

This makes me think of friends who, half-Jewish and half-WASP, found themselves with a foothold in both groups, but an identity in neither. They ended up alienated from two communities instead of one, except for a very few who chose an identity early and then buried the other half of their heritage. The ones who chose to be Jewish turned out happier.

Diversity conveys social acceptance, but that is different than membership in a group, which since it is genetic, excludes all but the lucky hybrids who are both able to pass, visually, for a member of that group, and able to act like members of that group through an unconscious tendency. Otherwise, they live in constant fear of being found out and revealed as frauds.

This is why Weinstein used a vast network of allies cultivated through quid-pro-quo arrangements in order to conceal his perversity, much like many other Hollywood power brokers are doing so today:

After intense pressure from Weinstein, which included having Matt Damon and Russell Crowe call me directly to vouch for Lombardo and unknown discussions well above my head at the Times, the story was gutted.

I was told at the time that Weinstein had visited the newsroom in person to make his displeasure known. I knew he was a major advertiser in the Times, and that he was a powerful person overall.

One of the factors that drives outsider success is that by definition they cannot join that society, so they have to fake it, which requires attaining power and wealth to feel good about themselves at a minimum, where natives have the “privilege” of feeling at home in their skin in a country created by people like them, for people like them, exhibiting the preferences and aesthetics of people like them.

This means that, like Jay Gatsby (née Gatz) in The Great Gatsby, they are forever outsiders. They can imitate, but not fully join, and this is as much a consequence of their inner knowledge as external constraints. Diversity does not work. It makes alienated imitators of us all.

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