The Secret Language of White People

The pseudo-cosmopolitan Ta-Nehisi Coates is in Paris, working on his French. The lack of English and his fellow students’ firm belief it is the most important language to know get him on the whole empire kick. As in- as you commonly hear from black supremacists- “black people know all about white people, but white people don’t know about blacks.” Having the dominant language and culture means other people know you, but you don’t know them.

This is not, however, true. Coates thinks from observing white society, and knowing its spoken and written language, he sees and knows if not everything, at least all that matters. But there is a secret language he doesn’t know, and probably can never learn.

Years ago I was visiting my father and we went to go see his brother, who was moving to Arizona to play golf. His house was almost completely empty, and as we walked in through the open garage, we saw a rolled-up set of blueprints leaning in the corner. Looking at it, we saw that they were for one of the championship-winning speedboats my uncle built in the 50’s. My dad, being more sentimental than my uncle, took it inside with us and urged his brother to take it with him to his new home.

At a recent family gathering, my dad mentioned my uncle’s secret- “build it strong, but light.” Strictly speaking, that’s not much of a secret, more of a statement of the obvious. It’s easy build something strong, but too heavy to be functional, and easy to build something light that will break easily. Making something strong and light takes skill. If you can build a boat that’s strong and light, and live in a place isolated by water, you can attack others while staying safe yourself. The secret of world domination was right there gathering dust in the corner of my uncle’s garage.

My dad was no builder. He worked on cars out of financial necessity, but that was it. He had one car he was planning to rebuild, but it just sat in the garage for years until he got rid of it. He was a scientist, and scientists don’t do hands-on. I was thinking about this recently. The neighborhood I lived in as a kid had a lot of engineers and scientists. The engineers usually had elaborate workshops in their garages. The scientists never did- just lots of books. I knew a guy in the Marines whose dad was a nuclear physicist. Gesturing to his refrigerator, he said, “My dad could design this refrigerator, but he could just barely open the door.” My dad designed stuff. He worked on rockets. Later he worked for a medical instruments company. I used to work for a Japanese shipping company. They imported very little from the US- only stuff they absolutely couldn’t make themselves. The Japanese are skilled engineers and superb craftsmen, but there are still things only the European imagination can produce. I walked into the warehouse one day, and there crated up was one of the computer-controlled test devices he had helped design. I felt proud of my dad, in spite of all the trouble I had with him, because he was participating at the pinnacle of human achievement.

Coates says English is a dialect with an army. That’s not right- English is a dialect with a navy, a big difference. Dialects with armies- French, German, Russian, even Arabic- all had good runs, sometimes long runs, but all have fallen in the end. The men in the strong, light ships- the “sea wolves”, the English called them, before the sea wolves became English themselves- were an unstoppable force. Svein Forkbeard conquered England. Hrolfr/Rollo/Roland conquered part of France, then his descendants conquered England. England conquered the world- not a good thing in my mind, but it’s the world we live in.

All these men- the Vikings of old, my father and my uncle- spoke the languages Coates knows or is learning or precursors of them. And yet they spoke another language he doesn’t even know exists, wouldn’t admit exists if he did know, and could never learn even if he wanted to.


About thrasymachus33308

I like fast cars, fast women and southern-fried rock. I have an ongoing beef with George Orwell. I take my name from a character in Plato's "Republic" who was exasperated with the kind of turgid BS that passed for deep thought and political discourse in that time and place, just as I am today. The character, whose name means "fierce fighter" was based on a real person but nobody knows for sure what his actual political beliefs were. I take my pseudonym from a character in an Adam Sandler song who was a obnoxious jerk who pissed off everybody.
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6 Responses to The Secret Language of White People

  1. Hizzle says:

    Blacks are never about functionality, all about appearance. If the Panthers, either in their old iteration or their new, really wanted to do something they wouldn’t have waved their fists, done so much drill and ceremony, and screamed their heads off. Think of what they could have done if they had applied themselves to something besides histrionics and aesthetics. The costumes, the symbols are important, but they have to be tethered to something practical. The Nazis got this righter than anyone else (despite what they obviously got wrong).

    I think this explains why blacks, from the CBC to the current president, are drawn to politics. You just have to look and talk a certain way, and if you inspire confidence, the people who actually know how to do things will surround you and make sure you don’t look like a fool.

  2. Vendikar says:

    any white, the whole notion of black supremacy is nonsense on its face.

    But to a black, especially (oddly enough) the intelligent ones, it is quite real.

    Blacks, the fraction who are smart enough to otherwise function in a white world, often have abilities whites do not, at least not to the same degree and especially relative to overall IQ. Blacks often have certain musical abilities that are highly developed, what we consider “a sense of rhythm”, for example. It’s not uncommon at all in session work to have the blacks be instantly able to grasp odd and complex Middle Eastern time signatures rapidly once it has been demonstrated to them, whereas the whites, often symphonically trained struggle greatly with it.

    Miles Davis and, although he isn’t quite as vocal about it, Wynton Marsalis were/are acknowledged black supremacists. Simply, they defined supremacy in certain musical terms and one thing becoming a confirmed racialist has taught me is they were right. Blacks do some types of musicianship-and I am not talking about ghetto nog rap but the jazz that impressed Ravel and dozens of other great European composers-on average better than whites. That does not offend me because whites can run a modern society and blacks, elite or otherwise can’t.

    I don’t know much about football, but it seems to be agreed that while black quarterbacks have characteristic and distinct limitations they can do certain aspects of the job better than the whites. This does not seem to make them better quarterbacks overall, but that the can do certain things better on average is simply a fact.

    Swedes can design a reliable car, but not a stylish one. Italians vice versa. Blacks are good at some aspects of sports and music, but they can not run a civilization, and usually not even a business above a corner grocery store. I can accept that. I think most whites can too. And blacks also can accept that-when whites run things as in the Jim Crow South. It was a good system.

    • Hizzle says:

      The writer Charles Willeford said Miles Davis used to play with his back to white crowds. Near the end of his life, someone asked him that if he could have one thing, what Miles would want. He thought about it and said, “To get my hands around a white boy’s neck.”

      I personally find jazz music dissonant, and I prefer Bach or Mahler. A lot of conservatives like to quote Thomas Sowell, but I wonder how many of them have read “Black Rednecks and White Liberals,” wherein he blames black pathology (down to using the word “axe” rather than “ask”) on the Scots-Irish who inhabited Dixie and supposedly infected the Negroes. He also said (I can’t verify whether or not it’s true) that blacks from Northern ghetto cities outscored rural whites on the ASVAB.

      But yeah, it is a pointless argument because in groups, and in aggregate, blacks suck. Get three of them together in a room and they’re louder than the chimp house in a city zoo.

  3. Ryu says:

    Hey, good article! I too have noticed the diff between scientists and engineers. STEM can do some amazing things. But I have not found many STEMers who emphasize the physical, or who would make good soldiers.

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