In these pages I often stress the persistence of African cultural traits in the New World. Those traits came from Africans brought here during the Slave Trade.
From an African perspective, it is almost like the Trade never existed. Africans are often puzzled when we Anglos and African-Americans here on this side of the Atlantic see connections between them and people over here. They are saying, “I don’t see it.”
Of course, Africans are focusing on the differences between themselves and Afro-Americans, but especially African-Americans.* Over here, many marginalized people are looking for roots and turn to Africa. There is a disconnect there.
From the European perspective, the colonies were supposed to remain……. well, colonial. The British still refer jokingly to the U.S. as the colonies. Underneath that is a deeply held perspective that the essence of their culture lies in Europe and the Americas are an afterthought. And there is the problem. A great many Anglo-Americans and Hispanics of the New World cling to an identity based on their European origins; large numbers of dark-skinned Latin-Americans and Mexicans and Caribenos stress their “Spanish” origins. One man we knew even insisted he was White because of that Spanish heritage despite being close to my wife’s color.
White Americans invoke their European and especially North Atlantic origins to explain their prominence in American history and life. IOW, they see the U.S. as an outpost of European civilization and often invoke it. This has always been an element in American conservatism and recently has come to the fore as more and more people are emboldened by Trump’s open racism and anti-immigration rants, even as they fail to recognize his mother was born in Scotland and his grandfather in Germany. Trump plays on this ignorance, but more deeply, he probes the DNA of the country in White Supremacy, an essential element in maintaining Black slavery here.
Back to the colonial attitude toward the Americas. This ambiguity in American (U.S.) thought allows White Americans to proclaim their independence from Europe and their uniqueness and exceptionalism and nationalism vis-a-vis Europe while at the same time claiming all the heritage of European civilization. Because their conception of conservatism is of the Blood and Soil type, Whiteness then becomes essential once more. Just as Europeans claimed to be direct inheritors of Classical civilization despite about a thousand years of Dark Ages barbarism, so White Americans claim their descent from Charlemagne and Caesar to justify their leadership role in the society. No other need apply.
Later I will add to this how this pov is passed on, generation to generation. Hint: look at some American history textbooks or just read Lies My Teacher Told Me.