Bad Eagle’s Question

 

The late Dr. David Yeagley, a Comanche Indian (traditional name ‘Bad Eagle’) and college professor, described an interaction that took place in one of his classes. (excerpted)

“LOOK, DR. YEAGLEY, I don’t see anything about my culture to be proud of. It’s all nothing. My race is just nothing.”

The girl was white. She was tall and pretty, with amber hair and brown eyes. For convenience’ sake, let’s call her “Rachel.”

I had been leading a class on social psychology, in which we discussed patriotism – what it means to be a people or a nation. The discussion had been quite lively. But when Rachel spoke, everyone fell silent.

“Look at your culture,” she said to me. “Look at American Indian tradition. Now I think that’s really great. You have something to be proud of. My culture is nothing.”

Her words disturbed and offended me in a way that I could not quite enunciate.

and

When Rachel denounced her people, she did it with the serene self-confidence of a High Priestess reciting a liturgy. She said it without fear of criticism or censure. And she received none. The other students listened in silence, their eyes moving timidly back and forth between me and Rachel, as if unsure which of us constituted a higher authority.

Yeagley saw a resemblance between Rachel and those Frenchwomen who were quick to associate with the conquering Germans…and he wondered:

Who had conquered Rachel’s people? What had led her to disrespect them? Why did she behave like a woman of a defeated tribe?

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  1. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    She had won the war against herself.

     

    • #1
  2. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    Someone taught her that virtue is questioning (hating?) herself and not-questioning (loving?) a random other. That’s pretty powerful.

    There are seven deadly sins. Is “confused self-hatred” an eighth?

    • #2
  3. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Meant to also mention:  Dr Yeagley wrote the above at least 10 years ago, I think more like 20 years ago.  

    Strike me that this may have been an early manifestation of a trend which we are now seeing on a very wide scale.

    • #3
  4. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    David Foster (View Comment):

    Meant to also mention: Dr Yeagley wrote the above at least 10 years ago, I think more like 20 years ago.

    Strike me that this may have been an early manifestation of a trend which we are now seeing on a very wide scale.

    This might be the thing I have read here today that has made me the saddest.

    • #4
  5. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I don’t think that this young woman “Rachel” hates herself.  She hates other white people.  She seems to think quite highly of herself.

    She does seem to get her ideas right out of Rousseau.

    So I don’t think that she’s like the French women who associated with the Germans.  She’s like the French women who eagerly cheered on the Reign of Terror.

    • #5
  6. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    She’s like the French women who eagerly cheered on the Reign of Terror.

    And in the end the mob will say, “Off with her head.”

    • #6
  7. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    I think some people perceive ostentatious guilt as a virtue, perhaps because it implies a sensitivity of spirit. And some just like to be drama queens.

    Beyond that, it wouldn’t surprise me if some deeply insecure people find it easier to just accept defeat in the form of membership in a morally condemned class that is expected to abase itself on command. Then they have the security of knowing where they stand, and also knowing that, since they’ve prostrated themselves to the correct authorities, things probably won’t get any worse for them. That’s a pretty grim thought, but we live in a messed up popular culture right now that celebrates a lot of bad things.

    • #7
  8. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I don’t think that this young woman “Rachel” hates herself. She hates other white people. She seems to think quite highly of herself.

    She does seem to get her ideas right out of Rousseau.

    So I don’t think that she’s like the French women who associated with the Germans. She’s like the French women who eagerly cheered on the Reign of Terror.

    Madame DeFarge, knitting while the National Razor gives haircuts.

    • #8
  9. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    David Foster:

    Yeagley saw a resemblance between Rachel and those Frenchwomen who were quick to associate with the conquering Germans…and he wondered:

    Who had conquered Rachel’s people? What had led her to disrespect them? Why did she behave like a woman of a defeated tribe?

    Armies of school teachers and college professors.

    • #9
  10. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I think some people perceive ostentatious guilt as a virtue, perhaps because it implies a sensitivity of spirit. And some just like to be drama queens.

    It is pride. “I am special; not one of the lumpenproletariat who aren’t even aware of their privilege.”

    • #10
  11. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Percival (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I think some people perceive ostentatious guilt as a virtue, perhaps because it implies a sensitivity of spirit. And some just like to be drama queens.

    It is pride. “I am special; not one of the lumpenproletariat who aren’t even aware of their privilege.”

    Well, if you’re going to go to the effort of self- flagellation and the rending of garments, it’s nice to get some points for it.

    • #11
  12. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    But you know she doesn’t believe a word of what she’s saying; it’s all theater to feed the ego. She has lots of imitators these days.

    • #12
  13. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    The explanation for Rachel is that, with or without knowing it, she’s been programmed to  believe that  appearing to have only contempt for one’s own culture is a sign of sophistication and upper class status when the person appearing that way is white.
    She was status signaling, in other words.

    • #13
  14. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Nah, nothing more than good old fashioned Oikophobia – pick any subject and she will always side with the ‘other’ in conversation.

    My sister has been this way her entire life, anything that is considered normal custom, she is compelled to “the disposition, in any conflict, to side with ‘them’ against ‘us’, and the felt need to denigrate the customs, culture and institutions that are identifiably ‘ours.” — excerpted from the WSJ.

    • #14
  15. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    But you know she doesn’t believe a word of what she’s saying; it’s all theater to feed the ego. She has lots of imitators these days.

    Actually I don’t really think that is completely true.  I don’t think she is being hypocritical intentionally and doesn’t believe what she is saying is true.   I do think this is to feed the ego (hers).  I think she truly believes that her culture is evil and part of the problem.  I think she believes she is enlightened because she recognizes it, which makes her good.  I also think that she believes the only way other cultures can thrive is for her’s to recede.  This is the ultimate form of patronizing.  It is still the white man’s burden to uplift the “lesser” races.  The prescription has just changed.  Ultimately this is possibly the most grotesque thing I think I have seen.  The civilizational equivalent of a martyr complex.  Worse still because to be a martyr at least normally you have to suffer.  Here you get to enjoy the benefits that other members of your civilization are work diligent to expand and provide, while decrying their efforts and being smug self satisfied at your own superiority.   

    • #15
  16. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    It’s not the first time in history such has happened.  There was a fair amount of self-loathing in the French aristocratic class before and during their revolution. And I sometimes wonder whether a similar sentiment is what led some of the British aristocracy to develop strong fascist sympathies before and during WWII — although it’s also possible that their motivations were exactly the opposite. I just don’t know.

    • #16
  17. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    But you know she doesn’t believe a word of what she’s saying; it’s all theater to feed the ego. She has lots of imitators these days.

    Actually I don’t really think that is completely true. I don’t think she is being hypocritical intentionally and doesn’t believe what she is saying is true. I do think this is to feed the ego (hers). I think she truly believes that her culture is evil and part of the problem. I think she believes she is enlightened because she recognizes it, which makes her good. I also think that she believes the only way other cultures can thrive is for her’s to recede. This is the ultimate form of patronizing. It is still the white man’s burden to uplift the “lesser” races. The prescription has just changed. Ultimately this is possibly the most grotesque thing I think I have seen. The civilizational equivalent of a martyr complex. Worse still because to be a martyr at least normally you have to suffer. Here you get to enjoy the benefits that other members of your civilization are work diligent to expand and provide, while decrying their efforts and being smug self satisfied at your own superiority.

    I suspect, but do not know for sure, that you are getting close to the mark. 

    • #17
  18. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and
    @Misthiocracy

    What I find most depressing about this story is the way it illustrates just how effective propaganda actually is.

    One used to scoff at government projects to boost the self esteem of members of minority groups by highlighting their own histories and cultures, because it seemed like a waste of money.  Surely, one thought, they don’t need governments telling them that they and their cultures have value.  Surely they (with the help of their parents) can figure that out for themselves.

    This story seems to prove that hypothesis wrong.  Children raised in an education system that does not celebrate their past actually do seem to learn to loathe themselves as individuals.

    • #18
  19. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Raxxalan (View Comment):
    It is still the white man’s burden to uplift the “lesser” races.

    There is something condescending about this burden. And to overtly and publicly be a do-gooder is prideful.

     

     

    • #19
  20. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Nah, nothing more than good old fashioned Oikophobia – pick any subject and she will always side with the ‘other’ in conversation.

    My sister has been this way her entire life, anything that is considered normal custom, she is compelled to “the disposition, in any conflict, to side with ‘them’ against ‘us’, and the felt need to denigrate the customs, culture and institutions that are identifiably ‘ours.” — excerpted from the WSJ.

    I have an older son like this.  He, of course, is a trial lawyer.

    • #20
  21. Penfold Member
    Penfold
    @Penfold

    Did it work?  Did she get a better-than-passing grade in his class?  Because I can’t imagine a less subtle way of trying to suck up to the instructor.  Maybe she left him an apple too?

    • #21
  22. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Penfold (View Comment):

    Did it work? Did she get a better-than-passing grade in his class? Because I can’t imagine a less subtle way of trying to suck up to the instructor. Maybe she left him an apple too?

    Given what a…forthright…man Yeagley seems to have been, I doubt that he gave the impression that this kind of thing was what he wanted.  OTOH, she might have been extraordinarily clueless at picking up signals.

     

     

    • #22
  23. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and
    @Misthiocracy

    Penfold (View Comment):

    Did it work? Did she get a better-than-passing grade in his class? Because I can’t imagine a less subtle way of trying to suck up to the instructor. Maybe she left him an apple too?

    I hope that was her true motivation, since it would negate my previous comment.

    • #23
  24. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):
    Children raised in an education system that does not celebrate their past actually do seem to learn to loathe themselves as individuals.

    Educational system isn’t the only factor involved, though….it’s a big one, but there are also movies/TV, parents, and, especially, peeers.

    • #24
  25. M. Brandon Godbey Member
    M. Brandon Godbey
    @Brandon

    I think people completely misunderstand the psychology of self-deprecation.  One of the signs that we truly feel that we are above people in the pecking order of life is when we can speak badly about ourselves with no fear of anyone taking advantage of our admissions.  Think about the times when you feel comfortable making fun of yourself.  People that can make fun of themselves, especially in public, do so from a position of relative social authority.  They can literally admit to those around them their faux-pas and peccadilloes without fear of recrimination or reproach.  Self-deprecating humor is used to signal to listeners that you have your flaws, but that your confident enough to overcome them–even if everyone knows about them.  Self-deprecating humor is usually a sign of maturity, a public display of the understanding that we’re not perfect, but we’re working on it.   You’ll note that insecure people, those not confident of their ability to withstand social injury, rarely use self-deprecating humor.  

    This species of virtue signaling public self-flagellation (“I’m so ashamed of my. . .”) is a perversion of this generally noble instinct.  Public declarations of privilege are not good faith admissions of personal biases and flaws that we’re trying to deal with.  The initial goal is to place one’s self on a pedestal above the plebeians.  The more insidious (and perhaps subconscious) aim of “white guilt/privilege” statements is a passive-aggressive attempt to consolidate your social authority through language.  Blathering about one’s “privilege” to someone who doesn’t have the same privilege is simply a way to remind them that you perceive yourself to be higher on the social hierarchy than they are.  “It’s ok, poor minority, an affluent white person is here to save you!”   Personal claims of white privilege have nothing to do with improving the lives of minorities and everything to do with reinforcing feelings of personal superiority over others.  It is, in its way, the most horribly racist attitude imaginable.        

     

     

     

    • #25
  26. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    M. Brandon Godbey (View Comment):

    I think people completely misunderstand the psychology of self-deprecation. One of the signs that we truly feel that we are above people in the pecking order of life is when we can speak badly about ourselves with no fear of anyone taking advantage of our admissions. Think about the times when you feel comfortable making fun of yourself. People that can make fun of themselves, especially in public, do so from a position of relative social authority. They can literally admit to those around them their faux-pas and peccadilloes without fear of recrimination or reproach. Self-deprecating humor is used to signal to listeners that you have your flaws, but that your confident enough to overcome them–even if everyone knows about them. Self-deprecating humor is usually a sign of maturity, a public display of the understanding that we’re not perfect, but we’re working on it. You’ll note that insecure people, those not confident of their ability to withstand social injury, rarely use self-deprecating humor.

    This species of virtue signaling public self-flagellation (“I’m so ashamed of my. . .”) is a perversion of this generally noble instinct. Public declarations of privilege are notgood faith admissions of personal biases and flaws that we’re trying to deal with. The initial goal is to place one’s self on a pedestal above the plebeians. The more insidious (and perhaps subconscious) aim of “white guilt/privilege” statements is a passive-aggressive attempt to consolidate your social authority through language. Blathering about one’s “privilege” to someone who doesn’t have the same privilege is simply a way to remind them that you perceive yourself to be higher on the social hierarchy than they are. “It’s ok, poor minority, an affluent white person is here to save you!” Personal claims of white privilege have nothing to do with improving the lives of minorities and everything to do with reinforcing feelings of personal superiority over others. It is, in its way, the most horribly racist attitude imaginable.

    But she was neither engaging in humor nor being *self*-deprecating, as nearly as we can tell from the quotes.  If she’d said, “Wow, I don’t think I could make it as a Plains Indian, I’m too clumsy to ride a horse and don’t have any craft skills,” that would have been genuinely *self-deprecating*.

    This all ties to an important essay that C S Lewis wrote back in 1940.  I excerpted it here:  No, they are not (for the most part) “self-hating.

     

     

    • #26
  27. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    M. Brandon Godbey (View Comment):

    I think people completely misunderstand the psychology of self-deprecation. One of the signs that we truly feel that we are above people in the pecking order of life is when we can speak badly about ourselves with no fear of anyone taking advantage of our admissions. Think about the times when you feel comfortable making fun of yourself. People that can make fun of themselves, especially in public, do so from a position of relative social authority. They can literally admit to those around them their faux-pas and peccadilloes without fear of recrimination or reproach. Self-deprecating humor is used to signal to listeners that you have your flaws, but that your confident enough to overcome them–even if everyone knows about them. Self-deprecating humor is usually a sign of maturity, a public display of the understanding that we’re not perfect, but we’re working on it. You’ll note that insecure people, those not confident of their ability to withstand social injury, rarely use self-deprecating humor.

    This species of virtue signaling public self-flagellation (“I’m so ashamed of my. . .”) is a perversion of this generally noble instinct. Public declarations of privilege are notgood faith admissions of personal biases and flaws that we’re trying to deal with. The initial goal is to place one’s self on a pedestal above the plebeians. The more insidious (and perhaps subconscious) aim of “white guilt/privilege” statements is a passive-aggressive attempt to consolidate your social authority through language. Blathering about one’s “privilege” to someone who doesn’t have the same privilege is simply a way to remind them that you perceive yourself to be higher on the social hierarchy than they are. “It’s ok, poor minority, an affluent white person is here to save you!” Personal claims of white privilege have nothing to do with improving the lives of minorities and everything to do with reinforcing feelings of personal superiority over others. It is, in its way, the most horribly racist attitude imaginable.

    There is a lot of truth here, but it may not cover all the bases.  When I first started watching Russian movies in 2006 I saw some from the 90s that engaged in self-flagellation of Russia’s military and its recruits. They made it look corrupt and incompetent. There was plenty of truth in that, but I was alarmed when I saw those portrayals, as I recognized much of the same thing from our own Vietnam days. “This is not good,” I told myself. “There will be a reaction against this, and it won’t be good.”  Of course I was watching movies that were ten years old or so, and the reaction had already set in by then.  

     

     

    • #27
  28. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    David Foster (View Comment):

    But she was neither engaging in humor nor being *self*-deprecating, as nearly as we can tell from the quotes. If she’d said, “Wow, I don’t think I could make it as a Plains Indian, I’m too clumsy to ride a horse and don’t have any craft skills,” that would have been genuinely *self-deprecating*.

    This all ties to an important essay that C S Lewis wrote back in 1940. I excerpted it here: No, they are not (for the most part) “self-hating.

    Very good. I’ve read a lot of C.S. Lewis, but hadn’t remembered that he wrote specifically about that phenomenon.

    • #28
  29. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):
    This story seems to prove that hypothesis wrong. Children raised in an education system that does not celebrate their past actually do seem to learn to loathe themselves as individuals.

    “does not celebrate” <> “Actively denigrates as evil”.

     

    • #29
  30. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    But you know she doesn’t believe a word of what she’s saying; it’s all theater to feed the ego. She has lots of imitators these days.

    I’m afraid that she, and so many more Rachels today, do believe it.

    • #30