This is a post no one really wants to write, a subject few Americans truly wants to address. Even Alex Jones, in his documentary film Strategic Relocation, blames potential collapse-driven ethnic strife on Globalists playing otherwise peaceful people against one another. That is, if I might be so bold, a cop-out. All multi-cultural empires, when they come apart, do so along fairly predictable lines. As politically incorrect as it is to say so, America is not immune from this possibility, and we know from history where the lines are likely to be. So let’s take a nasty issue head on and let the chips fall where they may.
A poor, scared, shocked, hungry, untrusting population is one to which differences matter. Trust and cooperation is withdrawn from those considered ‘outsiders,’ resulting in a fracturing of society into smaller groups. The popular word for the process is balkanization, in which Yugoslavia broke into a series of racial and ethnic enclaves (the Balkan states) hostile to one another and to minorities within each. Balkanization is the bad side of devolution.
A instructive recent example of the process is Crimea, where two major ethnic/linguistic groups do not see eye to eye.* The ethnic Russian / Russian-speaking population, a majority in the region of Crimea but a minority in all of Ukraine, prefers the government in Moscow to that of Kiev. Once they joined Russia, their own minorities, including Tatars and ethnic Ukranians, began to experience the same mistreatment that the Crimean Russians sought to escape. The most peaceful solution appears to be a separation of peoples who cannot live together. The Ukranian-speakers will move back to Ukraine, Russian-speakers will move to Crimea. Hopefully it can be done peacefully, unlike the 1944 eviction of 140,000 Tatars from the area. Crimea didn’t get a Russian ethnic majority simply by having nice beaches.
Differences that might cause such a separation (whether through secession or driving out**) come in a number of flavors, not limited to language, religion, culture, nationality, race, and political ideology. Let’s address a few of them that might be an issue in a much poorer, more radicalized, balkanized America.
I believe language is going to be the biggie. As is often the case when things go south in a hurry, conformity becomes primary. One who speaks a different language from the majority is usually of a different culture, often of a different nationality, and occasionally of a different religion and race to boot. It’s five mistrusts for the price of one, and I suspect we will see a furious backlash against “Press ‘1’ for English.”
The primary area where trouble will arise is where it always arises: in geographical areas where neither of two clashing cultures holds an overwhelming majority. This means mixed areas and borders, or areas where a mass immigration or migration is overtaking a native population. Ironically, the only Dagbanli-speaking Ghanan immigrant in Hays, Kansas, will probably be safer than he would be in Ghana because he’ll be considered a curiosity rather than a threat. But a Spanish-speaking Mexican in an area where lots of English-speakers and Spanish-speakers are fighting over shrinking water rights is going to have a tougher time.
I would not be surprised to see a reprise of Operation Wetback, where Mexicans are forcibly repatriated to the south of the Rio Grande River. Should the Spanish-speakers win the struggle, part of the United States could conceivably secede, assuming, as is the case in Ukraine – the central government lacks to power to stop it.
There are plenty of other potential troubles as well. Recent immigrants like Somalis in Minnesota and Iraqis in Michigan could face significant persecution from surrounding white communities, as could Asian-dominated enclaves and blacks in Hispanic-controlled neighborhoods. This is already happening, and may only get more blatant and violent. In contested areas, whites associated with inner city culture, bi-racial people, or those in mixed marriages could all face troubles they might not face in another area. Loyalty to much smaller groups will be demanded yet harder to prove.
Race may be an issue, but it also may be different than it has been in the American past and in Europe. In the 20th century, European ancestry morphed into the generic ‘white.’ That makes the map above, which separates out Germans from Irish from Finns, a bit misleading. The largest ethnic group over the largest area is not German Americans but white Americans. So you’re not likely to have inter-ethnic white gang wars here as in Crimea. Germans from Wisconsin are not going to exterminate Slavs from Iowa, because American whites identify with America, not wherever nation their ancestors fled. There are also no significant language distinctions amongst American whites.
Because the first ‘post-crash’ identification will likely be hyper-patriotism, blacks, to the extent that they share a culture with white Americans, are unlikely to experience a nationwide legal backlash. Just as whites see other whites primarily as Americans, few whites deny that blacks are just as American – where they differ in skin color they make up for in shared nationality and culture. But shared culture – especially conformity in language and dress – will be critical. This will last so long as people primarily identify as American, which may be a long time, or may not. There’s simply no way to know.
On the other hand, blacks who are a part of the oppositional culture most identified with the inner city may be in for a very hard time. Crises are not times when the majority of Americans are going to continue to tolerate or underwrite this dependent, infantile, and self-destructive culture. This will especially be the case if big cities get out of control and looting breaks out into the suburbs. I fully expect a number of Northern cities to be locked down for that very reason. Woe to the one who does not escape before the bridges to the suburbs are blown.
In southern areas where blacks and whites struggle fairly evenly for political control and political spoils, there certainly exists real potential for race-based mistreatment, especially since in these areas segregation is only a long lifetime in the past. Even then, blatant private segregation and random violence is more likely than a legal subjugation of minorities, at least at first.
This is where I’ll admit I’m most likely to be overly optimistic, however. As a dad of black kids, I obviously don’t wish to see a nationwide, forced segregation. I also see no reasonable argument for it in most places. But things may get out of control anyway, and mass migrations can change anything, anywhere, any time.
So what does it all mean? It does not mean that one can make the possibility of a balkanization of America go away by calling it racist. It does not mean one can make it go away by wishing fervently.
It means that if America does break apart under the strain of societal/monetary collapse, it will likely do so in some part along racial/ethnic/language/cultural lines. If it does, minorities*** in contested areas may have a very hard time. There may be a forced driving of language/religion/race minorities from various areas, and ethnic cleansing by forced segregation.
Joel Garreou once posited that there are Nine Nations in North America, culturally speaking. Under any number of SHTF scenarios, that number is likely to be low. The wise prepper is the one who understands what the divisions will likely be, forecasts where the ground will separate,**** and remains a safe distance back from the fault lines.
* This is the reason that modern leftist race politics is evil and is ultimately destructive. If we disagree on free trade, for example, we can still reach an agreement by reason or compromise. If we disagree on matters of race, if we demean and denigrate and build mistrust over racial injustice (real or as is often the case today, imagined), we cannot peacefully co-exist because neither of us can change our skin. We can only subjugate each other or separate. Exacerbating these tensions today for short-term political gain all but guarantees they will loom larger tomorrow.
** For example, up to 100,000 people, black and white, left the newly formed United States following the Revolutionary War. Blacks sought to escape slavery, but many whites were all but forced to leave, enduring physical and financial punishment in a new country to which they would not pledge allegiance.
*** This is the white man in the Latino areas as much as the Black man in the white ones. It might even mean the treehugger in Ohio and the Yankee in Georgia. It’s not about race, it’s about differences that other people think matter.
**** And quite possibly, where other people think the prepper belongs. This is not a situation where you choose sides so much as you find out which side considers you too different to be accepted into the trusted group.