Last Word On Orban & ‘Mixed Race’
Hungary PM declares he is strongly against racism. His’mixed race’ comment does not necessarily imply bigotry
In response to controversy surrounding his comments criticizing “mixed-race” society, Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister released earlier this day:
In Hungary, my government has a policy of zero tolerance for anti-Semitism or racism. My understanding is that God made all humans in His own image. In the case of me and others like me, it is not racist ab Ovo .
It was difficult to find “ab Ovo”, which means “from the beginning”. Hungarian friends texted me to inform me that “race” in Hungarian can also refer to “nationality”. This supports my interpretation of how PM Orban used this term. He said that he didn’t want Hungary be a country where unassimilable, radically different nationalities live together in one space. This is the recipe for civil war in Europe. I believe he’s not referring to “brown people and black people”, but Muslims. Interestingly, some Hungarians consider themselves to be a Turkic people (see “Turanism”), and the Orban government has good relations with the Islamist government of Turkey. He is correct that Europe has seen the repercussions of mixing Christians, or at least people from a Christian background, with Muslims and Jews. This hasn’t been true for Americans.
Plus. As I have said before, Hungarians are culturally different people with their own language. New York City is home to more Hungarians than any other country in Hungary. This is why they are concerned about their ability to be assimilated. It is wrong that Hungarians want to limit the flow of immigrants into their country in order to preserve their culture. It’s not racist to restrict immigration to Israel or Japan in order to keep their Jewish identity. This is how a Hungarian can express it without being deemed racist by Americans or European liberals. It’s not possible, I’m not sure. What do you think you should say about Viktor Orban’s view?
This is something that Americans find very difficult to comprehend. It is much more easy to cross racial boundaries because of our shared culture and common language. My children are the same. I do not care what race the couple marry as long as they are serious Christians. The Christian faith is at a crossroads. It is important to me that my grandchildren and children believe in Christ. I also want strong Christian culture and faith. This is how I see it: My white children would rather marry a Christian who believes in Christ of another race than a person who doesn’t believe or has a nonChristian faith. It is faith, not race that is most important to me. My niece got married to a South American Latino of dark skin. This was a delight for me as they first met in church and are both believers.
I can understand the strong feelings of many Jews about having their children marry only Jews. Muslims believe that they should marry only Muslims. Hindus agree. Particularly with Jews, I sympathize greatly because they are becoming American citizens through intermarried relationships. But if Jews are allowed to choose to marry within their own religion or ethnicity, then how is it possible to be tolerant of others’ views? In high school, I was in love with a girl from India who had been my first heartbreak. Man, I was desperately in love, for a couple of years, with this girl — and I never could tell if she liked me or not, or if she was just afraid to go against the will of her father, whom she adored, and who insisted that she only date Indians. She eventually got married to a Jewish man. Her father was a doctor. I liked him and respect him. But back then, I thought of him as a kind of bigot. He was a very intelligent man. Although I do not believe he was religiously Hindu, I can see why it was so important that his children, who are part of a minority in non-Hindu and non-Indian countries, preserve their ancestral ways. While the racial aspect doesn’t bother me at all, I could feel different if I were to live in a small minority that is in danger of disappearing from existence. While I may not be a fan of this way of thinking it doesn’t seem crazy to me.
Now, Hector St_Clare (the pseudonym for a North American South Asian academic) sends this comment to this blog:
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[A reader says:] “I can certainly appreciate the difficulty of explaining that Orban actually means “religion and culture” when he says “race”. Occam’s Razor reveals that Orban is racist, and he just means what he says. “
[Hector remarks: ] This is insane. Orban doesn’t say that any one ethnic-racial group “superior” is better than another. He’s saying that they are distinct , that our differences are valuable and interesting, that they need to be preserved, and the way to preserve them is by limiting migration and mixing. He’s right, you see.
I am interested in the survival of my ethnic group. I do not mean “values” and “traditions”. I also mean language, genetic descent and self-identity. I don’t think we are superior or inferior to any other group, but I think we’re different and I want us to preserve our distinct identity. Our genetic heritage is different from all other major racial groups. We speak a unique language, look certain ways, and have an historical story. I treasure these things. We don’t want to be fed a formless tapioca pudding that is branded “Indians”, or “Americans” by the rest of the world. That doesn’t mean I think migration or interracial/inter-ethnic marriage and mixing are “bad” in principle, any more than they’re “good” in principle. Given that I am the daughter of immigrants, and almost all my dates are inter-ethnic, it would seem silly to say so. Their net impact depends on their frequency, as with most other things. Hungarians living in Hungary, or just a few Indians, wouldn’t be threatening to the existence of their ethnic group. If millions of Hungarians moved to Hungary to marry Indians, that would change the population composition of the country. Hungarians, however, would have no problem objecting.
Americans are unable to get this because they see ethnic segregation in the context of Jim Crow segregation and oppose intermarriage as a concept that is superior and inferior. They are importing their cultural and historical pathologies into other countries, as usual. It’s not about being superior or inferior. This is about differences and distinctiveness. As a smart guy said once, segregation is a social order imposed by a more powerful on a weaker group. Separatism is a solution that two peoples come to mutually, to preserve the best interests of both.
Europe is a continent at peace today largely because, over the course of the twentieth century, they managed to achieve the goal of the 19th century nationalists: separate states for separate ethno-national groups. The European countries paid heavy prices for this goal, which was achieved at terrible costs of blood and treasure. The goal wasn’t fully achieved until the tail end of the 20th century (and in parts of the Soviet Union it was never fully achieved, which is why we see frozen conflicts in places like Georgia where the national question was never settled). It was finally achieved in Eastern Europe, which is why countries don’t fight on the battlefield anymore. There aren’t many national minorities or ethnic lines to fight over. The West’s progressives want to destroy this achievement, one of the greatest achievements of the past century. They are going to bring back all those old ghosts and zombies from ethnic and racial conflicts that they thought had been put to rest. As they should, Hungary and Eastern Europe resist this.
[Another reader comments:] nationalism, not in the West but against the West, is a post colonial trend that emerged far from the West, in its outposts, and has slowly been creeping closer to the West itself. Ironically, what we see as fundamentally Western and European-based, white, countries are becoming more nationalistic. They want to seperate from the West, like their colonial predecessors. This country is emerging on the margins of the West, in Russia, South Africa and Eastern Europe. There is a line from Gandhi straight to Orban.
[Hector replies:] Some things I disagree with here. Nationalism in India and Eastern Europe predates Gandhi. Although South Africa may be considered a “western” country, Russia and Eastern Europe are not ‘western”. However, I believe your reader has a point. In a way, Eastern European countries can be compared to colonized Africans or Asians who want to abandon Western values. This is in contrast to American progressives’ desire to make them look like the racist bogeymen that Western history has produced.
Here is Viktor Orban’s whole speech last week. Subtitled in English: