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JLeslie's avatar

What do you think about what Fareed Zakaria said about WASP culture?

Asked by JLeslie (57229points) January 10th, 2019

Here is the link to the video.

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12 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

In general, I agree with that he said. I am not sure that the WASP label is appropriate; there were plenty of non-WASPs (i.e. Catholics, Jews, atheists, and so on) that showed and lived the type of decent and honorable life that Zakaria described, without being protestants at all.

What Zakaria is doing is describing a time of American history (generally post-WW2) when we had collectively come through a shared trauma (the war) and the country needed shared goals, and shared behavior, to move on and build a better country. That isn’t intrinsically religious, at all. But it is a set of shared goals for society.

But religion aside, Zakaria is right. There was a sense of ‘noblesse oblige’ on the part of the wealthy and the educated. That’s largely gone today.

Pinguidchance's avatar

His final point : “every human being has equal moral worth” is a contradiction of his first premise. Altruism is not solely in the realm of the ‘uber rich who ensured that the women and children got to the Titanic’s lifeboats’ it would be equally likely in today’s slave-masters.

JLeslie's avatar

@elbanditoroso He says basically that knowing a person doesn’t have to worry about ones station in life means the person themselves can act for the greater good. They don’t need to be obsessed with getting ahead as an individual, because they are already way ahead. I guess now that WASPs feel threatened it is getting discombobulated. No group feels secure enough. That’s how I interpreted his point.

I’m not sure if he was saying that we can also attribute the undignified manner leaders, and other powerful people, seems to be ok using now is part of this phenomenon also, or if that is a separate topic just reflecting society becoming less formal in general, or maybe less judgmental and more permissive.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

there were plenty of non-WASPs (i.e. Catholics, Jews, atheists, and so on) that showed and lived the type of decent and honorable life that Zakaria described, without being protestants at all

Altruism is not solely in the realm of the ‘uber rich

He isn’t saying others weren’t virtuous or Wasps were inherently better.

He is talking specifically about people “accidentally privileged from birth”, who had priority access to wealth and power, who were aware of their luck and accepted responsibilities as a price for their privileges.

It’s an illustration using one group, not a claim that Wasps have an exclusive claim to the behavior.

As for the piece, Bush Sr. had just died, Zakaria has a job writing editorials. It was a eulogy, an uplifting little essay based on the life of the deceased.

JLeslie's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay I agree he was writing something for the recent passing of Pres. Bush, but just very interesting he went this route when we have WASPs all over the country busy feeling their culture is “supreme.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

I can’t get the video to play. All that came to mind was the movie Mississippi burning. The KKK were WASPs.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

WASP is usually used to mean upper and upper-middle class preppies from long lines of well-off ancestors. The Klan wouldn’t be included.

JLeslie's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay I use WASP the same way, but I’m not sure Trumpers would necessarily know that. I don’t hear the term used much anymore.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I guess, @Call_Me_Jay. It still reminds me of Mississippi Burning, the part where the sherrif says, ”...we are here to protect Anglo-Saxon Democracy, and the American way! ”

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

“Anglo-Saxon” heritage is big with white supremacists. People like Republican US Rep. Steve King who is in the news for asking:
‘White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?’

But that isn’t WASPy. WASPy is Ivy League Universities and prep schools.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I understand what it means to you. It just means a little different something to me, but I’m sure you’re right, @Call_Me_Jay.

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