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Substitute “Scots-Irish” for “Pashtun”, “Hmong” or “Berber” and you will see what I mean.If you are not aware (e.g., you are not American) the Scots-Irish in this context refers to a melange of peoples who emigrated to the New World from Ireland and the border region between Scotland and England in the middle of the 1700s.That is, a parochial clannish folk trying to hold onto to their traditions, albeit with the downside of being inward looking and often regressive (downside from the perspective of Westerners that is).
This position of Scots-Irish as part of the aristocracy of race and white skin privilege leads to perverse situations.
Though one can quibble with the magnitude of Cannadine’s argument, I think one must grant that it is part of the picture, if not the whole picture.
The importance of class in England, and more or less in Europe as a whole, is contrasted with its relatively lower salience in the United States. One can make a classic materialist argument that in a labor scarcity-land surplus regime which characterized the early American republic the ossified class systems of the Old World simply could not develop.
The academic ‘discourse’ about white privilege acknowledges rhetorically the reality of class differences amongst whites, but in practice this issue never realizes itself in any actionable manner.
In the 19th century this was something that non-elite whites might have viewed positively, as the bracketing of all whites together as one political nation which excluded all non-whites, irrespective of the latter’s ‘respectability’ in specific cases, redounded to their benefit.On the other hand, when I’ve been introduced to their clan-based social structures by close friends, it is a uniquely close-knit and life-affirming culture that I’ve been honored to participate in.