Modern Weapons

Rise of the Victim Conquerors

November 12, 2015

Multiple Pages
Rise of the Victim Conquerors

As Sweden crumbles under the weight of an unassimilable minority, as the Swedish foreign minister claims that her country is facing collapse due to a flood of refugees, my thoughts flash back to 1998, and a lengthy, contentious dinner I had with one of the preeminent progenitors of multiracial and multicultural Sweden: Fransesca Quartey. Fransesca is, and was already by 1998, a superstar in Sweden, one of that nation’s most popular actresses. She certainly stood out; her mother was a white Swedish native who, as a teen, had a child with a Ghanaian immigrant. Growing up in Gothenburg, there were not a lot of black/mixed-race Swedish stage, film, and TV stars, so when Quartey hit the big time, it was a big deal. Her ascent in the Swedish entertainment industry was fueled in part by a society that, ashamed as it is of its homogeneity, wanted to flaunt its nascent diversity.

In 1998, Quartey came to L.A. to see if her Swedish credits could transfer to an acting career in the U.S. You can probably guess how well that went. What constituted a novelty in Sweden was par for the course over here; sometimes it’s best to remain a big black fish in a small white pond.

As Quartey struggled to find career success in Hollywood, she met my then girlfriend, a low-level filmmaker who bragged about her “big-time Jewish movie-producer boyfriend.” And before you could say abracashiksa, I found myself roped into a dinner with Quartey and my girlfriend at a trendy restaurant in Santa Monica. I was, of course, expected to be on my best behavior. And why not? All I was planning to do was recommend a few talent agents and throw in some meaningless motivational boilerplate to sugarcoat the reality that she had practically no chance of getting representation in this town when her only calling cards were brown skin and a résumé that read like the Swedish Chef’s recipe for kroppkakor.

“If you can force a rocket scientist, celebrating the accomplishment of a lifetime, to cry and grovel and beg forgiveness on international TV for wearing a shirt, you are not unempowered.”

Somewhere in between the appetizer and the main course, Quartey decided to go off on a tangent about her ultimate goal, the thing she was going to leverage her stardom to achieve. Now that she’d been “accepted” by the Swedes, her plan was to use her clout to transform the country into a multicultural mecca in which the old traditions and culture would be jettisoned for a new “afro-Sweden.” Quartey seemed genuinely hostile toward the native Swedes. “They think they run the place,” she exclaimed, “but look out! The immigrants are coming and so is a new Sweden. We’re gonna make that country unrecognizable.”

I knew if I said anything, I’d be in the doghouse with my girlfriend for at least a week, but I couldn’t resist. I asked a simple, one-word question: “Why?”

Quartey stopped cold. She froze. In the echo chamber that was her life, I honestly don’t think this was a question she’d ever been asked.

“What do you mean?” she sputtered.

“Why change such an old and indigenous culture? A nation that has welcomed you with open arms, a people who have inhabited the land since prehistory, a people far more indigenous than the bare-assed hut-dwelling natives of the Amazon. The Swedes have given you a good life; why destroy what they have?”

Hot damn, did things get unpleasant at the table from that point on. Quartey accused me of being racist, but to me, I saw my views as being anything but. As a child of the ’70s, I was raised during a time when protecting “indigenous peoples” was all the rage. Native Americans were no longer portrayed as savages in two-dimensional Western films; they were a noble, wronged people, the voice of reason and conscience in films like The Outlaw Josey Wales, Little Big Man, and Buffalo Bill and the Indians. Internationally, the collapse of European colonialism led to nightly media cheerleading about indigenous Africans “getting their countries back.” Simultaneously, we cheered one group of Indians in North America for fighting back against white genocide, and we booed a different group of Indians in Africa as they were punished by Idi Amin for not staying in their own damn country. Because it was all about the indigenousness.

Granted, the media hacks rarely pointed out in those days (as they never point out now) that white people are the indigenous people of Europe, but when I finally figured that out on my own, I merely applied the same standards of indigenous rights that the 1970s had drilled into me regarding “people of color.”

But Quartey wasn’t buying it. I was a racist, and dammit, Sweden was going to change, whether it wanted to or not. Within a year, Quartey was back home and fomenting the cultural revolution she sought. I never saw her again, but I emailed her last week, to get her opinion, seventeen years later, of the current state of affairs in “diverse,” “multiracial” Sweden. She flatly refused to discuss the matter. This young lady who was so chatty, so eager to opine, in 1998, is silent now, as Sweden is rocked by internal strife and destabilization.

How did Aimee Mann put it?

It’s not what you thought

When you first began it;

You got what you want

Now you can hardly stand it.

Or maybe she did get what she wanted, and she’d rather not admit it. That was one of the questions I was going to ask her. Regardless, in retrospect, I can’t help but think that it might have been in Sweden’s best interest if more people had asked the same question I did. To me, when someone says, “Let me in so I can destroy your way of life,” why is the obvious response. And it goes beyond Europe and immigration. Seeking entry in order to destroy has become a “thing” among Social Justice Warriors. How many times have we seen it recently? “You boys are having too much fun developing videogames that we think are violent and male-centered; we demand entry so we can put an end to that.” “You tech nerds dare to make private jokes? There’s a woman in the room now, so stop having fun.” “Men work better with the air-conditioning on? Hire us and we’ll turn up the heat till you’re drowning in ball sweat.” “Hey, Redditors: Enjoying your free speech? Kiss those days goodbye!” “You wore a fun, sexy shirt after you landed a space probe on a comet? Hire more women immediately so we can stop you from wearing clothes we disapprove of.”

The second-most frustrating thing about the “let me in so I can make you miserable” crowd is that they never seem to understand why their bitter scolding is met with resistance. The first most frustrating thing is that these busybodies make it harder for people with sincere intentions to be accepted, from women who want to enter the tech industry because they have a true passion for it, to immigrants who genuinely want to become a part of their host culture.

Those who boast about coming to conquer will usually claim that far from being bullies, they’re providing “a voice to the voiceless” and “empowering” those who are disenfranchised. But let’s be honest…if you can force a rocket scientist, celebrating the accomplishment of a lifetime, to cry and grovel and beg forgiveness on international TV for wearing a shirt, you are not unempowered. If an entire nation cowers before you as you burn cars, behead shoppers, and establish no-go zones in a country in which you are a guest, you are not unempowered.

Behold the “victim conquerors,” those who come to victimize in the name of victimhood, those who come to wreck lives and livelihoods in the cause of fighting racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, and any other phobia Salon.com can cook up this week. These defensive aggressors are usually impervious to reason, and they live in hermetically sealed echo chambers to avoid it. And most of all, they hate being asked why. That’s the kind of question that can so disturb a “victim conqueror,” it can lead to a seventeen-year grudge. That one little word has a lot of power.

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