Lost in Yankeeshire
There hasn’t been anything truly insightful published about my natal world since ‘The Preppy Handbook’ in 1980.
As the slings and arrows fired at Whites reached a crescendo a few years ago, I noticed that the accusations sounded familiar: Woke attitudes about privilege, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion, come directly from Yankee culture. That’s because the leaders of the three branches of wokeism were educated at our top-tier establishment schools, Harvard and Princeton especially. Berkeley can take a bow of shame, too.
That made me look at my natal world for the first time as an ethnic group; if I had any love for its studied blandness, bad food, alcoholism, and rampant mental illness from awful parenting, I would live in it, and live a much easier life. Still, it is arguably the most influential sociocultural group in the history of mankind, so maybe clarification might be in order, especially considering how they’re trying to rewrite history based on the opinions and emotions of fiction writers, rather than on peer-reviewed facts.
In ‘Quibblers & Scribblers‘ I’ll write about a culture that appears to be a mystery to most Americans outside our community, and yet it informs a major part of who they are as Americans. It’s as much a mystery to my people, too; they don’t do self-reflection. I do.
I’m not interested in debunking Wokeism as much as I am in explaining my perspective as a Northeastern establishment Yankee, normally referred to by an acronym that spells the word for the nastiest flying pest in the garden. We don’t use that term about ourselves, so you shouldn’t, either; it’s an admonishment for embracing casteism during the Gilded Age.
We don’t do aristocracy, but we can’t stop Ralph Lauren from painting us that way; rather, we admire the money he made, where Brooks Brothers didn’t. Just because some of us fancy themselves fancy, doesn’t mean that’s really who we are, no more than some Whites being supremacists means we’re all supremacists.
My people need some clarification as to who they are, too; they’re not quite sure what to do with Identitarian Left doctrine, what more they can do beyond sacrificing our best schools and media outlets to this American version of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. We never talk about ourselves as an ethnicity, an identity, or dwell on the details and principles that make us who we are, but we’re starting to. We are not how they describe us, for the most part. But it’s a good thing for us to break it down and talk about it, for a change.
As Long As Everyone Else Is Changing Names
I wanted to coin the term ‘Yankeedom’ as a label to replace the pest acronym, but that was already taken by Colin Woodard in his book ‘American Nations.’ Per his map below, it seems that Yankeedom stretches to the Great Lakes, Illinois, and… wherever that is on the Sky Map. To keep it within the more specific cultural range of New England and New York, I’m calling it ‘Yankeeshire.’ That may change — I’m open to suggestion.
There is some confusion with what the term ‘Yankee’ means to different people, explained by E.B. White’s typically goofy-charming Anglo-American ditty:
To foreigners, a Yankee is an American.
To Americans, a Yankee is a Northerner.
To Northerners, a Yankee is an Easterner.
To Easterners, a Yankee is a New Englander.
To New Englanders, a Yankee is a Vermonter.
And in Vermont, a Yankee is somebody who eats pie for breakfast.
It is appropriate to call all Americans Yanks or Yankees; it’s the foundational culture of this country. Language is a reflection of the culture that has agreed to its meaning, construction, accent and other elements. If you speak English with a Standard American accent, even if you’re Canadian, the base code of your operating system is Anglo-American Yankee, no matter your race or creed.
If you’re a Southerner, you’re no Yankee. As long as “whiteness” remains such a fraught issue, people need to know the difference, antiracists especially.