Whiteness, ancestry and elderly people

Right wing politician (and friend to Jean Marie Le Pen) Thierry Baudet insists that the rules against Covid-19 must be immediately stopped while simultaneously warns about “the homeopathic dilution of the Dutch people” due to the prevalent waves of immigration. In his ideological framework, “the good old Dutch” (which of course he means “white”) people are in a constant danger of disappearing, overwhelmed by masses of non white people who are taking over the country. If within white supremacy “the child” is a mechanism to ensure the survival of one specific kind of future, ancestry is something intangible and relegated to a distant, immaterial past, worthwhile as long as it is white and can serve as proof of national identity. The preservation of ancestry is reserved for the preservation of specific traits that are more of a fictionalised past than the concrete, immediate care required for the elderly, that is, ancestors that are still alive. Ancestry is an asset in so far as it is useful to preserve privilege and it doesn’t cost money or effort. Individual elderly can die so that the fiction of collective ancestry can be used as yet another cultural and political artefact. Whereas ancestry, as an abstraction, is treated as a collective asset, to be deployed in legislation and through the enforcement of very strict racial and ethnic divisions, old age, just like disability or sickness, is nothing more than a cost. Dutch media personality Marianne Zwagerman, put this contradiction into words highlighting how little value living and breathing ancestry carries when, referring to victims of Covid-19, she said that “The dead wood was cut, perhaps a few months earlier than without the virus”. And she asked “Should everyone who is still in the prime of their life sacrifice everything for that?”. Like Baudet, Zwagerman has been a champion of whiteness, throughout her stint as media director of two Telegraaf Media Groep properties: GeenStijl and PowNed. In both outlets, the notion of white ancestry under constant threat of extinction has fuelled endless headlines and opinion pieces. Again, we must insist: ancestry as an abstract, rather than a dynamic historical process where the elderly and the vulnerable are treated as living legacy. It is interesting to observe that while freedom is conceived as a purely individual asset, not applicable to communities or groups of individuals, old age renders ancestry as a collective, not something that needs to be preserved or cherished through each old person. The old, just like the sick or people with disabilities, are demographic blobs rather than individual human lives to be protected.

Flavia Dzodan in No Future: Full Throttle Death Drive and Coronacapitalism in The Netherlands (Theresearchpapers.org)