Is Tom Wolfe a Race Realist?

Over at the excellent Occidental Observer is the first of Nelson Rosit’s 3-part essay “Is Tom Wolfe a Race Realist?“:

Perhaps it is a product of his Southern heritage — born in Richmond in 1931, B.A. Washington and Lee, 1951. Perhaps it is due to his academic training, Ph.D. in American studies from Yale, 1957, completed before the neo-Marxist hegemony over the humanities and social sciences. Perhaps it is a result of his years as a reporter developing the New Journalism that seeks to tell the larger story. But most likely it is a consequence of his dedication to social realism that has led Tom Wolfe to become the closest thing we have to a mainstream race-realist author.

What is race realism? Ideological labels are often difficult to delineate precisely, but generally a race realist is one who acknowledges the physical reality of race and the significance of human biodiversity in the development of past and present human societies.

This is in contrast to the establishment’s position that insists upon the primacy of the individual while minimizing the importance of race. Races are not naturally occurring phenomena, but merely social constructs grouped around, perhaps, a few superficial physical characteristics. Yet, the inclusion of and advocacy for multiple “social constructs” within White homelands has become a social/political obsession and the basis for the civic religion of the West.

Race realists can also be distinguished from their more radical cousins, racial nationalists, by their embrace of conservatism grounded in patriotism (e.g., American exceptionalism), Christianity, and/or libertarianism. The nationalists are less enamored of Christianity and capitalism, and paradoxically, tend toward internationalism (“our race is our nation”) while advocating for homogeneous ethno-states. Race realists are not separatists, believing instead that a vigorous pursuit of identity politics within a multiracial state is enough to safeguard their people’s interests.

At 82 Wolfe has been writing for over half a century so he has a very lengthy bibliography. By looking at some representative writings we can see if Wolfe fits the race realist mold. Here I will discuss six nonfictions books: Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers (1970), The Painted Word (1975), The Right Stuff (1979), Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine (1976), From Bauhaus to Our House (1981), and Hooking Up (2000); plus three novels: Bonfire of the Vanities (1987), A Man in Full (1998), and Back to Blood (2012). Because Wolfe spent the first 30 years of his career as a journalist and social commentator, we will first consider his nonfiction works in thematic rather than chronological order.

It’s an excellent overview of a most excellent writer.

Part 2 and Part 3.

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