2
   

Racism rebranded.

 
 
Reply Mon 9 Jan, 2023 01:58 am
I read this in the Guardian, thought it was of interest. I learnt a few things.

Quote:
"The Negro is not. Any more than the white man.” So wrote Frantz Fanon, the Martinique-born revolutionary and intellectual, in his 1952 masterpiece, Black Skin, White Masks. He was making an argument about the illusory character of racial categorisation. And, yet, more than 70 years after Fanon wrote those lines, they still feel unsettling, as if they are a challenge not just to racialisation but also to our identity, our very being. That they should do so exposes the deeply conflicted relationship we still possess with race.

We live in an age in which in most societies there is a moral abhorrence of racism, albeit that in most, bigotry and discrimination still disfigure the lives of many. We also live in an age saturated with identitarian thinking and obsessed with placing people into racial boxes. The more we despise racial thinking, the more we seem to cling to it.

This paradox is at the heart of my new book. Not So Black and White is a retelling of the history both of the idea of race and of the struggles to confront racism and to transcend racial categorisation, a retelling that challenges many of the ways in which we think both of race and of antiracism.

Most people assume that racism emerges when members of one race begin discriminating against members of another. In fact, the opposite is the case: intellectuals and elites began dividing the world into distinct races to explain and justify the differential treatment of certain peoples. The ancestors of today’s African Americans were not enslaved because they were black. They were deemed to be racially distinct, as black people, to justify their enslavement.

We think of race today primarily in terms of skin colour. But that was not how 19th-century thinkers imagined race. It was, for them, a description of social inequality, not just of skin colour. It may be difficult to comprehend now, but 19th-century thinkers looked upon the working class as a distinct racial group in much the same way as many now view black people as racially dissimilar to white people. Only in the 20th century, as the working class was drawn into the democratic process, and as the new imperialism redrew the “colour line”, did the contemporary understanding of race emerge.

Many today imagine, too, that identity politics is a new phenomenon, and one that is associated with the left. I show that its origins lie, in fact, on the reactionary right and its primary expression, long before it was called “identity politics”, was in the concept of race, the belief that one’s being – one’s identity – determined one’s moral and social place in the world.

If much of the history of race has been obscured, so, too, has much of the history of the challenge to racism. Until recently, those confronting inequality and oppression did so in the name not of particular identities but of a universalism that fuelled the great radical movements that have shaped the modern world, from anticolonial struggles to campaigns for women’s suffrage.

These struggles expanded the meaning of equality and universality. There has developed in recent years an impassioned debate about the Enlightenment, which both supporters and critics present as a peculiarly European phenomenon. For the one, it is a demonstration of the greatness of Europe; for the other, a reminder that its ideals are tainted by racism and colonialism. Both miss the importance of the non-European world in shaping many of the ideas we associate with the Enlightenment. It was through the struggles of those denied equality and liberty by the elites in Europe and America that ideas of universalism were invested with meaning. It is the demise of that radical universalist tradition that has shaped the emergence of contemporary identity politics.

There have always been identitarian strands among antiracists, from 19th-century “Back to Africa” movements to Négritude in the 20th century. Only in the postwar world, however, have they come to dominate and to be seen as progressive. The reasons lie in a myriad of social and political developments, from the erosion of class politics, to the emergence of culture as the primary lens through which to understand social differences, to the growth of social pessimism, that have helped marginalise the universalist perspective.


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jan/08/racism-rebranded-how-far-right-ideology-feeds-off-identity-politics-kenan-malik-not-so-black-and-white
 
vikorr
 
  2  
Reply Mon 9 Jan, 2023 03:27 am
@izzythepush,
Interesting.

I read a book once that reasonated with me more than that. It basically suggested that back in the caveman days, when our DNA was being written, we clung to societies for survival (small societies: families, clans etc). Anyone of our family was safe, while anyone else you had to be wary of.

Going further than that, it said that those who conformed were safe to the cohesiveness of the immediate society, which determined how well it worked together, and therefore its chances of competing against other societies.

And so on as societies grew.

Basically the argument goes - human beings are genetically driven to identify and be drawn to like...and genetically averse to 'different'.

So then, 'racism' is actually a scale from very small (mere discomfort with the difference) to hatred of the difference...and in between is the drive to 'make my society the better/superior society' (ie. survive)

Once you accept that, you realise that all people, and all societies are genetically predisposed to racism, and it is only through emphasising and accepting our similarities that you overcome that genetic drive.

So in a way I agree with your author - race is illusory, but at the same time 'birds of a feather stick together' is genetically driven.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Jan, 2023 04:49 am
@vikorr,
If you look at the Middle East in ancient times there are lots of different groups, Assyrians, Egyptians, Hittites, Hebrews, Sumerians etc.

All of these groups looked different, and they styled/cut their hair and beards in a manner that would accentuate those differences, as did their choice of clothing.

It meant that from a long way off you could tell if the people coming down the road were friend or foe.

Back then it was a survival thing, but not any more so I do take your point.
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Jan, 2023 03:31 pm
@izzythepush,
The same book pointed out that, back in the caveman days, people had to make quick decisions to ensure survival. As you pointed out - identity as friend or foe was necessary, so societies made themselves distinct.

But, the book went further to say that in caveman days we had to simplify things - that we couldn't be hamstrung by indecision, so we didn't dig below the surface...we relied on our instinct/feelings to assess the situation, and acted. Then as society formed rules, a quick check on the surface rules (and maybe consequences), then acted...and so on as society got more complicated. But further - that as society got more complicated, those that survived were able to act instantly by filtering out/ignore things that didn't agree with their mindset (ie. avoiding complications that resulted in inaction) .

Basically, the book was also suggesting that our brains are genetically driven to filter out anything that doesn't agree with what we already 'know' or 'believe'.

This is why humans don't behave logically. As relates to this forum - it is why some avoid like the plague contradictory evidence. It is why we go to great, convoluted lengths to avoid contradiction in their beliefs as opposed to the world out there. It is why humans actually don't like seeing perspectives that are 'from their enemies eyes' etc. Or why, once a person starts seeing conspiracies - they start seeing them everywhere, etc.

But as relates to racism - it is also why it is very difficult to dislodge the 'we're superior', or 'that race is <label> type of ideas.

Strangely - adding your post and mine together - it makes me think that yes, race is illusory, but I don't think we as the human race, will ever truly accept it.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Jan, 2023 03:43 pm
@vikorr,
What surprised me was the fact that the upper and middle classes originally viewed the working class as a different race.
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Mon 9 Jan, 2023 03:57 pm
@izzythepush,
I'm 'sort of' surprised by that, but at the same time, not really. Historically, aristocracy did see themselves as 'a breed apart' / superior by blood etc. So talking amongst themselves 'its almost like we are a different race'...and some/many talking as if that was actual fact...doesn't surprise me. At the middle class level that would be more surprising - except for peoples penchant to want to pretend they are better than they actually are.

I guess there is the concept of untouchables in India as well, so it isn't strictly a European thing.
0 Replies
 
Mr PantsFellDown
 
  -2  
Reply Sat 14 Jan, 2023 04:02 pm
@izzythepush,
My generation ended racism.
Then all the stupid generations that followed us restarted it.
They've also ended music, a truthful press, and democracy itself.
Meanwhile they whine about who hurt who's feelings. As if THAT is what matters.

I'm not saying blacks' concerns don't matter. But - as is also true for women - the fight they waged for equality was won. And instead of being glad and seeking to help us ALL now, to solve real problems, they look for opportunity to whine about unfairnesses that don't exist. And they end up encouraging racism to happen and be believed in, so it'll really be there!

I give up. Rotten stupid people win. I'm out. I await my next stroke, to get away from such a thoroughly disgusting world.

Example? We finally start reconsidering how we sick murderous bullies on everybody, killing and caging folks, and calling it justice. We set out to FIX that. But blacks kaiboshed the effort to instead start a 'wah wah poor us' campaign...ENDING the possibility of doing something decent and sorely needed.
Mr PantsFellDown
 
  -2  
Reply Sat 14 Jan, 2023 04:21 pm
@Mr PantsFellDown,
I cant edit my posts? No wonder I never come here. *leaves*
vikorr
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Jan, 2023 07:42 pm
@Mr PantsFellDown,
You're probably my generation. Racism was never ended. It certainly goes through periods where it is less, or more. It is essentially, in human nature.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jan, 2023 03:02 am
@vikorr,
This person looks like another attention seeking flash in the panner.

They say something controversial on a number of threads then disappear.

I normally wait until they've lasted a week before responding.
0 Replies
 
jcboy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jan, 2023 12:36 pm
@Mr PantsFellDown,
Mr PantsFellDown wrote:

I cant edit my posts? No wonder I never come here. *leaves*


You have a small window of time in which you can edit a post, After that time is up the post cannot be edited.
0 Replies
 
jcboy
 
  4  
Reply Mon 16 Jan, 2023 12:41 pm
I don't believe it will end in my lifetime.

Will Racism End When Old Bigots Die?

Quote:
Shelly Fields is a 46-year-old white woman living in Richton Park, a racially diverse Chicago suburb. She says she's raised her four daughters, who are biracial, to see people of all races as equal, just as her parents raised her. Fields doesn't think that racism will ever disappear completely, but she's hopeful that it lessens with each passing generation.

"The more biracial children there are, the more equality we see," Fields said. "The more people of color we see in positions of power – it will help to change the way people see race."

Her oldest daughter, Summer, is a 22-year-old graduate of the University of Chicago. When she was in high school, Summer probably would have agreed that race relations were looking up. The '90s and early 2000s were "a post-racial fantasy time" in Richton Park, Summer said. "Being firmly in the middle of the Obama era – it [was] a moment of progress. It was validating."

Now, as the Obama era ends, she is of the mind that racism isn't going anywhere.

0 Replies
 
 

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