a moral take on what racism is

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    a moral take on what racism is

    What is racism? Surely you've played mafia long enough to see some real scum out there...but what really is racism? How do we get to the root of a problem without fully trying to understand its boundaries, or its gray areas?

    One of the most conspicuous of morally charged terms of political condemnation, and certainly the most explosive in its dimension for political passion and even civil violence, is "racism."

    Racism is now generally regarded as such a heinous moral evil, and is so closely identified with the acts of violence that tend to result from it, that people often talk as though racism is not only a great moral wrong in itself but is or ought to be illegal, both as a belief and in its merely verbal expression ("hate speech"), often with the justification that racism as such is violence, or an incitement to violence, and so can be sanctioned like any other act of violence or incitement. This case against racism seems so strong that its form gets borrowed to characterize parallel conceptions of moral and political evils like "sexism," "classism," and "homophobia."

    We must be clear, however, about just what racism is that would make it a moral issue. If racism at root is just the belief that some races or groups of humans are genetically and intrinsically less able (i.e. less intelligent, healthy, or physically able) or less worthy (i.e. more violent or less trustworthy, hardworking, conscientious, provident, etc.) than others, then these are not only simply beliefs about certain matters of fact, but it is not impossible or incredible that in some cases, or in some possible universes, they might actually be true.

    So if racism is morally objectionable, it must be because of intentions and actions that can be judged morally good or bad. If the moral law is that we must allow the free exercise of the innocent, competent will of others in regard to their own interests, then it is perfectly possible that someone with racist beliefs might actually follow this rule and even have the best of intentions.

    We might even say that at one time, if not even now, that kind of thing was rather common: many Abolitionists, who were morally outraged over slavery and morally anguished over the lot of the slaves, nevertheless had trouble believing that Africans really were as morally or physically able as Europeans. They thought of Africans as the practical and moral equivalent of children -- which actually added to their outrage and their anguish since mistreating children (the incompetent) is more morally culpable than mistreating competent adults. We cannot hold the Abolitionists morally liable for not holding the "right beliefs" about race, unless we believe that such right beliefs are so obvious that only a kind of intellectual negligence could be the cause of their believing them. Looking at the received knowledge of the age, however, it would be surprising if they believed anything else. As Stephen Jay Gould says, about the ridicule often heaped upon Bishop James Ussher (1581-1656) for his determination from Biblical chronology that the world was created in 4004 BC, "The proper criterion must be worthiness by honorable standards of one's own time...Models of inevitable progress, whether for the parorama of life or the history of ideas, are the enemy of sympathetic understanding, for they excoriate the past merely for being old (and therefore primitive and benighted)" [Stephen Jay Gould, "Fall in the House of Ussher," Eight Little Piggies, Reflections in Natural Hisory, W.W. Norton & Company, 1993, p. 186]. We don't have to be too "sympathetic" with ideas that we now associate with terror and genocide, but self-righteousness today is not a virtue in relation to a period when many things seemed different. Hume's views are a good indication of the opinion of the age among informed men. In a 1748 essay, "Of National Characters," he says:

    "I am apt to suspect the Negroes to be naturally inferior to the Whites. There scarcely ever was a civilized nation of that complexion, nor even any individual, eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences. On the other hand, the most rude and barbarous of the Whites, such as the ancient Germans, the present Tartars, have still something eminent about them, in their valour, form of government, or some other particular. Such a uniform and constant difference could not happen, in so many countries and ages, if nature had not made an original distinction between these breeds of men. Not to mention our colonies, there are Negro slaves dispersed all over Europe, of whom none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity; though low people, without education, will start up amongst us, and distinguish themselves in every profession."

    If we expect Hume to have known better, we must ask what information he can have had. We cannot just say that he should have assumed, as a moral axiom, that everyone is the same. There is no reason why Hume, or anyone else, should ever make such assumptions. That is not a question of morals, but of facts. And if we think differently, it should be because we are better informed. In contrast to Hume, however, we may consider Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson was very concerned with this issue, since he advocated the emancipation of black slaves. In the end Jefferson by no means disagreed with Hume, but he seems far less certain about it. He carefully considers all the evidence known to him (in his Notes on Virginia) and, after arguing that there is no evidence of the moral inferiority of blacks (rather different from more recent racism), then concludes:

    The opinion that they are inferior in the faculties of reason and imagination, must be hazarded with great diffidence. To justify a general conclusion, requires many observations, even where the subject may be submitted to the anatomical knife, to optical glasses, or analysis by fire or by solvents. How much more then where it is a faculty, not a substance, we are examining; where it eludes the research of all the senses; where the conditions of its existence are various and variously combined; where the effects of those which are present or absent bid defiance to calculation; let me add too, as a circumstance of great tenderness, where our conclusion would degrade a whole race of men from the rank in the scale of beings which their Creator may perhaps have given them.....I advance it, therefore, as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind. It is not against experience to suppose that different species of the same genus, or varieties of the same species, may possess different qualification.

    It is now odd to note that Jefferson was under the impression that blacks were physically inferior to whites. That was a rather common belief, even as late as the time of the 1936 Olympic triumphs of Jesse Owens, when Adolf Hitler was sure that the Olympics would demonstrate German physical superiority over everyone. The last thing Hitler expected was for an American Negro to scoop up a bunch of gold medals, and he refused to shake Owens' hand. (Owens later said he wasn't sorry that he didn't get to shake Adolf Hitler's hand; but now it is also said that Hitler didn't shake any non-German's hand.) Now, when many people have the impression that in many areas blacks may be physically superior to whites, the old belief seems comical.

    Later in life Jefferson was eager to receive such information of black intellectual achievement as would contradict his conclusions. On the other hand, it is often held against him that he was a hypocrite who continued to own slaves even while he supposedly advocated their emancipation. But the complication was that Jefferson always believed that whites and blacks, for various reasons (including his opinion about their abilities, but also because of the tension created by black memories of indignities and oppression), would not be able to live peacefully together on grounds of equality. He thought it would thus be better and happier for all for freed slaves to return to Africa, and his continued holding of slaves was a consequence, at least in part (he also had financial problems), of his sense that they could not and should not simply be freed without some provision for their return to Africa. The project for such a return was started in Jefferson's lifetime with the founding of an African colony in 1822, Liberia, for freed American slaves. Its capital, Monrovia, was named after Jefferson's protégé and successor, James Monroe. Jefferson's views that free blacks should return to Africa can easily be held against him, but even Abraham Lincoln believed much the same thing, for much the same reasons. In his debates with Stephen Douglas in 1858, Lincoln was delabored with accusations that, since he was against slavery, he must be for citizenship and equality for freed blacks. Lincoln replied:

    "He [Douglas] shall have no occasion to ever ask it again, for I tell him very frankly that I am not in favor of Negro citizenship....
    I will say then, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way, the social and political equality of the white and black races -- that I am not, nor have ever been in favor of making voters of the Negroes, or jurors, or qualifying them to hold office, or having them marry with white people. I will say in addition that there is a physical difference between the white and black races, which I suppose will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality and inasmuch as they cannot so live, that while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior that I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white man...

    I have said that separation of the races is the only perfect preventative of amalgamation... Such separation...must be effected by colonization."

    Colonization was Lincoln's preference right up until the day that a delegation, consisting of Frederick Douglass and other black leaders, with Emancipation at hand, told him they actually did not want to go back to Africa. When it came right down to it, that was the end of that. Whatever Lincoln's views about citizenship and political equality may have continued to be, the Constitutional issue was settled after his death with the passage of the 14th Amendment, though "equal protection of the law" was never properly enforced after Occupation forces were withdrawn from the South in 1877.

    Neither Hume nor Jefferson had the opportunity to meet a black man of the intelligence, education (self-taught!), and eloquence of Frederick Douglass. Lincoln did, and historical events made a difference in people's opinion in this respect. Where Hume may have appealed in vain, as he thought, for examples of black valor, in Lincoln's era the matter was settled on July 18, 1863, when the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, the first black unit raised in the North for the Union Army, assaulted Fort Wagner outside Charleston harbor. (Other black units had been organized in the South from escaped slaves, and one had originally been raised in Louisiana by free blacks for the Confederate Army and then went over to the Union!) This was a foolish frontal assault, common in the Civil War, that resulted in the regiment being shot to pieces and a great many of its men, including its white colonel, Robert Gould Shaw, the son of Abolitionists, killed. A very good movie, Glory [1989], details the history of this regiment; and a monument [shown here], paid for by subscription from the veterans of the unit, and made by one of the greatest sculptors of the 19th century, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, stands in Boston, across the street from the State House.

    That a black regiment could withstand such punishment and acquit itself nobly vindicated those who, like Douglass (two of his own sons were in the unit), had been arguing that blacks would make as good soldiers as whites. Sergeant Carney, who returned the regimental flag to the Union lines, saying that he never allowed it to touch the ground, although suffering from five serious gunshot wounds, lived to receive, although belatedly, the Congressional Medal of Honor -- the first black soldier to be so honored. The result was that by the end of the Civil War, 10% of the Union Army was black -- mostly escaped and liberated slaves since blacks were only about 2% of the population of North at the time. When the war was over, and four new cavalry regiments (among other kinds) were added to the six of the regular United States Army, two of those, the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments, were black (as were the new 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments, originally authorized as the 38th, 39th, 40th, and 41st Infantry Regiments). All the way down to World War I, mostly in West Texas and in the Philippines, those units distinguished themselves. It was a tough life, but the 9th and 10th Cavalry had the lowest desertion rate and highest reënlistment rate in the United States Army. They became known by the name given to them by the Indians whom they fought (mainly Comanches and Mescalero Apaches): the "Buffalo Soldiers." black units persisted until President Truman integrated the armed services in 1948 -- although the 24th Infantry, still segregated, fought in Korea until deactivated in 1951 -- effective integration took place under President Eisenhower.

    As it happens, when black units were authoritized for the Union Army in 1863, the Navy had already been accepting black sailors for more than a year. This sometimes involved some remarkable adventures, as when a black pilot in Charleston harbor, Robert Smalls, loaded a group of his family and friends onto the Confederate dispatch boat Planter and on the night of May 12/13, 1862, boldly sailed it out of the harbor to the Union blockading fleet. Well informed about the defenses of Charleston, Smalls then became a pilot of the Union Navy. By the end of the War, 17% of the United States Navy was black. The acceptance of blacks into the Navy was eased by two circumstances. One was that at the time the position of a common sailor was less a military station than it was, under the ordinary discipline of the sailing ship, simply that of being a sailor. Second, as readers of Moby-Dick [1851] will know, sailors were already such an ethnically, racially, and internationally mixed lot that it was not always easy to classify by race anyway. Exactly what race is Queequeg? Well, he's not white, and he is evidentally from some cannibal island in the South Pacific, but otherwise it is rather hard to say. As a harpooner in Moby-Dick, he is one of the most important, and best paid, persons on board. Another harpooner is Daggoo, a black African. With this background, experienced Union sailors might not have batted an eye about someone like Robert Smalls. However, the later influence of Segregation (meaning in Woodrow Wilson's Administration) would purge the U.S. Navy of blacks; and by World War II, the only non-whites in the service were Filipino stewards. In 1939 author Alex Haley (1921–1992) was able to join the Coast Guard as a steward.

    It is noteworthy how in many respects the last decades of the 19th century were an era of racial progress in the North, even while they were an era of steadily increasing racial oppression in the South. W.E.B. Du Bois (1868–1963) was the first black student to earn a Ph.D. at Harvard, in 1895. From 1886 to 1895, Michael Healy (1839–1904), "Hell Roaring Mike," was the Captain of the Cutter Bear, whose annual visits to Alaska constituted the entire governmental and judicial presence of the United States in that territory. Although often identified at the time as Irish (from his father), Healy was of mixed-race derivation, which meant, of course, that he was black by the laws of most Southern States. These hopeful signs, and the actual integration of the black community in places like Philadelphia or Detroit, were swamped by two trends (1) the Terror of the imposition of Segregation in the South, which reached a height of violence in the 1890's, led to an exodus of poorly educated and low skilled blacks from the South to the North, and (2) an idealization and romanticization of the South and its Cause among historians and intellectuals otherwise influenced by the sort of neo-racism made possible by Darwinism -- as when we find Nietzsche saying, "the negro represents an earlier phase of human development" ["The Genealogy of Morals," The Birth of Tragedy and The Genealogy of Morals, Doubleday Anchor Books, 1956, p.200; "der Neger (diese als Repräsentanten des vorgeschichtlichen Menschen genommen --)," which is literally more like "the Negro respresents prehistoric man," Zur Genealogie der Moral, 1988, 2003, Reclam, p.58]. The reality of such a sentiment in Nietzsche, let alone such influence from Darwinism, is deeply embarrassing and generally ignored or explained away by modern intellectuals who idolize Nietzsche and can allow no evil influences from Darwinism. The exodus from the South swamped the more successful and acculturated blacks of the North, creating an impression that played into the hands of the neo-racists.

    This led to an era when the Ku Klux Klan itself was revived, during the administration of the Southern racist Woodrow Wilson. Southern Democrats were able to defeat a Republican federal voting rights bill in 1890 and anti-lynching bills in 1922, 1935, and 1938. President Calvin Coolidge, who asked for another anti-lynching law in 1923, noted about World War I, in an commencement address at Howard University, on June 6, 1924:

    The propaganda of prejudice and hatred which sought to keep the colored men from supporting the national cause completely failed. The black man showed himself the same kind of citizen, moved by the same kind of patriotism, as the white man.

    General John "Black Jack" Pershing (retroactively made a General of the Army in 1976) got his nickname after commanding the 10th Cavalry (1895-1897), although originally the sobriquet was a much more hostile "N****r Jack," assigned by cadets while he was an instructor at West Point [1897-1898]. In World War I, where Pershing was the American Commander in Europe, France had actually requested Buffalo Soldier units, of which they had heard good things. Woodrow Wilson did not want black American units in the American Expeditionary Force. Pershing found a compromise by providing the black 92nd and 93rd Infantry Divisions to fight under French command, which they did for the rest of the War.

    Especially characteristic of common belief in the eras of Hume, Jefferson, and Lincoln was that the differences between human communities resulted from innate qualities -- not just innate differences between the races or the sexes, but innate differences between different nationalities and ethnic communities. The 20th century has witnessed a great assault on all such views, so that now the evidence is overwhelming that most of the qualities that people in the 19th century, 18th century, or earlier thought were inherited are actually culturally constructed and transmitted through example and learning. Nevertheless, the old views cannot be retroactively condemned, with moralistic anachronism, as though everyone should have known better; and even today it is becoming clear that not everything is culturally transmitted. The debate between culture and inheritance consequently must still be carried on, with factual reasons and evidence, not with moral self-righteousness.

    The notion that we should believe some questionable matter of fact just because it is supposed to be morally edifying is to confuse matters of value with matters of fact. Specifically it is to confuse the moral identity of persons with some sort of identity of nature between persons. The moral identity of persons is simply what all persons have in common by virtue of which they are persons protected by the principles of morality. This does not make all persons identical in their natures. Indeed, some people really are less able or less worthy than others; but as Thomas Jefferson himself said, just because Isaac Newton was more intelligent than most people, or even all people, he did not thereby have rights over the lives and property of others.

    Entirely apart from worries about racism, it is instructive to see the attraction for moralistic theorists of the notion that everyone is just as able or just as morally worthy as everyone else -- and that believing this is morally enjoined and edifying. No matter how sincere or earnest such views, there usually is someone set aside who actually isn't all that able or worthy -- e.g. racists, sexists, homophobes, capitalists, red-necks, Christians, Republicans, etc. The truth is that the identity or non-identity of persons in their natures and characteristics is irrelevant to what morality requires. To respect rights and avoid wrongs is all that is moral, and this works the same whether everyone has the same body and personality or are as different as Joseph Stalin and Mother Theresa. The moral respect due to persons is not the same as respecting them in general. As Nelson says:

    The value of a person is determined in positive terms by considerations other than the moral law. The moral law is not a principle of positive valuation of persons, but only a negative principle, according to which a person's value is subject to the condition of fulfillment of duty. We do not assert that all persons are equal in value, but only that they are equal in dignity, that is to say, in their right to restrict the freedom of action of other persons whose actions affect them by the condition that these other persons respect their interests in accordance with the principle of equality of persons. [System of Ethics, Yale 1956, p. 112.]

    The trickiest part of judging the morality of racism is the way in which moral actions depend on a frame of factual beliefs. If certain people are judged child-like and incompetent and are treated accordingly in the sincere and reasonably informed belief that they really are that way, then there may well be error, tragedy, and judicial wrong, but it is not clear to what extent the agents are morally culpable. What is worse is when people may be judged, not just child-like and incompetent, but simply not rational beings, leaving them unprotected by the moral law altogether. That may give us a proper definition of a kind of racism that we would expect to be morally pernicious as such: where beliefs about the natures of other persons are so extreme that they simply dehumanize those persons and free the agents from all moral scruple in dealing with them. It is not too much to expect that kind of racism to lead to violence and other judicial wrongs. Nevertheless, this is still just a certain kind of belief; and although it is tempting to attribute malice and ill will to racists in this sense, it is really too much to assume that such individuals may not actually be deceived in good faith and good will by what seem to them reasonable beliefs about the boundary between the human moral community of persons and the things and animals that lie outside it.

    In terms of human history, it is clear enough that traditional cultures draw the line of moral respect quite tightly: the Bible lays down moral commands such as "Thou shalt not kill," but these clearly only apply within the community of Israelites, who are otherwise positively enjoined to kill Canaanites, Jebusites, Philistines, etc. If it is the moral progress of humanity to extend the idea of moral personhood beyond a narrow community, we must recognize that change as an innovation that was never self-evident. If moral protection is to extend to all humans or to all rational beings, there must be some determination about what, in fact, a human or a rational being is. In the 19th century, even before Darwin's theory of evolution opened the possibility that certain races were not human because they might have descended separately from a common primate ancestor, there was already a debate about whether different human races were separately created species -- and both side of that argument were taken up by equally reasonable and responsible scientists. Now we can shake our heads over those scientists and lament their racism, but we congratulate ourselves with an anachronistic self-righteousness. The determination that all human races have one origin of descent was an empirical matter that needed to be seriously substantiated, not just assumed. Today the frontier of this very same debate is still unsettled since some people wish to include all sentient beings, all animals, into the community of morally protected persons. This does not seem reasonable to most people who enjoy omnivorous nutritional habits and keep pets (who, no doubt, are in bondage), but it does highlight the vagueness of the criterion that we have for the community of moral respect.

    The simplest criterion for a rational being with moral rights and duties may be just that someone is able to claim to be such and can substantiate the claim by actually entering into contracts and respecting the rights of others. Again, however, this simplicity is not self-evidence. We must allow that reasonable persons may disagree; and if we credit animal rights people with good faith for wishing to extend the moral community, we cannot deny a priori the good faith or the reasonableness even of racists. This does not mean that we regard what they may do as right: both groups may commit great judicial wrongs in the course of what they regard as a good cause. The polynomic independence of the values of intention and action means that moral good will does not make for an automatic judicial right. Our task is to condemn actions that are judicial wrongs with all legal powers of retribution; but we can only answer with persuasion, knowledge, and an appeal to truth, not with force and dogmatism, the beliefs that may underlie the judicial wrongs.

    No treatment of racism would be complete without some note taken of the manner in which the political Left uses the issue. As the far Left prefers to lump all opposition to them together as equally Fascist, Nazi, racist, etc., I will return the favor. I don't think this is unfair. Since mainstream Democrats do not denounce the fascism, racism, and anti-Americanism of the extreme Left, I will take their silence as agreement.

    Viewing the Right as Fascist and Nazi, of course, does not mean there is any objection by the Left to totalitarianism or a police state as forms of government. No, these are essential to a radical Leftist agenda. Instead, "fascism" and even "racism" are simply synonyms for "capitalism" and are used pretty interchangeably. Thus, one does not need to hate or even dislike other races, or hold false or stereotyped views about them, or object to equal rights for them, to be a "racist." One need merely support a free enterprise poltical system, limited government, a free market, etc. Indeed, if one actually supports equal rights to the extent of objecting to racial or ethnic preferences or quotas, then this also makes one a "racist." What one believes or feels about other races is thus entirely irrelevant to whether one is a "racist." But this is consist with a Marxist class analysis. It is what one is, as a member of what class, not what one believes or feels, that determines one's political position. "Racism" is, after all, not a matter of mistaken beliefs or even moral failings, but a political crime. Hence the preference for ad hominem attacks in Leftist rhetoric, and the suitability of using "racist" as a smear and a slur rather than anything with a background of ad rem argument. As much as the use of the "N" word by genuine Neo-Nazi racists, the use of "racist" by the Left signifies pure hatred for what people are. The reductio ad absurdum of this may have come when actress Janeane Garofalo (and others) said that Conservatives, who have opposed socialism their entire lives, only reject Barack Obama's socialized medicine plan because he is black, they are racists, and they therefore reject all of his policies. Including Afghanistan?

    Capitalism itself (or equality before the law) is "institutional racism" because it does not "distribute" wealth in a racially "equitable" fashion. Since capitalism has a habit of distributing more wealth to the Chinese and Japanese than to other groups, in America and elsewhere, it is not clear which race is controlling things; or, if capitalism is necessarily controlled by white people, why it would make a racial exception to East Asians (or South Asian Indians). Perhaps they are being bought off -- although sufficient fear has been expressed by white people over the Chinese and Japanese to make it rather puzzling why they should not be kept down like other races, as they were in the 19th century (before Japan defeated Russia, anyway).

    Where charges of racism seem to go with a great deal of racism emerges in debates about illegal immigration. Mainstream Democrat politicians feed this tendency when they consistently characterize objections to illegal aliens as objections to immigrants as such -- with objections to all immigrants based on a racial dislike of Mexicans, Central Americans, or other immigrant "people of color." This dishonest and incendiary accusation is then coupled with the cooperation of much of the press, which seeks out remotely offensive signs at Tea Party rallies but compeletely ignores the sort of vicious signs at Leftist rallies that illustrate this section of the essay.

    Thus, above left we see a masked person (although popular with anarchists, this is illegal in jurisdictions that passed laws against masked demonstrators, because of the use of masks by the Ku Klux Klan) demanding that "white racists" get off "our continent." One wonders to whom the "our" refers and who this person thinks he is. We may get the answer above right, where a sign says that "all Europeans are illegal on this continent since 1492." Since these signs are at rallies for illegal aliens, I may hazard the assumption that the demonstrators often have Hispanic surnames and would prefer the use of Spanish over English in their schools, government, etc. They may not have paused to reflect that Spanish surnames and the Spanish language are European in origin (names such as Rodriguez and Fernandez are not even Latinate but ultimately Germanic, from the Visigoths, while García, Sanchez, and Echeverría are Basque). Indeed, many people with Hispanic surnames consider themselves "white," as would anyone from Spain itself. It is a political decision to affirm a racial identity as "brown" -- a deeply problematic move, not only given its use to create racial animosity, or in light of the actual history of racial distinctions in Spanish America, but also given the charged use of the Spanish expression La Raza, "the Race," a curious label for people supposedly opposed to racism. The equivalent of "native Americans" in Mexico, i.e. Mexican Indians, still have little political power there and have often been badly treated. Hispanic political activists in the United States rarely look like pure Mexican or Central American Indians -- they would be of Spanish descent or mixed race mestizos. Their objection to "Europeans" must involve either ignorance, self-deception, or self-hatred about their own origins.

    But we see what a lot of this adds up to in the sign at left: "Borders are lines drawn by racist imperialists." There is no nation on earth with such a complacent or hostile attitude towards its own borders. Certainly not Mexico (or, for heaven's sake, the "anti-imperialist" Soviet Union), whose measures against illegal aliens are quite draconian in comparison to the United States (at least Mexico doesn't shoot people trying to leave, as "anti-imperialist" East Germany did). Instead, we get the words "racist," used as a generalized smear, and "imperialists," which politically gives away the game. Thus, while there are isolationists -- paleo-conservatives and liberatarians -- who regard United States foreign policy as "imperialism," the accusation is usually more indicative of a Leftist -- indeed Leninist -- orientation, as in this case. The context here, of course, is not foreign policy but domestic issues of immigration and naturalization. Since the free movement of labor is not exactly a Marxist talking point, the issue may be regarded as "imperialism" because some of the ideology at these demonstrations regards the Southwest United States as properly a part of Mexico -- we also see the slogan, "We did not cross the border; the border crossed us." Unfortunately, most Mexicans or Central Americans have no historical connection to the native peoples of the American Southwest, from the Chumash to the Navajo to the Apache, and the area was possessed briefly as part of Mexico [1822-1848] in the same imperial and colonial manner as it then came under the jurisdiction of the United States. The border may have "crossed" the Navajo Nation or the Californios, but not most modern Hispanic immigrants to the Untied States.

    Such attitudes, however, display hostilities and loyalties that are adverse, not just to certain positions in American politics, but to the existence of American politics, and even America itself. The idea that the area from California to Texas should be part of Mexico is also puzzling in that the illegal immigrants left places like Mexico because economically and politically they are not very good places to live. If the American Southwest did not exist under different economic and political conditions than Mexico, there would be no reason for immigrants to go there, especially if the revolutionaries want to kick out all the "Europeans." One wonders, consquently, how sincere much of the rhetoric and ideology is, given its degree of irrationality and ignorance -- although Cargo Cult Economics, where we could imagine the wealth of the American Southwest as something just piled up on the ground, is common in American politics.

    The fundamental problem, as in the modern dilemma of Islam, is perhaps envy and resentment over the economic failures of Latin America. The dimension of pure envy emerges in the racial hostility to "Europeans," while the only explanation available, consistent with the envy, to substantively explain the economic failures, is the Marxist critique of capitalism and "imperialism." It doesn't matter if all these ideas are long exploded and discredited -- after all, they are alive and well in American universities, where they are taught to Hispanic and other political activists, and they figure in much of the background ideology of the Democratic Party.

    The problem of the use of "racism" by the political Left is thus at root an internal problem of the political culture of the United States. Leftist activists, while they may admire Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, or the Sandinistas, do not admire the government or social system of Mexico. If they think that the American Southwest should belong to Mexico, either they have forgotten what they think about Mexico, they exhibit a pure loyalty to Mexico that is inconsistent with allegiance to the United States of America, they are confused to a remarkable degree, or all of it is a smoke screen for the sort of profoundly anti-American Marxism or Communism that dare not honestly confess itself in mainsteam American politics. Or, indeed, it may be some incoherent combination of all of these. Whatever it is, any genuine meaning of racism has been left far behind.
    Last edited by Smitty; September 13th, 2018 at 09:47 AM.

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    Re: a moral take on what racism is

    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty View Post
    tryna make @Otakudweeb69 proud
    But like you’re providing an actual analysis on something worth analyzing. What you need to do is analyze some shitposts. But you know what nonetheless very excellent analysis. You’d get a 5/10 *maybe* in ms. laws AP Lang class. I have an 80 in that class >(
    Doki doki delete yourself (9'^')9

  9. #9

    Re: a moral take on what racism is

    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty View Post
    now what else do I have to live for?!
    Satisfying the others

    Quote Originally Posted by Otakudweeb69 View Post
    But like you’re providing an actual analysis on something worth analyzing. What you need to do is analyze some shitposts. But you know what nonetheless very excellent analysis. You’d get a 5/10 *maybe* in ms. laws AP Lang class. I have an 80 in that class >(
    nice monika picture <3
    En Taro Monika!

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