Archive | November, 2012

White Identity Politics stink

30 Nov

The role of identity in arguments is not something that we often confront . The very structure of rational argument is meant to portray a certain objectiveness that is distinct from the individual.

The argument, however, is constructed by an individual and it is important to ask “whose rationality?’

This point is brought home to me, when I try to dissect arguments of White Liberals, what they often overlook is the centrality of their social identity, their Whiteness to their arguments.

A case in point is @mynameisjerm blog where he says ‘we should worry less about racism and more about discrimination’ http://jerm.co.za/some-thoughts-on-racism/

I will add the twitter discussion on another day

The argument relies on defining ‘racism’ mainly as belief and distinct from action. Discrimination is the action.

Given the liberal notion of the sanctity of the self, it becomes clear that since racism is nothing more than a personal belief it is ok and should not be counteracted.

Discrimination, as a purposeful action based on race , is therefore unacceptable. BEE becomes immoral and unacceptable whilst racism being a product of the mind is protected.

So for the racist person, as long as intention cannot be proven, it is not discrimination. If intention can be proven, you are an idiot and deserve punishment . Hidden Implication: Unintended outcomes of unconscious racism and structural inequality are irrelevant . Note that these rarely affect Whites.

BEE and Affirmative Action are clearly based on race and are intentional so by this line of argument they are unacceptable.

The primary difference is that BEE and Affirmative action are felt by Whites and therefore relevant.

The argument Is an exercise in White Identity Politics under the cover of non-racialism and rationality.

It stinks.

Liberal Mindset that sustains racism

22 Nov

The whole mindset that sustains racism and White Privilege relies on plausible deniability.

Two examples that illustrate this are reactions to ‘Unfair to be White’ campaign (USA) and responses to #CapeTownisracist

The main tool is the use of  White social power to crush, diminish claims of racism

  • The ‘Unfair to be White’ campaign never really got off the ground due to the huge negative backlash, very little of which engaged the content of the campaign.
  • The sheer wall of White rage, based largely on ignorance, was too powerful.
  • The main argument was the unfairness to White people, with little regard paid to unfairness of racism.
  • The victory of that power and ignorance is then used as proof of the truthfulness of the counterargument. A recursively self-validating structure using Luhmann’s terminology from ‘Reality of the mass media’
#CapeTownisRacist was problematic because it took place on a public forum. It had to be crushed quickly. Previous reported incidents had been successfully ignored.
  • Argument 1: Linguistic Deflection – You cannot call a whole place racist
  • Argument 2: More Deflection – Cape Town is full of a*holes,but they are equal opportunity a*holes
  • Argument 3: More Deflection ‘But Blacks are racist too’
  • Argument 4: More Deflection ‘Proof, where is there proof’
  • Argument 5: Insults ‘Professional Black’
  • Very few even tried to engage with the issue of racism

The reason the counterattack was not successful, is that in South Africa over the last 18 years, a new force and power has started to exert itself. Blacks would not be silenced.

The motivation to crush and minimise is to maintain the illusion that racism is declining. Only when all else fails, is there grudging admittance of racism’s continuing power.

The latest uproar in the USA is over Jezebel social shaming of teenagers for racist tweets after Obama won re-election. Even more horrible , Jezebel contacted the schools to ask them to act and instruct these teenagers.

The horror, the outrage, how could they – these are teenagers, they are mini-people, how can you hold them accountable. This in a country which charges juveniles as adults in its’ criminal courts way too frequently.

Many are worried that this will backfire. The racist teenagers will get more racist due to the nature of intervention and should have been left as oblivious racists.

People do not change willingly. There has to be serious motivation to change and the longer racism is tolerated, the lower the motivation. Even more problematic, is that true change tends to be painful and will be avoided until not changing has serious consequences.