Racism: Now _I'm_ responding. . .

Alx V. Dark (avd5863@IS.NYU.EDU)
Fri, 21 Oct 1994 16:32:24 -0400

Wheh! Is it me or has the last 3 weeks seen a resurgence of scientific
racism and race debates just about everywhere? What started all this? I
know it was Rushton on ANTHRO-L, but that's just the tip of it (oops. . .
let me clarify, this is the case right at the moment in the U.S.).

On Fri, 21 Oct 1994, Michelle B. Golden wrote:

> Racism is a form of oppression, which means that it is that is structural.
> That is, it is a set
> of beliefs and practices **backed up by societal institutions.** Given that,
> Sherwin's message isn't racism. This "reverse discrimination" thing
> really gets under my skin, not only because it's off-base, but because it
> demonstrates a total lack of understanding of what oppression is (which
> means that Marius doesn't even understand the language he's co-opting.)

Sorry, Michelle, I can't agree. Marius isn't saying that Sherwin was
causing him discrimination somehow, or that Sherwin was causing him any
societal problem at all on the basis of the fact that Sherwin is
(presumably) "of color" and Marius (even more presumably) "white."
Marius is arguing that Sherwin is a racist, pure and simple. Sherwin may
never have the power to force his ideal (hateful) view of the world on
other people, but Sherwin has surely internalized the two-tone dialectic
of hatred upon which the whole system of racism rests. Perhaps he was
just mad -- understandably when you read Rushton's nonsense, lots of us
tend to go emotionally monovalue. But what has this to do with the
admittedly insidious "reverse discrimination" argument? If anything,
Rushton's brand of scientifistic racism seems to directly contradict
those arguments, which claim that since we're all equal and on a level
playing field, no one should receive "special treatment." If you cared
to follow through on Rushton's argument, he's definitely not saying we're
all equal.

Now that I've jumped in on this thread, I mention something else -- there
was something of a debate about genocide and demographics on the "native"
lists recently, thanks to Rush Lumbago and his carelessly Republican
opinion that there had been, in fact, no Native American genocide to speak
of. Not to be overly cyncical, but in that case as in this
discussion of race, many experts are brought up to demonstrate
that Rush's statistics are right or wrong. But I wonder how much
facts, arguments and the whole scientific process of verification
really sways anyone to drop (or adopt) the underlying racist
beliefs that motivate these arguments in the first place.