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WORD OF THE WEEK – RACISM

January 19, 2023

LET us assume, at the outset, that the modern word “racism” is, always was and always will be ONLY an offence (and, essentially, nothing else) then it would need to be policed and criminalised possibly with escalating levels of punishment by a vigilant and punitive regime, wouldn’t it?

Of course it would if the word, by itself and in isolation, actually means what many people now think it means too often without thinking about what it means.

Let us look first, as always, at dictionary definitions.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/racism

Our first definition is that it constitutes “a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race” is drawn from Merriam-Webster, America’s most trusted online dictionary definer so likely to be the world’s. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merriam-Webster

Does your “race” determine your traits and capacities and does the difference between yours and that of different others produce superiority and inferiority? In my case, no and no. So I am able to reject this definition and go in search of another, aren’t I?

Those perceived to be inferior within that matrix will, however, have a vested interest in pursuing justice against the superior and become highly energised and motivated to heighten the levels of policing and expand the levels of criminality while persisting in “owning” inferiority to wield as a weapon, which is exactly what is happening because west coast of America radical feminist postmodernist critical race theory and social justice theory scholars have united against and are attacking traditionally and historically white male and stale hierarchies in law, politics, media, sport and, of course, academia by positioning them as permanently guilty and shamed because of their unconscious bias and often unconscious unknown lineage and heritage of oppression and enslavement of helpless others facilitated under a colonialist imperial power base they nor any of their predecessors may have played any part in nor had any direct experience or knowledge of.

I come from a long line of mongrels, poor petty criminal peasants of mixed English and Welsh white origin who, at no stage, appear to have held the whip hand over anyone but instead were much more likely oppressed and enslaved by more prosperous and powerful other white people tasked with employing them at a pittance, hounding them for exorbitant rent to live in horrid hovels and punishing them with jail spells in grim cells for petty crime, making them bankrupt when whey failed to pay a bill and publicly naming and shaming them in official documents. All, of course, when they weren’t sending them to risk agonising, crippling injury or death in wars to maintain a foul hegemony. This appears to be of no interest to the radical feminist postmodernist scholars other than that it broadly supports their thesis of absolute power corrupting absolutely. In this, as in most things currently, my white heritage feels as if it acts against me and even my very humble, lowly lineage, which would offer compensation and mitigate for not against me, appears to offer no respite for me from this blitz and barrage from county hall and Cardiff Bay do-gooders, charlatans, professionally permanently offended and victimised symbols and noisome numpties congregating on the moral high ground under red, rainbow, and green flags.

This first definition, I would argue strongly, now constitutes the official, unchallenged and accepted meaning in political decision-making circles, leading to an offensive, despicably expensive and eternally expanding new suite of laws, rules and regulations imposed by fiat then energetically though maybe not enthusiastically overseen and executed by a new awesome army of speech and thought monitors and arbiters in local and national government highlighted superbly here in Wales by Swansea University law lecturer and fellow Free Speech Union member Andrew Tettenborn in this article.

https://thecritic.co.uk/the-welsh-way-of-woke/

But even in a Britain still living in deep fear of political punishment with a suite of tools like the deeply menacing Online Safety Bill, we are still able to at least look at an alternative definition though stating it out loud in public might carry some level of risk of being branded and punished for being the very thing we are merely trying to accurately define.

Instead of using that old cruel, cunning conundrum of starting sentences with “I’m not racist but……..” and going on to exhibit outrageous views, could we not, instead, start by saying “I am racist” rather like one man who told me he was “a liar, a cheat and a thief”, thereby ensuring that I could trust him with my deepest darkest secrets.

What I would give for a politician who said “I am racist, a liar, a cheat and a thief”.

Is there a positive definition hidden somewhere in the stack? No, there is only “positive racism” which is associating a race with a positive quality – like speedy Africans, poetic Welsh, hardworking Germans and canny Scots.

I fear that now it means only whatever “they” say it means and “we” have become helpless and hopeless, pathetic, guilty and shamed like Josef K in The Trial persistently speculating only on the punishment “they” will inevitably mete out at faceless, inhuman tribunals when “we” dare to question, challenge, confront or seek alternatives. Stay “safe” locked indoors socially distanced and out of sight living in evasion and avoidance of “their” judgement became normalised during COVID-19 and is the usual response with considerable political investment in maintaining that sense of isolation in avoidance and evasion of judgement and infection.

Wikipedia tells us that Racism is a relatively modern concept, arising in the European age of imperialism, the subsequent growth of capitalism, and especially the Atlantic slave trade, of which it was a major driving force. It was also a major force behind racial segregation in the USA in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and of apartheid in South Africa; 19th and 20th-century racism in western culture is particularly well documented and constitutes a reference point in studies and discourses about racism. Racism has played a role in genocides such as the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, the Rwandan genocide, and the Genocide of Serbs in the independent state of Croatia, as well as colonial projects including the European colonisation of the Americas, Africa, Asia and the population transfer in the Soviet Union including deportations of indigenous minorities. Indigenous peoples have been—and are—often subject to racist attitudes.

Robert Bernasconi, in his Oxford Companion to Philosophy 2nd edition, is able to venture that it may be based on a pseudo-scientific premise that race itself creates hierarchies. “Although the roots of theoretical racism can be traced back at least to the fifteenth century, the term did not come to prominence until the 1930s when it was used to describe the pseudo-scientific theory that ‘race’, as a decisive biological determinant, established a hierarchy among different ethnic groups. Racist theories were largely developed after the fact to justify practical racism, which can exist independently of them,” he writes.

New racism or modern racism are interchangeable terms for what appears to be a refusal to accept that racism exists at all as a tactic or strategy by racists. This would appear to be an accusation which might be levelled at me, in short, that I am burying my head in the sand or ignoring reality.

“Rather than hurling racist insults, new racists will deny there are problems of inequality and oppose moves aimed at addressing disadvantage faced by ethnic minorities. Critics argue that there is nothing particularly new about this, but that racists simply change their tactics due to constraints such as legislation, media opinion, and changes in the social and political acceptability of certain attitudes,” is the definition in the Dictionary of Human Resource Management 3rd edition.

Let us consider, if we may, why it is not per se racist to abuse an opponent in sporting endeavour if we are on one side and they are on the other.

Cheering on the Welsh against the English in any sporting endeavour – as I am naturally predisposed to do because, by and large, I find inferiority a little bit sexier than superiority – is not racist at all because I identify with one race more than I do with the other so naturally favour one over the other when they are in direct competition. That may constitute “nationalism” or “patriotism” rather than “racism ” and “nationalism” and “patriotism” are entirely different things.

What, though, if my favouring one side over the other led me to heighten and increase my overall contribution, affording me new levels of functionality and effectiveness in a wide assortment of fields (though I note that the use of the word “field” has itself been labelled racially triggering by some academics for its link to the cotton fields so is now to be avoided) and bringing about in me considerable improvements in my life and for anyone who encounters me? Would that be positive?

That, after all, is exactly why people group together identifying as similar in teams or races – to merge, motivate, exceed, and excel, often, though not always, at the expense of another team or race dissimilar to us but similar to each other pitted, often, against us.

I am beginning to realise that words like “nationalism” and “patriotism” are older, more firmly founded than “racism” and that the third word is the natural consequence of the first two becoming accepted in the dictionary as positive, so becoming naturally accepted as emboldening and enhancing human traits which actually led to the emergence and expansion of patriotism and nationalism at the expense of others and, of course, to a whip hand being wielded by master over servant or slave.

Overwhelmingly, the emphasis now is being placed again and again dramatically and vindictively for maximum effect on the whip, the slave and on the act of whipping itself because of its association with animals being at the mercy of humans and this mighty metaphor still, wrongly, dominates and destroys. The punisher is being stereotyped mercilessly, crudely and unfairly and the punished used and abused as pawns in a game to make political points, virtue signal and (dare I say it) empire build.

“Race and science have a remarkably long and convoluted historical relationship punctuated by recurring heated debates provoked by pseudoscientific explanations of racial differences. In the United States scientific racism has involved both the misidentification of biological and genetic evidence of racial and cultural differences and political projects to impose discriminatory and oppressive policies based on the fundamental normative prohibition of interracial mixing or “miscegenation.” “, is the conclusion according to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States, strongly reinforcing the idea that it is based on faulty pseudoscientific dogma.

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