Cheque your Privilege

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Cheque your Privilege

Postby Lomax on July 2nd, 2020, 11:40 am 

I'm interested in the question of whether the oppression of black Americans is better viewed through the lens of racial "identity" or classism. Yesterday Counterpunch published an article arguing that racial inequality in the US is better approached through a class analysis.

One example of how race reductionism is hurting black Americans is taken up by Adolph Reed who analyzes how Joe Biden is not only seriously out of touch with the issues that actually affect most African Americans, paradoxically Biden is billed as the candidate who serves the best interests of the “African American community” because he has not supported universal healthcare. Worse, the Affordable Care Act maintains that “the lower official premiums are in one’s area for that second-cheapest silver plan, the more low-income people actually have to pay for health care.” This is one of many ways that class-consciousness would address the very issues that result in poverty and police violence that affect a whole range of poor Americans to include black, Latino, and white Americans.

While Jesse Jackson has written about class bias and the excessive use of force by the police in reference, the need to focus upon historical material readings of current events is still not hitting home for many. Sam Mitrani notes that the police were created to “protect the new form of wage-labor capitalism that emerged in the mid to late nineteenth century from the threat posed by that system’s offspring, the working class.” Even as we know how police violence functions and who is in its crosshairs, many angry protestors are demanding us to repeat the incantation, “Black lives matter” with literally no class analysis in sight.


I'll start by affirming what I think this article gets right. It's much better than the usual anti-BLM rants in that it doesn't commit a lot of category creep and seems to at least acknowledge the difference between postmodern, Marxist, and capitalist-liberal critiques of racism; it doesn't conflate anti-racism, black supremacy, wokeness, identity politics, identitarianism, social-justice-warriors etc. It's right that DiAngelo isn't helpful and shouldn't be considered an authority on this subject. It's right that racism isn't just about who has racism in their hearts but rather about the subtler ways it manifests in society, even through individuals who don't intend it. It's right that we mustn't overlook a class-based analysis (I'll come back to that) and that the civil rights movement actually has roots in Marxism (not just Adolph Reed but also A. Philip Randolph and others) and that these intellectuals do tend to be hostile to identity politics. It'sright that many of the things which restrain black Americans are economic.

It's half-right when it makes the Model Minority argument (in reference to Asians, in this case). The obvious counter to that argument - made by MLK and many others - is that Asians, Jews, Italian-Americans etc weren't enslaved on American soil for centuries and then suddenly set free with no grants, no social programs, no access to white neighbourhoods, and three fifths of a vote. But notice we're already reverting to a class-based analysis when we make this argument, so even that contains a concession to the author.

But notice that it describes racism as "byproduct" of class differences rather than the other way around, which is a historical anachronism at least with regard to the above point. I'll have to read Nathaniel Lewis's study (linked from the Counterpunch article) but we do know that black Americans are four times as likely to be incarcerated for marijuana use, despite similar rates of usage, as compared to white Americans. We also know that this pattern holds even when you exclusively look at poor black Americans and poor white Americans. What this suggests is that racial injustice has taken on a life of its own, even if it is historically rooted in class antagonism (and in the case of the war on drugs it is, in fact). Doesn't this suggest that addressing economic inequality won't be enough to undo the emergent racial inequalities?

Since the article crowbars in the Soros myth, and repeats Maxine Peake's baseless and anachronistic claim that the US police force learned neck-kneeling from the IDF, and that this had any link whatsoever to the treatment of George Floyd, it's also worth noting the form of racism which economic class-based analysis is incapable of adequately dealing with: antisemitism. Jewish Americans are on the whole higher-earning than the average American, and nobody who is obsessed with this issue fails to notice that we are "over-represented" in positions of economic, political and cultural power. Antisemites don't look down on, or dismiss, Jews as a rightfully impoverished class which refuses to take personal responsibility; rather antisemitism is a racism of envy and conspiracy. Marxism simply cannot deal with that without treating Jews as oppressors (which is in fact how the partly-Jewish Marx approached the question). And it fails to provide an explanation for why antisemitism is prevalent across the entire political spectrum. Why is it so common among black supremacists (take the Nation of Islam as a case in point) as well as white supremacists? I would argue it's because both groups need an excuse for their perceived or statistical shortcomings in order to hold together the theory that in the natural order of things they would come out on top. Why Jews? Because we "pass", which makes us a perfect target for paranoia. I posit a simple claim: examples like this show that racism is not simple economic oppression, and that a purely economic class-based analysis cannot answer these questions.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby TheVat on July 2nd, 2020, 12:45 pm 

It's always been about race in the U.S. The system of enslavement was built on the premise of earlier centuries when Africans were seen as more morphologically primitive and less natively intelligent and moral than whites. They were seen as a natural servant class, ripe for the picking. Its perpetuation was built on more "scientific" embellishment in the mid-to-late 19th century from guys like Charles Davenport who targeted the dangers of racial mixing and promoted eugenics. This kind of thinking led to public policies built on the premise that blacks comprised a group that needed to be segregated, and that their lesser economic success was a natural condition that no amount of post-slavery reconstruction and red carpet rollouts could remedy. There is still much that resonates, often at a subconscious level in many people, with Davenport and his ilk. Some people try to conceal the underlying racial aspect by claiming that they are only critics of "the culture" of black communities, an interesting mental contortion that seems to rest on some vague notion that American blacks all belong to some unitary inner city "gangsta" culture.

Maxine Peake? How odd, I had not heard of this actress until about a week ago when (as I am catching up with Black Mirror episodes I've missed) I saw her being chased around a post-apocalyptic countryside by a robotic guard dog. No neck-kneeling happens with the robotic nemesis, though I'm sorry to say that she does end up with a tracking pellet perilously close to her jugular.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby Serpent on July 2nd, 2020, 2:33 pm 

What "it" is about is entirely POV dependent.
"It" is too big for an either-or categorization.
The race thing is not a result of the class thing, or vice versa: the social stratification of a country is a product its history and its economy.

The race issue was invented by Europeans imperialists in order to square the subjugation of other peoples with their avowed Christianity. The Roman empire had no such impediment: they could just go and conquer and rob anybody whose armies were unequal to their own, no justification required. But then, they didn't make such a complicated production out of enslavement, either: anyone could become a slave if he got captured or indebted; anyone could become a citizen if he earned or fought or finagled his way out of slavery.
America inherited the convenient fictions of imperial England: skin colour was as good an indicator as they were going to find of that inherent inferiority that made some people [the ones without cannon] natural prey for the golden-fair folk at the pinnacle of Creation, who were commanded by their Creator to multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.
Of course, in order to shore up that cumbersome fiction, quite a lot of pseudo-science and language had to be invented, as well as a climate of superstitious fear. All the paintings depicting Europe's Middle-eastern religious icons had to be made Teutonic or Slavic, while Satan and all the daemons left over from pagan religions were painted black or red. The conquest of other continents had to be accompanied by zealous missionaries who could witness how barbaric these darker-skinned peoples were and provide a thin moral cover for domination: saving immortal souls while the soldiers crushed mortal bodies.
In Europe itself, maintaining the fiction was relatively easy, since they already had rigid socio-economic stratification. Captives from Africa or the Americas who outlived their novelty value slotted in quite neatly with the servant class, even when repatriated planters and colonial administrators brought back entire households of coloured staff and dependents [their mistresses and illegitimate children] . (I suggest this is why white and black working class British were more at ease mixing than their US counterparts: the imports were not regarded as a threat and didn't have to be sequestered to keep up a pretense.)

In the brand new American republic, it got very much more difficult and complicated.
The philosophical contradiction, the political and moral conflict among the ruling class, the plain brutality of the treatment slaves, the presence of articulate Protestant sects, the disparity between slave-owning gentry and landless peasants; in the industrial north, poorly paid immigrants terrified of being replaced by emancipated slaves...
The layers of convoluted self-delusion, the byzantine apologetics, the excuses, justifications, misrepresentation, stereotyping and lampooning; the complex cultural choreography it took to keep up the pretense of differentness ... evolved into a unique dysfunction of the national psyche which will take a lot of co-ordinated treatments to cure. (Think multi-pronged approach to metastatic carcinoma.)
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby JohnD on July 3rd, 2020, 9:46 pm 

Actually racism has been around since man first ventured into the unknown hoping to establish civilization. Whenever we have found something or someone we couldn't or can't be sure about we felt and do feel threatened. We categorise so we feel more comfortable with our choices. That is why we call cow meat beef, pig meat pork and sheep meat lamb.
Nowadays categorisation is an integral part of all world languages and all world systems. Until we can identify what is around us without the use of catogorisations there will always be racism.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby Serpent on July 3rd, 2020, 10:50 pm 

JohnD » July 3rd, 2020, 8:46 pm wrote:Actually racism has been around since man first ventured into the unknown hoping to establish civilization. Whenever we have found something or someone we couldn't or can't be sure about we felt and do feel threatened.

How universal is that attitude? It does not appear to have been borne out by the reception most European explorers received when they first landed in the Americas, or Africa or even the far East, where civilizations were established long before any appeared in Europe. Man was nomadic for quite a long time before he had any permanent place to venture out from, and those pre-civilized peoples did a lot of trading, intermarrying, compromising, co-operating and forming alliances, as well as exploring, raiding and fighting.
If the behaviour of young children is any indicator of 'human nature', curiosity and sociability tend to outstrip caution and suspicion by a noticeable margin. In my experience, children don't exhibit racial (or even species) discrimination until they have taught by adults to do so.

We categorise so we feel more comfortable with our choices. That is why we call cow meat beef, pig meat pork and sheep meat lamb.

Again, that's not universal. It happens to be so in English, because for quite a while, the conquering Normans were the ruling class and the administrative language was Norman French. The gentry's food was called by its French name: beuf, porc, mouton. But it was raised, slaughtered and cooked by Anglo-Saxon servants, who used their own language below stairs.
You're right, though, that hypocrisy creeps into language, and is deliberately introduced, in order to cover up uncomfortable truths.
Nowadays categorisation is an integral part of all world languages and all world systems.

It can hardly be otherwise. Don't you want to distinguish between edible and poisonous mushrooms? Or put cleaning products and medications in different cupboards? Or build from durable, rather than perishable materials? Categories are unavoidable.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby JohnD on July 3rd, 2020, 11:15 pm 

Hi Serpent, you bring up good points however discrimination was there just that most times we prefer not to see it. It is also there in children. Agreed children are less judgmental so more welcoming of new experiences however discrimination is one of the first things we teach our children. We do this so they can have a defense in times of adversity. The difference with children is that their minds are still highly pliable so they're more willing to accept change.
Interestingly, how do you suppose we come about to trade or intermarry? With whom did we fight if we weren't discriminatory? How did the chiefs rally the troops?
What I at least have learnt from indigenous people here in Australia is that a society doesn't need to be formalised by structures, it only needs people to have a common belief. That common belief is a discriminatory observance.
Europeans making the observation that people of the Americas and in deed anywhere else are nomadic is an unfair, unjust and unrealistic classification to suit their purposes at the time. That purpose was to conquer. Under European law this would not have been allowed if it was stated at the time that the people had a form of civilisation. Which according to later studies of the indigenous people of the Americas and Africa did have.
What's the alternative to classifications? That is something we will need to rediscover. How do we identify without classifying?
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby bangstrom on July 4th, 2020, 12:59 am 

“Lesson of a Lifetime” - the Riceville experiment. This article is a bit personal for me because, as a child, I lived in rural Iowa where Riceville was the nearest town so these are my people. This is a totally white part of the country settled by northern Europeans.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science- ... -72754306/
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby Serpent on July 4th, 2020, 1:08 am 

JohnD » July 3rd, 2020, 10:15 pm wrote:Hi Serpent, you bring up good points however discrimination was there just that most times we prefer not to see it. It is also there in children. Agreed children are less judgmental so more welcoming of new experiences however discrimination is one of the first things we teach our children.

We have to. Eat the spinach, not the ivy; cuddle our cat, not the strays in the alley; stay off construction sites and out of strange cars.
But we don't teach them racial discrimination unless that's an aspect of our own cultural/ economic life. I know this, because I never saw a black person until I was ten years old and had no idea what my attitude should be. "Look, mom, a chocolate man!" I was told it's rude to comment on people's appearance... But, but, it's not like there was a wart on his nose or anything bad; we were encouraged to say nice things about people and I thought him altogether wonderful.
Children know what they like and dislike. They don't understand most of what their parents fear or why, but they like their parents' approval and dislike punishment, so they repeat the expected formulae.
We do this so they can have a defense in times of adversity.

We do this so they'll survive to adulthood when we can wash our hands of them. Or to coerce them to fulfill the ambitions at which we failed. Or to fit successfully into the society which sustains us. Or to carry out some vengeance on part of that society for wrongs we have suffered. Or to bring prosperity and security into our old age. Lots of reasons, not all equally honourable.
The difference with children is that their minds are still highly pliable so they're more willing to accept change.

What changes do they need to accept? More to the point, what changes will they be called upon to make?
Interestingly, how do you suppose we come about to trade or intermarry?

Whatever clans happened to live nearby, or overlapped our migration routes would have been of interest. It's a lot smarter to gather intel than to shun people, and our ancient ancestors didn't overrun the planet by being stupid. Almost nobody is self-sufficient; everybody likes a change of diet and some novelty; resources are place-dependent. Some of the earliest barter goods were salt, flint, seashells, horn, nuts and dried fish. Later on, hand-crafts, including jewellery, basketry, pottery and fabric. It seems, too, that the need for genetic diversity is understood on an instinctive level far lower on the evolutionary tree than modern man: turtles and porcupines travel perilous distances in order to find non-consanguineous mates.
With whom did we fight if we weren't discriminatory?

Whoever lived nearby and wanted the same territory and resources that we wanted. Some North American tribes who were quite similar in appearance and culture not only fought occasional wars but mounted less formal raids on one another to steal goods and women; i hear they even did some kidnapping for ransom. That's nothing to do with race or prejudice; it's entirely pragmatic. (Well, not entirely; it was also fun - a game to some of the young men; a rite of passage for some of the boys.)
How did the chiefs rally the troops?

In the case of most raids, the chief wasn't consulted, and unless real trouble came of it, pretended not to know. If real trouble did come of it - say the boys took another chief's wife, or set fire to the meeting house - the chief would have to call a council of elders, who would then go meet with the elders of the wronged tribe, and work out what punishments and restitutions would re-establish the peace.
In the case of serious war, it depends on what set it off. Encroachment on territory or poaching were common points of conflict; fishing rights or the use of other vital resources. Overpopulation was always a problem: a tribe that outgrew its territory would have the numerical strength to take the land of other tribes by force. This often resulted in the larger group subsuming the smaller one - incidentally a big help with that genetic diversity problem... but an administrative complication... which eventually led to legal codes.
In most situations, the chief wouldn't need to 'rally' any troops - far more often, he and the other elders had their hands full trying to restrain the reckless youngsters.
People haven't changed all that much over the last 10,000 years - only their institutions have.
What I at least have learnt from indigenous people here in Australia is that a society doesn't need to be formalised by structures, it only needs people to have a common belief.

Sure, belief is a cohesive force within a society. So you'd think Christians would understand one another, be all on the same side. That has not proved the case: the formal structures of European civilization - treaties, constitutions, borders, formal agreements - have done a good deal more to keep them at peace than their common religion ever did.
That common belief is a discriminatory observance.

How so?
Europeans making the observation that people of the Americas and in deed anywhere else are nomadic is an unfair, unjust and unrealistic classification to suit their purposes at the time.

Pardon? I was referring to pre-civilized nomadic peoples - like, way back, before Europe was even a gleam in an emperor's eye. During cyclical climate changes, entire populations (not only of hominids) had no choice but to seek fresh territory. About 80,000 years ago, one of these events sent early humans out of Africa, eventually to everywhere. In the meanwhile, some peoples found a stable environment in which to settle, some established a regular migratory route to take advantage of seasonal bounty, some followed their principal prey on its established migration, some had to keep moving because they were in danger, some became herders and followed the grass, some became sailors and plied the coast. Different survival strategies for different conditions.
That purpose was to conquer. Under European law this would not have been allowed if it was stated at the time that the people had a form of civilisation.

Really? Who wrote that law? It would be hard to convince any judge that the Egyptians, Incas and Moghuls were not civilized, which didn't slow the Greeks, Spanish or the English down much.

None of those conflicts, nor any of the previous conflicts in human history were caused by difference in the people. On the contrary, all human conflict is caused by the characteristic we share:
We want what somebody else has.
What's the alternative to classifications? That is something we will need to rediscover. How do we identify without classifying?

Excellent questions. Let it be a challenge to you. I'm quite happy with the system of logic and language we already have. If we want to be nice to one another, we find a way; if we want to be mean to one another, we'll always find a way.
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Last edited by Serpent on July 4th, 2020, 1:36 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby JohnD on July 4th, 2020, 1:26 am 

bangstrom I remember those experiments, I also remember participating in one such experiment. A place where I worked at hired someone to put us through the experiment to teach us about discrimination. Thank you for the article, much appreciated. I have fond memories.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby JohnD on July 4th, 2020, 2:05 am 

Serpent we have studied the same human history no doubt. I'm not talking about the movement of the human race throughout the world. I'm talking about the interaction between humans and also their environment. I think it would be found that humans crossed each other's paths many times throughout history. With many of these occasions it became like a first meeting.

The Spanish conquistadors sailed to the Americas with a view of conquest and profit (gold). They returned to Spain with stories of savages not organised society even though they trampled through Inca cities in their search. Do you think if they had landed in India that there attitude would have been the same?

When the English admiralty and crown sent Captain Cook down south it wasn't to discover Australia as the history books have it, they already knew about it and that it was inhabited, the job description was to claim it for England as Terra Nullius. The reason why they had to declare it so was because it wouldn't be accepted by their counterparts in Europe otherwise.

In every event of life we have reasons, whether that be finding someone to love or hate. We give ourselves those reasons. You say you can't see racism in the discrimination used to come to a decision however, racism is an extension of our overall perception of what surrounds us in our day to day activities. There need be no difference in people they don't need to be of a different color. Only a geographical difference, you're from the east and I'm from the west. Yes minor differences like border crossings are forgivable however at one point or another that difference becomes too great to ignore. Perceptions of the wrongdoers lead to stories on both sides, stories that relate how different the people are. This is racism and throughout history it has happened again and again. Not just between people of different skin colour, look at the romans, greeks, egyptians, etc... each with their own opinion of the other. To stir up the troops leaders will often use language that berates the other side, usually this amplifies common stories and folk songs.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby Serpent on July 4th, 2020, 10:23 am 

JohnD » July 4th, 2020, 1:05 am wrote: I'm not talking about the movement of the human race throughout the world.

I see the source of miscommunication now. I understood this:
"Actually racism has been around since man first ventured into the unknown hoping to establish civilization."
to mean man before the establishment of civilization, rather than civilized man, intent on imposing it on other peoples. Hence my reference to prehistory. Sorry.

The Spanish conquistadors sailed to the Americas with a view of conquest and profit (gold). They returned to Spain with stories of savages not organised society even though they trampled through Inca cities in their search.

Different explorers, different landing sites, different native populations, different stories.
But Christianity was quite the influential power just then, so the peoples targeted for conquest had to be represented as heathens with less evolved minds and souls. It had worked pretty well for the crusades. Rejection of the crucifix by Inca leaders was Pizzaro's excuse for massacre.
Do you think if they had landed in India that there attitude would have been the same?

Why not? When the English landed in India, they had no qualms about massacring and plundering an older civilization than their own. I already mentioned Alexander, also the Roman conquerors, had no problem overrunning the oldest civilizations from Egypt through Persia. Savages are easier to subdue, but civilization has never been an obstacle to invasion.
When the English admiralty and crown sent Captain Cook down south it wasn't to discover Australia as the history books have it, they already knew about it and that it was inhabited, the job description was to claim it for England as Terra Nullius. The reason why they had to declare it so was because it wouldn't be accepted by their counterparts in Europe otherwise.

The Dutch and the French also wanted it, but were not strong enough to fight Britain for it. The English wanted to establish a presence and it was a whole lot cheaper to send prisoners than colonists who would require protection. The presence of natives never deterred any empire from expanding.
We give ourselves those reasons.

You mean excuses and cover stories? Because we already have the reasons, even before we are consciously aware of sympathy or antipathy, even before we are aware of of wanting.
You say you can't see racism in the discrimination used to come to a decision however, racism is an extension of our overall perception of what surrounds us in our day to day activities.

I know that. At least, in nations of mixed ethnicity, with a recent colonial history.
There need be no difference in people they don't need to be of a different color. Only a geographical difference, you're from the east and I'm from the west. Yes minor differences like border crossings are forgivable however at one point or another that difference becomes too great to ignore.

Are you talking about regional interest now? Nationalism? Political ideology? Propaganda?
Yes, every interest group paints its enemies, competitors and rivals as a single malign entity in order to foster a single-minded opposition to that enemy. The intensity of untruth generated depends on the fervor required to overcome the enemy: in open warfare, it becomes positively hysterical. (Or, that used to be the case....I'm not sure about the kind of times we're living in now; it seems to get hysterical even at the very low level of disagreement over a statue. wtf??)

Perceptions of the wrongdoers lead to stories on both sides, stories that relate how different the people are. This is racism and throughout history it has happened again and again.

I don't think racism happens the same way twice in history. How it develops in a society depends on who has done what to whom, when and for how long. It's quite normal for enemies in war, like France and Germany, to hate one another in one generation and become allies in the next generation. Britain resumed trading with the United States a decade or so after the revolution. It takes longer to reconcile with countries that have been occupied for a long time, but Spain is getting along fine with Argentina.
We can make friends of enemies. We can forgive those who have hurt us. It takes much longer and is very much harder to forgive those whom we have hurt. That's why the liberated people from colonies are so much readier to integrate than their former oppressors are to receive them; that's why the descendants of slaves are less angry, less hating than their persecutors - even in spite of the continuing injustices. The victim only need to forgive the other; the perpetrator needs to forgive himself - and you can't go that without acknowledging your role and assuming the full burden of your crime.
(It can be done; it's done every day, but some people refuse to.)

Not just between people of different skin colour, look at the romans, greeks, egyptians, etc... each with their own opinion of the other. To stir up the troops leaders will often use language that berates the other side, usually this amplifies common stories and folk songs.

I don't see any ancient military rhetoric relating to the malaise on post-colonial European immigration or the daily politics of post-emancipation USA.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby JohnD on July 4th, 2020, 5:41 pm 

Serpent » 05 Jul 2020, 00:23 wrote:I don't see any ancient military rhetoric relating to the malaise on post-colonial European immigration or the daily politics of post-emancipation USA.

True however, everything you see happening today has a history. Trouble with racism and discrimination is that people are not open to talk about where their ideas come from. If we just look at the present day and ignore history then what is doesn't make any sense, there's no justification for any of it. So, the question has to be why does it still happen? When we look at history however we can see how perceptions come about and it's endemic. That is the hard nut at the root of racism and discrimination that must be defeated.
Though the US is paramount in everyone's thoughts and seemingly one that makes the least sense it must be remembered there are so many other people around the world, some of whom are threatened with worse fates.
This includes the Rohingya people of Mianmar. Their government has been accused of genocide. The Rohingya people fled to neighboring Thailand were they did not receive a warm welcome.
In Australia, the government has held in custody without trial for the past 7 years all refugees who dared come by boat.
At the same time there is still little recognition for indigenous people. They received a 'Sorry' from one Prime Minister but that's it. They are continuously told they can't take care of themselves and have to be managed.
My family and I were subjected to racism, discrimination and religious persecution when we moved here from Europe.
Modern day refugees are so badly treated in most places around the world. I have heard stories of refugees being mistreated while some have been murdered.
What I'm saying is that the plight of American blacks is known around the world and most people like myself appreciate that this can't keep going but it must be noted that with so many others around the world suffering in a similar fashion it is a world problem that must be addressed wherever it is happening and is likely to happen in the future.
When looking at the situation as being a world-wide problem then the question needs to be asked 'why?' The answer lies in our history and our reaction when we encounter something unfamiliar. Because racism is reactionary and its methods endemic. Parents teach their children then society preaches to young people and the cycle keeps going with no one ever really understanding why they react the way they do.
There is outrage when a black person is killed by police or police in Iran go on a shooting rampage of refugees or the army in Mianmar decides to determine the fate of indigenous people. If we don't take a hard look at ourselves these things will happen again and again. If we look at these things individually then they all seem different but the underlying problem is exactly the same.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby Serpent on July 4th, 2020, 7:25 pm 

JohnD » July 4th, 2020, 4:41 pm wrote:True however, everything you see happening today has a history.

Some of which i have outlined above.
Trouble with racism and discrimination is that people are not open to talk about where their ideas come from.

Many are not only open to, but articulate on the subject. See all the pale arms holding up BLM placards? They're already aware. Many public figures and broadcasters are aware and eager to discuss it.
If we just look at the present day and ignore history then what is doesn't make any sense, there's no justification for any of it. So, the question has to be why does it still happen?

Another matter I have touched upon and I am by no means alone in my apprehension of how discrimination of all kinds are built into, or grow into, a social system.
When we look at history however we can see how perceptions come about and it's endemic. That is the hard nut at the root of racism and discrimination that must be defeated.

The root is not really an obstacle. That could have been dug up and burned a hundred or more years ago. The obstacle is - always is: Who stands to gain by its perpetuation? There is always a deeply vested interest to dislodge before systemic change can take place.
Though the US is paramount in everyone's thoughts and seemingly one that makes the least sense

?? It makes all kinds of sense! There are plenty of documentaries that aired on a PBS series called The American Experience. (I just copied out a long list and accidentally deleted it. Sheesh! Notably: Klansville; Freedom Summer; The Abolitionists; Roads to Memphis; Citizen King and Reconstruction. and a few excellent ones on the Independent Lens, especially The Black Panthers and The First Rainbow Coalition, both of which I can warmly recommend. All free to stream.
it must be remembered there are so many other people around the world, some of whom are threatened with worse fates...
What I'm saying is that the plight of American blacks is known around the world and most people like myself appreciate that this can't keep going but it must be noted that with so many others around the world suffering in a similar fashion it is a world problem that must be addressed wherever it is happening and is likely to happen in the future.

One crisis somewhere can draw attention to the systemic problem everywhere and mobilize people.
When looking at the situation as being a world-wide problem then the question needs to be asked 'why?'

There is a single consistent and logical answer: Somebody saw profit in it. Yes, every instance: somebody wanted land, cheap labour, a market for their weapons, political advantage; somebody had something to gain.
The answer lies in our history and our reaction when we encounter something unfamiliar.

If you look at the actual events of history - any of those histories - unfamiliarity was never a motive. Our most natural and common reaction to the unfamiliar is to investigate it, to find out if we can eat or otherwise use it. All those explorers didn't set out on arduous and perilous voyages out of fear of the unfamiliar: they went in search of it! So do scientists, teenager and toddlers.
Because racism is reactionary and its methods endemic. Parents teach their children then society preaches to young people and the cycle keeps going with no one ever really understanding why they react the way they do.

Only as long as there is something to be gained. The civil rights movement was going strong and supported by (I believe, can't prove) the majority of white people. But there were disgruntled Jim Crows, who could have been disarmed peacefully over time, but clever politicians (Wallace, Goldwater, etc. Nixon's administration gave it a big shove; Trump's been making an extended picnic of it) found clever ways to harness that discontent by reviving the civil war and its stupid confederate flag.
There is nothing so profitable as a war. Many have an vested interest in maintaining the class structure, and there is no easier way to keep the peons down than forcing them to fight over meager subsistence. Some have an interest in the strife itself, while others fear losing control over the heart and minds of their minions.
wiki -- The peak in construction of Civil War Monuments occurred between the late 1890s up to 1920, with a second, smaller peak in the late 1950s to mid 1960s.

If we don't take a hard look at ourselves these things will happen again and again. If we look at these things individually then they all seem different but the underlying problem is exactly the same.

Certainly.
Maybe it's finally time. Let's see if we can tip over that big ol' rusty bus - one, two, three, heave!!
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby JohnD on July 5th, 2020, 3:33 am 

Serpent, I am of the opinion that overall we are talking from the same side of the fence however there are misunderstandings? in some of what I have written to your interpretation When I talk of people not being open I'm not talking about victims but perpetrators. Certainly there are lots of articles and books of the subject however the ones from perpetrators are more about idealism than where a particular person got their notions of hate.
When I talk of making sense especially with the US it's about the perception, the perpetuated ideal of America as this forward thinking society that is open to all and that at its heart a fundamental Christian and Jewish belief system. In this it doesn't make sense. When people from other parts of the world look at the movies, books, stories they are perplexed as to what is real.
Of course there is always profit and without investigation its hard to say otherwise however I don't think there is profit for everyone who hates, who has racism buried within them.
Along the same line when looking at a society there are a complexity of psychological and emotional levels involved. There are the explorers as there are the achievers, but then there are those who crouch down behind the couch and shakily ask what if. Even in children there are differences, not all willingly explore some need their parents OK, they need their society to tell them its OK. Even as adults some won't venture past their documented lifestyle because of all the what ifs that may lie in wait.
The civil rights movement was supported by the majority as the BLM is today. Unfortunately after a while people move on. They want the change to happen but unless that change happens immediately the momentum is lost and people choose to go back to living their life. An area of least conflict. By the same token when things are done too quickly there is apprehension as to what might be lost in the process.
We've seen all this with the fall of communism, the hippy movement, Civil rights movement, and anti Vietnam war protests. Unfortunately, the political right is in power at present and they believe in the status quo unless it is about giving business and the police more power. By the time the left has a go there is a chance things will quiet down and will be forgotten once more.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby JohnD on July 5th, 2020, 6:09 am 

It has just been announced on the news here that Kanye has declared he will be running for president. Unsure if this is a good thing as what it will primarily do is split the Democrat Vote and neither will win. If he goes through with it then Trump is almost guaranteed to stay president.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby Serpent on July 5th, 2020, 10:02 am 

JohnD » July 5th, 2020, 2:33 am wrote: When I talk of people not being open I'm not talking about victims but perpetrators.

I dealt with that. [The victim only need to forgive the other; the perpetrator needs to forgive himself - and you can't go that without acknowledging your role and assuming the full burden of your crime. ]
Certainly there are lots of articles and books of the subject however the ones from perpetrators are more about idealism than where a particular person got their notions of hate.

Perpetrators don't usually write books, though they often make speeches in the hot moment https://www.battlefields.org/learn/primary-sources/cornerstone-speech to state their position or mobilize troops. The books are written by revisionists (... like, secession was all about tariffs and state's rights, blah blah blah), apologists, sophists.... and sometimes objective historians. But every now an then, a perpetrator does confess on his deathbed or in his autobiography.
But racism is not about hate. At the upper levels of society, it's contempt (the little aristocrat loves his black nanny and think nothing of having her black child whipped for taking a cookie); at the lower levels, it's fear (cheap labour is under constant existential threat from even cheaper labour). Either of those attitudes can be extarnalized, generalized, institutionalized, steeped into the culture and written into the legal code.
What's psychologically interesting is the middle levels, where the enforcers operate. The perpetrators of their overlords' crime - used to be the overseer; now its the police. That's where all the conflicting knowledge and emotions might very well come together to form a great big knot of hatred.
That's where the real battlefield of America is now: in the heads of policemen and mayors.
I'm impressed with how many of those battles are being won by Good.
(PS I want Muriel Bowser for VP candidate)

When I talk of making sense especially with the US it's about the perception, the perpetuated ideal of America as this forward thinking society that is open to all and that at its heart a fundamental Christian and Jewish belief system. In this it doesn't make sense.

That's because it's a lie. It's always been a lie. (Like every other nation's depiction of itself.)
Once you flip the advert page and look at who has actually done what, it all makes perfect sense.
When people from other parts of the world look at the movies, books, stories they are perplexed as to what is real.

Read the census reports. And please, please, please watch this film https://www.thirteen.org/programs/independent-lens/the-first-rainbow-coalition-q9hsug/
Of course there is always profit and without investigation its hard to say otherwise however I don't think there is profit for everyone who hates, who has racism buried within them.

Without the fear, it would dry up and trickle away like sand. Profit motivated propaganda to perpetuate and intensify the fear. Want proof? Apply the law blindly, level the the standard of education and health care, introduce Universal Basic Income. Come back in 20 years.
... but then there are those who crouch down behind the couch and shakily ask what if.

They're not the ones who go out enslaving and endangering people; they have no stake and no reason to hate, until the adventurers bring danger back home.
The civil rights movement was supported by the majority as the BLM is today. Unfortunately after a while people move on.

They won. It then became to task of the justice system and administration to enforce the changes and the gains. Administrations and law enforcement betrayed them.
Unfortunately, the political right is in power at present

I'm not sure what faction is in power right now.
and they believe in

...nothing.... A frenzy of sharks has no ideology.
By the time the left has a go there is a chance things will quiet down and will be forgotten once more.

I don't think so. The situation this time is not BAU. Federal government is clueless and useless - and will be entirely powerless if it keeps alienating its own enforcement agencies. States, counties and municipalities are either on their own, or in the weird position of having to work against, or around, the central authority. Most local government officials understand the precarious position they're in and many have been taking effective action. Once the legal structure itself has changed direction, that very same self-regulating mechanism to which you referred (people wanting their normal life back) will keep it going.
Meanwhile, some local governments will respond stupidly and some of them will fall.
Of course, the local governments have little control over economic disparity. Taking the most egregious powers away from the police will help - a little. Major corporations coming out publicly in favour of racial justice will help a little more - to the degree they each follow through with hiring policies and campaign contributions. Ultimately, though -
there can never be ethnic amity without economic equity.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby Serpent on July 5th, 2020, 10:27 am 

JohnD » July 5th, 2020, 5:09 am wrote:It has just been announced on the news here that Kanye has declared he will be running for president. Unsure if this is a good thing as what it will primarily do is split the Democrat Vote and neither will win. If he goes through with it then Trump is almost guaranteed to stay president.

Phshaw!
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby JohnD on July 6th, 2020, 6:28 am 

Your arguments are very strong and I hope you're right in your deliberations. The world needs change and many look to the US for guidance. Black people in America need to be given a chance as do all other minorities. As all minorities and disenfranchised people throughout the world deserve a chance.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby Lomax on July 6th, 2020, 2:51 pm 

I may have missed something. Why/how would Kanye split the Democrat vote? He is a MAGA guy.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby JohnD on July 6th, 2020, 4:29 pm 

Hi Lomax, I don't know anything about the politics of Kanye and until a minute ago didn't know what MAGA meant. I realise now that it is a Republican slogan. In that case I apologise and withdraw my comment.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby Serpent on July 6th, 2020, 5:22 pm 

As debased as the Republicans (not Lincoln's party!!) has become in latter days, I don't think it's really their slogan. It's DJ Trump's - personal copyrighted property https://money.cnn.com/2015/10/08/investing/donald-trump-make-america-great-again-trademark/ -- said he didn't know Reagan had already run it into the gr.... er, I mean, used it. Be interesting to know how much he's made on the marketing side of the presidency.
At this moment of leaning waaay back in our chair and pondering various decisions, one of the factors that's not clear is what and who and where and how the GOP stands right now. It would be useful for American voters to know.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby JohnD on July 7th, 2020, 4:29 pm 

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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby Serpent on July 7th, 2020, 6:13 pm 

Sorry, I'm allergic to facebook. Can you tell us about the content?
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby JohnD on July 7th, 2020, 11:59 pm 

That's Ok. It's a news item fact check looking at the possible outcomes of Kanye saying he will run for president.
1. He's fibbing for publicity
2. He is running but looking at 2024 for a serious run
3. He is running and will hurt Democrat chances seeing as many of his fans are Democrat voters
4. He splits the Trump vote.
It also looks at history to see others who have tried to run as a third option and the unlikelihood of Kanye being elected.
P.S. that site you wanted me to have a look at unfortunately I'm unable to access as I'm not in the US.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby Serpent on July 8th, 2020, 8:36 am 

Kanye is a self-promoting blowhard; not worthy of attention.

Too bad about the film. I'll look around at other documentary venues - a territory I don't know at all well. It won awards.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby JohnD on July 10th, 2020, 7:46 pm 

I've just been watching 13th on Netflix. Yes the documentary makes valid points about incarceration of colored people. And you're right there is profit behind jailing people in America. There is a post in this forum that I participated in where I had made a statement on what I think of prisons. I think there are better ways to handle crime and criminals, in most cases prisons are not necessary. This is true in most parts of the world where whites are in control over blacks and other minorities. It is also true of Asian countries where minorities are persecuted. However as I have said previously, racism has a background that's much older than what is happening. Let me not take anything away from BLM or any other movement that considers the lives of minorities matter. It is not my intention. I am capable of getting myself in trouble on a daily basis because I don't like to see injustice anywhere however I admit I'm only a minor player. I would rather let others take the lead and give support where I can.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby Serpent on July 10th, 2020, 10:37 pm 

Money screws and skews pretty much everything.
JohnD -- However as I have said previously, racism has a background that's much older than what is happening.

Of course. But then, so is wealth and the amassing thereof through exploitation.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby Serpent on July 10th, 2020, 10:42 pm 

Serpent » July 10th, 2020, 9:37 pm wrote:Money screws and skews pretty much everything.
JohnD -- However as I have said previously, racism has a background that's much older than what is happening.

Of course. But then, so is wealth and the amassing thereof through exploitation. The stoking of racial/ethnic/religious hostility between groups of exploited people is simply a very effective tool in its service.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby JohnD on July 12th, 2020, 3:17 am 

The exploitation of minorities has been effective and used for the purposes of profit but the exploitation of people's fear is more than this and has been used successfully to bring people to the edge of war and beyond. After war of course it is used to exploit profit from those that are seen as being the target of the exploitation. Today that exploitation has hit a new record and become institutionalised especially in the US. What needs to be noted in the future when present exploitation targets are no longer viable, there will be found a new target. Who will it be then. I'd say let's make new laws but laws are exploited just as easily as people are. I'm struggling, it seems that I'm speaking a different language to everyone around me or maybe I'm not smart enough. I can see what's wrong and I hear what you're saying and what a lot of other people are saying and I know what it is you want to see happening and what others want to see happen and I understand you need to keep the interest up otherwise people will forget. In the long term it's people's attitude that needs to change. That people see color first, that they see clothes before brains, title before ability, beauty before compassion. These are the faults of the world and racism, exploitation, and discrimination are utilised with each and every one. To say it is OK with one or more of the categories will inevitably produce minorities.
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Re: Cheque your Privilege

Postby Serpent on July 12th, 2020, 9:05 am 

JohnD » July 12th, 2020, 2:17 am wrote:The exploitation of minorities has been effective and used for the purposes of profit but the exploitation of people's fear is more than this and has been used successfully to bring people to the edge of war and beyond.

The vilification and scapegoating of minorities is one method of exploiting the majority. There is no profit, unless the exploited class vastly outnumbers the exploitative class, and they further require an implementing class in between, to keep the wealth funneling upward.
In the long term it's people's attitude that needs to change.

Agreed. How is this change to come about? Probably through communication. So, we just have to keep talking and talking and talking --
at least until production is fully automated and there are no more jobs.
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