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Archive for the ‘racist arguments’ Category

slave-ship-revoltDisclaimer: I know there are some truly kind and concerned white people, but this post is about the many, not the few.

The “Go back to Africa” argument says that if black people do not like it in America, they should go back to Africa. Mostly it is not an argument about Africa but about the kindness of white people. It  makes the point that White Americans have been nicer to black people than anyone else in the world, even nicer than black Africans would be.

Pat Buchanan loves this argument and makes it more directly. Here he is in 2008:

First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.

Where to begin?

First, it assumes that blacks are richer in America because White Americans have been kinder to them than Africans would be. Wrong: blacks are richer in America because America is richer.

The pie is so big in America that even when it is divided unjustly, as it is, it still leaves most people with more pie than any ordinary person would get in the Third World. Which is why people from the Third World come to America: poverty is worse than racism. But that does not excuse racism.

The argument also overlooks how Africa got to be so poor and screwed up. It turns a blind eye to the effect of the Atlantic slave trade on Africa and the effect of white rule, both direct (colonial empires) and indirect (banana republics).

And like the Arab trader argument it makes whites look good by comparing them to someone else.

But the worst thing about this argument is that it is such a huge lie.

Whites pretty much let blacks twist in the wind, like we saw on television right after Katrina. Blacks are like unwanted stepchildren in America. Whatever blacks have achieved has been in spite of whites for the most part. Most whites were quite fine with Jim Crow, if you remember. And even now most seem to be quite fine with failing black schools, black ghettos and high rates of black unemployment and crime (so long as it is not in their neighbourhood). Thus the kindness of white people.

And just so you know how morally broken this argument is, it goes back to slave days. Here is Robert E. Lee in 1856:

The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence.

Spoken like a true white person: it is not so bad and, besides, it is not our fault.

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purplepeople

Purple people (1974?- ) are creatures from the moral universe of white racists – along with Arab traders, black best friends, Rented Negroes and Will Smith. Purple people come up whenever a white person (and on occasion even a black person) wants to show how colour-blind he is, how race does not affect his judgement. You hear about them in statements like this: “I don’t care if you’re black, white, purple or green, it’s the person that counts.” Sometimes polka dots and stripes are thrown in too.

On the face of it, it does sound colour-blind. But then why is it that it comes across as a put-down to people of colour? And why does it seem to be said mostly by the very people who are anything but colour-blind?  Why is it you cannot imagine Tim Wise or Martin Luther King saying something like this?

Take the last question first because it answers the others: an anti-racist like Tim Wise would never bring up purple people (except to talk about them like I am) because he takes colour and race too seriously. It is not something to be made light of by putting it in the same sentence with polka dots and stripes, not something to be compared to science fiction creatures from another world like purple people.

Why it seems that white people do it:

  1. Their colour is not a serious issue because it does not directly affect them in a bad way.
  2. They do not want to talk about colour. They want to wave the whole thing away instead of face it and deal with it seriously – another piece of racist deflection.

Compare:

  • I don’t care if you’re black, white, purple or green, it’s the person that counts.
  • I don’t care if you’re black or white, it’s the person that counts.

The second statement is more serious and also harder to defend. Even worse, it can lead into uncomfortable talk about race.

Throwing in purple, green, polka dots and stripes makes colour seem less serious than it is. It does that by making it just about physical description and not culture, history, pain, identity, injustice, divided cities, bad schools, unemployment and all the rest.

I leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine just how innocent these statements about purple people are.

Just so you know, I did an Internet search: those who bring up purple people the most these days are Republicans who are against Obama – trying to prove that race has nothing to do with it.

And just so you know, white people are racist against purple people, so even on that level the thing is a lie. How do we know? Because of Second Life, an online world where you can make yourself look anyway you want. One women on Second Life made herself white and people were friendly, but when she made herself purple the very same people would not talk to her, even if she said, “Hi!” first. Even cyborgs got more love.

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darfur_aerialThe eighth and last stage of genocide is denying it ever took place. This allows the genocide to continue, either now or sometime in the future.

Here are the common ways to deny a genocide:

  1. “Don’t rock the boat” – Or the peace talks might break down. Or contracts for oil or arms might be cancelled. Or you will look weak if you call it genocide and do nothing. Just go with the flow.
  2. “We are helping these people!” – and show outsiders model camps. Like how the Nazis showed the Red Cross Theresienstadt but not Auschwitz or Dachau. See how nice we are!
  3. Make it about the numbers – if they say 50,000 were killed, you say it was 5,000. Get into that dispute.
  4. Make it about words – Oh, it is just “ethnic cleansing”. Oh, it is not about race but land rights and that is not genocide. And so on. Overlooking the fact that if people only of a particular race are dying then it is about race no matter what anyone says or wants to believe. Because that kind of thing is not an “accident”.
  5. Make it about the accusers – question their motives. Overlooking the fact that they are telling the truth.
  6. Blame history – say this kind of stuff goes on all the time. Overlooking the fact that genocide is rare, despite what racists like to believe.
  7. Blame bad luck – blame it on disease, lack of food, lack of Western aid, etc. Overlooking the fact, say, that these people were driven off their land or moved to a place that cannot support their numbers. A trick favoured by Sudan and America.
  8. Blame out-of-control forces – after all genocides are often started  by paramilitary forces that seem to be acting on their own. Overlooking the fact that many of these same forces are secretly supported by the government. If the government is not seriously fighting the force in question, it is receiving its blessing.
  9. Blame the victim – say the victims started a civil war. Overlooking the fact that there is no military reason  for the mass killing of women and children.
  10. Dehumanize the victim – “They’re Africans. They do these sorts of things to each other.” They are not like us. Their lives do not matter. Why do you care? Overlooking the fact that everyone’s life matters, not just those who are like us or live nearby.
  11. Peace matters more than justice – Let us forget the past and just move on to give peace a chance. Overlooking the fact that a lasting peace can only be built on justice, otherwise there could be another round of genocide.

Genocide is rare. It is not “natural” – except to a racist. Tens of thousands of women and children of a particular race, religion or ethnicity do not just up and die by “accident”, not even in war. It is done on purpose, thought out in advance by sick minds. Who tell themselves these lies.

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kchronicilesHere in one place is the list of the most common arguments that white racists use on this blog, listed roughly from the most common to the least:

  1. Anything but race – Racism is over. There must be some Logical Explanation that has nothing to do with race.
  2. Blame-shifting – Blacks like to use the race card, crying racism and blaming whitey, but blacks are to blame for their own mess. Racism is so 1968.
  3. ad hominem – question a commenter’s intelligence, character, age or motives.
  4. Whites are individuals – so you cannot make general statements about whites. Besides, that would be racist.
  5. “Blacks are racist too” – but they do not like to admit it. Find a case where a black person did something just as bad as what they are pointing out.
  6. “You are the racist one” – turn the tables.
  7. “I am offended” – how dare they call you a racist! You do not see a person’s colour – they could be purple for all you care!
  8. Arab trader argument – whites are not as evil as black people like to think. For example, it was not just white people who traded slaves: Arabs did it too! Few blacks know that, so make sure to point that out whenever you can.
  9. “But that happened to me too!” – whatever blacks complain about, try to find a case where a white person – you, a friend, someone in the news –  experienced the same thing.
  10. Point out how “ghetto” and disagreeable black people are – because they are and it needs pointing out. No wonder no one gets along with them!
  11. Talk down to them – they are imagining things, they do not know what they are talking about. How dare blacks tell us what we are like. What do they know? Are they white?
  12. straw man – argue against some stock position that is kind of like the post. That way you can copy your comments from another blog. Or from Ann Coulter.
  13. Blacks need to be colour-blind – if they just stopped seeing race and talking about it so much then racism would go away!
  14. Start quoting rape statistics – out of the blue, if necessary. Rates of imprisonment are good too.
  15. The white inventor argument – whites invented everything so shut up already.
  16. Demand proof – Make them prove it beyond a reasonable doubt with facts and figures. Find holes in whatever facts they present. Find counter-facts.
  17. Make it about the past – and point out that your family never owned slaves. When are they going to stop living in the past?
  18. Go back to Africa – if it is so bad here, then go back to Africa already!
  19. Bootstrap – I made it on my own without help from anyone.  Blacks expect something for nothing!
  20. Some of my best friends are black – so there is no way I am racist!
  21. Might makes right – all through history.

Most of these arguments take neither the truth nor the experience of black people seriously – because what matters most is white people and their feelings, particularly about feeling good living in a racist society.

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GeromeslavemarketThe Arab trader argument is my name for an argument white Americans often use to defend the evil they do in the world. It goes like this: if white Americans do something evil and terrible it is all right – or at least not all that bad – so long as they can find at least one example from world history of someone else doing the same thing. Thus the Atlantic slave trade was not so bad because Arabs traders sold slaves too!

See how it works? Pretty cool trick.

Not!

The thing is utterly morally bankrupt. It is the everyone-does-it argument that we tried when we were eight . Our mothers did not buy it then and it does not work now – except maybe for the morally blind.

But that is just what  many white Americans seem to be: morally blind. They know the evil that is done in their name, not just in the past but even now, but they do not want to see it. And when they are faced with it, they try to excuse it with stuff like this.

Maybe moral blindness leads to morally broken thinking – or is it the other way round?

It would be like if I robbed a bank and then said, “People rob banks all the time, what is the big deal?” Or if I slept with someone’s wife and I said, “Your wife had an affair two years ago. See! I am not that bad. Why are you angry at me?”

Do you see how shameless this kind of argument is?

It amazes me that anyone even tries it, for two reasons:

  1. That anyone would waste more than two seconds trying to excuse something so clearly evil, like the slave trade, the Japanese American prison camps, racism, etc.
  2. That they would try to use such a bad argument with a straight face and not see just how bad it is.

But they do it.

It seems to bring comfort to them, but that comfort is completely one-sided. It brings no comfort to those who have to suffer their evil. Like when the Jews were being sent to the death camps, did it bring any comfort to them to know that the Turks killed over a million Armenians?

Forms of this argument:

  • This is the way we have always done it
  • Blacks do it too
  • Blacks are racist too
  • There will always be racists

Right and wrong are not determined or proved by what everyone does, much less by what some people do, like Arab traders. That would just excuse everyone to sink to the lowest, meanest, most evil levels of behaviour.

A simple and far better way to determine right and wrong, without getting deep into religion or philosophy, is the Golden Rule, which is not “Do unto others as some others have done”, as the Arab trader argument would have it, but “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Acts of racism fail this test by their very nature.

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