Author Topic: Trumpmageddon  (Read 86838 times)

Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #300 on: 27 Jul 2017, 12:00 »
I just read a pretty interesting article on Cracked about transgender soldiers in America, and I thought I could share the link.

And I also think that it's worth mentioning that women joining the army under a male identity isn't a new, or even particularly rare, phenomenon.


Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #301 on: 28 Jul 2017, 11:18 »
creation of the white identity, which is a political construct

What does this even mean?

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Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #302 on: 28 Jul 2017, 11:41 »
creation of the white identity, which is a political construct

What does this even mean?

If that's a sincere question, I think what Scavenger may be getting at is that racial identities are social and political constructs. Genetically, there's not much that separates different races, but culturally the differences are very significant - especially in the context of history. Right now in the US and Europe, there is a lot of anxiety around white identity. Some white people believe their culture and identity is under threat. What makes this political is that this kind of fear has been consistently manipulated by powerful people for political ends.

Popular white guy Bob Dylan put it like this (fifty years ago):

Quote
The poor white man's used in the hands of them all like a tool. He's taught in his school, from the start by the rules, that the laws are with him, to protect his white skin, to keep up his hate, so he never thinks straight, 'bout the shape that he's in. Aw, but he ain't to blame. He's only a pawn in their game.

The South politician preaches to the poor white man, "You got more than the blacks, don't complain! You're better than them, you been born with white skin," they explain. And the negro's name is used, it is plain, for the politician's gain, as he rises to fame, while the poor white remains on the caboose of the train, but it ain't him to blame. He's only a pawn in their game.


Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #303 on: 28 Jul 2017, 12:00 »
racial identities are social and political constructs. Genetically, there's not much that separates different races, but culturally the differences are very significant - especially in the context of history.

Oh right of course, well there's no denying that. But what throws me is the use of the word 'creation' as if racial identities do not grow in a society organically as a matter of course. I would argue that politics may (or may not) employ preexisting racial identities but it does not create them. Warp them or change them certainly; but people were white and black and brown, and presumably identified and discriminated as such, many thousands of years before the invention of systems of politics.

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Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #304 on: 28 Jul 2017, 12:03 »
Chimps have politics, so I doubt that.

Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #305 on: 28 Jul 2017, 12:05 »
I don't see the relevance of that, please expand.

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Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #306 on: 28 Jul 2017, 12:52 »
I'm not sure we can pin down exactly when politics started happening in human history.

However, we only have to look a few hundred years back to find writers contrasting the "English Race" with the "French Race". These are racial identities not many contemporary writers would subscribe to. Our concept of race has evolved, and modern racial identities have been created. In some ways, organically, and in some ways deliberately. The Nazis constructed a racial identity inspired by German Romanticism, and in opposition to an anti-Semitic, racialised view of Judaism. The Nation of Islam teaches that white people are a race of degenerate "devils" created by an evil scientist with the aim of subjugating black people and Islam.

These identities didn't just develop organically, they were created.

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Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #307 on: 28 Jul 2017, 14:19 »
I don't see the relevance of that, please expand.

That politics, and more speculatively, political systems based on in-group and out-group discrimination, probably pre-date significant variation in phenotype across human populations.

Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #308 on: 28 Jul 2017, 14:44 »
These identities didn't just develop organically, they were created.

Sure, I absolutely get what you're saying. My point is simply that the statement 'white identity is a political construct' is obviously not the full story, race and identity goes a lot deeper socially and historically than that. It is my view that to place the problems we have on politics alone ignores the tendency for humans to self-identify, which can and certainly does happen without the influence of politics.

That politics, and more speculatively, political systems based on in-group and out-group discrimination, probably pre-date significant variation in phenotype across human populations.

You're saying: contemporary chimpanzee populations exhibit in-group and out-group behaviour; ergo human beings discriminated against one another before some lost the melanin in their skin. I don't buy that logic at all - of course I'm not arguing it is not true, but I'd be cautious with making comparisons with another species.

Edit
Also I would add that we're talking only about race here anyway, which evidence suggests chimpanzees do not possess in a physical way anyway*; and we're not talking about any of the quadrillions of other ways in which humans can divide themselves, as chimpanzees also do, even before our populations deviated morphologically.

*http://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.0030066: 'there are no or only slight morphological or behavioral differences among the common chimpanzees'
« Last Edit: 28 Jul 2017, 14:56 by Atelier »

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Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #309 on: 28 Jul 2017, 14:59 »
Perhaps we're talking at cross purposes. I would say that politics is not something that can be separated from history and society. I'm struggling to think of a sphere of human interaction outside what you call the "influence of politics". When I say race is political, I don't mean that the Republicans or the Whigs invented it. I mean that race is related to human organisational and governmental structures.

Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #310 on: 28 Jul 2017, 15:04 »
Perhaps we're talking at cross purposes. I would say that politics is not something that can be separated from history and society. I'm struggling to think of a sphere of human interaction outside what you call the "influence of politics". When I say race is political, I don't mean that the Republicans or the Whigs invented it. I mean that race is related to human organisational and governmental structures.

Yeah, I don't disagree with any of that :-D

Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #311 on: 28 Jul 2017, 23:33 »
While the idea of race itself isn't new, most people didn't consider it a large or important part of their identity until the nineteenth century.
Before that, the most important differences between people was religion, class and culture, and the social divide between classes could sometimes be almost as big as the one between races.

To give an example, when my grandfather was young and there was a ball in his home town, the hall where it was held was divided in two halves with a rope. One side was reserved for the finer folks and the other provided to those who weren't. Now, the thing is, everyone in the room was white. Instead of race, people were divided by their social class, and that was the most important difference there and then. I think that much of the current discussion of race could also be applied to class, and many right-wing thinkers have used the idea of a collective white identity to downplay the divide between upper class and the working class.


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Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #312 on: 29 Jul 2017, 00:03 »
Oh right of course, well there's no denying that. But what throws me is the use of the word 'creation' as if racial identities do not grow in a society organically as a matter of course. I would argue that politics may (or may not) employ preexisting racial identities but it does not create them. Warp them or change them certainly; but people were white and black and brown, and presumably identified and discriminated as such, many thousands of years before the invention of systems of politics.

Because "whiteness" WAS created, I got a link to a short article about it.

The term "white" as anything but a vague descriptor was invented in the 17th century in the context of the atlantic slave trade. Before then, there was no whiteness. It originated, I believe, in Virginia. In groups and out groups existed before then, but never along modern "racial" lines, but more cultural and linguistic ones.

And really, whiteness could not be more artificially constructed if you tried. It did not "grow organically".

Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #313 on: 29 Jul 2017, 00:29 »
To give an example, when my grandfather was young and there was a ball in his home town, the hall where it was held was divided in two halves with a rope. One side was reserved for the finer folks and the other provided to those who weren't.
That just sounds like a VIP partition. You still get those in any nightclub and many other entertainment activities.
Quote
Now, the thing is, everyone in the room was white.
It would be more scientific if there had been some blacks in the room too. Then we could have seen how the room was really partitioned. Even if there was no black/white separation I'm willing to bet they would have formed thwir own partition, rather than mingled. I'm also willing to bet the black/white distribution wouldn't have been the same on both sides of the social class partition.

Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #314 on: 29 Jul 2017, 00:45 »
In groups and out groups existed before then, but never along modern "racial" lines, but more cultural and linguistic ones.

That's a very bold claim, one which I don't think is historically substantiated at all. Just take a look at this, a list of medieval Arabic writers who speak in no uncertain terms about black people: http://www.colorq.org/Articles/article.aspx?d=2002&x=arabviews

If we are to mean racism in terms of weaponised politics (Jim Crow laws etc), then of course one can scarcely disagree, considering that it is only in modern history that different races have begun to live side by side in some societies.

Edit

It would be more scientific if there had been some blacks in the room too.

Precisely, the point is that there probably wasn't anybody who wasn't white in your grandfather's town anyway (this was certainly the case in my own grandfather's village when he was growing up at least), so how could they have discriminated against race? In this case saying that political racism is a new phenomenon is actually quite pithy. But it doesn't follow that racial identity was an unheard of, alien concept before then.
« Last Edit: 29 Jul 2017, 01:14 by Atelier »

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Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #315 on: 29 Jul 2017, 01:24 »
That's a very bold claim, one which I don't think is historically substantiated at all. Just take a look at this, a list of medieval Arabic writers who speak in no uncertain terms about black people: http://www.colorq.org/Articles/article.aspx?d=2002&x=arabviews

I am specifically talking about "whiteness" and the racial lines drawn like that. Yes, in the past people did notice other people's skin colour, and I'm not denying that racism existed at all. My main point is that whiteness is not an ancient constant, not something formed naturally, as you posited. You go back before the 17th century and whiteness doesn't make sense.  Heck, whiteness has changed meanings between then and now.

Something white nationalists love to do is to eternalise the concept of whiteness, to say that it had always existed, to co opt symbology and cultures within itself to create a fictive timeline of white greatness. When, that just isn't the case, and its pretty harmful to pretend otherwise - because white nationalists will use it to say that the white race has a long and storied history and is struggling against the other races who are all bad.... which is bullshit.

Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #316 on: 29 Jul 2017, 01:35 »
Ok, that's all fair enough. I would just say that when I talk about things being formed organically, I rather meant racial identity as the natural result of humans being able to discern differences in one another. In which case, the political concept of whiteness which you are talking about is surely based upon this 'ability' otherwise it wouldn't be able to operate.

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Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #317 on: 29 Jul 2017, 08:40 »
While obviously racial identity is historically contingent, and "whiteness" became a defining identity as Europeans had to relate to people from other parts of the world (to a great extent taking the place of the earlier notion of "Christendom"), I'm skeptical of claims that "You go back before the 17th century and whiteness doesn't make sense". Take Othello, for example, with lines like "Even now, now, very now, an old black ram / Is tupping your white ewe" (i.e. a black guy is f***ing your white daughter), showing that in England at the very beginning of the 17th century, being "white" was already understood as something uniting a Venetian noblewoman and the English audience, in opposition to the "black" Moor. But in general, it doesn't seem that interesting whether a particular racial category existed, since racial thinking more generally, and racism, certainly did. Nor was it exclusive to Europe: You see it with the Han Chinese historically, and with the Japanese, for example. And sure, there were linguistic and cultural components to these distinctions, just as there are today (cf. "Latino" as a racial category in the US).

But this is taking us further from the thread topic: the ongoing catastrophe in the US government. And that's something I think transcends ordinary politics.

Whether you support gay rights or not, even if you believe in tough-on-crime policies and the war on drugs, want to repeal Obamacare and throw out illegal immigrants, it must be realized that the Trump administration (from the top down) is dangerously unhinged, incompetent and corrupt, to the point where it undermines national security, the rule of law and democracy itself. To take just one example: The Department of Energy.

Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #318 on: 29 Jul 2017, 11:51 »
That just sounds like a VIP partition. You still get those in any nightclub and many other entertainment activities.
Are VIP partition dependent on someone's profession, education or name? The better half of the ball was reserved for officers, professors, doctors and their families while the other half was for workers, farmers and the like, so it was still very much divided by class.
Quote
It would be more scientific if there had been some blacks in the room too. Then we could have seen how the room was really partitioned. Even if there was no black/white separation I'm willing to bet they would have formed thwir own partition, rather than mingled. I'm also willing to bet the black/white distribution wouldn't have been the same on both sides of the social class partition.
It's hard to tell, since there was very little immigration in Sweden at the time, but the point I wanted to make is that people can create divisions in the population even when there are no different visible races. Also worth mentioning is that lots of groups now considered white weren't treated as such a hundred years ago, like the Irish or Italians, and when when Finland was part of Sweden, finns were discriminated against by the swedes.

But to get back to Trump, I once heard an argument that the reason he's popular among the white working class is that he's a poor man's idea of what a rich person would be,
like having everything made of gold with his name stamped on it, eating steak with ketchup and boasting about all the things he could do.


Re: Trumpmageddon
« Reply #319 on: 17 Aug 2017, 05:59 »
*stirs the pot*

Does anyone still think America haven't shot themselves in the foot?