July 26, 2006

How racism works today

On Racism:  Will our Indian Wars Ever End?Racism is not cut and dry. It’s not as if only those who don hoods and burn crosses or raise nazi salutes are racists. “Enlightened” or “modern” racism is much more complicated. Today’s typical racist rhetorically abhors racism. And they usually believe themselves to be anti-racist because of this. Racism, in today’s American society, is, quite frankly, out of vogue. Modern racism divides oppressed peoples into “good ones” and “bad ones.”

The good ones are the ones who, against the odds of a gamed system, have prospered. For the enlightened racist, their success serves as further proof that the bad ones have only failed due to their own shortcomings. Absent in this simplistic analysis is any reference to systemic racism that condemns historically disadvantaged peoples to poor schools, poor housing and poor health. And of course there is no recognition of the fact that so many members of the dominant culture were born into privilege. This privilege includes being born into a family with college educated parents, going to well funded schools, being networked with people who can help you find jobs, or even living in a community where there are jobs to be had.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

When, in your consideration, did the genocide against Natives in the territories now called the US and Canada end? (I am assuming you will agree that it did end: it demeans the concept of genocide to include current struggles of sovereignty legalities, casinos, mascots, and other such issues as part of genocide).

Scuggy said...

Dear anonymous, look to the Geneva Convention and you will discover that genocide encapsulates more than mere physical slaughter. I quote, “This convention bans acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.” I suspect that the perpetual use of past precedent to divest Native peoples (representing a multitude of people that are a national, ethnic, racial, and religious) of their rightful property/identity/destiny/government/religion/culture is in fact a tool to “destroy, in whole or in part,” Native peoples ability to sustain their future. Certainly you must agree that past US leaders had the intent to destroy all things Native (i.e. to commit what is known today as genocide), and present US citizens benefit greatly from this previous action (committing genocide by proxy). Ask any US citizen about Indians and pilgrims, then ask them which of the two came over on a ship.

Now is it your intention to continue this trend by debating the lack of physical death wrought upon the heads of Native people, or are you simply intending to point out that because no one is getting smallpox blankets or the Calvary is not slaughtering women and children that genocide is not occurring today? Essentially, you must argue that American ancestors either did too good of a job bringing death to Natives, or American ancestors have already corrected the practice of genocide by recognizing it, apologizing for it, and then doing some action to provide justice to the victims.

I also fail to see why Natives need to constantly describe when genocide stopped, as if the burden to prove that it has stopped rests on Natives. The burden to stop genocide rests squarely with those that have perpetrated it, and those that seek to benefit from it (whether from ignorance or intent).

Anonymous should also pay attention to the use of genocide from WWII. One outcome was the production of the Israeli State by the US and her allies. This was done after the genocide of the Jews by the Nazis was over. It fits within the description above: recognized, apologize, justice. Apparently and logically then, when the genocide of Native peoples by Colonial governments ends, Native Nations will be recognized and their inclusion into the world states will be finalized.

Does this context fit into your new definition of genocide, or is this simply a description of overt oppression in its most baseless form?

Anonymous said...

In regards to "as if the burden to prove that it has stopped rests on Natives", I was asking the webmaster, really. He is not a Native. As for you, you had a nice message about the past atrocities. However, is it really going on now? Are the Nations rebounding, or not? Are they being further diminished, as would happen if what was going on before is still going on now? I am getting the idea you don't want to answer.

Anonymous said...

Also, the term "committing genocide by proxy" is in itself an injustice. A person is does not commit genocide unless they actually commit it. It renders the term "genocide" absolutely meaningless, because every human being on Earth had ancestors who were involved in some sort of atrocity or another. Let's not demean what genocide really is.

Not getting answers here, I went to Ward Churchill's pages. I found him detailing actual genocide-type actions in rather recent history (such as forcing people to Indian Boarding Schools, and involuntary sterilization. This actual evidence of genocide probably leads me to say "yes, it is still going on" because they are so recent.

To call it genocide when a nation does not get the land it once held all back is ludicrous. Might as well give the Italians back the whole Roman Empire, if it is genocide to let them keep little old Italy.

Waiting for the Blue Corn webmaster to weigh in.....

Rob said...

Perhaps in the 1970s, when the US ended its policies of termination and sterilization and promoted Indian self-determination. But note that the US still encourages or allows genocide against other peoples of the world (e.g., in Rwanda, Sudan, and the Amazon basin).

Not honoring treaties or returning land may not be genocide, but it's still an injustice. Let's not forget that.

See http://www.bluecorncomics.com/genocid7.htm for more on the definition of genocide.