Saturday, July 4, 2009

declare themselves the real americans

We were founded on a very basic double standard. This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free. Am I right? A group of slave owners who wanted to be free. So they killed a lot of white English people in order to continue owning their black African people, so they could wipe out the rest of the red Indian people and move west and steal the rest of the land from the brown Mexican people, giving them a place to take off and drop their nuclear weapons on the yellow Japanese people.

You know what the motto of this country ought to be? "You give us a color, we’ll wipe it out."

--George Carlin

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. . . .

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. . . .

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. . .

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

—The United States Declaration of Independence,
adopted on July 4, 1776


Be in enacted by the State and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any alien, being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof . . .

—"An Act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,"
ratified on March 26, 1790


Autonomy is freedom and translates into the much championed and revered "individualism" . . . . Eventually individualism fuses with the prototype of Americans as solitary, alienated, and malcontent. What, one wants to ask, are Americans alienate from? What are Americans always so insistently innocent of? Different from? As for absolute power, over whom is this power held, from whom withheld, to whom distributed?

Answers to these questions lie in the potent and ego-reinforcing presence of an Africanist population. This population is convenient in every way, not the least of which is self-definition. This new white male can convince himself that savagery is "out there."



After 1870, Blacks as well as Whites could naturalize, but not others. . . . from 1870 until the last of the prerequisite laws were abolished in 1952, the White-Black dichotomy in American race relations dominated naturalization law. During this period, Whites and Blacks were eligible for citizenship, but others, particularly those from Asia, were not. Indeed, increasing antipathy toward Asians on the West Coast resulted in an explicit disqualification of Chinese persons from naturalization in 1882. . . .

In 1935, Hitler's Germany limited citizenship to members of the Aryan race, making Germany the only country other than the United States with a racial restriction on naturalization. The fact of this bad company was not lost on those administering our naturalization laws. . . .

In 1952, Congress moved towards wholesale reform, overhauling the naturalization statute to read simply that "[t]he right of a person to become a naturalized citizen of the United States shall not be denied or abridged because of race or sex or because such person is married." Thus, in 1952, racial bars on naturalization came to an official end.

—Ian Haney López, White by Law:
The Legal Construction of Race
(1996, 2006)


I see a pattern running through the matrix of white privilege, a pattern of assumptions which were passed on to me as a white person. There was one main piece of cultural turf; it was my own turf, and I was among those who could control the turf. I could measure up to the cultural standards and take advantage of the many options I saw around me to make what the culture would call a success of my life.

My skin color was an asset for any move I was educated to want to make. I could think of myself as “belonging” in major ways, and of making social systems work for me. I could freely disparage, fear, neglect, or be oblivious to anything outside of the dominant cultural forms. Being of the main culture, I could also criticize it fairly freely. My life was reflected back to me frequently enough so that I felt, with regard to my race, if not to my sex, like one of the real people.

--Peggy McIntosh, "White Privilege and Male Privilege:
A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences
through Work in Women’s Studies" (1988)


Deep within the word "American" is its association with race. . . . American means white . . .

--Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark

36 comments:

  1. As a non-American I've alway wondered how the term "All-American" can be used to describe a white male or female who comes from a middle-class background and hails from some suburbian area in the US. I'd think where do these people come off thinking that they are the REAL Americans when others namely Native Americans had to be overthrown in order to establish the presiding order of white domininion in the US. Morrison says it well in her thesis about how the Black Presence in America was essential in establishing white identity. In that sense it's folly to try and divorce the African-American or the Native American from the definition of nationality in the US.

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  2. Obviously a white, middle-class man or woman, born in the USA and living in the suburbs, has absolutely no right to consider himself or herself a real American. Brilliant observation! So what should they call themselves?

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  3. Hi Moira, did you read the whole the post? The point isn't that white people in the United States don't have any right or reason to call themselves "Americans." Instead, the point is that throughout "American" history, white people overtly, and then covertly, were considered the real Americans, the ones who are most "American," the ones who in the collective imagination still best fit the term "all American." As Toni Morrison, Peggy McIntosh and many others point out, there are ways in which that's still true.

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  4. What a great set of quotes, really work well together. Thank you for dispelling delusions again, to the extent that you can.

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  5. Moira, interesting question, you pose "what should they call then self? "

    The only group with any claim to the be called real Americans are the indigenous people and their descendants. Everyone else on the continent is a guest, in some cases and unwelcome guest.

    But if you insist on being labeled the american, how about the lying american, the lynching american, the rapist american, the racist american, and the stealing american. White people have no right to be called the real ameican. Because you stole the continent and place your name on it does not make it yours!

    OTOH, if we want to define american as a bunch of lying, stealing, hate mongering white folks, then yes, you're the real ameican!

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  6. I always find the All-american phrase "funny". Especially when it's applied to someone who isn't from the US. Obviously the criteria that the commentator was using was "white = American". The person they were referencing actually happened to be from Canada. I never hear it used in regards to an American of a different ethnicity or descent.

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  7. I find it interesting when people villainize "white Americans" because of the history of this country. Why not look at the history of the WORLD, the history of humankind? How many horrors have humans committed against other humans throughout the globe, throughout history?

    I am a white woman. Born and raised in the United States of America. I'm proud to be an American. I'm proud to be human too.

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  8. You're right Rebecca. Whites in general have done horrible things to everyone worldwide. So no, white Americans aren't the only villians.

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  9. Imhotep and Fro: I invite you to take the blinders off and look at the atrocities going on to this day that have nothing to do with white people. "stuff white people do" is nothing but an invitation for open season on white people. If you really want to discuss race relations, I'm beginning to think this isn't the forum to do so.

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  10. Alexis, are you saying it is quite all right with you for white Americans to declare themselves the "real" Americans?

    I for one do not have blinders on about what people around the world are doing. But I am a white American, so I care especially about what I do that I might be doing simply because I am classified and taught to be "white." So I read this blog about "stuff white people do." But I also read web sites and news services from around the world too. If you are a white American too, why do you not care about about what white people do, as they are described on this blog?

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  11. Macon d, I really like the blog and enjoy your thoughts and the comments of the readers but the debate about "Real Americans" now borders on ridculous. Most of the real Americans died years ago. There are a few left, but not many, and they tend to keep to themselves and mind their own business. The United States has become nothing more than a far-western, European-style, socialist-democracy. A shell of its former self, with a super-powerful military. There aren't enough Americans of any color left to even be worth discussing. It may make for interesting conversation but a debate about which group in today's culture holds the most American-ness is as silly as monks arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

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  12. Thanks for your thoughts, Uncle Rico, but I'm a bit confused. Who do you think are the few "real" Americans left? What are their qualities or characteristics? Are any of them famous?

    And what does your sense of what a real American is have to do with the way white Americans have declared themselves that?

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  13. Linda, not at all. I consider everyone living in the United States (that is here legally) is a real American. That's what our country is founded on...people loving this country and being able to come here without persecution. MY recognition that other races can do horrific things does not negate my recognition that many white people have raped and pillaged with no remorse. It's not an either or situation. That's like saying you can't recognize the good in Christianity because of the crusades.

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  14. The comments here are hilarious. May I add some offshore spice or two? It's the same deal with the term 'true blue Australian'. Here's a song with that title. http://www.malleeboy.com/music/true_blue_21.html

    It seems to suggest that the 'real' Australians are a "dying race" (most likely because of the onset of mass migration), and I doubt it's talking about the Aboriginal population. It's most likely about white Australians.

    And, going on a slight tangent, notice also that to become like 'real' Australians, (Americans), British etc, migrants need to adopt values established by the (white) founding fathers - values that are unique to that country...(really?):

    "In Britain, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, has called for a national "proud-to-be-British" day to celebrate what Britons have in common. He singled out liberty, fairness and responsibility as defining British values. As we all know, only Britain is defined by these values because no other country has discovered them yet.

    In France, an MP wants to make teaching the national anthem part of the school curriculum so children learn about liberty, freedom and fraternity. These values being uniquely French, of course.

    In Australia, NSW Premier Morris Iemma wants to create "Australian values" units in public primary schools to teach children about Australian values such as respect, responsibility, decency and a fair go, because only Australians are defined by these values." (by Sushi Das in http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2006/01/26/1138066918369.html)

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  15. Macon d, this makes the third time I've tried to address your questions in something resembling a reasonable manner - it quickly becomes way too long.

    The white projection of "real" American, in a nutshell, springs from ignorance. As a country we are horribly ignorant of our history and the thoughts and writings of those that came before us. We are so ridiculously ignorant that we can do nothing more than project our limited knowledge, personal experiences, opinions and preconceived notions backwards onto the past. It isn't just our American-ness that gets "whitened". We prefer a Caucasian variety of Savior as well. (I suddenly had the voice of the old pitcher in Major Leauge in my head, "Are you telling me Jesus Christ can't hit a curveball?" I digress...)

    White people don't have this market cornered, however. There are historic facts out there but it requires effort and critical thinking and self-examination, something most people of every creed, color and religion, even many in academia, aren't willing to invest - especially if it might indicate they're wrong or if it doesn't agree with their political philosophy.

    As to how I would define what constitutes "real" Americans, a real American (among other things):
    - knows the difference between "the United States are" and "the United States is"
    - knows that this country was never intended to be a democracy and for very good reasons
    - knows that you cannot have a right to something that must be provided by someone else
    - knows that a government powerful enough to give you everything is powerful enough to take it away without recourse
    - knows that watching a group of people protest against an intrusive government by getting a government permit and protesting in a government approved area using government approved means is completely ridiculous

    Believing things like the above these days puts one squarely in the super-minority and subjects you to all sorts of conspiracy, nut-job, racist, hate-monger, heartless, etc., labels - from both parties. I personally know several people that I consider "real" Americans and most of them keep fairly quiet even though its killing them to watch this country eat itself from the inside out.

    Are there any famous people that are "real" Americans? I have no idea because I don't personally know any famous people well enough to make that call. I know there are famous people that claim to be. I also know of famous people that believe in Scientology.

    I am not an apologist for the failures of the founding fathers, they were mortal men and subject to all the vices and inconsistencies that come with being human. But many were also supremely brilliant and were a driving force in pushing the world to take a huge step forward - the recognition of "inalienable rights" that resides in every human, regardless of race, color, creed, religion or culture. I would never advocate a return to the past but I would advocate a return to the path they started us on. Until we become a country that respects those inalienable rights with a government that seeks only to protect and defend those rights we will continue to fracture under the internal conflict and the race for a majority of votes on this issue or that. It is going to be almost impossible to see past our differences so long as it is politically advantageous for one group or another in Washington to use those differences to divide us against ourselves.

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  16. I'm amazed at how Rebecca & Alexis have the audacity to come to a RACE FOCUSED BLOG and demand it to stop being about race!

    White privilege on a work out!

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  17. Thoughts:
    "Americans." Instead, the point is that throughout "American" history, white people overtly, and then covertly, were considered the real Americans"

    Look, this isn't brain science here, nor some deep conspiracy. Obviously it was because they were the only real ones of significant number for the first 80 some years. Then after Blacks were made citizens, they still were almost 90% till 40 years ago. when I think of Chinese, I think of Hans, what about you -- or maybe you think of the Turkish Chinese too.

    And though people like to deny it, it was a European-(American)Nation, or more correctly, an Anglo nation. It doesn't matter if it was founded on Indian lands. Thoughts like the following are simply inane:

    "I'd think where do these people come off thinking that they are the REAL Americans when others namely Native Americans had to be overthrown ..."

    There was no overthrow -- this was not like the Goths invading Rome. The natives were displaced when they did no die from diseases and on that land a nation was built.

    I understand the point of the reasonings here -- but a better point is to say, currently at 65%, it is no longer European. Or for that matter Christian. Europeans or at least some of the elite chose this route in the 60's, much like a number of Europe nations are doing today, via their immigration policy.

    The revisionist history is not needed.

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  18. fromthetropics, your being silly and taking it out of context. You say:

    "and, going on a slight tangent, notice also that to become like 'real' Australians, (Americans), British etc, migrants need to adopt values established by the (white) founding fathers - values that are unique to that country...(really?)"

    The sense of 'realness' is based on the origin of the nation's, as you rightly mention, founding people. (Nations are built on lands, lands are not nations).

    Originaly both the US and Australia, like Canada were Anglo nations. Some of this meant ethnically European and some Christian, another aspect was the enlightenment ideas of liberty. ect.

    For various reasons in the 60's the US opened the doors to mass Non-western immigration. Previously, Blacks were treated as an exception (no to nicely) along with sporatic numbers of other people. And this worked for the majority 85+% because the people that immigrated -- other Europeans-- could more or less easliy be assimilated to the Anglo model.

    After mass non-European immigration began changing the dynamic -- the ethnic component of common identification had to be dropped -- kinda like we in the Us are now dropping the Christian component. But people like holding onto some definition or past and it makes changes easier for previous generations, so the nation was reinterpreted as being based on the Enlightenment. Ie liberty, Equality, ect. People like common grounds and founding myths.

    Anyways, my point is -- while I get your interpretation -- instead of seeing this as a just-doing the intentional white racist-bias, its more of a how can we find commom ground in terms of the past. And instead of seeing this as a white bias -- if anything -- it is white Europeans ceding cultural ground. And allowing the country to be transformed. (Take a look at china and you can see how things could be -- while there are some 56 ethnic minorities, china is a Han ethno-state.)

    France and the Uk are doing the same thing because they opened the door to mass immigartion also -- when was the last time you went to Paris. So now, ex-Europeanish countries that have become highly multi-ethic define themselves in the terms you mentioned.

    What do you guys study in history these days?

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  19. Man, those two, Rebecca and Alexis should just leave. If you don't like what is being written, just leave. The Real Americans are all the continent's native people from Canada, North America and South America, and their descendants, mixed or fullblood. That is it, not all of the people that are here now. This continent was named "Anahouca" before all the immigrants came.

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  20. Macon,

    "the ones who in the collective imagination still best fit the term "all American."

    Some people feel this way. Just wander over to Vdare or Amrem. But not all of it is sinsiter intentions.

    My fiance is from China and she instinctively says whites instead of American; or if she is talking about blacks she says African-American, even if they never touched the Americas. Now you could say this is because of propoganda or bias. And the later is a good deal true insofar she doesn't identify blacks and whites as both being American, but a lot of it is the rapidity of change, raw percents, and historic influence.

    I mean, I just moved to NC for Cleveland OH and I was shocked to see so many 'foriegners' -- we'll I guess you could see this as racist or nativist or something -- but I grew up around 96% blacks and whites and I was born before the major influx of Hispanics, so its kinda natural.

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  21. Anonymous wrote,

    Macon,

    "the ones who in the collective imagination still best fit the term "all American."

    Some people feel this way. Just wander over to Vdare or Amrem. But not all of it is sinsiter intentions.


    Anonymous, first of all, did you write all of the Anonymous comments here? Did you notice the request above the comment box that commenters come up with a name, to avoid the kind of confusion we now have in this comment thread? Have some manners. Please!

    As for your point, no, it's not just the commenters from Vdare or Amren who feel that way. One thing you don't seem to be getting here is how many people, both white and non-white, both American and non-American, basically think and perceive what Toni Morrison points out -- that "American means white."

    Pointing THAT out is not to point out
    "insidious intentions." It's to point out how distorted common conceptions about race and normality can be, as well as how much of America's overtly white supremacist past is still with us.

    And that lingering past was overtly, "insidiously" white supremacist, beginning with expropriation of land from "Indians" and the explicit effort on the part of property-owning whites to divide working whites from their darker co-workers by offering them the "wages of whiteness," the chance to think of themselves as better not because they have more wealth and land, but simply because they're white. This wasn't all just a "natural" result of one land being taken over by another group of people. And the ongoing modes of de facto white supremacy aren't just "natural" phenomena resulting from the fact that whites make up the majority of the U.S. population. Like you, I used to perceive many social injustices and imbalances as merely "natural," but now I know better; they're the result, the ongoing and active result, of certain groups of people deciding and declaring themselves superior to others, and thus the "natural" leaders, and thus the "natural" beneficiaries of the blood-and-sweat-squeezed sacrifices of others.

    Pointing all this out is also an effort to note and attend to insidious EFFECTS, not intentions. The latter are much more significant than intentions, don't you think?

    What effects, you might wonder? For one set of them, watch this seven-minute video I recently posted:

    "A Girl Like Me"

    For another, read Peggy McIntosh's quote in this post, and then her whole article. It's about how in many, many ways, most white folks still find America an easier social landscape to navigate than most non-white folks do, merely because of the artificial, UNnatural importance still placed on their supposedly "white" skin. They also have a stronger sense than others do that this land, this nation, is "their" land and nation. And that sense feels, falsely, "natural" to them.

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  22. Chrissy,

    Again the inane arguement.

    American is short for US citizen. Though, yes, that is an interesting 'bias' in itself -- mean I bet no one here calls brazilians or Columbian's Americans. The audacity!

    But sometimes it is important to step back and look at what is happening instead of giving silly replies -- that why underatnding can be had and change can be made.

    Macon et al. is pissed that some or all whites consider themselves the real deal. He considers it chauvinistic, ect. Apparently it undermines his sense of legitimacy or something. He then reads this into history. And fits it into a Europeans as blah blah blah schema.

    As for the claim,

    There is some truth to what he said in the sense of say, this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTbqYdtjzto.

    So yes, there are European Americans that currently regret the chnges other chose to go ahead with. They would rather be mostly European christian country and so a European Christian country by default.

    As I mentioned though, in most senses of the word it was European christian nations: it was founded, stocked (88%), and run by those guys. At least if you want to look at it that way. In reality, most Europeans (ie non Anglos) would have seen it as an Anglo country to which they adopted; or course, if asked whether it was really a European or an African or Asian country -- they undoubtly would have said European but looked at you funny for asking the question.

    I some sense Blacks and others were invisible. While there was an oppressive element to this -- obviously blacks being enslaved, kept down, resticted, etc. contributed to there lack of notability in the first 200 years of the country -- this was otherwise not something particularly insidious, at least in the sense that traditionally multi-ethnic empires and countries has been defined by their ethnic core. So The Ottoman Empire was Turkish, because the core was turks. Ditto the Austrian Empire, Qin, Abyssian, ect.

    It's also how people mind works -- they make a general rule and then add on minor exceptions.

    For example Moira and Miss Sheeba loosly use the term 'white,' when they mean European -- as white means caucasian which includes: Middles Easterns, some central Asians, and some north Africans. I guess we could say they have been brainwashed or programed -- another simpler hypothesis is most white people they deal with are European and or for the past 400 years or so, its been European in history and not Middle easterns -- doing the slave trading, colonizing, invading, inventing, creating, empire building not reverse as it was for the 800 years or so prior or otherwise being overrun by asiatic hordes, or devistated by foriegn plagues, ect.

    Anyways, not to degress to much -- so ya, while you should look at someone funny if they contend this is a European-American country. They idea that that histoical views is somehow bigoted is rather anachronistic.

    Of course, the change has happened rather quick so some people will not have adjusted. I imagined some here might still consider -- as mentioned -- the US a christian nation. Same deal. Or I guess now, Marriage being a guy and a girl.

    So in light of this I see Macon et al. sentiments as a new way of looking at things confronting an old way. And while challenging such assumptions is fair -- I would hesitate a too deep reading into some of these things.

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  23. Assuming all the anonymous comments are by one person, firstly, having a POC as a fiance does not necessarily make one less racist (not that you're claiming to be).

    >Obviously it was because they were the only real ones of significant number for the first 80some years<

    >currently at 65%, it is no longer European<

    Uhuh. So then how come people still think of blue-eyed blonds when they think of someone who is 'all American'.

    >this was not like the Goths invading Rome. The natives were displaced when they did no die from diseases and on that land a nation was built<

    I'm not sure I follow. So if it was not an invasion, are you then suggesting that the native of the land just kinda fled away when they saw these white Europeans and became naturally displaced...as in being displaced was a natural course of things, like the seasons changing, as in nothing was done forcefully against their will?

    >while there are some 56 ethnic minorities, china is a Han ethno-state<

    And that is exactly the problem. That's why we're having problems as we've seen happening in the last few days in the Uighur area (which of course insists on calling 'Xinjiang'). I am ethnic Han myself and I find what we're doing in Uighur appalling. Heck, I was shocked when I first found out (when I was young) that Tibet was part of China. To me it sounded like an act of invasion/conquering. It sounded wrong. The privileges that come with being an ethnic Han in China and other places like Singapore is similar to having white privilege in the US. But just because it happens in China, and elsewhere, it doesn't make it right.

    >So now, ex-Europeanish countries that have become highly multi-ethic define themselves in the terms you mentioned<

    My point was that they have taken values that many nations or peoples or cultures, etc deem important as though it was something uniquely British, French, or Australian. Firstly, it isn't, as seen by the quote. Secondly, when assuming they are uniquely French, British, or Australian and demanding that migrants assimilate into a culture defined by these values, they are also implying that these great values are uniquely white (as demonstrated by the True Blue Australian song).

    Btw, so, what are you, a history major or something?

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  24. Okay, so first you say it's about the number/population:

    >Obviously it was because they were the only real ones of significant number for the first 80 some years.<

    Then you talk about a 'core':

    >at least in the sense that traditionally multi-ethnic empires and countries has been defined by their ethnic core. So The Ottoman Empire was Turkish, because the core was turks. Ditto the Austrian Empire, Qin, Abyssian, ect.<

    So when you say 'ethnic core' are you still talking in terms of numbers/population, or are you just talking about the dominant most powerful group?

    If it is the former, then are you saying that the Roman Empire was made up of a majority ethnic Roman population? Or that the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) was made up of a majority ethnic Dutch? And how about British India? French Indo China, etc?

    If it is the latter, well, then you're contradicting yourself.

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  25. Macon,

    Yep, there all me. Apologise.

    I didn't think of that chinese thing as non racist -- no, we are both rather racially aware -- (stuff like, she would prefer if i looked more chinese and I if she looked more white -- which some would consider racist or some nonesense --)



    I appreciate the reply. I guess we differ on what we view is natural.

    "One thing you don't seem to be getting here is how many people, both white and non-white"

    So, for example I was talking to an Indian friend -- and he was saying how he could get a visa of he married a white girl -- then he caught himself and changed it to American.

    This might be a soft example of what you are talking about. And I agree this sentiment confer advantages. But the sentiment is not a result of white supremacism (at least per se). It is association -- often with power and influence. Now you can argue -- and to a good extent I would agree, though I would put this in historical context -- that Europeans got where they did through some rather nefarious actions. But its the power, influence not racism that results in this.

    And a bring this up because it has practical implications. My fiance is from China and chinese generally look up to whites and down to blacks and Indians. They do this on the basis of wealth. However, now that Obama is president and many follow Lebron James or other stars, the opinions have shifted confiring more positive attitude towards Blacks.

    So can can look at this as whites causing Blacks to have a shitty image -- or you can figure out ways to increase your appeal. Takes jews. Now in China, they are the big thing because of wealth -- I offen hear (now with the growth of their economy) stuff like: "Whites are just trash, the real ones are Jews."

    You probably would get back to the point of how Blacks or whoever got in the crappy position in the first place, or what is keeping them there. And we can discuss that if you want. But in terms of promoting active on-going bias I don't see it. Does that make sense? I see a lot of momentum instead. That's what I mean is natural.

    I also have a rather dismal view of people and so don't see raping, pillaging, conquering as unremarkable. Though it is interesting that Caucasians (whether Europeans, Persians, Arabs, or Hindu Indians) were pretty successful at it. But I could give other examples -- of non caucasians (Asians and Subsahara-Africans) just they never managed to do it on such a large scale, or they did it at a time -- except for the Japanese -- distant from most peoples historical memories.

    What do you think?

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  26. From (1),

    First, I appreciate the discussion.

    "Uhuh. So then how come people still think of blue-eyed blonds when they think of someone who is 'all American'.

    Demographic change is rather recent. As so Power change has been.

    "I'm not sure I follow. So if it was not an invasion, are you then suggesting that the native of the land just kinda fled away"

    No, most died off because of diease -- ie a lack of immune response (I guess no Black plagues in the pre-colonial Americas). The remainder were pushed off, which obviously involved killing. The point is -- the land was taken but it was not a AmerIndian country in these sense of Nation or Empire. The assertion was was US was a European creation. Does that distinction between land and nation make sense?

    "I am ethnic Han myself and I find what we're doing in Uighur appalling."

    That's an unusual sentiment for a Han -- at least based on my years of living in China. Most my chinese friends are pretty ethnonational -- but are also mainlanders. Anyways, but do you see this is historically typical? So to be honest, I am not sure if Europeans are being weak (in some Darwinian sense) in not acting like Han's (and a bit more like their old selves)-- ie in the more ethnonational sense. I mean, I could never get chinese citizenship because my race -- or it is very unlikely --but this ethnicentric solidarity historically allowed nations or groups to become rather powerful. That might sound rather backwards -- but I study intergroup ethnocompetition and end up wondering about these things, but them have to try to locate my moral compass.

    "The privileges that come with being an ethnic Han in China and other places like Singapore is similar to having white privilege in the US"

    My point was, it is not something unique to Europeans. If you look at civilizations as archs of rise and decline, we just experienced the peak of European (Western) Civ. So some of the more dirtly laundary is evident.

    But the priveledge most Hans have in Indonesia ect is a result of them outcompeting others. Do you not agree? Prior to recently, such competition could involve murdering, enslaving, strong-arming, now it is in financial interactions and political clout. Nonetheless there is competition and some groups just outcompete others. Financially, Jews here outcompete everyone, then Pacific Asians and Asian Indians, Whites, then Hispanics and Blacks -- (based on what I see of 'white' cultural decadence, I have to agree a lot of this is momentum.) There are a number of reasons for this --one is group solidarity another is inhertied past soft knowledge (which obviously Blacks got screwed out of). But still groups don't comepete the same. Nor do family members -- but that doesn't make it unfair in a legal sense.

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  27. From (2)

    So, if you buy that in principle, we need to at least factor that into these claims. I guess that might sound like a blacks just perform worse them whites -- difference in success it there faults. And ya, a lot of white people argue this. Another way to see it is to say it is Blacks or AmerIndians were put in a condition where they were not able to develope a high level groups knowledge base -- part of the resulting performance is inertia do to this. It changes the focus to how can his base me improved -- which maybe doesn't address histoical wrongs -- depending on how this is undertaken, but might impove the situation --

    " My point was that they have taken values that many nations or peoples or cultures, etc deem important as though it was something uniquely"

    Ok, but what non-western countries held these -- as stated these are based on enlightenment (French) ideas. Its like democracy is based on the Greeks and Romans. And while I can find some on the Analetics or the Koran, not explicitly so. The point there, is not that they are special per se' to European thinker -- and surely not that European thinkers actually implemented them in what we consider a just fashion -- but that rather then seeing this as more European bias (or in addition, since I am kinda getting what you are saying), it is also an attempt to find a common denominator -- Imagine if Europeans just said: ok time for everyone to be Anglo-ish - The reason the Anglo-ish idea was rejected and multiculturism (its warts and all) accepted was in part to aviod the bias some of you are refering to. Does that makes sense?

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  28. Also, Macon D, would something White people do is distort history? (off topic again)Yes, the history of American indians is distorted by whites to make the natives seem like savages. Especially during the slaugther of Lakota people. Also, whites have distorted African history as well. African civilizations outside of Egypt were very spectaculer! Like in Mali, Tubktu, The Congo,The Zulu people and many other kingdoms. The Africans had kingdoms before the Europeans did. If you would like learn more you should go to this channel when you have time: http://www.youtube.com/user/markellion He's is a white guy that is interested in African history.

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  29. From,

    You wrote:

    "Okay, so first you say it's about the number/population:

    >Obviously it was because they were the only real ones of significant number for the first 80 some years.<

    Then you talk about a 'core'"

    Well its both in this case. It terms of real percents, before the 80's Euros were always around the 80-90% range. An example of that would be Han as Chinese as opposed to Uighur.

    But core matters also. So take the Qing dynasty in which the Manchu more or less rules over the Han. The Manchu were a minority that held their power through banning miscegination and limiting Han representation -- basically . Because they make the 'core,' defining the Qing dynasty - they defined chinese. (So when I grew up in the 80's we still had pictures of Chinese with Manchu dress and the funny pony tail)
    -- maybe you have a different understanding of the Manchu/Han thing, I am going off of western histories.

    Anyways, so I slip back and forth because in this case both -- by my reading -- were true.

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  30. Obviously I never learned how to spell, oh well.

    But Macon,

    Lets skip to the chase and discuss this:

    "Like you, I used to perceive many social injustices and imbalances as merely "natural," but now I know better; they're the result, the ongoing and active result... and thus the "natural" leaders, and thus the "natural" beneficiaries of the blood-and-sweat-squeezed sacrifices of others."

    I count a lot of this as natural -- in the sense that I am not suprised that different groups comepete directly porportional to the scarcity of resources (part of the reason people are nicer over all today because there is more stuff, and so less that needs to be fought over -- but maybe this is too dismal a reading).

    (I guess I am not sure about what I mean about unnatural -- but I am think something more in terms of economics, say monopolies or collussion -- point taken, i'll think about it)

    Anways, see to what extent you agree with this analysis:

    1) groups compete for resources
    2) They can work together, but part of the reason they exist (as opposed to being random individuals) -- is to facilitate competion or to protect themselves from being preyed on (ie tribes, city-states, nations, alliances, ethnic identies, political blocs, ect)
    3) some groups do better then others (economically, Chinese than Malays in Malaysia; ecoomically, japanese then European-Americans in the US)

    There are several resons for this

    A. exogenous (external):

    1)a) direct restrictions limiting groups (ie. Jim Crow laws in the US)
    b) direct promotions -- advancing groups (ie. Malays have a pro Malay affirmative action to balance competition in chinese and indians)

    2)a. cultural handicaps making the playing field uneven (ie. expectations for spanish to learn english the US; expectations for non-Europeans to behave white in the US or non-Koreans to behave Korean in Korea)

    b. cultural advantages -- playing in the home field.

    3) competition of scale (people preferentially support those like themselves ('in group altruism') so a minority member in a majority culture faces a competative disadvantage compared to a majority member, unless they market themselves as a novelty ie. Me trying to borrow a few bucks in Japan)

    [Note: Obviously we find some of these more acceptable then others and may agree with or disagree on some.]

    B. Endogenous (internal]

    1. Groups cohesiveness -- tight nit groups are able to work together better (ie. Armenians in Business in the 80's, in the US; Hidus in the US IT sector)

    2. Groups knowledge base (or Groups intelligence) -- imagine how it might be easier to be a doctor if your parents were and extend this to groups. (ie. Some middle easterners with small shops, gas stations, ect)

    3. (More controversally) groups cultural focus -- how a group teaches it members to act and compete (ie. I taught history in China and the US inner cities and while the chinese kids focused a lot on books/reading the inner city kids (usually black and hispanic) focused on athletics -- unsuprisingly this reflects the relative success in academics and sports. Then I taught in rural US to a rather illiterate crowd of white farm kids -- needless to say effort wasn't poored into school work -- maybe professional farmer/moonshine makers)

    4. (Again more controversally)Group social dynamics -- some groups have higher rates of so-called destructive behavior (ie. Irish and drinking; Genral Americans and obesity)
    .....
    Anyways -- that's the general frame.

    So lets take a group and apply it and then we can discuss relative effects of this or that and see how the effects play out.

    And of course you are right, a group can try to maintain say cultural handicaps -- how many of us, expect Mexican to learn our language and is this inherently different then expecting non-whites to 'act white' or did they lose the rights to that due to past injustices, ect. Are there forms more acceptable then others -- stuff like that?

    what do you think?

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  31. Hey Chuck,

    >But core matters also. So take the Qing dynasty in which the Manchu more or less rules over the Han.<

    The Qing dynasty was your example. What happened to the examples I gave? Roman Empire, French Indochina, British India, Dutch East Indies, Mauritius (many people still perceive it as a white-ish country), etc. Can you please explain your theory using these examples.

    >That's an unusual sentiment for a Han<

    Of course it's unusual. That's exactly the problem. If it wasn't unusual, then we wouldn't have the problems we have now.

    >I could never get chinese citizenship because my race <

    Well, maybe if you applied for a hukou (for those who don't speak Chinese: it's something like a residency permit and because of it you can't move as you please in China - you're sort of stuck in your hukou area) in an impoverished remote village somewhere up in the mountains and told them you want to start a school for the kids there, then they might reconsider.

    And about your last post - so what are you saying? That racism is okay because it is the natural course of things? (at least according to your seemingly Marxist view on things)

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  32. oops. the 'anonymous' post just above was from me.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Fromthetropics (1)

    “The Qing dynasty was your example ...

    Apologies, I did not mean to bypass your statement.
    The Roman Empire would be something more like the Persian Empire. It started out with an ethnic core and %. It expanded and included others. -- so the % declined but kept the core. Some groups didn’t liked -- say the Maccabeus (hence Hanukah) others Romanized, eventually others revolted (the Goths).

    With French Indochina -- say Vietnam -- the situation is different. The Vietnamese had an indigenous culture but later were controlled by the Chinese for a long time and so sinicized. To some extent this happened with the French -- but the French were involved for a much shorter time -- though last I was in Vietnam, French was still spoken. A similar case is with the Dutch east Indies -- just replace Chinese influence with some Arabic influence -- but honestly I never studied it. I don’t remember much Dutch or European influence in Indonesia -- but I don’t really know. India, again is similar -- except the British were involved more extensively and for quite a bit longer, so they picked up more influence culturally.

    The major differences between the US, Romans and the colonial examples are in term of cultural imposition and raw numbers. So in the US, the cultural influence is from the founding people who mostly populated the country (this is the typical nation-state model. Ie nation for natal = birth = implying a genetic component.) . In Rome, it is from the founding/conquering people who set up the civilization and expanded it, and assimilated vast numbers of people Say imagine if/when the US and Mexico merge -- or if the natives did not die off en mass (this is the typical empire model) . With your colonial examples -- it is more of an invasion/conquering ie imperial model. This involved controlling a group with an indigenous culture -- that’s why I mentioned the Qing dynasty.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Fromthetropics (2)

    (I am trying to keep these as short as possibe -- but since my view of things seems a bit different then why you are used to, It might be worse to be terse.)

    As for racism or anything else -- I am not particularly Marxist. I think you are referring to what appear to be a moral relativism. No, I like to but these things in larger perspectives, both historically and psychobiosociologically -- though that sometimes leads to a relativism. So I look at how individual behave -- say when someone has an ‘I am the shit -- you are shit’ attitude and I see this as the individual version of cultural chauvinism.

    Further, I see it on a scale and in degrees. So most people think they are better then average (when they don’t, clinically it is often ‘depressive realism’). And most people think they have more a right to live then another person --ceterus perabis -- so they don’t think it is ok if the government decides to cut out their heart and give in to someone that would die otherwise. Further, many people actively compete against others and praise themselves at the expense of others. I mean are you distributing your money egaully to random people you meet or not? Generally this is not considered wrong -- so I like to see the group versions of this.


    Simply we see human individual behavior on a continuum and only at a certain point say it is unnatural, in the sense of social deviant or neurotic. Most people or most actions don’t make it to that end of the altruistic-sociopath logical spectrum. This is the context I am putting ‘racism’ in. There are clear cases and there is a lot of greyness -- and while much of how things are classified depends on the interpreter and your sympathies -- we can at least agree on some theoretical categories. (Though, I agree, given my ‘groups’ recent history - pushing these categories and ‘grey area’ is not without bias; but that‘s a common problem in the politics we call ‘discourse‘)

    ReplyDelete
  35. Fromthetropics (1)
    --this didn't post before --

    “The Qing dynasty was your example. .”

    The Roman Empire would be something more like the Persian Empire. It started out with an ethnic core and %. It expanded and included others. -- so the % declined but kept the core.

    With French Indochina -- say Vietnam -- the situation is different. The Vietnamese had an indigenous culture but later were controlled by the Chinese for a long time and so sinicized. To some extent this happened with the French -- but the French were involved for a much shorter time -- though last I was in Vietnam, French was still spoken. A similar case is with the Dutch east Indies -- just replace Chinese influence with some Arabic influence -- but honestly I never studied it. I don’t remember much Dutch or European influence in Indonesia -- but I don’t really know. India, again is similar -- except the British were involved more extensively and for quite a bit longer, so they left more influence culturally.

    The major differences between the US, Romans and the colonial examples are in term of cultural imposition and raw numbers. So in the US, the cultural influence is from the founding people who mostly populated the country (this is the typical nation-state model. Ie nation for natal = birth = implying a genetic component). In Rome, it is from the founding/conquering people who set up the civilization and expanded it, and assimilated vast numbers of people(this is the typical empire model). With your colonial examples -- it is more of an invasion/conquering ie imperial model. This involved controlling a group with an indigenous culture -- that’s why I mentioned the Qing dynasty.

    ReplyDelete
  36. What in the world , makes the Whites believe , they are Americans? , and that the name of the UNITED STATES , is AMERICA ? . To me this is pure ignorance .The Continent of SOUTH AMERICA was first called so , to honor the ITALIAN navigator AMERIGO VESPUCCI ,whom circumnavigated said continent and He was never in North America .And for the record ,when Christopher Columbus by mistake discover AMERICA , he did not discover "THE UNITED STATES " .Another mistake he made was to call the naturals of these lands , "INDIANS" , and in bargain He killed thousands of them , and the Europeans , since , have been killing then right up to the modern times ,using any kind of excuse .

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