Miles Coverdale (manos74) wrote,
Miles Coverdale

Blog against racism

So, this week has been Blog Against Racism week, which unfortunately I have not paid much attention to. And there isn't too much I can add that I haven't already said--I've already done several entries about what you could call "hegemonic semiotics" (if you were a stupid-assed ivory-tower longhair like...well, like me).

Still, I feel the need to write a few words on the subject nevertheless.

It seems to me that these days, the most potent ally that racism has is moral outrage. More specifically, it seems to me that pop- and mass-culture encourages the hegemony (or, "the majority" if you prefer) to see itself as an oppressed minority besieged by a dirty-fighting horde of Others. For example, social conservatives bewail the fact that social conservatives are sometimes made the butt of jokes in pop-culture entertainment, but fail to mention that social conservatism is the dominant philosophy of the people who actually run things in the United States today.

As a corellary to this, it seems to me that pop- and mass-culture also encourages the idea that the Other Has It Better/Easier Than You [see, for example, the urban legend that immigrants to the U.S. don't have to pay taxes for seven years and get a whole crapload of free stuff into the bargain, while the Good Decent Working People have to work their butts off to support these freeloaders; or the currently hot idea among the neocons, that "political correctness" is the major reason we haven't wiped out Al-Qaeda once and for all, because it's frowned upon to throw all the brown people in jail; or "Why is it okay for black people to tell jokes about white people on TV, but it's not okay for white people to tell jokes about black people?!"; or "Why is there a Black History Month but no White History Month?!"], in order to get people good and self-righteously pissed off that 1) the hegemony (i.e., "normal people") must make special and unreasonable changes to accommodate a thin-skinned and whiny minority, and 2) any and all criticism of the whininess of said minority will be met by blistering social condemnation if not outright criminal prosecution.

(How many times have you heard someone assert a prejudiced opinion, followed immediately by some variation on "Oh, come on, you know it's true...but THEY won't let you say it in public, because it's not P.C.!"? I know I've heard it plenty of times--I'll probably write more on that in a future entry.)

Maybe I'll cop to admitting that Avenue Q is right, and that everyone is a little bit racist in their own way. However. This statement shouldn't be followed up by " let's not get all pissy and P.C. about the whole thing" and used as a justification to ignore cultural or racial injustice. Rather, it should be followed up by " let's all work to identify the prejudice inside ourselves and not let it affect our relationships with the world at large."

Time for me to end this and go.
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