Cultural racism

Wojtek Sokolowski sokol at
Mon Jun 1 07:08:45 PDT 1998

At 08:54 PM 5/29/98 +0100, Jim heartfield wrote:
>I'd put it a bit differently. I can remembe writing a very angry article
>when the Bell Curve came out warning of the oncoming march of Eugenics,
>but actually it never happened. The overwhelming critical response was
>hostile to the Bell Curve. It is noticeable that subsequent books of
>this ilk sunk without trace. Waterstones, the biggest bookchain here now
>regularly refuse to stock works of explicit genetic racism. My
>assessment would be that the 'scientific' racism is just too explicit to
>get a hearing amongst the powers that be.
>What you have instead is the 'cultural' version of the racist argument.
>So while elites fear that it might be unnacceptable to say out loud that
>black people are genetically inferior, what they do feel confident to
>say is this: that there is a culture of underachievement, or that there
>is an underclass that is passing on its behavioural traits through
>negative acculturation, or, as the government's 'Social Exclusion Unit'
>here says, that social exclusion is passed on through generations.

Two quick comments:

1. Cultural racism does not carry the same weight as its buiological variety, though. The implication of the biological racism is "there is nothing we can do to help them, it's in thier genes." The implication of the cultural variety is that "we can help them by eradicating their culture of underachievement."

That may translate into a difference between a death camp and 'social programs.'

2. There is a peculiar version of cultural racism veil;ed as 'cultural diversity.' It is usually professed by well off intellectual elites, separated from social problems by layers of security systems, who profess the message 'let them have their own culture.' In that argument, culture, like religion, is treated like the opium of the masses. No attempt is made to change the material conditions of ethnic minorities. Instead, their 'cultures' are being cherished as a proxy for material well-being, under the guise of 'cultural diversity.'

PS. I have nothing against cultural diversity, say, fishing or writing poetry, provided it does not serve as a substitute for fully sharing the material wealth created by a society.



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