Cultural racism

Wojtek Sokolowski sokol at
Mon Jun 1 08:06:30 PDT 1998

At 08:41 PM 5/30/98 -0500, Yoshie wrote:
>Katha wrote:
>>I think the book did a great
>>deal to legitimize white people's not-quite-articulate suspicion that
>>black people are just dumber than whites.
>Though I agree with Katha that Charles Murray, etc. did a great job
>legitimating white common sense,I think that many--if not all--white people
>had and have been quite articulate about their conviction that they are
>smarter than blacks + Latinos, with or without help from the dismal 'IQ'
>debate. Whenever they've voiced their opposition to affirmative action,
>they have been very vocal about how they resent 'unqualified' blacks +
>Latinos taking places of 'more qualified' whites.

True, but knowledge, above all is a social institution. Therefore, there is a big difference between disgruntled white men talking in the locker rooms about 'unqialified Blacks", and the notion of "unqualified Blacks" receiving an institutional stamp of approval from an offcially recognised producer of knowledge.

Science is about 25% empirial content and about 75% institution, complete with turf boundaries, rituals of exemption from scrutiny, ex-cathedra proclamations, and reproduction of authority (for social sciences that ratio migh be even higher for the institutional content). Hence, the "verification" of a statement is only 25% empirical test, and 75% or more a ritual of inclusion into the body of "legitimate knowledge" - i.e. one produced by certified knowledge producers.

>From that view point, it suffcies that a certified knowledge producer
proclaims someting as 'knowledge' for that something to become 'knowledge" - no matter how crappy the evidence that support it is. That proclamation gives a scientific sanction to the locker room talk.

The argument "this is what public wants/thinks" often reiterated by media execs, is nothing more than a strategy of shunning responsibility. Market-schmarket, like religion, is the last refuge of a scoundrel. They quiote deliberately set the agenda by legitimizing certain views, but then they do not want to be held accountable for their own actions.

When the revolution finally comes, knowledge/culture producers should be the first to be put against the wall :). They are the ones who instigate others to action.


Wojtek Sokolowski

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