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Monday, 10 November 2008

OBAMA - The Black Face of US Imperialism















Many of my friends and political comrades have seen in Barak Obama a force for change. It is natural that people are joyful and delighted in the fact that, in view of American's history, an Afro-American has been elected President. I share that joy but it is also a good example of how superficial ethnic policies are.

Obama has always been a Democratic centrist. He is no radical. What has made him seem radical was the ageing reactionary McCain and his absurd running mate Palin. Although noone commented on it, in his final debate with McCain he boasted of his role in tort reform in the USA. Most people won't know what this is but simply put, it is a means of protecting powerful corporations from being sued by the people they injure. Interestingly tort reform measures were the first thing Bush did as Governor of Texas.

What Obama will do is to make US imperialism seem more acceptable. No longer the made oil man in the White House, but a descendant of slaves. This is a powerful legitimising force. In this sense the Obama phenomenon is not that different from Zionism. The latter uses the Holocaust to justify the oppression of the Palestinians. Obama uses the legacy of slavery to defend the use of US forces in defence of its economic interests.

The appointment of Rahm Israel Emanuel is a significant sign of the direction Obama will take. We should contrast this with the first prominent Afro-American in US politics, Jimmy Carter's Andrew Young (yes I know most people will say 'Andrew who'). He it was who first met with the PLO thus first challenging the idea that the Palestinians were not entitled to their own political representation without political preconditions. By contrast Obama is what used to be know of as an Uncle Tom.

Tony Greenstein

November 9, 2008 at 11:19:14
Headlined on 11/9/08:
Conned Again
by Paul Craig Roberts
Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has held numerous academic appointments. He has been reporting shocking cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. A new edition of his book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, co-authored with Lawrence Stratton, a documented account of how Americans lost the protection of law, was published by Random House in March, 2008.
If the change President-elect Obama has promised includes a halt to America's wars of aggression and an end to the rip-off of taxpayers by powerful financial interests, what explains Obama's choice of foreign and economic policy advisors? Indeed, Obama's selection of Rahm Israel Emanuel as White House chief of staff is a signal that change ended with Obama's election. The only thing different about the new administration will be the faces.

Rahm Israel Emanuel is a supporter of Bush's invasion of Iraq. Emanuel rose to prominence in the Democratic Party as a result of his fundraising connections to AIPAC. A strong supporter of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, he comes from a terrorist family. His father was a member of Irgun, a Jewish terrorist organization that used violence to drive the British and Palestinians out of Palestine in order to create the Jewish state. During the 1991 Gulf War, Rahm Israel Emanuel volunteered to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. He was a member of the Freddie Mac board of directors and received $231,655 in directors fees in 2001. According to Wikipedia, "during the time Emanuel spent on the board, Freddie Mac was plagued with scandals involving campaign contributions and accounting irregularities."
In "Hail to the Chief of Staff," Alexander Cockburn describes Emanuel as "a super-Likudnik hawk," who as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006 "made great efforts to knock out antiwar Democratic candidates."

My despondent friends in the Israeli peace movement ask, "What is this man doing in Obama's administration?"

Obama's election was necessary as the only means Americans had to hold the Republicans accountable for their crimes against the Constitution and human rights, for their violations of US and international laws, for their lies and deceptions, and for their financial chicanery. As an editorial in Pravda put it, "Only Satan would have been worse than the Bush regime. Therefore it could be argued that the new administration in the USA could never be worse than the one which divorced the hearts and minds of Americans from their brothers in the international community, which appalled the rest of the world with shock and awe tactics that included concentration camps, torture, mass murder and utter disrespect for international law."

But Obama's advisers are drawn from the same gang of Washington thugs and Wall Street banksters as Bush's. Richard Holbrooke, son of Russian and German Jews, was an assistant secretary of state and ambassador in the Clinton administration. He implemented the policy to enlarge NATO and to place the military alliance on Russia's border in contravention of Reagan's promise to Gorbachev. Holbrooke is also associated with the Clinton administration's illegal bombing of Serbia, a war crime that killed civilians and Chinese diplomats. If not a neocon himself, Holbrooke is closely allied with them.
According to Wikipedia, Madeline Albright was born Marie Jana Korbelova in Prague to Jewish parents who had converted to Catholicism in order to escape persecution. She is the Clinton era secretary of state who told Leslie Stahl (60 Minutes) that the US policy of Iraq sanctions, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, had goals important enough to justify the children's deaths. Albright's infamous words: "we think the price is worth it."

Wikipedia reports that this immoralist served on the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange at the time of Dick Grasso's $187.5 million compensation scandal.

Dennis Ross has long associations with the Israeli-Palestinian "peace negotiations." A member of his Clinton era team, Aaron David Miller, wrote that during 1999-2000 the US negotiating team led by Ross acted as Israel's lawyer: "we had to run everything by Israel first." This "stripped our policy of the independence and flexibility required for serious peacemaking. If we couldn't put proposals on the table without checking with the Israelis first, and refused to push back when they said no, how effective could our mediation be?" According to Wikipedia, Ross is "chairman of a new Jerusalem-based think tank, the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, funded and founded by the Jewish Agency."

Clearly, this is not a group of advisors that is going to halt America's wars against Israel's enemies or force the Israeli government to accept the necessary conditions for a real peace in the Middle East.

Ralph Nader predicted as much. In his "Open Letter to Barack Obama (November 3, 2008), Nader pointed out to Obama that his "transformation from an articulate defender of Palestinian rights . . . to a dittoman for the hard-line AIPAC lobby" puts Obama at odds with "a majority of Jewish-Americans" and "64% of Israelis." Nader quotes the Israeli writer and peace advocate Uri Avnery's description of Obama's appearance before AIPAC as an appearance that "broke all records for obsequiousness and fawning." Nader damns Obama for his "utter lack of political courage [for] surrendering to demands of the hard-liners to prohibit former president Jimmy Carter from speaking at the Democratic National Convention." Carter, who achieved the only meaningful peace agreement between Israel and the Arabs, has been demonized by the powerful AIPAC lobby for criticizing Israel's policy of apartheid toward the Palestinians whose territory Israel forcibly occupies.

Obama's economic team is just as bad. Its star is Robert Rubin, the bankster who was secretary of the treasury in the Clinton administration. Rubin has responsibility for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and, thereby, responsibility for the current financial crisis. In his letter to Obama, Nader points out that Obama received unprecedented campaign contributions from corporate and Wall Street interests. "Never before has a Democratic nominee for President achieved this supremacy over his Republican counterpart."

Obama's victory speech was magnificent. The TV cameras scanning faces in the audience showed the hope and belief that propelled Obama into the presidency. But Obama cannot bring change to Washington. There is no one in the Washington crowd that he can appoint who is capable of bringing change. If Obama were to reach outside the usual crowd, anyone suspected of being a bringer of change could not get confirmed by the Senate. Powerful interest groups--AIPAC, the military-security complex, Wall Street--use their political influence to block unacceptable appointments.

As Alexander Cockburn put it in his column, "Obama, the first-rate Republican," "never has the dead hand of the past had a 'reform' candidate so firmly by the windpipe." Obama confirmed Cockburn's verdict in his first press conference as president-elect. Disregarding the unanimous US National Intelligence Estimate, which concluded that Iran stopped working on nuclear weapons five years ago, and ignoring the continued certification by the International Atomic Energy Agency that none of the nuclear material for Iran's civilian nuclear reactor has been diverted to weapons use, Obama sallied forth with the Israel Lobby's propaganda and accused Iran of "development of a nuclear weapon" and vowing "to prevent that from happening."

The change that is coming to America has nothing to do with Obama. Change is coming from the financial crisis brought on by Wall Street greed and irresponsibility, from the eroding role of the US dollar as reserve currency, from countless mortgage foreclosures, from the offshoring of millions of America's best jobs, from a deepening recession, from pillars of American manufacturing--Ford and GM--begging the government for taxpayers' money to stay alive, and from budget and trade deficits that are too large to be closed by normal means.
Traditionally, the government relies on monetary and fiscal policy to lift the economy out of recession. But easy money is not working. Interest rates are already low and monetary growth is already high, yet unemployment is rising. The budget deficit is already huge--a world record--and the red ink is not stimulating the economy. Can even lower interest rates and even higher budget deficits help an economy that has moved offshore, leaving behind jobless consumers overburdened with debt?

How much more can the government borrow? America's foreign creditors are asking this question. An official organ of the Chinese ruling party recently called for Asian and European countries to "banish the US dollar from their direct trade relations, relying only on their own currencies."

"Why," asks another Chinese publication, "should China help the US to issue debt without end in the belief that the national credit of the US can expand without limit?"

The world has tired of American hegemony and had its fill of American arrogance. America's reputation is in tatters: the financial debacle, endless red ink, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, rendition, torture, illegal wars based on lies and deception, disrespect for the sovereignty of other countries, war crimes, disregard for international law and the Geneva Conventions, the assault on habeas corpus and the separation of powers, a domestic police state, constant interference in the internal affairs of other countries, boundless hypocrisy.
The change that is coming is the end of American empire. The hegemon has run out of money and influence. Obama as "America's First Black President" will lift hopes and, thus, allow the act to be carried on a little longer. But the New American Century is already over.

20 comments:

ModernityBlog said...

you really should stop using racist language such as "uncle tom"

Tony Greenstein said...

Why is it racist to use the term 'uncle tom'? It describes someone who is Black yet who fronts White politics, which Obama has done throughout his political career.

His appointment of an overt and hardline Zionist as his Chief of Staff would suggest that he is a Black face on much the same politics.

The Wikipedia definition is as good as any:

'Uncle Tom is a pejorative for a black person who is perceived by others as behaving in a subservient manner to White American authority figures, or as seeking ingratiation with them by way of unnecessary accommodation. The term Uncle Tom comes from the title character of Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, although there is debate over whether the character himself is deserving of the pejorative attributed to him. Stowe never meant Uncle Tom to be a degrading character, but the term as a pejorative has developed based on how later versions of the character, stripped of his strength, were depicted on stage.[1]

It is commonly used to describe black people whose political views or allegiances are considered by their critics as detrimental to blacks as a group.'

It is certainly pejorative but describing someone as a Court Jew is equally derogatory but isn't racist or Quisling etc. It isn't saying that Obama is genetically or biologically inferior or unable to stand up for anti-racist and imperialist ideas.

Meir said...

"It describes someone who is Black yet who fronts White politics, which Obama has done throughout his political career."

Firstly: Obama is of mixed-race. He has never claimed to front or represent the black population exclusively. Your playing of racial politics is a dangerous, dishonest game.

Secondly: 97% of the black voter base knew exactly what they were getting - a centrist President. You insult their intelligence. Likewise, they have always been the backbone of support for the democratic party.

Thirdly: What are 'Black Politics'? A definition would be handy. Perhaps the black man should only indulge in identity politics? I thought you were anti-racist? But you seem to believe that the black man can only indulge in Tony Greenstein approved politics.

Fourth: Your weak effort at a definition "It is commonly used to describe black people whose political views or allegiances are considered by their critics as detrimental to blacks as a group."
does not justify the usage of the term.

Let's face it: You expect Blacks to adhere to YOUR definition of what's good for them. Apparently they can't use their own brains.

Really man, you're a disgraceful niche character.

Tony Greenstein said...

Well we all have to have a niche. It's just that some of us are more open about it!

I'm well aware that Obama is of mixed-race but in the US that counts as Black. I don't know whether you've ever been to the US but you drive in e.g. Washington or Harlem and there is block after block without a single white face, except for a white policeman with his night stick.

Black politics in the US are not socialist but they can be summed up as anti-racist and anti-corporate and pro-welfare and pro-labour. Obama is of the small Black middle class that has made it good and his politics reflect that.

If you want to have a go at me that's fine but do it on the basis of what I say not what you want me to say.

E.g. I have never said that Obama says he claimed to represent the Black community exclusively or indeed at all. But regardless of what Obama says, he was seen as being a representative of the Black population. Unsurprisingly since he is the first Afro-American to become President, or maybe you didn't notice.

No I don't believe 97% of Black voters did realise that he was a centrist, if indeed they thought in those terms. The politically active elements of course, like Jesse Jackson did know and criticised him for that, but nonetheless they welcomed the fact that for the first time a Black person had attained high office.

See my comments above re Black politics but I'm not talking identity politics but about the politics of change, and therein lies the difference. Zionist politics often use identity politics and of course look back to what was, or what it is imagined the past was, in order to justify iniquities today.

But I do expect a Black politician not to endorse the Israeli state and Zionism, bearing in mind that Israel was South Africa's closest military partner and ally. That is called Uncle Tommery.

I was giving a Wikidpedia definition of the term. It seems as valid as any other. And if someone advances White politics - the politics of imperial rule and supremacy and yes racism, then the term is definitely valid. But perhaps you would like to give an equivalent term to Zionist collaborators with the Nazi occupation - the Chaim Rumkowskis, the Kastners, the Gancajweh's, the Gens and so on? Or is Zionist sufficient?

So less of the personal crap and tell us why it's ok to call a white person a quisling or collaborator but not a Black person? White liberal quilt of the same Zionist hypocrisy?

joe90 said...

The Autobiography of Malcolm X with the assistance of Alex Haley
(Penguin, 1968)

'Since slavery, the American white man has always kept some handpicked Negroes who fared much better than the black masses suffering and slaving out in the hot fields. The white man had these 'house' and 'yard' Negroes for his special servants. He threw them more crumbs from his rich table, he even let them eat in his kitchen. He knew that he could always count on them to keep 'good massa' happy in his self-image of being so 'good' and 'righteous'. 'Good massa' always heard just wht he wanted to hear from these 'house' and 'yard' blacks. 'You're such a good fine, massa!' Or 'Oh, massa, those old black nigger fieldhands out there, they're happy just like they are; why, massa, they're not intelligent enough for you to try and do any better for them, massa -''
(Page 340)


Malcolm X, another niche character, said a lot more besides, using such terms as house-servant and field-servant and the like, to differentiate between American Blacks who did the bidding of the white Aemrican establishment, and the mass of American Blacks who suffered under it, and still do.

Just look up the index in Malcolm's autobiography under White, black puppets of for the merest sample of his 'Uncle Tomming'.


Here are some more Uncle Toms -
Peres dines with Arab leaders
BBC
12 Nov 2008

It's almost sickening to think 100's of 1000's of Gazan children are being slowly starved to death and suffering because of lack of basic medicines - and these specially annointed American Dictators are feeding at the trough with someone, who we are all meant to believe, is their mortal enemy.

all the best azvas!

Margaret said...

Tony, the phrase 'Uncle Tom' reflects an attitude that people of color are not free, as are those not of color, to have political opinions that vary but are traitors to their 'race' unless they espouse a particular point of view. (Sound familiar?)

From your comments, it appears that you do consider 'races' to be different forms of humanity.

Tony Greenstein said...

No Margaret. I don't believe Obama is a traitor to his race. On the contrary, he is loyal to his class. But there are those who do see him first and foremost as a Black person politically and who will find out that his loyalty to American capitalism is greater than his shared experience and understanding of racism.

Margaret said...

Tony- You asked "Why is it racist to use the term 'Uncle Tom'?" Appraising him as an "Uncle Tom" does identify him essentially as a 'black' person. Why do you expect his ideas to be based on his skin color?

Do "...those who do see him first and foremost as a Black person politically..." all have the same view of what his being "a Black person politically" means? Is there a uniform 'black' political position?

What basis is there for believing that 'those who do see him first and foremost as a Black person politically' are going to be disappointed by loyalty to "American capitalism"?

mary said...

If anyone wants to know how Tony relates to "blacks" as a group, they need go no further than this post:
http://peacepalestine.blogspot.com/2008/01/some-human-beings-are-more-human-than.html

where you can read this:
Well, finally Tony Greenstein and I can partially agree on something. Gilad Atzmon and I have been stressing for years now that asking people to take action or to influence them by merit of some ethnically-based criterion is simply a racist way of thinking and operating, and Tony finally admits as much. If we are people, it shouldn’t matter one iota what group we are born or raised into. Ideologies are mindsets that are not "genetically instilled" and can be adopted or cast off or used at will. We can’t accept an objective ethnic belonging that carries no merit or defect as such, as an ethical device or even a way to persuade people. Ideologies matter, ethnic belonging does not. Belonging to one group or another should be irrelevant when trying to persude people of the value of an argument and influence their opinions. We should move beyond the stage of focussing on a person according to race, sex, religion, nationality or political leaning, and listen to their arguments.

It is too bad that Tony feels the need to continually insist on telling us that he was “The only Jewish speaker” at this meeting or that. Gosh, I didn’t know that there is a census made of the ethnic or religious belonging of the people who speak at meetings and that Tony was privy to that information. He also believes that Jews have special sensitivity to racism. “Jews, of all people, should be the first to oppose racism, whoever the victims and the perpetrators,” he says. While at the same time, he knows how (presumably all) Blacks must feel about it, refering to one of his interlocutors, so that he can be easily identified, apparently, as “a Black Sudanese guy”: “But again Black people have better understanding of racism than white ex-councillors”. (Following this logic, if the white ex-councillors are Jewish, they should be the first to oppose the racism, but other whites certainly are lacking in this moral characteristic.) If one were to judge the way he writes, it seems he does indeed think in racial stereotypes and categories and can’t resist mentioning it as if it were the normal thing to do. Yet, on the other hand, he insists that race does not exist, er… rather, it is a political construct. “Just to be clear. Zionism isn't based on a race, nor is German anti-Semitism for the simple reason there are no such things as race. Race is a political construct.” (Alef message 5 January, 2008) Whether or not there is such a thing as race seems to be a matter of debate for geneticists, and we’ve all seen acceptable arguments from both sides of the debate. Tony is extremely “ethnically aware”, and this is absolutely crystal clear in almost every intervention he has on internet. One might say that it borders on an obsession. Whites, Blacks, Jews, Non-Jews, hardly a single thing he has written escapes this ethnic (or racial, if you like) labeling, complete with a categorical judgment of the sensitivity each group must have to racism issues a priori of their personal experiences. What DOES seem interesting is the fact that when TONY stresses his ethnicity, in his worldview, it’s a good and positive thing. When OTHER people do it, as the Shalit campaigners do, or those who spoof it, as Peacepalestine has done, it’s clearly racist and anti-Semitic. I wish he would make up his mind one way or the other.

----and one last thing, Tony always would get SO irritated when I or anyone would use a Wikipdedia entry in a response to a comment. Since it saves time, most people do it. Tony forgives himself for this but others do not escape the scrutiny.

mary said...

This view by Tony also needs some debunking.

"I'm well aware that Obama is of mixed-race but in the US that counts as Black."

Oh yes? Says who? Not that my family represents all mixed race people in the US, but my brother's children, are mixed race (black parent and white parent) and have always referred to themselves as mixed. Their own racial identity is what they are, that they are neither black nor white but are mixed. It isn't only skin deep, although one child is quite a bit darker than the other three, they all consider themselves mixed and not "black". I don't know how all other people consider them, but those who know they are mixed consider them as mixed. Where does Tony get this information. I would like to know.

Tony Greenstein said...

No Mary I don't agree with you or Gilad Atzmon.

I do believe that Jewish people should, precisely because Israel and Zionism claim to act on their behalf, speak up against what is done on their behalf. That is entirely different from speaking on behalf of one's race/ethnicity etc.

It's a political act. As Hannah Arendt makes clear in her debate with Gershom Scholem:

'I can admit to you something beyond that, namely, that wrong done by my own people naturally grieves me more than wrong done by other peoples.'

Of course in the debate between the non-Zionist Arendt and Scholem, the Zionist bigot, Atzmon would as with Anthony Julius join the 'authentic' Jew!

I am not asking Obama to speak up against wrongs done by Black people. It is an entirely different point which the muddleheaded Mary doesn't seem to understand. Namely that many people see Obama as a change for the better, because he's Black. And I'm cautioning against any such view. Obama will not be the next best thing since sliced bread.

As for mixed race. Yes many people do feel that way. All I'm saying is that politically racism operates against Black people or Muslims in this society. There is no half racism, regardless of pigmentation. Race is a political construct not a biological one.

mary said...

You are too confused or even muddleheaded to answer a simple question, Tony?

"I'm well aware that Obama is of mixed-race but in the US that counts as Black."

I say this: Where does Tony get this information. I would like to know.

you say:
As for mixed race. Yes many people do feel that way. All I'm saying is that politically racism operates against Black people or Muslims in this society. There is no half racism, regardless of pigmentation. Race is a political construct not a biological one.

I say: Going off topic isn't going to cut it. Just answer my question, since you say that in the US mixed race counts as Black. Just give me your source, or else admit it's something you made up because you have NO idea!

mary said...

by the way Tony, I didn't even mention Obama, so get your head unmuddled!

Tony Greenstein said...

What an idiot you are at times Mary. I'm not saying you are saying Obama is or is not mixed race or not. Nor did I even say you mentioned him but the article on which you are comment is titled 'Obama - the Black Face of US Imperialism'. So clearly your comments are made in the context of Obama.

My sources in the USA? I didn't quote sources I used my own brain, something Mary has hired out to Atzmon for some years now. It's called analysis of what I've seen. You don't always need to source an observation!

mary said...

Tony, if nothing else, learn how to argue. There are actually rules to it. For instance, you can't say this:
I am not asking Obama to speak up against wrongs done by Black people. It is an entirely different point which the muddleheaded Mary doesn't seem to understand.

....When I have not mentioned what you say about Obama or even the very name. You can't know what I am thinking, or my views on what you think of him, because no view was of the sort was even expressed. You apply the Straw Man Fallacy, and it does not work. The fact that it is in the title means nothing because I was commenting on the absurd comments you have made and the observations others have expressed here as to your obsession with racial stereotyping, and I demonstrated that you generalise people in a racist-steretypical way that is not based on documentation, and if it was, you should try to pull it out to give your argument some credence. Just for the record on how you are certain that Blacks "have a better understanding of racism", (with your own definition of what this understanding must be, one would assume),you might want to check out a blog by a friend of mine, a black American, by the way, who claims, counter to your own beliefs, that Blacks are some of the most racist persons in the US. http://racerules.wordpress.com/ check out the top post, for instance.

Observation is where your information comes from, Tony? How very interesting, as it allows your own perception to also define a meaning of a phenomenon. But germain to this specific OBSERVATION, When have you observed the Americans or what counts as "Black" in America? In case you have never observed in the first person, which in this case would mean that you are inventing your evidence as you say:
My sources in the USA? I didn't quote sources I used my own brain, something Mary has hired out to Atzmon for some years now. It's called analysis of what I've seen. You don't always need to source an observation!

...Then, your information comes from your imagination and perception, which is not scientific even slightly. Please let us know the details of the observation, because what you write is a bunch of bullocks, and I say this as living with "mixed race" black/white people for 25 years in the USA and also having mixed race black/white people in my immediate family, so the observation is indeed close. It has been the argument of conversation for a lifetime, so I just want to get it straight how your observation is legitimate.

It is not "wrong" to cite studies, but that would mean that you would have to depend on something you consider less authoritative than your own brain, the work of statisticians, sociologists and other scholars. I can see why you would be approaching such a task with trembling knees.

Tony Greenstein said...

Mary,

Nice as it is, I don't have time for word games. Having just done a 3000 word review of Gabriel Piterberg's new book and a similarly lengthy response to a pro-Zionist article in a publication, I just don't have time to engage with you seriously. So just a few observations:

i. I perceive the world, I analyse it and various phenomenon and then offer my view based on my own researches. As do you, except my politics are of course different.

ii. Blacks in the USA have a greater understanding of racism because they have experienced it. However, because of the influence of US 'melting pot' politics and the ethnic division of US politics their response is, in the majority flawed and they end up supporting someone like Obama, quite understandably, who will betray them, since his first allegiance is to US capitalism not to the oppressed inhabitants of the Black ghettos of Harlem and Watts.

iii. You ask me to obey the rules of debate but I wasn't born to obey rules.

iv. I have of course engaged in no 'racial stereotyping' since unlike you mary and your friend Atzmon, I do not stereotype people according to their own origins. I do not hold to a Judaic or Black viewpoint. All views are in essence based on material circumstances and the material circumstances of Black people in a racist society are pretty dire, as figures for the US and how many Black kids end up in prison - 1 in 4 I believe.

v. You say 'a friend of mine, a black American,' there you are, ascribing to someone on account of their racial origin a greater claim to legitimacy! Just what I'm accused of when I say I'm an anti-Zionist Jew in support of Palestinians!! Caughty on your own petard I'm afraid.

But he is wrong, not because he's Black but because of his politics. To say that 'Blacks are some of the most racist persons in the US.' is an utter absurdity. Just as it is equally absurd to ascribe Hamas with anti-Semitism incidentally. Both the Black person in the US and Hamas REFLECT racism - Hamas with their praise of the Protocols in their charter and Blacks with their views of honkies etc. Both are reflections of mainstream racism. The racist says your x, y or z and the victim of that racism adopts that view as their own. That was the origin of Zionism incidentally.

Yes my perception allows me to define my understanding of a phenomenon which I then try to convince others of. Where does your information and analysis, such as it is, come from? Did the Martians hand it to you or were you privileged to be tutored by those who did know?

Since I've stayed with Black people in the US, indeed I was the best man at one person's wedding and he at mine, I think I know a little more than you on the subject! But it is my view, my analysis, my perception. If you don't agree fine. Then argue it rather than trying to challenge my right to express my thoughts.

Of course my view, like yours, is based on the work of others which I distill inside my brain, argue, amend, change, refine etc. as I make contact with and debate with others. That is how all human learning and development takes place. Not all of us have a Gilad Atzmon to rely on (thank god!).

margaret said...

For many years I was expected to record the race of my clientle. It was possible to ignore that expectation for a long time, unless an individual identified him/herself as someone preferring a representative of an identified race. Eventually however, concerns regarding adequate resources for differing languages resulted in race being linked with language, and record keeping was more closely monitored in order to assure compliance with regulations.

Historically, the dominant members of US society were 'whites' who considered themselves as people, while 'non-whites' were considered to be of differing races. Requirements for statistical record keeping changed the perception of 'whites' as non-raced. However, up until recently, it has been customary, and fairly simple, to identify race by taxonomic characteristics associated with a race other than white.

American Indians presented the first hiccup to that, I think, because tribal status became an important identifier once the Indian Nations began to operate gambling enterprises, which created great wealth for some. Taxonomic characteristics are not definitive for many people with Amerind heritage, but they, like other races previously stigmatized, came to be proud of their race, as well as benefiting materially from that racial identity.

However, I think the first big change in the public consciousness with regard to 'mixed races' came with the popularity of Tiger Woods, an individual who visibly is not one 'race'. The number of people not identifiable as any one race steadily has increased over the last several decades, particularly in the Pacific Rim states, as immigration increased from countries where association with the US military became a liability, and other political changes ensued which resulted in major refugee populations.

Yet, while the statistical categories of 'race' have steadily increased over time, two remain constant: white and black.

Which is a long introduction to my saying that my experience is contrary to what you believe to be true, Mary: even now if a person looks 'black', that person is usually considered 'black' when issues of race are involved. That is changing, but Obama is widely identified as either Afro-American or black and, it appears from a brief scan of the net, he has at times identified himself as black. Equally clear, however, is that his thoughtful consideration of racial identity has changed public perception of the issue, helping to shape the public discourse that began as soon as he announced his candidacy. He is the offspring of parents from differing 'racial' groups, and he is not of one race, nor, I think, is it possible for him to think of himself as only one race.

I often encounter situations that remind me that California is very different from other states, and other nations. The diversity of its population is unequalled, to my knowledge. The social changes that have accompanied the ever increasing variety of 'nations' of humanity here are more apparent then elsewhere, I think, because the process of change has been ongoing for awhile now.

Still my delight at seeing children who are not of an identifiable 'race' is often diminished by an apparent response to my observation: guarded, wary. ( Perhaps that is one of the reasons attitudes toward race have become an issue for me.)

The social stigma of what was once condemned as 'miscegenation' remains strong among groups more recently immigrated, as well as within families desiring for whatever reason to remain identifiable as one 'race'.

But it's pretty hard to make sense of racial categories when you know people who exhibit multi-racial taxonomic characteristics, likewise, when the 'black' person you are talking to is from India.

As my own ideas about 'race' continue to develop, I find myself changing how I inscribe the word, although I haven't quite arrived at any consistency. When I use it in relation to my own ideas, I think of it as 'race', because for me there is no debate; 'race' is a physical result of geographical isolation of gene pools. How, where and why races become isolated I have no idea, and it has long been been a fruitful topic for consideration.

When talking about how others view race, I am sticking with the unmarked word. As I said, I haven't achieved consistency in usage, but I appreciate the need to consider which is appropriate everytime I use it or a related word.

mary said...

Tony, your entire response is quite absurd! Since you claim you don't have time and then go into a senseless rant that must have taken you 15 minutes to write, I see you put a high value on your own opinion, and this:

Since I've stayed with Black people in the US, indeed I was the best man at one person's wedding and he at mine, I think I know a little more than you on the subject!

has got to take the cake for authoritativeness on a topic!!! How do you KNOW you know more on the subject? I grew up with two mixed race cousins who were raised as my brothers in my home, my own brother has four mixed race children, I mean... we are talking about living under the same roof, guy! I just won't go into the absurdity of this statement!

And, the fact that I state that my friend has written an article where he claims that Blacks (and people of colour) are every bit as racist as Whites are is black is seen as a petard by you? It's simply a statement of fact! Is skin colour some kind of problem for you? I probably mentioned it because you go politically correct to say Person when you mean black person, and besides, if a black man is stating this, it is also his personal observation from within his own community that he is speaking from, as well as attemp to avoid insulting me at every turn because it just makes you look more inept in your argumentation.

and onto an interesting argument:
Margaret wrote:
Yet, while the statistical categories of 'race' have steadily increased over time, two remain constant: white and black.

Where do you obtain this "western normative" from? I am not disagreeing with you, it just seems peculiar to me because I don't understand what a statistical category is in this context. Do you mean in perception or actual genetic differentiation? Or could you mean socially? There are actually more non-white and non-black people in the world, and this is why I do not understand what you mean.

Margaret said...

Hi,Mary- I was talking about statistical record keeping in the USA, based on my experience. I looked at some reports on google, to double-check the 'black'/'white' categorization, before making the comment. To answer your question, I went to the US Bureau of Census, http://factfinder.census.gov/
for examples of racial categories used (see below). The site explains how a determination is made of which individuals go into which category.

The changes in reporting from 2000 to 2007 are interesting. The mixture of 'racial' groups is now recognized as statistically significant. The recent categorization of Hispanic/non-Hispanic groups disturbs me. I wasn't able to get an explanation of the purpose for such grouping from my employer, and haven't researched it yet, so won't comment further about it. I hope I have answered your question.

As you and Tony do, I start with my experience in considering issues. I have more experience and personal interest in these areas (statistics and 'race') than expertise.

A comment on what I wrote above: Undoubtedly factors in addition to statistical record keeping were involved in the racialization of 'whites', but that such records began to be kept must have had an affect on individual perceptions of self and consequently on societal perceptions of race.

http://factfinder.census.gov/

Basic Information Supporting Redistricting Census 2000 Redistricting Data
(Public Law 94-171, or "PL") contains basic information on the U.S. population in the 2000 Census
Major Race Groups Available in PL
The race and ethnic groups available in the PL tables are:

* White alone (alone: only one race was identified by the individual)
* Black or African-American alone
* American Indian or Alaska Native alone
* Asian alone
* Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander alone
* Some other Race alone
* Two or more Races
* Hispanic or Latino origin


2006 American Community Survey
ACS Demographic Estimates

One race
White
Black or African American
American Indian and Alaska Native
Asian
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander
Some other race
Two or more races
Hispanic or Latino (of any race)

DP-1 General Demographic Characteristics
2007 Population Estimates
RACE
One race
Two or more races

Total population
One race
White
Black or African American
American Indian and Alaska Native
Asian
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander
Two or more races

Race alone or in combination with one or more other races
White
Black or African American
American Indian and Alaska Native
Asian
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander

HISPANIC OR LATINO AND RACE
Total population
Hispanic or Latino (of any race)
Not Hispanic or Latino Total
White alone

mary said...

thanks for the detailed info margaret, but from the stats you give, Asian as well is constant.