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Hogarth judge

February 2018



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Hogarth judge

(Belated) International Blogging Against Racism Week

Seems that last week was an International Blogging against Racism week, proclaimed by someone. Guess I missed it. Didn't know about it until this weekend. So here's my belated contribution.

It seems that, in many circles, it's said that the claim, "I am not a racist," is considered an empty and even counterproductive gesture. So be it. I deny that I hold any beliefs about racial supremacy or superiority. (Cultural superiority, yes, I do hold those beliefs, think they are justified and true, and feel no shame about them.) But this is as good a launching point as any to also discuss my misgivings about what goes on in the name of anti-racism among certain circles.

But I'll also try and keep this interesting, by also adding a bit about my weird sex fancies. cavalorn brought up the topic of the complicated interplay between perceived racism and sexual fantasy, and that too is illustrative.

Now, I am older than many who will read this. I was born when segregation was still the law. I remember Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights marches. This doesn't give me any special credentials. What it does make me is old enough to remember when anti-racism was a species of anti-authoritarianism; because I can recall anti-racism being chiefly about confronting authorities who sought to uphold a racist regime with police dogs, hoses, tear gas, and bullets. Real racism is about an oppressive, pervasive, and intrusive system of social control; and the goal of all my political views always is to increase personal space at the expense of controlled social space. The most important value to me is to preserve that 1960s style spirit of liberation.

Hostility to racism in that manner is something I grew up with. I dare say that it's one of the key influences on my moral belief system, along with the anti-war movement and early feminism, which warped me in my early adolescence. (Gloria Steinem was kind of hot back then. Germaine Greer was hotter. I read The Female Eunuch in junior high. It warped my fragile little mind.)

So avoiding racism is important to me, but keeping alive the anti-authoritarian spirit of liberation is more important to me. Resorting to censorious scolding in the name of opposition to racism is not an option. No one should have to submit sex fantasies to public political scrutiny, even if they involve evil stuff like slaves on the plantation. You're allowed to be evil in your sex fantasies, and attempts to politicize them is an attempt to intrude social control, shame, and blame into your most intimate thoughts, and that's wrong, wrong, wrong.

Authoritarian and scolding versions anti-racism, like authoritarian and scolding versions of feminism, are to my mind betrayals of the spirit of liberation. They can easily go wrong.

A recent example of prejudice comes to mind: for unfortunately, this week cockfighting becomes illegal in Louisiana, the last state where it was allowed. This is a regrettable triumph of ethnic and cultural prejudice that's blind to what it really is. Yes, I'm white-bread enough to find cockfighting trashy, disreputable, and distasteful: but I'm not enough of an authoritarian to break the Golden Rule over it or impose my tastes on others.. If you imagine that cockfighting is "wrong" because of your deep empathy with suffering chickens, you are making a pseudo-virtue out of your sheltered and privileged upbringing and neglected education in the bloody side of life.

Never shot a squirrel. Never cleaned a fish. God damn Disney. You should be ashamed of yourself for your malicious, culturally imperialist desire to imprison your neighbors because of your maudlin malarkey. If you imagine that these beliefs have nothing to do with prejudice, you aren't seeing things clearly.

When it's claimed that racism is some kind of brooding omnipresence, or a taint invisibly and indelibly carried by the children of "privilege" like the taint of original sin, the only effect of these beliefs is to cultivate indifference to the worthier goals of reducing social control and getting along with others. Racism, in a meaningful sense, cannot be that: for if it is that, there is no point in even attempting to oppose it. It may well be that a degree of clannishness and cultural supremacism is inevitable in every human being and every human group. But there's no point in politicking about things that nobody can do anything about.