(Updated May 28, 2020)
The Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek often jokes about the paradoxical nature of American progressive racism by using the example of the Native Americans. If these Americans, Native, are uniquely connected to Nature then, he wonders, does that make their remaining fellow countrymen “cultural Americans”?
The notion is absurd, but it signals the contradictions at the heart of the U.S. concept of racism, commonly identified as a White pathology. This concept, unsurprisingly, is pervasive across a world happy to avoid American finger-pointing.
I recently came across a real-life example of the equivocations denounced by Zizek here:
The article in the L.A. Times describes how Yulli Gurriel, a Cuban-born player, mocked an Asian player by calling him “Chinito” and making explanatory facial gestures of what he meant. The Asian player in question is half-Japanese and half-Iranian but one understands Gurriel’s intent. Hell, he himself explained it, when he apologized, saying he was fully aware that calling somebody a “Chinito” is a time-tested way of demeaning (or trying to demean) a person of Asian descent in Hispanic culture (*).
The golden nugget in the L.A. Times, though, is here:
Some argued that for Gurriel, the gesture and epithet don’t carry the same level of animus as they do in the U.S., with its record of violence against Asian Americans and other people of color.
The argument is clear: for Gurriel, raised in the innocent swamps of Cuba, racism is not such a great deal. One can almost hear Jesus pleading for the poor Natives of Cuba: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” But Cultural Americans, no, don’t you dare forget about your record of violence against people of color!
In response to my tweet, I had a brief exchange in Facebook with a progressive friend, explaining my position; we quickly agreed, as seen here:
XXX: Not sure that’s the dumbest
The politically correct vision enacts a weird reversal of racist hatred of Otherness—it stages a kind of mockingly Hegelian negation/sublation of openly racist dismissal and hatred of the Other, of the perception of the Other as the Enemy which poses a threat to our way of life. In the PC vision, the Other’s violence against us, deplorable and cruel as it may be, is always a reaction against the “original sin” of our (white man’s imperialist, colonialist, etc.) rejection and oppression of Otherness. We, white men, are responsible and guilty, the Other just reacts as a victim; we are to be condemned, the Other is to be understood; ours is a domain of morals (moral condemnation), whilst that of others involves sociology (social explanation). It is, of course, easy to discern how, beneath the mask of extreme self-humiliation and selfblame, such a stance of true ethical masochism repeats racism in its very form: although negative, the proverbial “white man’s burden” is still here—we, white men, are the subjects of History, whilst others ultimately react to our (mis)deeds. In other words, it is as if the true message of the PC moralistic self-blame is: if we can no longer be the model of democracy and civilization for the rest of the world, we can at least be the model of Evil.
Consider the facts: unlike Spanish priests obsessed with the lost souls who died pagan during the Conquest of the Americas, Puritans didn’t try to convert Indians; their only concern was always and at every turn their own soul. They were used to live in isolation from other people’s concerns, and they still are.
Puritans gave us this modern world of virtue-signalling and great shows of sacrifice and charity because, for Puritans, no sin is worthy of attention unless it’s a sin that impunges on themselves; as Moldbug put it back in 2007:
*My wife is Chinese, so my two sons, currently living and attending school in Madrid, are half-Chinese Spanish citizens with vaguely Asian features. They have often been called “Chinitos” by kids trying to put them down or unnerving them, and my eldest son, now nine, had two such incidents playing soccer just in recent days. That’s just the way of the world, I tell him, while encouraging to respond in force when needed. In any case, racism against black or half-black people remains worse by an order of magnitude or two.
**Since alt-rightists often point to higher average Jewish IQ as the driver for the multiple Jewish conspiracies they detect, wouldn’t it be more correct to describe “white supremacists” as “white inferiorists”?