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Defining other people == absurd racism. Really.

January 26, 2010

One point became very clear indeed to me just a little while ago, while I was musing on how much better my “unruly” hair treats me when I get past the self-hatred and treat it with kindness, instead of trying to whip it into the kind of shape I have been led to believe it should have. This concerns a face of racism that is so common by now that very few people even recognize it as such.

When you insist that everybody inhabiting an entire continent surely looks the same, that is racist.

It also makes no sense whatsoever. All of North America’s native inhabitants would not have the same skin tones, hair textures and colors, facial features, etc. any more than all of Europe’s or Africa’s. When you also lump in Central and South America, that becomes at least as absurd as conflating all the people in Eurasia. It makes no sense, and an ability/willingness to swallow that one whole indicates deeply rooted privilege and racism.

When you come up with crazy-assed Eurocentric explanations for people who did not look the way your ancestors expected when they first came into contact, that is absurdly racist. When you try to claim these “unusual looking” people as your own long-lost relatives (“Welsh Indians”), and use this an as excuse to abuse/dispossess (“Effects of alternative explanations”) the Othered indigenous group based on their taking over and tearing up “your” stuff, nobody should ever take what you have to say on this matter seriously ever again. Ever. Even without Joseph Smith and his Amazing Golden Tablets thrown into the mix.

When you base these physical criteria on the writings of colonial scientific racists, trying to cram different “racial” groups into hierarchies–not so long ago–many of whom had never even clapped eyes on most of the people they were purporting to describe, that is even more ridiculous. If you cannot or will not admit that an awful lot of the evidence you rely upon now was produced by genocidal racists masquerading as impartial scientists–and others basing their work on those conclusions–you are teetering on the edge of similar moral insanity.

When you compound this by positing genetic bottlenecks as an explanation for people all being the same (whether they really are or not), that is an even better indication of racist attitudes. Again, even more so if you are pushing this as the only possible explanation among right-thinking people, and are basing this insulting house of cards on politically (and religiously) convenient ideology-driven assumptions*. When you refuse to see that this could possibly be dogma at all, you should not be taken seriously. Ah, dogma and serious inbreeding! You are still trying to own other people and their ancestors.

Unexpected mtDNA groups or perceived physical appearances dated from 9300-36000 years ago do not give you any more claim on them or their ancestors. Really.

When you further compound this by insisting (again, politically conveniently) that anyone who does not fit your preconceived notions of how a member of a particular group must look, must be lying about who they are–nobody with any critical thinking ability should take you seriously. For all the great benefits, or something like that. Cui bono?

When you feel entitled to define the identities of whole groups of people for them, that is just about as racist as you can get. When you compound this by continuing to base “legitimate” membership–in your eyes–on things such as “blood quantum” (A Relic Of Racism And Termination), that is genocidal racism. Similarly, when you think in terms of people having “Indian Blood” (in their veins? carried in a bottle? on someone else’s hands? by transfusion?), that’s based in some pretty dodgy concepts. Again, cui bono? (That really is an excellent piece.)

When you feel entitled to interrogate complete strangers, insisting that any member of a certain ethnic/racial group must present convincing evidence that they do, indeed, belong to said group, that is racist. When you further get to judge what qualifies as “convincing”, that is also genocidally racist. Even more so when your ancestors compared their ancestors to wild animals, and tried to wipe them out–on paper, through pen-and-ink witchcraft, when it did not always work as well as they’d hoped in reality.

If you feel entitled to do all this, you are behaving genocidally yourself.

When your own internalized racism brings you to swallow any/all of this stuff hook, line, and sinker–without thinking, “gee, maybe we should look at this critically; these folks aren’t known for telling us the truth!”–at best you are confused and unintentionally helping crush other people in similar boats to yours. It’s probably time to wake up and stop helping with the Divide and Conquer. You’ll be happier for it, as will more other people than you have been led to believe even exist.

_____________

* From another post: Ah, Beringia! You’ll find gratuitous references in articles on contemporary Native artists, even. Repeating the hypothesis ad nauseam won’t produce any more evidence that it really happened as described. To quote an endnote to a recent post:
“This idea is what got the whole Beringia ball rolling. Really. The Lost Tribes reverted to a state so “primitive” that they forgot how to build boats. It’s still politically convenient, even if the Lost Tribes have mostly turned into Central Asians.”

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