Tuesday, October 02, 2012
More on Racism with reference to the USSR and Israel
Despite all the claims about 'race' being a constructed category I don't think a lot of liberals and leftists really believe that it is constructed. They seem incapable of imagining 'race' constructed along lines that differ from what has existed in the US or Nazi Germany. Hence only White supremacy and Anti-semitism count as racial discrimination in their minds. Other racial constructions such as anti-Germanism in the USSR and East Central Europe or anti-Arabism in Israel don't strike them as racist because they do not conform to the above 'organic' patterns of racism with which they are familiar. The claim that the deportation of the Volga Germans can't be racist because Germans are an ethnicity, nationality or "socio-historical" group and not a race is in essence a denial that race is a constructed category. Likewise the claims that Israel can't be racist because Jews are allegedly not 'White' is a reinforcement of the idea of specific racial categories and relations as natural and organic rather than artificial and constructed. If Stalin's deportation of the Chechens can't be genocide because the Chechens are not a 'race' then it seems impossible to claim that there has ever been a case of genocide. After all Jews are a religious or ethno-national group not a 'race' and Armenians like Chechens are also an ethno-national group. The fact is that racial discrimination is a type of practice and the theory used to justify this differential treatment is rather unimportant. It does not matter if it is done on the basis of an essentialized culture believed to be alien or a false belief in biological inferiority.