All the Old Nonsense is New Again

Twenty-odd years ago someone came up with the assertion that it was impossible for someone from a “minority” to be racist, because racism is by definition an aspect of a unidirectional power relationship, and not a mind-set, a frame of reference, or even a visceral animosity.  If I can exercise no power over you, then necessarily I am incapable of racism towards you.  “You,” by the way, is defined by group affiliation (an affiliation which I claim the right to assign, incidentally).  It thus follows that even though I can treat the guy bringing me my lunch at the restaurant like shit, if he’s a member of a group over which I deny the ability to exercise “power” (or “privilege,” the new and ill-defined term used in its place), then I can lord it over you to my heart’s content based on your skin color and all with a clean conscience.

I cannot recall if it was Leonard Jeffries, enjoying his taxpayer-funded gig at CUNY, who came up with that precise formulation of the idea, but if he didn’t he should have.  He peddles, among other notions, that of whites as “ice people,” who are genetically violent and oppressive, and blacks as “sun people” who are genetically peaceful and compassionate.  This is  one excrescence of something going by the name “melanin theory.”  Wikipedia describes it as a “pseudo-science,” and it gets the “pseudo-” part only because there is one tiny little grain of truth in it:  “white,” by which is meant “Caucasian” hued skin is in fact the result of a genetic mutation which seems, as I understand, to have occurred after the first humans left Africa.  All humans once had skin much closer in color to today’s sub-Saharan Africans.  And then at some point in the DNA history up cropped the “white” mutation.  Since having very dark skin was not a particularly helpful trait for those humans living outside of sub-Saharan Africa (and let’s recall for a moment that humans didn’t evolve all over Africa, but rather in that part of it comparatively near the equator, where the sun is at its most intense), the mutant strain didn’t select out of the population.  By the way, humans aren’t the only ones to evidence the dropping of a gene that is no longer of assistance; there is (I read this years ago in The Economist) a species of wild dog on New Guinea which used to be domesticated.  The gene for tail-wagging has sifted out of that species after it went wild again, and so they, like other wild canids, do not wag their tails as does your labradoodle.

I have to wonder how Jeffries accounts for, say, the Japanese, or the Amish . . . or the Hutu and Tutsi.  Imagine that:  In 1994 over the course of 100 days or so an entire genetically peaceful and compassionate ethnic group so revolted against its genetic coding as to slaughter 900,000 of its neighbors, whose skin is nearly precisely the same color as theirs.

Suffice it to say that Jeffries is enjoying his taxpayer-funded (and that’s New York City, state, and federal funds, since CUNY receives funding from all three sources and one dollar is fungible with all others) position to put out a load of “Afrocentric” clap-trap that is doing no one any favors but himself.

Demonstrating that one of the hallmarks of idiocy and fraud is recrudescence, we now have a point-blank statement of the principle from Great Britain.  Some weeks ago the student union at Goldsmiths University in London sponsored a function.  The university’s “diversity officer” (alas, that title is genuine; there really does appear to be such a person), perhaps not understanding the word “diversity,” posted on the union’s Facebook page a curious appendix to the event announcement:  If you’re male, or white, do not come to this event.  This is for “BME” (whatever the hell that means) and “non-binary” people (what-really-ever the hell that means) only.  Because diversity, you know.  Notice, by the way, that white women are also specifically uninvited; that’s important to recall in light of the quotation I’m about to share with you.

As anyone with enough to sense to make anything of his/her life other than become a “diversity officer” could have foreseen, the rational world exploded at this — well, frankly racist exclusion based upon skin color, and sexist exclusion based upon genitals.  Even the WaPo picked the story up.  The diversity officer in question then proceeds to dig her hole even deeper:

“I want to explain why this [people pointing out that her actions betray both racism and sexism] is false. I, an ethnic minority woman, cannot be racist or sexist towards white men, because racism and sexism describes structures of privilege based on race and gender.  And therefore women of colour and minority genders cannot be racist or sexist because we do not stand to benefit from such a system.”

She really said that.  She really used the expression “minority genders.”  Presumably she wasn’t talking about females, since they’re not quite 51% of the gross human population.  And we know that she’s not talking about males, since she hates them based upon their genitals.  Presumably there are multiple genders out there which are “minority”.  Now, she identifies as an “ethnic minority woman,” and based on that she’s on the wrong end of at least one “structure[] of privilege based on . . . gender.”  Of course, white women are also on the wrong end of any such “structures of privilege based on . . . gender,” but she specifically disinvited them as well.  On what could that disinvitation be based if not racism?  Oh, but they’re white, and so they cannot be victims of “structures of privilege based on race.”  I guess white women are to be left to sort things out for themselves in respect of the structures of privilege based on gender.  Notice that she only claims that she cannot be racist or sexist towards white men; do I sense an admission that she can be racist towards white women?

Oh dear, how does a human mind get so confused?  We cannot say for sure, but whatever the cause if you try to wade through her self-description you realize the rot has gone deep:  “I am particularly interested in looking at the gendered body in Japanese pornographic anime and horror through a Foucauldian framework in order to analyse the West’s gaze upon a world it attempts to categorize.  My politics are intersectional, queer, feminist, anti-racist . . . I am a working class, Turkish Cypriot, queer, disabled woman and activist.”  If by “disabled” she means “gibbering lunatic,” then I suppose that may explain some of it.

I guess it’s a good thing that no one outside the West — oh, say, for example, the Wahabis in Saudi Arabia or the Taliban in Afghanistan or the Hindu in India — attempt to “categorize” the “gendered body.”  No, in Saudi Arabia they just won’t let people wearing a vagina drive a car or hold a job.  In Afghanistan they’ll throw acid in the “gendered” face for the crime of exposing it to God’s sunshine and fresh air.  And in India entire gangs of men will enjoy themselves on some teenage “gendered body” before hanging her by the neck in a tree.  And in Southeast Asia they’ll sell pre-pubescent “gendered bodies” to brothels to be whored out to bus-loads of middle-aged Southeast Asian men (and Europeans and Americans who also travel to those places for precisely those purposes; at least in That Awful West we try to arrest them on their return if we can catch them at it).

Maybe Miss Mustafa can move to New York City and shack up with Leonard Jeffries.  They can “categorize” each other’s “gendered bodies” and condole each other that it’s all Whitey’s fault.

[Update 20 May 15]:  Apparently using Twitter hashtags like #killallwhitemen does not constitute racism, under Comrade Mustafa’s rules.  Problem for her is that the students at her university might not agree.  They’re gathering signatures for a vote of no confidence in her.

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