Yasna wrote: linguoboy wrote:
Yasna wrote:Hamner is an outspoken social justice activist who clearly sees himself in an alliance against "white supremacy".
Your point being?
You could fill volumes with the sexism of men who loudly proclaim themselves "feminists" or the homophobia of self-hating gay men. Proclaiming your opposition to an ideology doesn't magically liberate you from all its effects.
My point being there is no evidence for your claim that he "decided to ally himself with white supremacy". The most parsimonious explanation is that he is a racist at heart who tried very hard to compensate for his racism.
What does that even mean, to be a "racist at heart"? This term has no explanatory power at all; like the pro-gun rhetoric about "bad guys with guns" and "good guys with guns", it simply divides people arbitrarily into two types so that the speaker can claim to be on the side of the angels. How did he become "racist at heart"? Why did his racism take the form it did when it did? Your "parsimonious explanation" doesn't cover any of that.
Yasna wrote:Are you saying you've never encountered any of the millions of members of racial minorities in the US who have assimilated into mainstream American society, maintaining unremarkable, functioning relationships with white classmates, colleagues, and friends; living unremarkable, productive lives at the heart of American society? That doesn't mean they never experience bias or racism. They do, but they don't let it define their lives.
This is another weasly phrase. "Letting racism define your life" = "Pointing out that racism exists and causes actual harm". We only accept minorities when they don't do anything to make us uncomfortable. That's what we mean by "assimilation".
Yasna wrote:But all these millions of people are either allied with white supremacy or otherwise ill-intentioned, so what's the point of getting to know them and taking them seriously, right?
Some of them doubtless are. Most are just trying to keep their heads down so they don't become one of its targets.
By don't take my word for it. Why not start listening to the actual person of colour who's been in this discussion all along
? Oh, right, he's one of those bad ones who "let racism define their lives" so his testimony is not to be trusted.
Yasna wrote: linguoboy wrote:
Yasna wrote:To sweep all of that aside in favor of the "white supremacy" hammer strikes me as hopelessly reductionist and a case of the genetic fallacy.
Who's "sweeping that all aside"? I feel like you're the one who's oversimplifying the discourse by repeatedly deploying "white supremacy" as a punchline. Yes, Hamner and others in his community made choices which led him to this point. But those choices weren't made in a vacuum; the water in which he (and all us) swim is permeated with white supremacy and it affects our actions on an unconscious level--even if we consciously resist it, even if we're not white. It's the same with sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, or any other societal bias.
So Hamner has the choice to work on his anti-Asian biases in the same way that you or I do or that Asian Americans have a choice on whether to work on their anti-Black biases. But there are societal forces encouraging him not
to make this choice and they are mostly allied to white supremacy, which can only survive in this country if BIPOC don't unite against it.
Once again I'm left to guess what exactly you mean by "white supremacy" in this context. I'm guessing you mean stereotypes of East Asians. Yes, Hamner was exposed to stereotypes of East Asians, just like most people in the world. Let's remind ourselves that many stereotypes have a kernel of truth and are reinforced by the experiences and observations of populations groups in contact with one another. In other words, even if you magically extirpated racist stereotypes from America tomorrow, many of them would be back in recognizable form in no time as long as East Asian Americans are on average more academically successful, African Americans are on average more successful at basketball, etc., etc., etc.
Why are you still guessing at this point?
White supremacy is not reducible to "stereotypes of East Asians". As I've explained before, it's an ideology which has at its core a racial hierarchy with white people at its apex. Stereotyping other races (hell, conceiving of "other races" at all) is one of the ways it defines and justifies that hierarchy. The purpose of most white stereotypes of Asians (such as that they are "good at math") is to support the model minority myth, which functions as a wedge between Asians and Blacks
in order to preserve white dominance. The resentment this creates between members of the two groups manifests in many ways, and one of them is the kind of open bigotry displayed by Hamner. No need for a mystical appeal to some essentialised spark of racism in his "heart"; this is the system working exactly as it was designed to do. If you "magically extirpated racist stereotypes from America tomorrow" without altering the underlying ordering of society which produced them, of course
they'd be back in no time. They're the symptom, not the cause.
Yasna wrote:Let's also remind ourselves that the vast majority of us who are exposed to these stereotypes do not turn into racist assholes. Or are you tempted to go yell racist profanities at East Asians if you don't "work on your anti-Asian biases" studiously enough?
The university I work at has a lot of East Asian students. Many are recent arrivals from Mainland China. Their behaviour is different to the standards of politeness I was raised to valorise and many of the things they do in public rub me the wrong way. This especially comes out when I take the university shuttle to and from work. More than once (generally when I'm already in a bad mood for some other reason) I've found myself thinking "those damn Chinese". Sometimes I've come close to expressing my frustration out loud and I have to check myself. I have to remind myself that my standards are not universal, that my expectations are not intrinsically better than someone else's, and the mixing of cultures is something I'm staunchly in favour of. And that's how I talk myself off the ledge.
But this isn't a once-and-done kind of thing. It's not as simple as just deciding one day not to be racist and then never again having another racist thought. It's an ongoing project of not giving into anti-Asian biases, of not stereotyping, of not enforcing my expectations onto the rest of the world. That's why I've been trying to post openly about the process here. I'm trying to foster some appreciation for what it actually takes for a white person to be anti-racist so that others don't fall prey to the simplistic manichaean notion "Well, I didn't hurl racist abuse at anyone today so that means I must not be 'racist at heart'" and don't think any more deeply about how their actions do or don't reinforce existing inequalities.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons