Racism

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IpseDixit

Re: Racism

Postby IpseDixit » 2014-12-27, 16:59

Ludwig Whitby wrote:My impression is that the reason for the hatred is primarily cultural (or civilizational as in Huntington's Clash of Civilizations) because the Croats think of themselves as a part of the superior Western Catholic civilization and that they have even advanced culturally as a result of their history of subjugation by the civilized Hungarians, Austrians and Italians, whereas Serbs are a part of the Eastern, Eurasian Orthodox civilization and have been culturally degraded even further by the barbaric Muslim Turkish dominance.


I wonder if the recent admittance of Croatia to the EU has somewhat reinforced this idea. Well, not that the EU is exactly in great shape, but nontheless I suppose it could be something to brag about with Serbs and also used as a proof that Croatia belongs to the "greatest Western civilization".

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Re: Racism

Postby linguoboy » 2014-12-27, 17:16

Levike wrote:What I wanted to say is that the term racism has been extended to mean a lot of things.

IME, this is an AE/BE difference. I was initially startled to hear British people speak of "racism" against the Scots and the Welsh. But then their racial/ethnic mix--not to mention their history--is much different from ours. Despite the presence of Native groups, "racism" in the USA once referred almost exclusively to discrimination against Blacks (anti-Chinese sentiment was always viewed somewhat differently) and it took a while for it to be more generally applied.

Personally, I prefer to reserve the term "racism" for "institutional racism" and call dislike of others based on perceived racial/ethnic origin "racial bias/prejudice" or "chauvinism". There's a huge difference in practice between, say, a Korean guy telling Mick jokes or calling Russians "untrustworthy" and a White police officer calling young Black men "thugs" and "animals" while locking them up at 9 times the rate of White men, and it's best not to confuse strictly personal biases with longstanding injustices which are systematic throughout a society.
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Re: Racism

Postby Ludwig Whitby » 2014-12-27, 17:46

IpseDixit wrote:
Ludwig Whitby wrote:My impression is that the reason for the hatred is primarily cultural (or civilizational as in Huntington's Clash of Civilizations) because the Croats think of themselves as a part of the superior Western Catholic civilization and that they have even advanced culturally as a result of their history of subjugation by the civilized Hungarians, Austrians and Italians, whereas Serbs are a part of the Eastern, Eurasian Orthodox civilization and have been culturally degraded even further by the barbaric Muslim Turkish dominance.


I wonder if the recent admittance of Croatia to the EU has somewhat reinforced this idea. Well, not that the EU is exactly in great shape, but nontheless I suppose it could be something to brag about with Serbs and also used as a proof that Croatia belongs to the "greatest Western civilization".

Yes, but not by much. Only 43% of the electorate voted in the EU referendum and I'm not sure if those who voted Yes did so because they really are so keen on the idea of joining the EU or because they see it as a necessity. What I do know is that the right-wingers (who are usually very nationalistic and chauvinistic) are strongly opposed to the EU and would thus never brag about being a member. The moderates would and do brag especially now given the whole Russia-EU situation and the apparent failure of our politics of balancing between the East and the West. The far left on the other hand (which is so weak that I could've written simply Srećko Horvat) thinks that the fact that Serbia isn't a member of the EU and NATO could turn out to be a good thing, especially given the efforts our diplomats put into building friendly relations with the United Arab Emirates, Russia and most importantly China, the next global hegemon.

Edit: I think I've sort of missed the point. Anyway, the EU isn't exclusively a Western organization since Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania are members as well. So, it doesn't add all that much to the whole idea. Although being a part of something that Serbia isn't allowed to be a part of makes some people really happy. At last they don't have to constantly prove that they are better than us, now it's official! I'm still not sure if I've told you what you wanted to know.
Last edited by Ludwig Whitby on 2014-12-27, 18:11, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Racism

Postby Levike » 2014-12-27, 17:55

How do Croats and Serbs think about people in Bosnia?

And also about Montenegrins?
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IpseDixit

Re: Racism

Postby IpseDixit » 2014-12-27, 18:22

For an outsider it's always difficult to understand who hates whom in Eastern Europe. My general impression though is that everybody hates everybody.

I'm still not sure if I've told you what you wanted to know.


Yes, you have.

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Re: Racism

Postby Levike » 2014-12-27, 18:39

IpseDixit wrote:For an outsider it's always difficult to understand who hates whom in Eastern Europe.
My general impression though is that everybody hates everybody.
No, that's not true, it's more of a love-hate relationship.

Hungarians love Polish people and vice-versa.
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Re: Racism

Postby Ludwig Whitby » 2014-12-27, 18:49

IpseDixit wrote:For an outsider it's always difficult to understand who hates whom in Eastern Europe. My general impression though is that everybody hates everybody.

It's generally a three-part conflict between the Western Christians (Catholic, Protestant, Uniates...) and the Eastern Christian and the Muslims, with the Muslims often siding with the Western Christians.

Although there are exceptions such as the Hungarians and the Slovaks (both Western) and the Greeks and the Macedonians (both Eastern) as well as the Georgians and the Russians (both Eastern) and the attempts by the Montenegrin politicians to create tense relations between the Serbs and the Montenegrins (both Eastern).

These inter-confessional enmities are much more difficult to create and much easier to solve, though. For example, the last war we had with Turkey was in 1912 and we still hate them. On the other hand in the 20th century alone we've had 3 wars with Bulgaria (Second Balkan war, WWI and WWII) yet there is really not much hatred left.

IpseDixit

Re: Racism

Postby IpseDixit » 2014-12-27, 18:54

Interesting. What's up with the Slovaks and the Hungarians btw? I've never heard of this fact...

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Re: Racism

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-12-27, 19:33

Well, Slovakia was once part of the Kingdom of Hungary (and later the Austro-Hungarian Empire), and it seems as if especially towards the end of that period, many Slovaks were assimilated into Hungarian culture by force. (See here, for example).

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Re: Racism

Postby Levike » 2014-12-27, 19:39

Hungary tried to assimilate its minorities, but it didn't have much effect.

Mostly because it was targeting only the educated people.
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Re: Racism

Postby Saim » 2014-12-27, 19:48

When Austria-Hungary collapsed about a third of the Hungarian-speaking population ended up outside of the borders of the Hungarian nation-state, in areas that used to belong to the Kingdom of Hungary. Hungarian nationalists don't recognize these areas that were lost on the Treaty of Trianon, they feel like their country was born truncated and so they make irredentist claims on Vojvodina, southern Slovakia, Transylvania and Carpathian Ukraine.

Slovaks on the other hand see Hungarians as their historical oppressors because of their peripheral status within the Kingdom of Hungary (including the cultural oppression mentioned by Vijay), so when Czechoslovakia was established they expropriated the property of many of them or even expelled them, and to this day they have quite a draconian language policy given the fact that about one-tenth of the Slovakian population is Hungarian-speaking.

Image

(Note that this map is not current: most of the German spots disappeared due to expulsion enacted in revenge for World War II, and some of the Serb settlements shown were ethnically cleansed by Croatia in the 1990s).

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Re: Racism

Postby Weerwolf » 2014-12-27, 20:48

IpseDixit wrote:Interesting. What's up with the Slovaks and the Hungarians btw? I've never heard of this fact...

The recent historical quarrels between us stem from the Treaty of Trianon that chopped the Hungarian area that now is Southern Slovakia which is known here as Felvidék. The makers of this treaty didn’t take future ethnic conflicts into account. The borders weren’t drawn along the ethnic lines.

Slovakia has a language law which strongly against minority languages. For example you must only use Slovak in state institutions, otherwise you’ll get a fine.

What Slovaks find unacceptable is the new Hungarian nationality law. Members of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia can apply for Hungarian citizenship without living in Hungary. In practice this means that if a person wants to have the Hungarian nationality, he automatically loses his Slovak. It’s merely symbolic action by the Hungarian government that our Hungarians living in the sourrounding areas are not forgotten. This means that every Hungarian who is forced to live under foreign authorities is part of the unified Hungarian nation. I would not find it disturbing if someone from the Slovak minority in Hungary would get the Slovak nationality, and I would certainly not strip him of his Hungarian nationality.

There are also several cases of verbal and physical hate crime against the members of Hungarian minority in Slovakia.

Finally, there’s this far-right politician Ján Slota who is known for his anti-Hungarian views. If he says something controversial, that’s surely going to be in the Hungarian press. I would not give to much credit to this guy’s words, he’s not representative for the entire Slovak politics.
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Re: Racism

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-12-27, 22:34

I know this is a random topic shift, so sorry for interrupting the discussion that's already been going on here, but I felt like posting this anyway (and it does have to do with racism).

Over four years ago, Joel Stein, a columnist for Time magazine, wrote what was supposed to be a humor column about his discomfort at the large influx of Indians into his hometown (Edison, New Jersey). This upset many Indians, including at least one of my relatives; Stein seems to have gotten a lot of criticism for this, both before and after he and Time magazine apologized. However, my dad was not offended by the column and thought it was a pity that Stein got so much flak for it. He showed me what Stein had written and asked me what I thought about it. While I've never found Stein's columns to be particularly hilarious, I didn't feel offended by this one, either, and also failed to understand why he got as much criticism for it as he did.

One of the most notable criticisms of Stein's column was by the actor Kal Penn. Like me, Penn is an American guy whose parents are both from India. Unlike me, however, he is from a town just a few miles away from Edison and was a victim of blatant racism there, being attacked by gangs of white kids. I wonder how else our experiences with racism were different and to what extent this might explain the differences in our reactions to this column.

Personally, what bothers me is generally not jokes about our ethnicity but rather the expectations that white Americans often have of us. For example, a lot of them seem to think that we should be grateful just for being in this country; many of us are, but not all Indians who come here do so entirely of their own free will, and sometimes, we do face problems that white people do not even if we shouldn't have to. There's also the characterization of India and/or Indian culture as backward; yes, there are many things that are backward about it, but a lot of this is unsurprising considering the nature of Indian history. In fact, when white people talk about India this way, I often wonder whether they have any idea just how backward their own history was, and whether they would be so surprised at certain things they see if they were more aware of what their ancestors had to live through.

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Re: Racism

Postby linguoboy » 2014-12-27, 23:41

Do you know the Kondabolu Brothers? I liked their take on the Stein column:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9lxrpleEt8
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IpseDixit

Re: Racism

Postby IpseDixit » 2014-12-28, 0:50

Am I the only one who finds it a bit grotesque that the person who wrote that article is Jewish? Historical memory doesn't seem to be a big thing for him...

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Re: Racism

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-12-28, 19:04

linguoboy wrote:Do you know the Kondabolu Brothers?

No, not really, so thanks for sharing this video. meidei posted a video of Hari Kondabolu once or twice, and from both this video and the one he posted, I get the impression that for some reason, they're way more sensitive to shit white people say than I am.
I liked their take on the Stein column:

Hmm...to be honest, I'm not so sure. I find their take on this column odd for several reasons. They sound to me like they're twisting Stein's words an awful lot (and apparently saying he said things he never did), and I'm really not sure his intentions were as bad as they seem to think they were.

I'm starting to think this column was not offensive to us Indians in the US as a whole but rather to those Indians who have consistently suffered discrimination, particularly those in Edison. In fact, perhaps there are more differences in the experiences of Indians in different parts of this country than I ever would have guessed. Seriously, before this article came out, I'd never even heard of anti-Indian gangs anywhere in this country. I can't even recall a single time IRL that I was explicitly singled out just because of my race, and I can only remember this happening implicitly once or twice at most.
IpseDixit wrote:Am I the only one who finds it a bit grotesque that the person who wrote that article is Jewish? Historical memory doesn't seem to be a big thing for him...

I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say "grotesque," but ironic? Sure.

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Re: Racism

Postby linguoboy » 2014-12-28, 19:47

vijayjohn wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Do you know the Kondabolu Brothers?

No, not really, so thanks for sharing this video. meidei posted a video of Hari Kondabolu once or twice, and from both this video and the one he posted, I get the impression that for some reason, they're way more sensitive to shit white people say than I am.

Not to trivialise his remarks, but that's basically Hari's career. In general, I think it's the prerogative of comedians to get really pissed off about stuff most of us just kind of shrug at and ignore. My usual reaction to Hari Kondabolu (or Chris Rock or Louis CK or any of our better stand-ups who aren't afraid to address racial issues) is, "He's right, that is kinda fucked up."

vijayjohn wrote:I find their take on this column odd for several reasons. They sound to me like they're twisting Stein's words an awful lot (and apparently saying he said things he never did), and I'm really not sure his intentions were as bad as they seem to think they were.

I'm not sure his intentions matter, to be honest. That's kind of the point about this sort of casual racism. Stein thinks his writing is humorous, that the racist elements are ironic and innocent. But he's wrong about that. He also made things worse for himself with his clueless reaction (e.g. the Gandhi comparison which the brothers reference in the video).

vijayjohn wrote:ISeriously, before this article came out, I'd never even heard of anti-Indian gangs anywhere in this country. I can't even recall a single time IRL that I was explicitly singled out just because of my race, and I can only remember this happening implicitly once or twice at most.

I'm not sure what the concentration of South Asians is like where you live, but I suspect it's below the critical threshold for where racism turns ugly like that. I can't remember what the percentage is (and I think it may vary according to the visibleness of the minority), but there's a point where the general reaction of the dominant majority switches from "Oh, how exotic!" to "They're taking over!" You can see that development in the original column, which is ultimately about how these initially amusing foreigners "took over" Stein's hometown.


vijayjohn wrote:
IpseDixit wrote:Am I the only one who finds it a bit grotesque that the person who wrote that article is Jewish? Historical memory doesn't seem to be a big thing for him...

I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say "grotesque," but ironic? Sure.

IME, Jewish people are more likely to say these sorts of things because of that history. American Jews are overwhelmingly left-liberal and have been for at least a century. (Historically one of the main excuses for prejudice against them, in fact.) They were heavily overrepresented in the vanguard of the socialist workers' movement in the early 20th century and in the Civil Rights movement in the late 20th century. In-between, they became Fascism's most prominent victims.

So with this reputation comes a certain sense of entitlement, a notion that they can get away with remarks that would be offensive coming from other people but not from them because they clearly don't mean them. This phenomenon is commonly known as "hipster racism" and I've been as guilty of it as any other White liberal who thinks he's got the right progressive credentials. But racism doesn't recognise ironic distance. Stein's remarks aren't as directly harmful to Indians in Edison Park as punching them in the face would be, but they're on the same continuum. As the brothers point out, his column reinforces exactly those stereotypes of South Asians which you yourself you find most annoying.
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Re: Racism

Postby vijayjohn » 2014-12-28, 20:25

linguoboy wrote:I'm not sure what the concentration of South Asians is like where you live, but I suspect it's below the critical threshold for where racism turns ugly like that.

Yeah, I'm sure that it is and that this is indeed why racism (against Indians) is much less obvious down here.

IpseDixit

Re: Racism

Postby IpseDixit » 2014-12-29, 14:18

To get back to the previous topic:

Weerwolf wrote:The recent historical quarrels between us stem from the Treaty of Trianon that chopped the Hungarian area that now is Southern Slovakia which is known here as Felvidék. The makers of this treaty didn’t take future ethnic conflicts into account. The borders weren’t drawn along the ethnic lines.

Slovakia has a language law which strongly against minority languages. For example you must only use Slovak in state institutions, otherwise you’ll get a fine.

What Slovaks find unacceptable is the new Hungarian nationality law. Members of the Hungarian minority in Slovakia can apply for Hungarian citizenship without living in Hungary. In practice this means that if a person wants to have the Hungarian nationality, he automatically loses his Slovak. It’s merely symbolic action by the Hungarian government that our Hungarians living in the sourrounding areas are not forgotten. This means that every Hungarian who is forced to live under foreign authorities is part of the unified Hungarian nation. I would not find it disturbing if someone from the Slovak minority in Hungary would get the Slovak nationality, and I would certainly not strip him of his Hungarian nationality.

There are also several cases of verbal and physical hate crime against the members of Hungarian minority in Slovakia.

Finally, there’s this far-right politician Ján Slota who is known for his anti-Hungarian views. If he says something controversial, that’s surely going to be in the Hungarian press. I would not give to much credit to this guy’s words, he’s not representative for the entire Slovak politics.


Thanks for the explanation (and thanks to Saim too), the irony is that Slovakia did sign and ratified the ECRML, so at this point I wonder why they did that (maybe in order not to look like the bad guy)...

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Re: Racism

Postby Saim » 2014-12-29, 15:36

The charter's a joke anyway because you can pick and choose which articles you want to apply to which language. It's nice that it exists but it would be great to revise it and make a new one with some more input from sociolinguists and with more focus on normalization than just vague "promotion" and "protection".


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