Saturday, May 30, 2009

Going down the rabbit hole of anti-intellectualism.

(You can see why I haven't posted anything in over a week. This was a bitch to write. Glad I did, though)

I don't know when/how/why it started, but I was thinking of
anti-intellectualism-the dislike, distrust or even hatred of those who actively seek to expand their knowledge in aspects of life.
From Wikipedia:
Anti-intellectualism describes a sentiment of hostility towards, or mistrust of, intellectuals and intellectual pursuits. This may be expressed in various ways, such as attacks on the merits of science, education, art, or literature.

Anti-intellectuals often perceive themselves as champions of the ordinary people and populism against elitism, especially academic elitism. These critics argue that highly educated people from an isolated social group tend to dominate political discourse and higher education (academia).

Anti-intellectualism can also be used as a term to criticize an educational system if it seems to place minimal emphasis on academic and intellectual accomplishment, or if a government has a tendency to formulate policies without consulting academic and scholarly study.
[my emphasis]

This highlighted paragraph shows instantly the perceived correlation between intellectuals and 'elites.' That is, elitism and intellectualism are almost interchangeable, at least in anti-intellectual circles. This is probably because both intellectuals and elitists are seen as 'out of touch' with the 'ordinary' folk, if for different reasons. Elitists are out of touch because of their wealth; they're the ones with the multiple houses, their BMWs and hummers, their monthly trips around the world and so on. Elitists are unable to connect with the ordinary citizens because their lifestyles are so different to the common peoples'. Intellectuals, on the other hand, are out of touch because their philosophies and interests don't resonate with the majority of other people. Why would an intellectual go to the footy, to the pub, throw a bbq when they're concerned with Renaissance art or studying some useless science? Hence, both elitists and intellectuals are enemies of the common man. The reason why the 'intellectual elite' exists (rather then intellectuals and elitist, asides from the obvious reduction in the number of syllables) is because of the idea that due to their wealth, elitists can pursue intellectual interests above the lowly commoners. Thus, according to anti-intellectuals, intellectualism and elitism go together. They are one and the same.

I checked to see who sees who as the 'elites.' What happens when you Google 'liberal elite'?

Wow. 1,220,000 hits. And 'conservative elite'?

You may notice that 'liberal elite' gets its own
wikipedia entry.
In the United States the term liberal elite is a political buzzword used by conservatives to describe affluent, politically left-leaning people. It is commonly used with the pejorative implication that the people who support the rights of the working class are themselves members of the upper class, or upper middle class, and are therefore out of touch with the real needs of the people they claim to support and protect. In other English speaking societies, where the term "liberal" has a different meaning, the terms "elite" or "elitist" may still be used (sometimes in formations such as "left-wing elite" or "progressive elite") with similar implications


It is considered a political disadvantage for a campaigning American politician to be associated in the minds of the electorate with the
"liberal elite" because they would then seem to be not only out of step with mainstream opinion, but also privileged, and therefore unfamiliar with the concerns of the typical American voter. The liberal elite are often stereotyped as being snooty and condescending toward others, particularly those living in Middle America. Thus it is often used by many politicians to apply to their left-leaning opponents if they also live an affluent or upscale lifestyle.
[again, my emphasis]

The notion of a liberal elite is entirely false; liberals are the ones who advocate social equality and, President Obama put, "spreading the wealth." That hardly sounds elitist to me. Equally, the idea of a conservative elite is preposterous. What conservatives have in common are usually social ideals, not economic ones (most conservatives are neoliberals; however, neoliberalism isn't a prerequisite for social conservatism). If there is an 'elite' group of people, it exists amongst those politicians who work to 'spread' the wealth in favour of the already filthy rich, at the expense of the rest of the country. The Republican Party of America comes to mind; their tax cuts are always directed towards the richest 2%, which is surely a definition of elitism.

There is, however, a pretty obvious reason for the conservatives to build up a 'liberal elite' (whilst simultaneously acting on the behalf 0f big business): electoral gain. There is little more devastating for an aspiring politician then to be branded as being "elitist" and "out of touch." Once that brand sticks, it sticks hard. Popular and influential talk show hosts, such as Limbaugh and O'Reilly, ramp up the notion of liberals (and, by extension, Democrats) being "elitist" (usually for having IQs high than their ages, which is far higher then the average red-meat conservative), Republicans ramp up their attacks on their opponents as elitist and before liberals can collectively say "WTF?" 'Liberal elite' has its own wikipedia entry.

(I've also inadvertently gone off on a tangent with little relation to the original subject. Don't worry. Back on track)

Moving on, we can establish that anti-intellectualism resides in both the political left and right. The two most infamous examples of anti-intellectualism come courtesy of the left, albeit the authoritarian left. They are the Chinese cultural revolution, and the Khmer Rouge's rule of Cambodia. However, in in the West, anti-intellectualism has a stronger grounding in amongst conservatives. In America, anti-intellectualism and a total disdain for economic principles has pushed the Republican Party to adopt an economic philosophy that fundamentally ignores what qualified economists say on the issue. The notion of 'tax cuts generates a net increase in revenue' is anti-intellectual because it appeals to people's basest instincts (more money) whilst promising all public funding problems to be solved. This process refuses any intellectual and economic explanation (anti-intellectualism in the Republican Party in general is brilliantly examined in this journal article). A part of Sarah Palin's appeal to lifelong Republicans is her clear distain for science and education, and her regular Joan Sixpack folksiness.

In Australia, Lucy and Mickler
summed up right-wing anti-intellectualism in their critique of Andrew Bolt. In essence, anti-intellectuals are collectively "an independent, straight-talking, bare-fisted brawler who can dish it out, week by week, to the grant-fed, latte-sipping, ABC-loving parasites who are the class enemies of the ordinary, hard-working Aussie battlers." A search of Newsbank and Bolt's articles mentioning 'intellectual' or 'academic' shows such people in entirely negative lights. The same results come for other Aussie battler columnists such as Akerman, Blair and Devine. You name an Australian righty columnist, chances are very likely that they will have a strong dislike to those well-educated. This, of course, appeals to their readership, which reflects the columnists' support for the Liberal Party. Iain Lygo, citing pollster Ross Cameron, writes that the Aussie battlers, in their support for Howard, were/are "less well educated, insular, conservative, and narrow minded, anti-elites in a big way...(and they) have a strong sense of discontent, of being ignored." This sums up the columnists readership (which, collectively, is highly influential) in just about every way.

On a different note, there is the question: are authoritarian regimes, by their nature, inherently anti-intellectual? My concise answer: absolutely. All communist and fascist regimes (if there's even a differences between the two) have, to varying extents all promoted a strong dislike of intellectuals. Mao and Pot have already been mentioned, however all authoritarian regimes have suppressed intellectuals, as they are more willing to question absolute rule. Ironically, the Nazis, despite their twisted social Darwinism, did a great deal of research into the human anatomy. Nazi scientists were the first in the world to discover the health effects of smoking. In this way, the Nazis promoted a narrow form of scientific pursuit.

Another, more controversial question can be raised; does religion promote anti-intellectualism? I would say "religion is not inherently anti-intellectual, but it an extremely powerful voice and justification for it." Religion's main crime against intellectualism is science; from house-imprisoning Galileo to teaching creationism in science classrooms, to banning stem cell research, religion has consistently undermined scientific pursuit. However, it is difficult to know how religion affects other forms of intellectualism (such as writing, arts, philosophy, etc)-whether it impedes these intellectual outlets, or actually enhances them.

This blogger raises the excellent point that educated, thinking minds
are more likely to question authority figures, whether they be God or the Dear Leader. Hence, it is in the interest of organised religion and totalitarian countries to suppress all forms of intellectualism. SEB exposes that the Vatican (surprise, surprise) has a strong dislike of education, as it breeds skepticism of authority.

The results of anti-intellectualism are truly frightening. Extreme examples, such as the Cultural Revolution or the Rouge do exist, but anti-intellectualism affects us in far more subtle ways. From Wikipedia:
In the US 2000 Presidential Election, the media (particularly late night comics) portrayed Candidate Al Gore as a boring "brainiac" who spoke in a monotonous voice and jabbered on about numbers and figures that no one could understand. His supposed "claim to have invented the Internet" was widely ridiculed. It was the classic stereotype of a pompous, out-of-touch intellectual, and this perception arguably hurt Gore in the election. In the years since, debate between the left and right in America has often centered on the relation of the intellectual class to the public as a whole.
[my emphasis]

Anti-intellectualism helped Bush Jr. win* the 2000 election. Anti-intellectualism brought us the Iraq War, generated trillions of dollars in debt, wrecked havoc with the US' human rights policies, wasted almost a decade of action on climate change and brought about genocide of African women through the global gag rule.

Sue Blue, regular commenter at Bay of Fundie, brilliantly summarises the threat of anti-intellectualism:
"If there’s one thing Bush accomplished, it was the empowerment of stupid people. Hey, if a moron can make it to the top Office in the country, it must be GOOD to be ignorant! It seems these people have made it a point of pride to proclaim their complete cluelessness at every opportunity. The logical extension of this is their suspicion of the educated and intelligent..."
The eternal irony, of course, is that intellectuals are disproportionally the ones who founded our modern society. Scientists and inventors, from Galileo, to Newton to Edison to Baird, to were all intellectuals by default (although to varying degrees, obviously). Intellectuals were the ones who questioned the monarchy and the idea of divine rule, which paved the way for Westen democracy. The Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions-they were all propelled by intellectuals who specialised in countless various fields-whether it be arts, philosophy, science, or something more obscure but still vital.

The above paragraph is perhaps the best way to counter anti-intellectualism. If somebody is attacking the intellectual elite for undermining our values or for wasting taxpayers' money on frivolous pet projects, tell them "it is wasn't for intellectuals, we wouldn't have electricity or democracy, the life expectancy would be in the 30s..." and so on and so fourth. In America, it's easier because some of America's heroes were clear intellectuals. Ben Franklin rivaled Da Vinci in his repertoire of intellectual fields, whilst Martin Luther King had a doctorate in philosophy.

Coming to a conclusion, it is inevitable that anti-intellectualism will always survive, and in many cultures it will bloom into a grotesque way of life. The best we can to is limit its influence.

Also see here, here, here, here and here.

*I use 'win' in the loosest sense possible.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

T to the A to the P: the heterosexual edition

Between studying for some random tests and preparing some rather intense posts, I won't be doing a whole lot for a while. So here's a tap post to keep everybody interested (besides, it's not like anybody visits this blog for anything else). After three posts all featuring teh mens, it's about time we had a PYT on the blog. And who else to start with, but Billie 'Beauty' Piper?

And, I don't know why (perhaps it's the general spontaneity of the image), but this is one of my total favourites:

Your favourites, soldiers?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bolt degenerated from a moderate conservative to a raving CEC*-inspired conspiracy theorist so slowly, I didn't even notice.

Good lord. Is this really what Andrew 'Tin Foil' Bolt is paid for these days? "Greenies are nazis" was bad enough, but this looks more like a lame political thriller. Boring rant short: Rudd is planning a coup to become world dictator. Or something.

What price will we pay for Rudd's grand international ambitions?

I doubt it'll be any larger then Howard's ambitions.

FOR a year I've warned that Kevin Rudd isn't satisfied just being Prime Minister of Australia.
Hyperlinks exist for a reason, Andrew. You may consider using them.

He wants to rule the world. To be . . . secretary-general of the United Nations.

So Secretary-General of the UN = global tyrant. I'll bet Ban Ki-Moon is kicking himself for not using his dictatorial powers to assume total power.

Nothing better explains some of his oddest behaviour. Or would answer the cravings of his ego.

Rudd's "odd" behaviour is so far throwing a temper tantrum for his getting his food, and allegedly getting equally angry with his hairdryer in Afghanistan. His temper is hardly worse then that of, say, John McCain. And ego? How about THIS for an ego?

The rest of the article is full of the usual Rudd-raging, and I, quite frankly, am too lazy to go through all of it. However, I did highlight a few nuggets of hypocritical gold.

This campaign costs us real money, with another $11 million devoted to it in this week's Budget, plus a big jump in aid to Africa, a continent of little strategic importance to us, but one that expects such sweeteners for votes.

OK, I'd also rather $11 million go more regional developing countries, such as Vanuatu and New Caledonia. But come on-what are the odds that if Howard were doing precisely the same thing, in the same situation, Bolt would be gushing fourth about Howard's boundless compassion for those in trouble even during Australia's hard times? 1:1, I'd imagine.

...this campaign is also costing us moral standing.

That is why I warn against Rudd's ambitions. He is now sacrificing our best interests to further his own.
Andrew, this is a piss-poor effort, even by your non-existent standards. Australia, on its own, possesses virtually no political power. The best we can realistically hope for is for is greater power on the UN. And if Howard were doing the same thing, your pants would be exploding.

CJ does a better job here.

*The CEC in a nutshell: the Queen of England is the mafia boss of an international ruling elite planning world domination, and only Lyndon LaRouche and his merry political party that regularly polls .1% of the votes can stop her. Ian Fleming eat your heart out.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Your feeble irony metres are no match for the power of the Dark Side!"

The Pope: irony meter-destroyer extraordinaire.
Pope Benedict XVI has warned against the misuse of religion for political ends, in a speech to Muslim leaders on the second day of his visit to Jordan.

Speaking in the King Hussein Mosque in Amman, he argued that religion was a force for good, but its "manipulation" caused divisions and even violence.


"Some assert that religion is necessarily a cause of division in our world and so they argue that the lesser attention given to religion in the public sphere the better," he said.

"Certainly, the contradiction of tensions and divisions between the followers of different religious traditions, sadly, cannot be denied.

"However, is it not also the case that often it is the ideological manipulation of religion, sometimes for political ends, that is the real catalyst for tension and division, and at times even violence in society?"

I’ve had it up to *here* with Ratzinger’s inanities. There has never been any religious organisation that has abused its power for political purposes as much as the Vatican. From imprisoning scientists who went against its beliefs, masquerading as a country on the world stage, committing genocide against African women through its (and I say, entirely intentional) refusal to upgrade its policies on sexuality beyond the Medieval ages, excommunicating a girl who had an abortion OTHERWISE SHE WOULD DIE, condoning the state-sanctioned execution of gays and of course, for decades protecting pedophiles from being prosecuted and deliberately allowing children to be abused, so long as nobody knew about it.

Because that’s what dictatorships* do-they do everything possible to retain and expand their power. Suppressing opposition (maybe that’s there Burma got the idea from), increasing its influence through the UN, enacting policies to producing the maximum number of Catholics regardless of who dies in the process, ruling through fear and threat of exclusion, and protecting its own matter what. The sooner the Vatican goes the way of past dictatorial empires, the better.

Hat tip to Stupid Evil Bastard.

*One man, with absolute power, who rules until death ...come on. Tell me that that isn’t a dictatorship.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lowly Private coins new word: takes world by storm.

From The Daily Leftist:

A young soldier, Private Tom, has coined a new term-'wisitwela.' The word, an acronym for 'what is it with teh left and...' was created to send up the soldiers currently fighting in Battalion Poison. The context in which wisitwela is used is this: upon meeting a fellow leftist, you ask "Wisitwela?" The friend responds with what venomous screed Battalion Poison has recently produced. If this is Captain Bolt, the answer commonly has something to do with leftists. If it is General Blair, it might be fat environmentalists. Lieutentant Akerman commonly launches verbal assaults against what he calls "tear'ists," although what "tear'ists" actually are (Muslims, leftists, Democrats, the ALP) depends on what columns he has produced.

Wisitwela (incidentaly, pronounced, 'wizzy-wellah') is already proving to be a great conversation starter, as leftists are normally unable to discuss anything outside hating America and the inevitable proletariat revolution. Lieutenant Reuben has contacted General Bron, requesting that Private Tom be given a taxpayer-funded arts grant to produce further words for the front line. The General refused, stating "Private Tom must learn to work without leeching of the taxpayer. I need the grant for, um, research into the effects of the overconsumption of red wine and Indian foods."

Private Tom refused to comment, instead sending out a press release, stating "I apologise for my reclusive habits. If I were to reveal my self in public, my incomprehendably brilliant mind would vapourise everybody's brains within a 5 kilometer radius."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Holy original writings, Batman!

I've gone for over two months without a Lazyboy Moment! Of course, if anybody has noted, this drop in Lazyboy Moments may have had something to do this the great increase in fundiewatching. Well, it's time for another Moment, because the pigs 30 miles away from the front trenches think it's a fine idea to saddle us soldiers with essays with ridiculously close due dates. Hence, Lazyboy time. I actually haven't read this yet, so sorry if it's less interesting then what the title makes out.

Causes of Racism in Britain

Abdel-Qadar Yassine analyses the roots of racism in Britain

“…With us there is nothing more consistent than a racist humanism, since the European has only been able to become a man through creating slaves and monsters” (J. - P. Sartre, 1967).
The ‘fundamental’ of both Western civilisation and Christianity in the Western World: “Is their inability to recognise that they share the planet not with inferiors but with equals. Unless western civilisation intellectually and socially, politically and economically, and the Christian church theologically, can learn to treat other men with fundamental respect, these two in their turn will have failed to come to terms with the actualities of the twentieth century” (Smith, 1957).
Racism is the belief that races have distinctive cultural characteristics deter-mined by hereditary factors and that endows some races with an intrinsic superiority; this belief may involve abuse and aggressive behaviour towards members of another race. This article tries to point to the causes of racism in Britain, but a great deal of space is spent on racism in general. This is felt to be justified, firstly, because “racism in Britain” can mean racism towards people living outside as well as inside Britain, and, secondly, because foreign settlers are regarded as “The Enemy Within” (P. Gilroy, 1992), linking the outside with the inside, the general with the specific.

The Main Causes
It is obviously not just presence of physical differences between groups that creates races, but “the social recognition of such differences as socially significant or rele-vant” (Van the Berghe, 1967). Why do certain societies consider such differences important, whereas others do not? Van de Berghe says that “Allowing…for the independent discovery of racism in a number of societies, it remains true that the Western strain of the virus has eclipsed all others in importance”, and it is only through the colonial expansion of Europe that racism spread widely over the world. The reasons commonly given for Western racism include personality, social Darwinism, and bour-geois ideology. P. Mason (1954) reminds us of the basic facts.

“It does no seem that the barriers are based on an aversion which is innate between the races themselves, something comparable with the dislike which most people feel of snakes and some cats… Children do not seem to feel any aversion for people of ano-ther colour until it is taught them”

The explanation of racism in terms of personality is to ask why certain people become racially prejudiced, while others do not. This psychological question is relevant, though here it will only be dealt with briefly. Van de Berghe explains two theories: “frustration-aggression” and “authoritarian personality”. Quite simply, the first one explains racism as a type of relief from “frustration”, where a “scapegoat” may become the object of aggressive behaviour; however, this cannot be an adequate explanation because it neither explains the presence of racism when there is no “frustration” nor why the scapegoats should be chosen in racial terms (as opposed, perhaps, to gender, class, or even politics). People with an “authoritarian” personality exist in large numbers in every cohesive society, and it is probably manipulation by them that give racism its strength. Again, this does not really explain racism in a society any more than explain racism in a society any more than it explains non-racism, because people with “authoritarian” personalities could be imbued with either viewpoint. Also T.F. Pettigrew showed that the much higher degree of anti-Negro preju-dice among Southern whites as compared with Northern whites could not be accounted for in terms of differences in authorita-rianism between the two groups.

Many social commentators apply the idea of ‘class struggle’ to explain racism. For them racism is a kind of bourgeois ideology designed especially to “rationalize the exploitation of non-white people of the world”, especially during the imperialistic phase of Capitalism, and that is why it is defined as an “epiphenomenona sympto-matic of slavery and colonial exploitation” (Van den Berghe). Themes of grownup childishness, civilising mission, savagery and arrested evolution were common in the New World, Africa and later Palestine. Some believe that it was “not until the 19th century that racism became a well-defined ideology” (Van the Berghe). However, many have felt that racism raised “questions beyond the limits of traditional Marxist class analysis and have pointed to the need for deeper analysis of non-class forms of domination” (J. Solomos, 1986) and it also seems that racism can be fond in non-capitalist or non-economic interactions (Rex, 1986). This is summed up by H. Wolpe (1986):

“It does not follow that because race, under certain conditions, may be interiorised in the class struggle, all conflicts which centre on race are, therefore, to be conceived of as class struggles. On the contrary, it will be argued that struggles focusing on race may take on a form in which class is not interiorised within them…”
Darwinism, although originally a theory in the biological sciences, was adopted by bourgeois social science of the late 19th century and the notions of evolution, survival of the fittest, hereditary determinism and near constancy of the gene pool were used to describe society. Even today many people seem to believe in a kind of linear evolution of civilizations has a limited span in time, suggesting that a more ‘cyclic’ view of history might be appro-priate. This, in a way, is what F. Fanon suggest, when he talks as a black man:

“The white man was wrong. I was not a primitive, not even a half-man. I belonged to a race that had already been working in gold and silver two thousand years ago”.

That is why social Darwinism is not itself an ideology, but merely an expression of the understanding ideology; it is again a rationa-lisation of racism.

The ideas of Enlightenment spread by the American and French Revolutions conflicted with racism and yet contributed to its development. As Van de Berghe so finely put it:

“The blatant contradiction between the treatment of slaves and colonial peoples and the official rhetoric of freedom and equality, Europeans and white North Americans began of dichotomise humanity between men and submen (or the ‘civilised’ and the ‘savages’)”

Herein lies the real cause of modern Western racism. It is a kind of arrogance; it is a kind of hypocrisy where egalitarian ideas are only extended to ‘people’, in other words, whites. This is why so few people in the “West” are interested in real democracies outside the Western world, and why regimes such as those of South Africa and Israel (both being European in culture) are only democratic for the ‘master race’ but tyrannical for the subordinated group. Then racism:

“if it is not innate and natural, must be induced and it must be due to something in the history of the contact between the race, treating history here in the fullest possible sense in which it includes the present”. (P. Mason, 1954).

There is no space to discuss in detail “the history of the contact”, but a good example is: that ‘intellectuals’ who glorify the Crusades can easily justify Zionism and the conquest of The ‘New’ World. Racism is so ingrained that it seems to work even “across the lines of normal politics as well as within them” (A. H. Richmond). Many social commentators are ‘afraid’ to deal with the real problem and its extent but instead hide behind a superficial economic theory, or explain racism solely in terms of colonialism (whereas colonialism, as well as slavery, can easily be explained in the wider context of an ideology of racism); it might be appropriate to remember that most of these commentators, as well as Marx, himself, are “Western”. The association in metaphor of the ideas of white and black with good and evil may also work in people’s subconscious and sometimes even in their consciousness. It seems appropriate to try to find out what the response would be if these non-white races lived as a minority in close contact with the whites. Would the rights white man enjoys be extended to the non-white or not?

A final point which seems so very crucial is the guilt Europeans feel for the crimes committed against the Jews, whereas no guilt, but often pride, is felt at the annihilation, slaughter, and deportation of the native peoples of America, Australia, Southern Africa and Palestine. I feel that Fanon, unintentionally perhaps, explains this point lucidly:

The Jew “is a white man, and apart from some rather debatable characteristics, he can sometimes go unnoticed… Granted, the Jews are harassed. They are hunted down, exterminated, cremated. But these are little family quarrels. The Jew is disliked from the moment he is tracked down. But in my case everything takes on a new guise. I am over determined from without. I am the slave not of the ‘idea’ that others have of me but of my own appearance”.

Immigrants in Britain
Racism takes on specific forms depending on the type and state of society, and impor-tant factors are the organization of society and its dynamic political and cultural processes (S. Hall, 1978). After World. War. II Britain faced a significant demographic crisis, because its population was ageing and dependency ratios remained high, on top which there had been, for several decades, net outward migration. The entry info Britain of immigrants meant that in 1983 it was estimated that almost one million people born in the U.K. were of West Indian or Asian descent, in addition to the 1,3 million born abroad. A. H. Richmond (1988) descri-bes the situation forcefully.

“Despite the scale of its immigration, Britain has remained insular in its outlook and isolationist in its policies. Immigrants from the ‘New Commonwealth were not welcomed, or effectively woven into the fabric of a polyethnic, multicultural society. Britain was reluctant to admit those who by race or cultural did not fit the image of a traditional ‘white Anglo Saxon’ population. Those who were allowed to settle faced widespread prejudice and discrimination. Personal and institutional racism persisted, even toward the second and subsequent generations born In Britain of immigrants parents or grandparents”.

P. Fitzpatrick looked at law in general and the Race Relations Act of 1976 in particular and concluded the racism seemed “sym-biotic with liberal Capitalism in Britain”:
“…There were certain persistent limits, certain bounds beyond which law did not proceed in countering racism. What, in an immediate sense, stood on the other side of those bounds and checked the law’s advance was the power and autonomy of employers”.

Black violations of the law are often defined as a cultural attribute and are used to supply the proof that the Blacks are incompatible with Britain. The solution P. Fitzpatrick suggests is to make the national “community and its law the incarnation of a rational universal ordering. Those of a ‘different culture’ are not, however, merely excluded from superior reasons”. Having a constitution, to which everyone can refer, therefore seems to be a good idea (in fact some have argued that one of the important reasons there is opposition to the writing of a constitution in Britain is that it would mean giving rights to non-white). After World. War. II, in particular, Britain experienced a relative decline in its power and influence, and it also declined economically (access to North Sea oil postponing the time when material standards would be seriously jeopardised). The size of the male labour force in employment fell by almost two million in ten years, while the number of employed women actually increased slightly, “reflecting the growth in service industries and part-time employment typical of post industrial Societies”. Predictably, immigrant workers were relatively hard-hit, especially the male population to other parts of the Commonwealth to one in which there was a multi-way flow of people to and from many parts of the world resulted in violent disturbances, beginning in Nottingham and London in 1958 and subsequently repeated at intervals in many other cities, the most serious outbreaks occurring in 1981 and 1985”.

A. H. Richmond seems here to be suggesting that the racial situation is made worse during periods of change, when there is insecurity. If one simultaneously considers the disturbances in Los Angles in 1992 and the theory that some people propound, that social changes in the US appear about eight years later in Britain, it may be that the worst is yet to come. These conflicts reflect a combination of the influence of history, and also class and ethnic factors, which are exacerbated by the economic crisis and government fiscal policies.

A H. Richmond reminds us of the hard facts:“Black and Asian immigrants and their descendants growing up in Britain are relatively segregated by region and concentrated in inner city neighbourhoods. They are also over-represented in manual occupations, as well as among the unem-ployed”.

Unskilled service personnel and labourers are proportionally over represented, but they are not a majority among the immigrant population, or the second generation (Brown, 1984). What all Black and Asian minorities have in common is “persistent exposure to the racial prejudice and discrimination that pervades British society”, which cannot be explained merely in terms of competition for housing, jobs or other resources but is “deeply embedded in the institutional structure of western societies and has been internalised in the personalities of those who live and work within and through those institutions” (A. H. Richmond). Measures taken to solve the problem are not aimed at the roots of the problem, but at trying to contain conflict; the problem will thus persist and flare up from time to time, and perhaps if one is a pessimist or a believer that history repeats itself then one would predict that it may soon flare up conclusively (e.g. looking at the events in Spain 500 years ago may encou-rage pessimism).

The immigrants had to face the older ‘colonial’ ideas, which ranged from a racist to a paternalistic (i.e. in a sense arrogant) attitude. There is a fear that the traditional ‘British way of life’ would be threatened by the immigration, which needed to be limited in the interests of the community as a whole (Lawrence, 1982). Culture is seen by many as something fixed and not something intrin-sically fluid, changing, unstable and dynamic (P. Gilroy). The culturalism of the ‘new’ racism has gone hand in hand with a definition of race as a matter of difference, but here again are found notions of supre-macy and ‘pure cultures that must not be corrupted’. It seems that there is an urgent need to analyse, in depth, what being ‘Bri-tish’ means, and rather then resorting to emotional outcries that merely encourage conflict. A. H. Richmond suggests that “Nationalism asserted itself in terms of the prior ‘rights’ of the indigenous ‘English’ over ‘alien’ invaders”, highlighting the old attitude about the civilised and the savages. Extremists demanded more restrictive immigration laws and repatriation, and even those who condemned these calls still “main-tained a substantial measure of social distan-ce from the immigrants” (A. H. Richmond). It seems that the mass media reinforce, and sometimes inflame, racial hatred through selective reporting (perhaps these are the modern manipulators of the ‘authorita-rian”?), and children have ‘learned to be prejudiced’ at home, in the school and in the community (Davey, 1983). There are certain factors, including teacher racism, which impede the opportunities of ethnic minority children in education (Swann, 1985), education being very important when one considers the competition for work and realises that education is an important method of improving the ‘status’ of the ethnic minorities.

References: -Van the Berghe (1967), “Race and Racism - A comparative perspective”
-Brown (1984), “Black and white in Britain: The third PSI survey”
-Davey (1983), “Learning to be prejudiced: Growing up in Multi Ethnic Britain”
-Davison (1966), “Black British: Immigrants in England”
-F. Fanon (1990), “The facts of Blackness”
-P. Fitzpatrick (1990), “Racism and the Innocence of Law”
-P. Gilroy (1990), “One Nation under a Groove: The cultural Politics of ‘Race’ and Racism in Britain”
-S. Hall (1978), “Racism and moral panics in Post-war Britain”
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Saturday, May 2, 2009

T to the A to the P: the Cassidy edition.

OK, so I said last time that I'd to a heterosexual post. Unfortunately, stuff came up. Namely, that local dance chum Cassidy said that Doctors 9 and 10 weren't tapworthy. I retorted that "I can PROVE to you that Chris and David are indeed tapworthy." Unfortunately, there are virtually no pictures of Chris, so we will instead settle for 'Doctor' David Tennant.

And a couple from Casanova, so it isn't totally Doctor Who.

In yo face, Cass.

To CJ and Barclay-I'll do Billie next time, I SWEAR.