T Nation

Individualism = Racism?


#1

According to the Seattle Public School System, that is apparently the case:

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/equityandrace/definitionofrace.xml

Cultural Racism:

Those aspects of society that overtly and covertly attribute value and normality to white people and Whiteness, and devalue, stereotype, and label people of color as "other", different, less than, or render them invisible. Examples of these norms include defining white skin tones as nude or flesh colored, having a future time orientation, emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology, defining one form of English as standard, and identifying only Whites as great writers or composers.


All their examples are pretty f'n stupid, but the identification of individualism as racist takes the cake.

Your tax dollars at work, folks.


#2

having a future time orientation
I only wish this was a joke.

I'm also fond of their inclusion of institutional racism - although I have yet to see any reliable evidence of the network of institutional structures, policies, and practices that create advantages and benefits for Whites, and discrimination, oppression, and disadvantages for people from targeted racial groups of which they speak.


#3

I think they could have communicated their points better if they would have not over intellectualized their wording . I question the intelligence of an individual that can not communicate simple points of view with simple language.


#4

No. The LACK of tax dollars at work.

You get what you pay for.

If you want conservative individualists teaching in expensive urban areas, give teachers things that would attract them. Until you do so, the overwhelming majority of teachers -- in particular in expensive urban areas -- will obviously be liberal collectivists.


#5

COMMIE UP!

a future time orientation? wtf


#6

Huh!? That's about the dumbest, most ass backwards thing I have ever seen. Since when is placing supreme value on the individual inherently racist?


#7

Funny, I think that what they are trying to describe used to be called "ethnocentrism." I suppose that's too big a word, and not adequately loaded for the effect they're trying to create.

At any rate, in terms of ethnocentrism, those are valid indicators; they are common beliefs relating to traditional Western ways of viewing the world, which we tend to take for granted as being generally applicable human standards.


#8

http://planetmoron.typepad.com/

May 18, 2006
Never mind the card, we've got a whole deck to play with now

" ...Not only that, but there are many kinds of racism such as "Passive Racism" which includes "The conscious or unconscious maintenance of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that support the system of racism." So you see, you can be racist, and not even know it. Until of course, you are accused of it at which point you are guilty.

There are even types of racism that have nothing to do with race such as "Cultural Racism" which can include "emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology," and "defining one form of English as standard."

So, if you oppose socialist ideology, you are a racist. If you oppose socialist ideology and you make a concerted effort to conjugate your verbs correctly, you are a racist twice over.

Of course, this can cause some confusion. What if you are an African-American English teacher who is a fan of Ayn Rand? This raises a number of troubling questions. Are you guilty of cultural racism? Are you innocent of racism because you're a member of a targeted racial group who has relatively little social power? And how do you pronounce "Ayn," anyway, because we've heard it both ways.
...

...Oh, sure, treating each individual you meet with equal respect regardless of their race or ethnicity is cute and all but what we really need is to lay out an impossibly complex labyrinth of code words, unintended slights, and perceived offenses.

Only then, can we achieve true racial harmony. "

As a recently exposed and reformed closet passive racist (I think) it's good to see our lawmakers becoming aware of this issue. Now if we could ban derogatory "free speech" against just minorities, everyone could be free. But that's just proving that the minorities are racist as well which is just my way of justifying my closet passive racism. Maybe I'm not 'reformed', just in denial...

In any case, I'm pretty sure Headhunter is screwed.


#9


#10

Maybe too many people have heard the word ethnocentrism in college and have grown de-sensitized to it... after all, most college professors are rabid biased liberals and hence it must be much less of an issue than they make it out to be, right?

Indeed!

With specific regards to their point about bias towards white writers, an example in pop-culture (for what it's worth...):

Grey's Anatomy is a pretty successful TV series (interestingly enough, it's set in Seattle), and a lot of people I've met watch it. I tend to talk about it frequently mostly because one of my closest friends works as a consultant for the series.

The expression and reaction of people when they are told -- or realize -- that the series' creator and showrunner is a black woman is very telling; usually their reaction is not only of surprise (which in itself shows ethnocentrism) but also many of them will respond with asinine comments like "AH! THAT's why so many of the doctors on the series are black! I could never get why there were so many of them!".

I'm sure the casting director begs to differ.

(sarcasm)
The fact that critics claim they are absolutely superb actors is completely irrelevant. I mean, they're BLACK, for heaven's sake; most of them are poor and uneducated, and insist on voting Democrat; what are the odds that a mind-boggling three of them can get jobs on their own merit in just one TV series? They'd much rather all live on Social Security handouts that hard-working Americans pay for!
(/sarcasm)

Pathetic.

Another pathetic example:

In the US, the ratio between brunettes that die their hair blonde and blondes who dye their hair dark is about 10,000:1. Same ratio applies for purchase of blue/green contact lenses vs brown/black contact lenses. That is obviously in great part because there are a lot more brunettes than blondes, but there AREN'T 10,000x more brunettes than blondes, so there's a clear bias there nevertheless.

Then again, rainjack has branded me Euro-centric, so I may be biased towards brunettes since there are almost no blonde women in Europe. Blondes all came originally from the US, right?

Oh, no, wait...


#11

...emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology..

With the above the politically correct liberals are finishing the job of wrecking the country...


#12

What if you're Oprah Winfrey who said multiple times in public her ideal of beauty is a blonde white woman, and keeps telling every single one of her blonde white female guests how beautiful they are because they're blonde and white?

Same thing: it just means you're an idiot, two times over.

But you knew that already about Oprah, didn't we?

Mindless Stupidity is an equal opportunity employer.


#13

How? By letting the Republicans have the Presidency, the Senate AND the House for the past 6 years?

If that is your point, I agree.


#14

I'm not sure ethnocentrism is as value-laden as racism is. I'm pretty sure it isn't, in fact. And multiculturalism does have some difficulties... one of which is that it isn't reflexive. That is, it's 'ok' for a tribe in the middle of nowhere to believe that they are God's chosen people (it's their culture), but it is not fine for me to believe the same thing (not that I do). On the other hand, if we place limits on what the other culture is allowed to believe, then multiculturalism isn't so multicultural, and becomes 'elitist' when other cultures disagree with those standards - because someone, presumably college professors, sets the standards. If, however, it retains its relativism, then it should be just as fine for me to believe that my culture should assimilate/destroy/give money to/whatever yours, just as your culture is protected in its beliefs. I'm not sure we're disagreeing on anything, though.

That's interesting... I never noticed there were a 'large' number of black doctors on the show. I suppose since they didn't make an issue of it, neither did I. Of course, I also grew up in an area where white people are a minority, so perhaps that changes my outlook. Interesting reactions, though.


#15

My argument about multiculturalism also applies to historicism, btw. Historicism claims that philosophy is the result of the times in which the philosophers lived (Machiavelli could not see beyond war-torn Florence, for example). Yet historicism is a philosophical viewpoint, and would therefore have to be subject to that same skepticism. Yet, historicism claims to be transhistorical (applying in all times and places). Just in case anyone cares (which they won't).


#16

Now if we could just take back the lower judiciaries the Universities and a majority of the media we would be once again heading in the "right" direction.

Hey...I'll even let you guys keep Hollywoodd...No one respects them anyway.


#17

What exactly does this MEAN? Is this supposed to be a reference to notions of manifest destiny or Fourth Reich, or are they actually trying to outlaw Heideggerian phenomenology?

[Soup Nazi voice:] No ecstasis for you!


#18

There are quite a few philosophy departments that would sign on for that...


#19

They have ruined the Democratic party thus forcing us into single party rule with all the inherent problems.


#20

The fact of the matter is that institutional racism does exist because the majority of the rules and laws are written by white people. This does not mean that they are inherently bad but does leave some questions.

I do not see any connect with idividualism equaling racism as you tried to explain it. The quote is, "emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology." [the italics are mine for emphasis] Which means we prioritize individualism as opposed to collectivism (opposing social theories). Society is more than just an idividualism. However, it does not mean that we cannot teach concepts of individualism in favor of collectivism.

According to Jean-Jaques Rousseau's theory of the Social Contract, "an individualist enters into society to further his own interests, or at least demands the right to serve his own interests, without taking the interests of society into consideration." This is the definition of individualism that the Seattle Public School System was trying to convey not that individualism = racism. Tsk, tsk. Don't they teach critical thinking in law school or just to read the law they way it fits your clients interests?

I think you missed the entire concept of this site. It is merely defining race not entering into a debate about what racism is.

Oh, the sky is falling!