Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Inherent Racism in David James' Countercurrents Article Entitled "Some Brief Thoughts On Race-Fetishism And Identity Politics On The Left"

In recent days I have been embroiled in an argument with a man who defines himself as "white" (though he capitalizes white), "left" and an "anarchist" who lives in Seattle.

His name is David James and he says he is a longtime correspondent at Countercurrents though this is the first time I have read anything by him.

I am a longtime admirer of Countercurrents and often cross post their excellent coverage here.  It was for no small reason that I was shocked that James' article was even published there.

Now James seems to mistakenly think I was calling for censoring him when I made this point.  My point was not to censor the man (or rather advocate that he be censored), it was merely a statement of disbelief that his racist views would be aired at a radical site like Countercurrents.

Last night I wrote a fourth comment in reply to David who has posted many more replies of astounding verbosity and paranoid self-importance.

Countercurrents has not, however, published my fourth response.  I expect that my response is being set aside but I can't be sure so I will post it below just in case.

This is after all my blog and a major reason why I write here and not elsewhere (outside of ANG) is because I detest being deemed unpublishable for whatever reason.

If you have the stomach for a back and forth over race between yours truly and a white self styled revolutionary in Seattle please read here.

Oh I should mention that I like Seattle but on my many trips there (as recent as a couple of months ago) it has not escaped my attention that it is a white city through and through.  Not as white as Portland but white enough in numbers and politics to make me wonder why James' is so adamant that he is being oppressed up there (James disagrees that Seattle is one of the whitest cities in the Pacific Northwest - amazing huh?)

It is hilarious to me that a white man who claims to be lefty can seriously float the argument that he is now oppressed by what he calls a "new racism" that is anti-white.  I mean this kind of mindset is found among white-right folks like the Tea Party and other right-wing racists in Romney's camp, for example.

But that is far from the worst of it.  I about fell over when I read him cite research to make this ludicrous claim in a comment:
" ... just about every White person has suffered from racism directed at non-Whites, not been privileged by it."
You read that right!

Also notice he does not capitalize the non part in his "non-White" label.  It is not a keyboard error he does it elsewhere but he does capitalize the word "Whitest" nonetheless. 

Robert Sobukwe once told me never to accept the label of being a non-white.  "You are not a negative to white people," he told me and I have remembered that defiant wisdom from that day (I was about 12) onward!

James position on white suffering marks a moment in my personal history and in my academic work in race theory that I will never forget.

I have never, ever, come across anyone, let alone a white lefty, who has made the claim that white people have "suffered" from the racism that whites have historically directed at blacks.

This is truly a new low in white appropriation.  It is mind boggling to say the least.

Here in South Africa you will find a ton of white victims of racism at News24 or IOL or anywhere else there is a forum for discussing topical issues that pertain to South African politics and society.

The flight to white victimhood is a uniform global experience it seems 'cause a lot of those white racists in South Africa sound just like James.

I get the distinct feeling that James, like most racists, does not like folks of color who push his white privilege buttons.  In one post he even talked about racially conscious blacks who cannot identify with terms like bourgeois (he racially contained these blacks into an "average" too), in another instance he referred to a black woman who disagreed with him as an "idiot" and in yet another he claims most folks of color in the Occupy demonstrations (it was not a movement hey) were anti-white.

Perhaps the best nonsense to come from his comments is that it is racist to blame race for the "ills" of the world.  He must mean whiteness, no?  But true to racist form he prefers to make it seem that whites as individuals are being blamed (therefore they are oppressed) in critiques of race and racism (particularly those found in Critical Race Theory).

The man is a delusional fossil parading under the guise of an analytical leftist who is calling for class-based (workers) revolution while replicating the disfigurement caused by white racism.

OK, so I expect that maybe a handful of regulars here may take a gander at my argument with James and the rest will probably think it is all a waste of time (or perhaps effort is a better word).

I also expect that my email box will get more than just one reminder to lay off the theoretical and mastubatory war with racists - this time one in the city that has given us Starbucks.

So below is my now fifth unedited response (like the fourth it is also unpublished as of this writing) to David James' racist diatribe at Countercurrents:
It appears that David thinks I am calling for him to be censored.  This is not true even though he has taken on the racist habit of not speaking to me directly.

This is a form of racist censoring in which the objectified Other is erased. 

These are important matters that should be raised in a forum like this because it demonstrates racist practices that some among the so called left use to silence/disfigure the experiences of people of color.

What David's article here and his comments prove is that there is a minority white mindset in leftist circles that has not disappeared.  It is a mindset still fixated on the Marxist deployment of Hegelian racism that argued that colonialization was necessary to move the colonial subject into the next materialist phase of history.  Hegel's basis for geographical history was of course much more racist than Marx and did not even expect that Africans had the ability to be anything more than savages (conservatives like Samuel Huntington use the framework of this argument too, go figure).

This nonsense must be resisted because it distorts the reality of suffering under racism and it also obscures the manner in which the racialized subject (the racially oppressed) organizes and deploys resistance (it robs people of their agency to wage struggle against racism).

In these terms David's argument is unpopular (as he concedes) not only because it is racist but because it is absolutely discredited inside and outside of the empire (and its attachments).

I raised these issues in a final comment submitted here yesterday but it has not been published.  I want to believe that it has just been lost and not set aside in favor of the verbose racism that parades under a banner of a 'materialist' argument by the author of this article.

It should be recognized that race/racialization theory is a widely discussed area of concern and not a selective footnoting of authors (particularly academics) in the West.  The voices and experiences of black/brown folk outside of the West/American empire are relevant.

David has provided a list of names that only reinforces the myopic fixation of centering his Eurocentric arguments around his white male experience.  Where he has deemed my critique is biased against all white analysts he has taken to the offensive practice of citing authors of color.  This habit only presses the unpleasant reality that David is a proponent of race essentialism despite his race deconstruction pretenses.

One final point, David asserts that my comments/arguments are not analytical (reasoned) but rather a diagnosis/misdiagnoses of his view.

This thinking/emphasis is nothing more than a redeployment of the old racist thesis that intellectual vigor and analysis are a hallmark of western civilization (the civilization David paradoxically presses to be white as far back as the classic Greeks even).

The dissenting Other (me in this case) in this damaging thinking is deemed not to be analytical but maladaptive and so in large part implying an emotional worthlessness. 

Not speaking to me directly allows the author the racist power to collapse my person/individuality into a catalog of rehearsed complaints about people of color (like the "majority" of people of color that so displeased David in the Occupy movement).

If these points are not deemed by the moderators here to be worthy of a response to David's blatant racism in his article and his multiple comments then I am afraid we have lost sight of anti-racist struggle.

But that said I remain appreciative of the opportunity to read here and comment here. 

Update (November 15, 17:13 SA time):  As of this writing Countercurrents has not published my fourth comment or the one above.

I think we can reasonably assume that these two comments have been deemed unworthy of inclusion in the discussion.  

I have sent the editor, Mathew Binu, an email to ask why.

Update (November 15, 21:00):  The editor at Countercurrents has responded.  There was a time delay in getting the comments up - all of which are now posted.

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