Creative Destruction

November 23, 2006

Colouring Gender

Filed under: Feminist Issues,Race and Racism,War — Daran @ 5:15 pm

brownfemipower, toysoldier, I, and others have been having a three way discussion at her blog, about the issues I raised in my post about how gender-selective atrocities are represented in the media and how feminism interprets those representations. TS’s part in the discussion ended with me slapping him down. I feel a bit of a rogue for that, because he was, after all, supporting me in the face of ad homs from some of the commenters there, (though not from BFP herself).

But it was necessary. The (false) suggestion that I wanted to centre the discussion on white males was becoming self-fullfilling, and I didn’t want that to happen. TS posted a response back at his blog

Any ideology or philosophy that purports whites cannot experience violence, discrimination, marginalization or oppression to the same extent as other racial groups should never be tolerated. That is part of the very foundation of racism.

That was not her argument. Although she did not use the word, I understood her argument as saying that whites are not victims of genocide.

I can’t argue against that proposition. There certainly have been white genocides. The history of Europe is one genocide heaped on another. Europeans colonised Europe before they colonised anywhere else. All that ended in Western Europe sixty years ago.

The whitest genocides in recent history were in the former Yugoslavia and in Armenia. But were they white? I don’t know, and frankly, I don’t think it’s my business to decide who’s white and who isn’t. The race element comes in as an “us/not us” calculus, and in those cases, I think the Armenians fell clearly on the “not us” side. Ex-Yugoslavia is less clear, but I think it was more “not us” than “us”.

So, BFP goes on, without in any way denying the crap things that happen to white men, she doesn’t want to centre them.

That’s a deal.

That said, the real issue is that instead of addressing the misandry within the media and within feminism, it was utterly dodged and unaddressed.

It was. And it would have beem no chance of ever addressing it, had we gotten into an endless fight over whether we should or should not be talking about whites.

To a certain extent, when Daran acquiesced to the position that his post failed to acknowledge race as a prominent, if not the, component of this biased treatment, he also conceded that the overall issue of male marginalization, which affects all males, is inherently less important than any other issue. But if this is what the proper response should be, this notion that one should ignore the larger issue/issues that affect an entire group of society and rather focus a smaller subset of that group, then what is the point of bringing up the issue at all? Why call it marginalization or misandry if the “real” problem is racism?

This misrepresents my acquiescence. Firstly I didn’t say “my post”. I said my “analysis” was inadequate. I wasn’t referring to a single post, but to my entire hitherto race-blind conceptual framework. Secondly I did not concede that race is “the” component of this biased treatment. It’s “a” component, and one I should pay attention to.

Regardless of what role, if any, race plays in the media’s coverage of violence, the fact remains that when the victims are male, the media coverage “exemplif[ies] incidentalisation and displacement which, together with exclusion are the three strategies commonly used in the media to marginalise and conceal the gender-selective victimisation of men.”

All men? Or just dark men?

I don’t know, because it’s never occured to me before to ask the question. I think it’s worth trying to find out.

36 Comments »

  1. Although she did not use the word, I understood her argument as saying that whites are not victims of genocide.
    I can’t argue against that proposition.

    I can.

    The race element comes in as an “us/not us” calculus, and in those cases, I think the Armenians fell clearly on the “not us” side.

    That doesn’t mean that it was racial or had a ‘race element’,as genocide is not necessarily defined by race.

    Genocide:

    “Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
    (a) Killing members of the group;
    (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
    (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
    Article III: The following acts shall be punishable:
    (a) Genocide;
    (b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
    (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
    (d) Attempt to commit genocide;
    (e) Complicity in genocide.
    The Genocide Convention was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948. The Convention entered into force on 12 January 1951. More than 130 nations have ratified the Genocide Convention and over 70 nations have made provisions for the punishment of genocide in domestic criminal law. The text of Article II of the Genocide Convention was included as a crime in Article 6 of the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

    I should also note that the original draft on genocide included political affiliation:

    From wikipedia:

    The first draft of the Convention included political killings but the USSR did not accept that actions against groups identified as holding similar political opinion or social status, that would constitute genocide if carried out against an ethnic group, was genocide. So they were removed in a political and diplomatic compromise.

    The reasons for this are disgustingly transparent.

    Anyway, none of this is intended as a “what about whites!? Lets focus on them!” which I suspect that this may look like to some. Just pointing out…

    Comment by Tuomas — November 23, 2006 @ 6:05 pm | Reply

  2. Btw, genocide, and indeed all warfare carries with it an “us vs. not-us” component. It wouldn’t happen otherwise.
    So do partisan politics, being a fan of sports team, religion…

    It’s when this turns sour: us vs. them becoming superior vs. inferior or good vs. evil, do the bad things really start happening. Us vs. them, in itself is part of way human beings identify themselves, i.e. I’m a Finn, not a Swede, or someone would say: Person of Color, not White (and vice versa). What this has to do with our value as human beings all worthy of certain rights should be, ideally, nothing much.

    [edited for typos]

    [Oh, and this can be read as me saying that I’m a person of color, by someone who doesn’t know, no, I’m a Man of Whiteness]

    Comment by Tuomas — November 23, 2006 @ 6:33 pm | Reply

  3. Thanks for that example. I’m familiar with the definition of genocide, however I also consider it genocide if the effect is said destruction, regardless of the intent. What is happening in Iraq is genocide. What is happening in Gaza is genocide. It is not necessary to kill them all to be an act of genocide.

    A case could be made that the state response to Katerina had the effect of genocide on the people of New Orleans A counterexample would be 9/11 attack on the WTC. 9/11 was an appalling atrocity, but it did not overwhelm the ability of the communities targetted to cope. Palestine is destroyed. Iraq is destroyed. New Orleans is destroyed. New York isn’t.

    Comment by Daran — November 23, 2006 @ 6:44 pm | Reply

  4. I don’t agree with ability of cope being a definer of genocide.

    Comment by Tuomas — November 23, 2006 @ 6:51 pm | Reply

  5. So how do you interpret the definition so as to avoid any act of sectarian violence being genocide? The term, as I conceive it, implies more than the destruction of an individual (which is, the smallest part of a group) or even a family. It involves the destruction of a comunity, but not necessarily its complete annihilation.

    Comment by Daran — November 23, 2006 @ 8:42 pm | Reply

  6. So how do you interpret the definition so as to avoid any act of sectarian violence being genocide?

    With the “intent to destroy in whole or part”.

    It involves the destruction of a comunity, but not necessarily its complete annihilation.

    Jewish community is still around…

    Comment by Tuomas — November 23, 2006 @ 8:53 pm | Reply

  7. The problem with your definition, as I see it, is that it removes the human aspect, instead focusing merely on what the outcome is and how bad it looks afterwards.

    Both the perpetrator and the community response become mere sidelines to the all-important outcome, which retroactively decides whether anything genocidal really happened.

    Don’t get me wrong — the outcome is important — but I’m afraid it’s a rather important distinction that I’m not willing to compromise here.

    Comment by Tuomas — November 23, 2006 @ 8:59 pm | Reply

  8. Btw, genocide, and indeed all warfare carries with it an “us vs. not-us” component. It wouldn’t happen otherwise.

    Yes, between the belligerents. I’m talking about how it is constructed from outside.

    For example the West wrings its hands and does nothing about Darfur now, just as it did nothing about Rwanda. The West intervened in Kuwait/Iraq because it had an interest (oil), but it also intervened, somewhat half-heartedly in Yugoslavia, even though there was no oil interest. I think this is because they were construed as sort of white, but not white enough to intervene properly.

    Thing is, literal skin-colour is only a proxy for this “us/not us” construction. Someone from Southern Spain might be darker than someone from Northern Afghanistan, but they’re still more “us” than the Afghans, and also more us than the Boers, who are a long way away and speak funny.

    Comment by Daran — November 23, 2006 @ 9:01 pm | Reply

  9. With the “intent to destroy in whole or part”.

    So if kill you because I hate Finns, then I’ve committed genoide? Are you not a “part” of the Finnish Nation?

    Jewish community is still around…

    Not the one in Warsaw in 1939.

    Comment by Daran — November 23, 2006 @ 9:11 pm | Reply

  10. Intervention out of purity of heart is costly (economically and very often politically too, if the results aren’t as desired), hand-wringing is cheap (again economically and often politically too). It is especially problematic on civil war, and even more so if there is a possibility that it is interpreted as colonialism and imperialism (happens when we go to third-world).

    I believe the West intervened in Yugoslavia because it is in Europe, thus, stable Europe is an economic interest even without oil. It was in “our back yard”. Arguably considering oil interests, so is Kuwait, perhaps for Americans even more so.

    Yugoslavia is also odd example of constructing the victims as “us”, as Serbs were arguably more “us” there, being Christian and all. In a sense, it was policing our own, sort of.

    Comment by Tuomas — November 23, 2006 @ 9:17 pm | Reply

  11. So if kill you because I hate Finns, then I’ve committed genoide? Are you not a “part” of the Finnish Nation?

    That’s sort of micro-reductive. A genocidal act, perhaps, and even more so if you are a part of a larger collective that seeks to destroy Finland and/or that is your ultimate goal in killing me.

    Of course, pansy liberals don’t even have guns…😉

    Not the one in Warsaw in 1939.

    Nor is the American community in Twin Towers at 2001, eh?

    I think you misunderstood me. I believe, no, I KNOW that Nazis committed genocide against Jews. The fact Jews and the Jewish community — as whole — survived and lived long and prospered doesn’t make it less genocide against Jews, again, as whole.

    Unless you are saying that Nazis committed genocide, not against Jews but against Jews of Warsaw (and other similar places).

    Comment by Tuomas — November 23, 2006 @ 9:26 pm | Reply

  12. For example the West wrings its hands and does nothing about Darfur now, just as it did nothing about Rwanda. The West intervened in Kuwait/Iraq because it had an interest (oil), but it also intervened, somewhat half-heartedly in Yugoslavia, even though there was no oil interest. I think this is because they were construed as sort of white, but not white enough to intervene properly.

    I suspect it has more to do with capabilities than with desires, Daran.

    We do nothing about Africa because we do not see a way to do something productive that is also within the bounds of real-world possibility. It would be easy to stop the genocide by sending in a single division of light infantry with orders to actively engage every militia and kill every African under arms in the region. That would not be politically feasible; African leaders whose wishes we are bound to honor would not stand for the tactical operations necessary to make this happen, and Americans would be unhappy about the thousands of casualties that would result on our side.

    It would be trivial to stop the genocide by deploying a half-million peacekeepers to the region and engaging in a long-term pacification campaign. That isn’t logistically feasible; Africa as a whole does not have the logistical facilities needed to support a five-corps Western army and air force, let alone the Sudan – they’d be pushing it to handle the light infantry division. We could build such facilities, by main force if necessary; it would cost trillions. The taxpayers won’t stand for it.

    Yugoslavia, on the other hand, is an instance where a low-cost, low-casualty (for us) approach of air strikes was thought sufficient to get the job done. (As I recall, it proved to be a bit short and they needed some NATO boots on the ground, but not an unreasonable quantity.) Iraq is an instance where it was similarly thought possible to get the job done.

    It’s rarely necessary to attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by economics.

    Comment by Robert — November 23, 2006 @ 11:02 pm | Reply

  13. In the case of Yugoslavia–I am not sure about how the broader mainstream groups interpretted that agression, but I know that within feminist circles, there were radical feminists like Cynthia mackinnon who became very agressive in bringing attention to the crisis. However, MANY women of color feminists and Yugoslavian feminists had very harsh critiques of radical feminists (who were, by and large, white feminists)–very long story short, Y. feminists felt like Mackinnon et al paid no attention to how Y. feminists were organizing and basebuilding against the war time attrocities–instead prefering to use her power as a western feminist to center the entire movement Y feminists were trying to build into the court room–a court room which was inherently unfriendly and hostile towards Y-ian women.

    WOC feminists in the US were also furious with Mackinnon et al over the way she erased what Y-ian women were doing, but also for the way that Mackinnon argued that rape as a tool of war had never been seen or been used in any other circumstances throughout the world. Of course, when she said those words, Native women in Latin America dealing with active genocide by paramiliataries–of which rape was used as a tool of war. I wrote about it here–http://brownfemipower.com/?p=265. (It was written when I didn’t have a home computer, so there are horrible spelling errors/grammer errors, but it gets the point across with citations)

    In regards to whiteness, WOC feminists argued at the time that Mackinnon et al felt sorry for Y. because they were percieved as ethnic, but not of color, thus white feminists felt comfortable in their right to intervene–Y. women look like white people but *aren’t*, thus, they are worthy of saving (unlike native women who were being raped/murdered), but they aren’t a *threat*–as native women who connect colonization and nation/state violence to sexual violence and abuse within their communities.

    In regards to genocide–white communities can be on the receiving end of genocide–but usually, those “white” communities don’t identify and never *have* identified as white–for example, the Northern Irish may appear white, but they have always identified as Irish. It’s necessary when looking at genocide to look at several components–including what *makes* a people. For example, Native groups, and the Northern Irish as well, argue that their language is part of what makes them specifically native or Irish. To take away their language through English only programs or other state sponsered programs is an act of genocide. A particular land base, language, spirituality, government and economic system are all parts of what is recognized as what “makes” an indigenous group. Any attacks on any of those particular components by a larger or agressive nation can and does constitute genocide–although politics often prevent that terminology from being used. International law requires that an agressor nation “protect” the people it colonizes and provides colonized people with resources for survival (something required of both Israel with the territories and the U.S. with its reservations). It’s kinda a stupid law IMO, as the whole point of colonization is the take land/resources–and as long as you have people quarentined into their own reservation/ghettos, there will always be land/resources to colonize. I suppose it’s a kinder gentler form of colonization.

    Yeah, and there’s a difference between genocide and colonization as well–Often the differences make it difficult and confusing to understand who has had genocide committed against them, who has been colonized, when colonization has ended, when genocide has ended, and how outside forces can appropriatly intervene.

    Anyway, I think I strayed from the original point. Sorry.

    Comment by brownfemipower — November 24, 2006 @ 10:20 pm | Reply

  14. Nor is the American community in Twin Towers at 2001, eh?

    Was there such a community?

    I mean, there people who if asked “Where are you from”, they’d say “Warsaw”.

    But there never were, to my knowledge people who would have answered “The WTC” to that question.

    Comment by Daran — November 25, 2006 @ 8:08 am | Reply

  15. Robert:

    It would be easy to stop the genocide by sending in a single division of light infantry with orders to actively engage every militia and kill every African under arms in the region.

    Yeah, we could stop genocide by killing everyone.

    And it would be easy, because US forces never have any difficulty dealing with militias.

    I don’t normally stoop to insults, but there really does appear to be this strange planet – for want of a better name I’ll call it “Wingnuttia” – where genocide is liberation, global warming isn’t happening, war is peace, slavery is freedom, lies are truth, and everyone is really, really unevolved.

    Comment by Daran — November 25, 2006 @ 8:23 am | Reply

  16. Yugoslavia, on the other hand, is an instance where a low-cost, low-casualty (for us) approach of air strikes was thought sufficient to get the job done. (As I recall, it proved to be a bit short and they needed some NATO boots on the ground, but not an unreasonable quantity.)

    Actually there were NATO boots on the ground, not enough of course, but their desperate calls for air support went unheeded:

    480. The next question that must be asked is this: why was NATO air power not brought to bear upon the Bosnian Serbs before they entered the town of Srebrenica? Even in the most restrictive interpretation of the mandate the use of close air support against attacking Serb targets was clearly warranted. The Serbs were firing directly at Dutchbat observation posts with tank rounds as early as five days before the enclave fell.

    […]

    482. What is clear is that [UNPROFOR commanders] were all deeply reluctant to use air power against the Serbs for four main reasons. We believed that by using air power against the Serbs we would be perceived as having entered the war against them, something not authorized by the Security Council and potentially fatal for a peacekeeping operation. Second, we risked losing control over the process – once the key was turned we did not know if we would be able to turn it back, with grave consequences for the safety of the troops entrusted to us by Member States. Third, we believed that the use of air power would disrupt the primary mission of UNPROFOR as we then saw it: the creation of an environment in which humanitarian aid could be delivered to the civilian population of the country. Fourth, we feared Serb reprisals against our peacekeepers.

    Comment by Daran — November 25, 2006 @ 9:16 am | Reply

  17. Daran, are you familiar with the concept of “rules of engagement”?

    Comment by Robert — November 25, 2006 @ 12:22 pm | Reply

  18. Daran, are you familiar with the concept of “rules of engagement”?

    Er yes. Your point?

    No, let me guess. You’re saying that it’s the “rules of engagement” which prevent the US from defeating the militias?

    Yeah, you’re right. We could easily stop the genocide in Iraq if only the rules didn’t stop us from massacring the people.

    Comment by Daran — November 25, 2006 @ 1:42 pm | Reply

  19. No, I’m saying that rules of engagement are parameters on the effectiveness of combat units. A unit deployed to the Sudan under one set of rules will have a different effect over one deployed with a different set. It’s the political consequence of that ruleset that bars its implementation, not an organic limitation on the unit’s capacity.

    Comment by Robert — November 25, 2006 @ 1:44 pm | Reply

  20. That was not her argument. Although she did not use the word, I understood her argument as saying that whites are not victims of genocide.

    Genocide is wholly irrelevant as to whether males are treated differently in the media and by feminists. Also, it makes no sense to say whites are not victims of genocide since genocide is not specific to any one group. It also made no sense to state that whites should not be the focus since no one made such a suggestion and the victims mentioned in your post were not white.

    This misrepresents my acquiescence. Firstly I didn’t say “my post”. I said my “analysis” was inadequate.

    My apologies. I said ‘post’ as that was the specific subject of discussion.

    I wasn’t referring to a single post, but to my entire hitherto race-blind conceptual framework. Secondly I did not concede that race is “the” component of this biased treatment. It’s “a” component, and one I should pay attention to.

    Your framework is not at fault. A generalized viewing of a problem helps to determine whether it is something that affects the larger group or if it is specific to sub-groups and to what extent that is the case. Focusing only on a smaller group fails to deliver such information because the other groups are never asked, coincidently making it easier to claim those groups never experience that problem.

    Comment by toysoldier — November 25, 2006 @ 8:05 pm | Reply

  21. toysoldier:

    Any ideology or philosophy that purports whites cannot experience violence, discrimination, marginalization or oppression to the same extent as other racial groups should never be tolerated. That is part of the very foundation of racism.

    Me:

    That was not her argument. Although she did not use the word, I understood her argument as saying that whites are not victims of genocide.

    toysoldier:

    Genocide is wholly irrelevant as to whether males are treated differently in the media and by feminists.

    As the two quotes show, we were not talking about whether males are treated differently in the media etc., in that part of the conversation.

    Also, it makes no sense to say whites are not victims of genocide since genocide is not specific to any one group.

    That’s a circular argument. Whether genocide is or is not specific to non-whites is an essentially empirical question, albeit one which depends upon how we construct ‘genocide’ and how we construct ‘white’. The blindingly obvious point (So blindingly, that I was in fact blind to it) is that it is overwhelmingly those toward the “not us” end of the race/colour/ethnicity spectrum who are the victims of genocide.

    (Similarly it is a blindingly obvious fact (which feminism and society at large is blind to) that it is overwhelmingly men who are the victims of genocidal murder and torture.)

    A number of counterexamples have been offered to the proposition that “whites are not victims of genocide”. To give them any more than superficial analysis requires a focus upon how “white” is constructed.

    It also made no sense to state that whites should not be the focus since no one made such a suggestion and the victims mentioned in your post were not white.

    To hell with what she said about my intentions. It’s irrelevant. Let’s talk about how the media desexes male victims, including how that plays out on the race/colour/ethnicity spectrum. For example, notice how the victims of atrocities in Iraq, aren’t generally named in news reports. Names are gendered, and -a, -ah as a feminine suffix seems to be a common feature of the Indoeuropean language family, which includes Arabic. So the lack of naming of male Arab victims contributes to their desexing. Victims of atrocities in the UK or the US are always named.

    That’s a simple example of the kinds of things I should have been thinking about, but haven’t been.

    Your framework is not at fault. A generalized viewing of a problem helps to determine whether it is something that affects the larger group or if it is specific to sub-groups and to what extent that is the case. Focusing only on a smaller group fails to deliver such information because the other groups are never asked, coincidently making it easier to claim those groups never experience that problem.

    But I have been focussing only on the smaller group. What I should do, perhaps, is look at the media coverage of UK and US atrocities to see if the male victims were desexed in the same way as they are in Iraq, or whether whites get desexed in the same way as blacks.

    Comment by Daran — November 26, 2006 @ 9:48 am | Reply

  22. No, I’m saying that rules of engagement are parameters on the effectiveness of combat units. A unit deployed to the Sudan under one set of rules will have a different effect over one deployed with a different set. It’s the political consequence of that ruleset that bars its implementation, not an organic limitation on the unit’s capacity.

    I have seen no evidence that the US is capable of developing a ruleset capable of suppressing genocide without also perpetrating genocide.

    Comment by Daran — November 26, 2006 @ 10:13 am | Reply

  23. I have seen no evidence that the US is capable of developing a ruleset capable of suppressing genocide without also perpetrating genocide.

    Did US commit a genocide against Serbs, or were Serbs not white?

    Comment by Tuomas — November 26, 2006 @ 10:44 am | Reply

  24. The US failed to suppress the genocide.

    As I said before, I don’t think it is my business to decide who is white and who isn’t.

    Comment by Daran — November 26, 2006 @ 2:02 pm | Reply

  25. The US failed to suppress the genocide.

    I kind of suspected you would throw that. Certainly, the US failed to suppress the genocide from taking place at all, but it succeeded in limiting its scale and stopping it from going on.

    I don’t see anything short of omniscience and omnipotence that could stop all genocides completely.

    However, the extent can be limited, and has been, sometimes with military intervention. It’s analysis of lesser evils, essentially.

    As I said before, I don’t think it is my business to decide who is white and who isn’t.

    You’re dodging.

    You are completely fine on speculating whether “whiteness” or “us vs, not-us” has an effect on coverage of genocide victims.

    What do you think is the commonly held opinion about the whiteness of Serbs?

    IMO it is that they are white.

    Comment by Tuomas — November 26, 2006 @ 3:24 pm | Reply

  26. Tuomas:

    Certainly, the US failed to suppress the genocide from taking place at all, but it succeeded in limiting its scale and stopping it from going on.

    The UN/Nato failed to suppress anything as far as I can see up to and including the Srebrenica massacre. Arguably they contributed to the genocide by disarming the weaker side. It’s not clear to me how effective Nato were after Srebrenica or how much of that was due to US forces rather than those of other Nato countries.

    I don’t see anything short of omniscience and omnipotence that could stop all genocides completely.

    The question is whether your intervention will make things better, worse, or indifferent. The US has an abysmal record for making things much, much worse. I don’t know how much of that is due the the inherent difficulty of the tasks, and how much is due to the US’s national reverse Midas touch. (That’s where everything you touch turns to shit.) Whatever. The last thing the people of Darfur need is a US lead intervention.

    Me:

    As I said before, I don’t think it is my business to decide who is white and who isn’t.

    Tuomas:

    You’re dodging.

    you are completely fine on speculating whether “whiteness” or “us vs, not-us” has an effect on coverage of genocide victims.

    But I’m not fine about drawing a bright line, and saying “white this side”. the 1938, Czechoslovakia crisis was “a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing“, in other words “not us”. Yugoslavia is even further away.

    What do you think is the commonly held opinion about the whiteness of Serbs?

    I don’t know. I will say I construe whiteness broadly, and was taken by surprise at some of the counties deemed “non-white” by some of the participants in Rachel’s thread. I didn’t participate in the excercise because I didn’t feel comfortable doing it.

    IMO it is that they are white.

    What about the other ethnic groups?

    Comment by Daran — November 26, 2006 @ 7:00 pm | Reply

  27. But I’m not fine about drawing a bright line, and saying “white this side”. the 1938, Czechoslovakia crisis was “a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing“, in other words “not us”. Yugoslavia is even further away.

    Please choose to use either white this side, or us vs. not-us, in specific contest.

    Who are the people who have great interested in defining “white this side”? I can’t recall any coverage on Yugoslavia that mentioned “whiteness”.

    What about the other ethnic groups?

    Dunno. They look all the same to me.

    Comment by Tuomas — November 27, 2006 @ 3:07 am | Reply

  28. Daran: Off-topic, but…

    I think I love you. Well, maybe in that way, but not exactly. But what do I know. I’m still very drunk tonight from my evil-day-that-shall-not-be-mentioned that comes every year to allegedly “celebrate” the time I came into this world of suffering and pain. So I could be saying “Daran” but thinking “that hot goth girl in the blue satin corset who danced with me for a good ninety minutes and whose phone number currently resides in my wallet”…

    Okay, so it’s probably the latter. But would you blame me?

    Okay, back on topic and a query for everybody.

    Going back to the basis of my comment here, why can’t we simply treat human beings like… Well… Human beings? Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality, or any other factors? Is an atrocity performed on insert-subgrouping-here more of a crime against the fundamental nature of humanity than the same atrocity performed against insert-different-subgrouping-here?

    What is more important to you? The fact that insert-subgrouping-here is suffering from the atrocity? Or the fact that the atrocity itself is being committed?

    For me, it is the latter. The fact that these horrid events happen against a specific group is immaterial in my mind. The fact that these things are still happening in the first place is all that matters. No “us/not-us” calculations required.

    Comment by Off Colfax — November 27, 2006 @ 6:24 am | Reply

  29. Offcolfax:

    Going back to the basis of my comment here, why can’t we simply treat human beings like… Well… Human beings? Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality, or any other factors?

    I fully agree. But we don’t have to predict that all these factors don’t exist to do that.

    [edited to add: Braggart. No, I don’t blame you.]

    Comment by Tuomas — November 27, 2006 @ 6:27 am | Reply

  30. Tuomas:

    But we don’t have to predict that all these factors don’t exist to do that.

    No, you don’t. Regardless of factor, regardless of situation, regardless of motive, regardless of justification, regardless of any Remember-The-Atrocity-Done-Unto-Us-Yesterday-That-Justifies-
    The-Atrocities-That-We-Commit-Unto-Them-Today-Huzzah.

    Certain things are fundamentally wrong.

    Rape. Slavery. Mass murder.

    You don’t need to justify your outrage for the horrific things we humans do to each other by including their specific details. That these things still exist in this day should be outrage enough.

    Comment by Off Colfax — November 27, 2006 @ 6:40 am | Reply

  31. No, you don’t. Regardless of factor, regardless of situation, regardless of motive, regardless of justification, regardless of any Remember-The-Atrocity-Done-Unto-Us-Yesterday-That-Justifies-
    The-Atrocities-That-We-Commit-Unto-Them-Today-Huzzah.

    Can you clarify a bit?

    That’s some accusation there…

    You don’t need to justify your outrage for the horrific things we humans do to each other by including their specific details. That these things still exist in this day should be outrage enough.

    Okay. I feel outrage. Now what?

    Comment by Tuomas — November 27, 2006 @ 6:58 am | Reply

  32. Um, never mind. I was caught in a heated debate on the other thread so I probably misunderstood you.

    Darn passive “you” -word.😐

    I think that specific details do sometimes help — there’s the danger of becoming jaded (an x number of murders, y number of rapes… What else is new?)

    Comment by Tuomas — November 27, 2006 @ 8:09 am | Reply

  33. Off Colfax:

    Going back to the basis of my comment here, why can’t we simply treat human beings like… Well… Human beings? Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality, or any other factors?…

    “Imagine all the peo-ple…”

    What is more important to you? The fact that insert-subgrouping-here is suffering from the atrocity? Or the fact that the atrocity itself is being committed?

    For me, it is the latter. The fact that these horrid events happen against a specific group is immaterial in my mind. The fact that these things are still happening in the first place is all that matters. No “us/not-us” calculations required.

    I’d love this to be true. It’s precisely the “not us” construction that enables these atrocities in the first place. But just because I want it to be true doesn’t make it so. In order to understand why we commit some atrocities, (try to) prevent others, wring our hands about yet others, and ignore still others, we need to examine this calculus.

    And while I certainly aspire to be beyond such concerns personally, I’m not going to stand here and pronounce myself to be holier than thou, while angels of mercy sing a chorus of hosannahs about my head.

    Comment by Daran — November 27, 2006 @ 8:38 am | Reply

  34. Please choose to use either white this side, or us vs. not-us, in specific contest.

    Who are the people who have great interested in defining “white this side”? I can’t recall any coverage on Yugoslavia that mentioned “whiteness”.

    Hay, you were the one who raised the subject of whiteness in post #23. There was no mention of it in post #22 or in posts #15-19 which were its immedidate predecessors in the discussion.

    I’m not interested in defining whiteness at all.

    Comment by Daran — November 27, 2006 @ 8:51 am | Reply

  35. Hay, you were the one who raised the subject of whiteness in post #23. There was no mention of it in post #22 or in posts #15-19 which were its immedidate predecessors in the discussion.

    No, it was continuation of this, in post #21:

    Whether genocide is or is not specific to non-whites is an essentially empirical question, albeit one which depends upon how we construct ‘genocide’ and how we construct ‘white’. The blindingly obvious point (So blindingly, that I was in fact blind to it) is that it is overwhelmingly those toward the “not us” end of the race/colour/ethnicity spectrum who are the victims of genocide.

    I got it from there.

    I’m not interested in defining whiteness at all.

    I also think it is somewhat irrelevant, and am perfectly willing to drop it.

    Comment by Tuomas — November 27, 2006 @ 9:07 am | Reply

  36. For example, Native groups, and the Northern Irish as well, argue that their language is part of what makes them specifically native or Irish. To take away their language through English only programs or other state sponsered programs is an act of genocide.

    For the most part, the Northern Irish identify as either “Irish” or “British”. However few of the Irish both North and South speak the language any more. The linguacide was a fait accompli a century ago. There’s the inevitable patriotic resurgence, of course, but many of the Irish feel that it’s being foisted upon them.

    Comment by Daran — November 30, 2006 @ 4:18 pm | Reply


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