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View Diary: BARRIERS & BRIDGES: On Being Called a Racist (280 comments)

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  •  Racism is not just an American Original Sin (5+ / 0-)

    An excellent diary.... I just have to take a slight bit of umbrage at your description of Racism as the american original sin. I grew up in Hong Kong, and from my perspective, I would say the british 'ex-pats' (Hated that phony term) practiced a different kind of racism. It's not the KKK brick-through-the-window type of racism. It's a more subtle, genteel racism. A kind of racism that implicitly understands that the brown/yellow people outnumbers the white people at all times. Here in the US, a lot of the racism is predicated on the assumption that there is a white majority and then there is a black/brown/other minority that must be kicked out of town, or kept in their place. In a colonial setting, that is obviously not the case. You rely on the local brown/yellow people for your daily sustenance. You can't survive without them. Hence the racism practiced is a different, more patronizing type of racism. They don't make viscious jokes about the brown people being monkeys, but they do joke about the brown people not knowing their table manners. The constant refrain is that the colonized people are a bunch of bumbling, squabbling (constantly instigated by the colonial masters at that) little children, and that the great white father knows best.
    The saddest part, and the most 'successful' part, about this type of racism is that the victims frequently internalize the message. My grandfather was a lifelong anglophile. So much so that he even joined the local Cricket Club despite not knowing the first thing about cricket. We went there all the time for sunday luncheon until we were more or less kicked out.  My grandfather is long gone now, but I think what he admired the most about the british, is the way they managed to assert their cultural superiority, without the overt use of violence. Of course- not all of that is racism. Sometimes it really is cultural superiority. But in the mind of the colonized, it's all mixed together. Your assertion of cultural superiority becomes inseparable from your factual political power, your unstated economic privilege, and your genteel jokes about the uncouthed locals.

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