Category Archives: Race

Monetizable (415)

I think this story is fascinating. An art college in Lyon altered a photograph of a group of its students– making it appear that some of them were people of color– in order to appeal to prospective US students. I take this to be a consequence of living in a society where everything is monetizable, including racial and ethnic identity. Under neoliberalism an uncritical, opportunistic version of diversity easily becomes just another marketing technique.

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Supine Sam (310/485)

Prone, actually, but it’s alliterative.

The present generation, I am persuaded, scarcely takes note of what the Confederate soldier meant to the welfare of the Anglo Saxon race during the four years immediately succeeding the war, when the facts are, that their courage and steadfastness saved the very life of the Anglo Saxon race in the South – When “the bottom rail was on top” all over the Southern states, and to-day, as a consequence the purest strain of the Anglo Saxon is to be found in the 13 Southern States – Praise God.
I trust I may be pardoned for one allusion, howbeit it is rather personal. One hundred yards from where we stand, less than ninety days perhaps after my return from Appomattox, I horse-whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds, because upon the streets of this quiet village she had publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady, and then rushed for protection to these University buildings where was stationed a garrison of 100 Federal soldiers. I performed the pleasing duty in the immediate presence of the entire garrison, and for thirty nights afterwards slept with a double-barrel shot gun under my head.

Source: Julian S. Carr, “Unveiling of Confederate Monument at University. June 2, 1913” in the Julian Shakespeare Carr Papers #141, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Note the year. The monumentalization of the Confederacy and its transmutation into the fable of the Lost Cause was integral to the rise of Jim Crow as a legal and cultural formation.

from http://hgreen.people.ua.edu/transcription-carr-speech.html

Van (303/485)

Just a heads-up: beginning Tuesday we’ll have four class meetings on Frank Norris’s strange novel Vandover and the Brute. My passionate hope is that everybody’ll have that reading completed (including appendices) by Thursday 3/29 if not by Tuesday 3/27. In the meantime I want you all thinking about “the duality of man”– as Sgt. Joker would phrase it. Consider yourself: are you good or bad? What would the EVIL version of yourself look like? Would such a strange doppelgänger— your Dark Twin— simply intensify your own worst traits?

The character of Vandover embodies some of the most disturbing cultural anxieties of the fin-de-siècle (end of the century) era. Among these fears is the eugenicist paranoia that Western Civilization necessarily saps natural vitality, generating cohort after cohort of neurasthenic degenerates. Pay close attention: we have arrived at the moment when a naturalist version of the Gothic has entered the labyrinth of Race– that ultimate social fiction.

15th

This is interesting: the overlap of culturally specific modes of racial formation and market ideology. One long-term, very damaging effect of the American War in Iraq emerged from efforts to impose a peculiarly USAmerican version of the Nation as a polity paradoxically riven by racio-ethnic allegiances. The paradigm for this political dispensation is pretty clearly a mildly regulated market– ex. quotas are intended to fulfill a representative function without actually having any influence on matters of justice and equality. This, in essence, is what the US means when it bombs people in the interests of Freedom.

See https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/opinion/iraq-war-anniversary-.html

Removing Saddam was just a byproduct of another objective: dismantling the Iraqi state and its institutions. That state was replaced with a dysfunctional and corrupt semi-state. We were still filming in Baghdad when L. Paul Bremer III, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, announced the formation of the so-called Governing Council in July 2003. The names of its members were each followed by their sect and ethnicity. Many of the Iraqis we spoke to on that day were upset with the institutionalization of an ethno-sectarian quota system. Ethnic and sectarian tensions already existed, but their translation into political currency was toxic. Those unsavory characters on the governing council, most of whom were allies of the United States from the preceding decade, went on to loot the country, making it one of the most corrupt in the world.