The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age

    White Supremacy versus Identity Politics

    Almost in response to the criticism of identity politics by Fukuyama and Appiah, comes a NYT article by  Pankaj Mishra describing the cult of whiteness that limits progress. It is hard to separate issues like identity politics and cultural appropriation from white supremacy. Fukuyama and Appiah view marginalized group protest as a means of creating  identity politics in reactionaries. Mishra views identity politics as a demand of respect from marginalized groups. He views white supremacy is always in action and is always attempting to suppress ethnic minorities. 

    Fukuyama and Appiah find the solution in the national creed. There is no need for identity politics groups. We look to the Constitution. The Constitution originally did not view blacks as human. The Constitution did not think blacks and women had the right to vote. Corrections were required. When we think about the Constitution today, we think about the body that decides what the Constitution “thinks” about issues of our daily lives. There is no reason for ethnic minorities to take comfort in Kavanaugh interpreting the Constitution. We are left wondering what 5-4 decisions say about our national creed. National creed is not going to rescue marginalized groups. 

    Mishra notes that white supremacy has deep roots in American history. White supremacy does not need identity politics of marginalized groups to do its evil from the first three paragraphs of his NYT article.

    “White men,” an obscure Australian academic named Charles Henry Pearson predicted in his 1893 book “National Life and Character: A Forecast,” would be “elbowed and hustled, and perhaps even thrust aside” by people they had long regarded as their inferiors — “black and yellow races.” China, in particular, would be a major threat. Pearson, prone to terrors of racial extinction while living in a settler colony in an Asian neighborhood, thought it was imperative to defend “the last part of the world, in which the higher races can live and increase freely, for the higher civilization.” 

    His prescriptions for racial self-defense thunderously echoed around the white Anglosphere, the community of men with shared historical ties to Britain. Theodore Roosevelt, who held a complacent 19th-century faith, buttressed by racist pseudoscience, that nonwhite peoples were hopelessly inferior, reported to Pearson the “great effect” of his book among “all our men here in Washington.” 

    In the years that followed, politicians and pundits in Britain and its settler colonies of Australia, Canada and the United States would jointly forge an identity geopolitics of the “higher races.” Today it has reached its final and most desperate phase, with existential fears about endangered white power feverishly circulating once again between the core and periphery of the greatest modern empire. “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” President Trump said last yearin a speech hailed by the British journalist Douglas Murray, the Canadian columnist Mark Steyn and the American editor Rich Lowry. More recently, Mr. Trump tweeted (falsely) about “large-scale killing” of white farmers in South Africa — a preoccupation, deepened by Rupert Murdoch’s media, of white supremacists around the world.

    There is little blacks can do other than protest. White supremacy began to crumble under its own weight, but it remains in force today.

    The exposure of Nazi crimes, followed by decolonization and civil rights movements, generally discredited quasi-scientific racism and stigmatized overt expressions of white supremacism. In our own time, global capitalism has promised to build a colorblind world through economic integration. But as revolts erupt against globalization in its latest, more disruptive phase, politicians and pundits in the Anglosphere are again scrambling to rebuild political communities around what W. E.B. Du Bois in 1910 identified as “the new religion of whiteness.”

    Trump is popular because he promotes white supremacy. His followers object to marginalized groups demanding respect

    Mr. Trump appears to some of these powerful but insecure men as an able-bodied defender of the “higher races.” The Muslim-baiting British Conservative politician Boris Johnson says that he is “increasingly admiring of Donald Trump.” Mr. Murray, the British journalist, thinks Mr. Trump is “reminding the West of what is great about ourselves.” The Canadian YouTube personality Jordan Peterson claims that his loathing of “identity politics” would have driven him to vote for Mr. Trump. 

    Other panicky white bros not only virulently denounce identity politics and political correctness — code for historically scorned peoples’ daring to propose norms about how they are treated; they also proclaim ever more rowdily that the (white) West was, and is, best. “It is time to make the case for colonialism again,” Bruce Gilley, a Canadian academic, recently asserted and promptly shot to martyrdom in the far-right constellation as a victim of politically correct criticism. Such busy recyclers of Western supremacism, many of whom uphold a disgraced racial pseudoscience, remind us that history often repeats itself as intellectual farce. 

    Identity politics is a defense used by marginalized groups. White supremacy is true evil





    I like the inventiveness and daring of Gutenberg & Columbus & Isaac Newton & Louis Pasteur & Nikola Tesla & Leonardo da Vinci & James Watt & Florence Nightingale & Thomas Edison & Alexander Fleming & Sigmund Freud & Henry Ford & Claude Shannon & William Shockley's team & Barbara McClintock & Norman Borlaug & JFK's space program & Les Paul/Leo Fender & Larry Page. Seems to me the largely white European growth period from mid-1300's to present, including expansion into North America, was pretty successful, acknowledging the importance of exploited black labor in that effort primarily in the 1790-1860 period after Eli Whitney's double-edged cotton gin. Mostly white inventiveness not just as "supremacy" (though I don't mind Patton & MacArthur & & even Reagan's efforts there), but as the most intensive, intertwined creativity burst the world has ever known.

    Not to excuse all excesses, it might also be remembered that much of worst of white expansionism came as a response to rapid Muslim expansion in the period after Mohammed's death, not starting as an inherent need to to conquer, e.g.  the Crusades after Islam spread from Gibraltar to Brunei in a single century, the discovery of America that followed in the same year Spain's expulsion of Moors after 800 years, or the pushback after the Ottomans almost conquered Vienna. Even the rise of Moscow/modern Russia came about as a largely exploitive mafia state subservient to & proxy for Genghis Khan's westward marauding offspring. [slavery in the hands of both British & southern colonists/Americans being an exception to this theory of reaction, and being more simply a matter of financial & physical exploitation for profit, with a thin veneer of holdover religious & cultural justification].

    In short, white people are great, except when we're not - perhaps a 70-30 mix to pull a number out of my ass? I know, I know - being "white" means nothing, whereas "black" whether Jamaican or Ghanan or Sudanese or Madagascar or Brail means a real link, a brotherhood, a genetic/physicological significance. I hear ya, but still, as that acclaimed humanitarian and feminist Louis CK proclaimed, "It's (still) Great to be White". I'll let him tell the story...  [I presume the followup, "It's Great to be Male", will sadly never see the light of day. C'est La Vie.


    you been co-opted tho, time's up cheeky

    Edit to add: I'm surprised no Galileo, Copernicus & Newton (oops), woulda guessed they'd be at the top of your list

    Was going more for creators (not scientific observers nor artists, et al). Newton got in for Calculus (share w Leibnitz).

    what about René and his analytical geometry? Gottfried and Isaac would have been up shit creek without it. 

    Not sure - I think you could still navigate shit creek with Calculus only, judging the shallows & eddies and overall flow diagrams. I know geometry seems essential in such a situation, but as any plumber or private 2nd class can tell you, the only real math you need is the basic universal Theorem that shit flows downhill (essentially a spinoff of one of Newton's Laws relating to objects & substances in motion, hardly worthy of Euclidean space even invoking postulates about straight lines & parallel intersections & the like).
    In fact, when it comes down to it, presuming assumptions on depth constraints hold, it's just queuing theory with a fancier trough. Cf. bob-sledding.

    I for one still think of The Enlightenment as a very very special thing. That's my narrative and I'm sticking to it.

    I get it, "stop before PP rants again".

    Personally I found Romanticism very... romantic. The Reformation? could've been formed a little better. Tho kudos for nailing the Theses on the church - good dramatic effect, like the defenestration stuff.

    Well I didn't really intend to send that message but now that you mention it, I am thinking: it's over, it's history, literally, why obsess on it....wink

    McCoys & Hatfields, quite obsessing. Or as Faulkner noted, the past's not dead - it's not even the past. Then there are all those Balkan ghosts. Obsession - not just a perfume.

    I'm still trying to wrap my brain around Leibniz and Newton duo bobsled down shit creek. 

    Especially the idea of a Brit handling winter sports - we're into Schroedinger manifolds there, universes with infinitely small probabilities that still have to be accounted for.

    Martin Luther King Jr realized that the national creed did not include blacks he addressed the issue in his “I have a dream” speech. His metaphor about the promissory note was too controversial to be chiseled as the message on the statue at his monument. White sensibilities could not tolerate that message

    “In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check,” he said, in what rhetoricians would call the exordium, or introduction, of his speech. And he went on to accuse the United States of being a moral skinflint when it came to honoring the debts of justice. “It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned.”

    It is a stark metaphor, an accusation articulated in bluntly economic terms. The Declaration of Independence implied, and later the Emancipation Proclamation promised, meaningful freedom to African Americans. But the promise was never fulfilled. “Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds,’ ” King said.

    This part of the speech has been mostly forgotten, swamped in collective memory by the soaring rhetoric of King’s peroration. When initial renderings for the new Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial were first unveiled, they included a prominent place for the promissory-note metaphor, but as the project went forward the quotation was deemed “too confrontational” and dropped from the final design



    White supremacy sends the message that any protest deciles the national creed. NFL players who take a knee are not protesting correctly. Colin Kaepernick appears to have been banned from playing in the NFL because of the collective decision of team owners. A court has decided hat Kaepernick’s censorship case can proceed. Serena Williams is a Kaepernick fan. Dax Prescott got disinvited from the cookout for bowing to the demands of Jerry Jones.

    The usual response to discussions about racism usually ends up in diversions to avoid recognizing its existence. “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo is one of the most recent books about the difficult lay in discussing race. Dodges include that the information is already known, I have blacks friends and family, etc. White people will also tell blacks that they aren’t protesting right.

    Link to “White Fragility”


    The country got started by appealing to the idea of the Human as a category above any other as the justification for dissolving the bands of authority based upon other principles. It turns out that using that logic has its own life. That is the promise given. Nothing else.
    No agenda secretly held by the Founders.
    No calculation of who should get what because of this or that deal.
    It is just you and me and that crazy logic that brought us together.
    In this small room.

    Together.  Are we?

    Just you and me, smaller room ...

    It's crazy logic.

    Calculation is just that -

    Yes.  Justified agendas.

    We either live here
    or this is some other place
    where no one belongs.

    If no one belongs,

    Then I surely don't want it.

    Whatever it is.

    We all belong

    But there is a quest for change

    In the Democratic Party many are looking for new leaders

    In NYC and now in Boston, the old guard has been replaced by ethnic minority women.

    Pressley’s slogan

    “The people closest to the pain should be closest to the power, driving and informing the policy making.”


    Here is Pressley tonight


    “People who feel seen and heard for the first time in their lives, a stakehold in democracy and a promise for our future,” she said. “That is the real victory, that is bigger than any electoral victory. And I want to thank you all for being foot soldiers in this movement and for ushering in this change.”

    It's a beach drive by
    I just showed up to kick sand
    in somebody's face.

    Missing the point. 

    A white supremacist and his party are putting the next justice on the Supreme Court 

    If Republicans maintain control of Congress, the country will continue to target ethnic minorities.

    He also thinks this

    Tim Wise lectures on racial issues. He offers suggestions on what whites can do the aid the resistance to racism.

    Some quotes

       I don't think the job of the antiracist is to convert the far-out heathen racist, or give them their 'come to Jesus' moment, as it's called. They'll either have those or they won't, and usually, when they have them, it's not because of something someone said per se; it's because of some life crisis that makes them rethink.


    Sadly, whites are rarely open to what black and brown folks have to say regarding their ongoing experiences with racist mistreatment. And we are especially reluctant to discuss what that mistreatment means for us as whites: namely that we end up with more and better opportunities as the flipside of discrimination.


    When shooting of unarmed black men are discussed, we hear about clothing choices.

    When the issue of whites calling police on blacks is discussed, we are asked to provide numbers that verify these incidents are increasing.

    Removal of DAs who failed to  charge police had to come via the actions of BLM and Color of Change. Legislation to criminalize frivolous police calls targeting black people came from a black legislator. 

    Note that black identity politics groups also protested kidnapping of immigrant babies.



    Oh Jesus, this goes on and on. There's a guy who's lost his daughter to a murderer, up there speaking, standing up against discrimination against immigrants and 'the other', against hate:

    That means I am Hispanic. I am African. I am Asian. I am European. My blood runs from every corner of the Earth because I am American. As an American, I have one tenet: to respect every citizen of the world and actively engage in the ongoing pursuit to form a more perfect union.

    I keep noting that poverty's dropped, that this trade that's "killing America's jobs" has halved global poverty in a dozen years, that it's not just about preserving our position as #1 in the world, but in figuring out how to expand and distribute that wealth in new ways - that if we're complaining, people in the "3rd World" (however hackneyed that sounds these days) are suffering 5x as much. Black, Asian, Latino - they've been doing the heavier lifting for centuries, and TPP, trade's one thing that helps them out, practically, in real $ terms.

    I keep posting about police brutality against blacks, another excessive police reaction, unable to calm the situation, always looking to escalate.

    And then it's another quote about how whites are "so rarely open" to what black and brown folks have to say. Keep pounding that same theme, all these whiteys be deaf to you, just asserting privilege, white superiority, can't even give 'em a proper come-to-Jesus, they be dumb as a stump.

    I don't know who these folks here at Dagblog are - I kind of figured we were all at basically the same socio-economic level, read similar books, similar educational backgrounds, know how to see a bit past our own experience into others'. But I guess we need another lecture, conversion, feet to the fire.

    well, I think the problem may be that what you are proposing it comes from the 18th-century white Enlightenment overlords? That it's really better to continue to try to win the Victim Olympics?

    Is racism still a thing? I don't know because I don't see color

    ...said the blind man as he picked up his hammer and saw.

    Oh Jesus, this goes on and on.

    I think that's his point.

    And mine has often unashamedly been: it's counter-productive to preach like that here. Peracles' exasperation here is just one example of proof of point. What might be appropriate tactics in one milieu might be insulting in another.

    There was a suggestion that blacks who wanted their issues dealt with by Democrats were being selfish. Democrats needed to focus on white votes. That does not appear to be a unifying message.

    We agree that police abuse is bad. When it comes to whites calling police on blacks which has resulted in fatalities, however, we argue about confirming incidences are increasing rather than methods to keep blacks from having contact with police.

    When we discuss identity politics or cultural appropriation, there is pushback and dismissal. I would find pushback on Conservative websites as well. I see identity politics as something practiced by all groups, especially when it comes to politics. Appiah wrote a book about WeEB DuBois. DuBois was trained in Berlin and at Harvard. Appiah sees that as appropriation (my term, not his). In his analysis, DuBois was seeking a universal justice. I view DuBois as using the tools accepted by white society to argue for the dignity of blacks. DuBois co-founded the NAACP because their was a need for a group specifically advocating for blacks.

    In cultural appropriation, I would be told that it was a ridiculous idea on Conservative websites. I see the discussion as being about a loss of control. The argument about braids is not about which pre-modern society wore braids, but about black men and women being criticized for wearing braids, white whites are praised. Limiting the argument to the entertainment industry, we see Zendaya equated to a druggies while Kendall Jenner is praised.

    This loss of control. What needs to be controlled?
    I am not asking facetiously. What could help now better than any other thing?

    Conservatives like to detail their objections to identity politics  Both Andrew Sullivan and David Brooks attack those who mention white privilege

    To Sullivan’s credit, he does acknowledge that history can “affect and structure our discourse.” However, he doesn’t want those with privilege to constantly have to “check it.” It should be good enough, he contends, for the privileged to recognize existing power differentials, but only “to a degree.” And it is him, not those clamoring for greater recognition and power, who knows how great that degree should be.

    David Brooks is another conservative who distrusts the judgement of those highlighting his privilege. In a recent column, he complained about “identity politics warriors” and their misplaced desire of fostering a more open public forum. Ever vigilant, Brooks sees right through Black Lives Matter protestors and the #MeToo movement. They’re not seeking a more perfect union. No! Their demands to be heard are really just “a mass mobilization to gain power for the tribe.”

    Yes, you just read that right: disadvantaged “tribes” protesting the clear inequities of the status quo are the ones who are power-hungry

    Nice little article there, but what's to be gained by noting yet again 1) the founding fathers indeed disempowered women and blacks, 2) Brooks and Sullivan are buffoons and idiots that fill some societal need (they're often called "moderate" meaning they bare their incisors a bit less)' both like their privilege served warm.

    Driftglass has been tearing Brooks bs to shreds for over 10 years, Brooks often writes almoet identical op eds 10 years apart, foften about the developing Republicans "new respectable transition". 

    Driftglass also hits on Sullivan, who he calls the "gay Catholic Republican Canadian shutin".

    Now I feel bad not knowing Driftglass - recognize and assassinate in 10 words/20 secs, no more needed. Less if Thomas Friedman.

    Afghanistan  , Brazil, China and on and on through Myanmar,( Buddhist supremacy ?)  and  Venezuela to Zimbabwe  practice non-white identity politics . It's called  living.

    The only ethnic groups to ever  demonstrate how to not abuse power have been those without power to abuse.

    People are the same all over. 

    No reason not to assist any group attempting to resist  whatever identity group is currently  oppressing them. Always attempt to fix whatever's wrong today.

    Just don't imagine it'll stay fixed.

    Eternal skepticism is the price of resisting  whatever supremacy is oppressing you today.

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