Abolish the White Race - By Any Means Necessary

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Abolish the White Race - By Any Means Necessary

Postby American Dream » Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:50 am

From Race Traitor Magazine, 1993:


Abolish the White Race - By Any Means Necessary


The white race is a historically constructed social formation - historically constructed because (like royalty) it is a product of some people's responses to historical circumstances; a social formation because it is a fact of society corresponding to no classification recognized by natural science.

The white race cuts across ethnic and class lines. It is not coextensive with that portion of the population of European descent, since many of those classified as "colored" can trace some of their ancestry to Europe, while African, Asian, or American Indian blood flows through the veins of many considered white. Nor does membership in the white race imply wealth, since there are plenty of poor whites, as well as some people of wealth and comfort who are not white.

The white race consists of those who partake of the privileges of the white skin in this society. Its most wretched members share a status higher, in certain respects, than that of the most exalted persons excluded from it, in return for which they give their support to the system that degrades them.

The key to solving the social problems of our age is to abolish the white race. Until that task is accomplished, even partial reform will prove elusive, because white influence permeates every issue in U.S. society, whether domestic or foreign.

Advocating the abolition of the white race is distinct from what is called "anti-racism." The term "racism" has come to be applied to a variety of attitudes, some of which are mutually incompatible, and has been devalued to mean little more than a tendency to dislike some people for the color of their skin. Moreover, anti-racism admits the natural existence of "races" even while opposing social distinctions among them. The abolitionists maintain, on the contrary, that people were not favored socially because they were white; rather they were defined as "white" because they were favored. Race itself is a product of social discrimination; so long as the white race exists, all movements against racism are doomed to fail.

The existence of the white race depends on the willingness of those assigned to it to place their racial interests above class, gender or any other interests they hold. The defection of enough of its members to make it unreliable as a determinant of behavior will set off tremors that will lead to its collapse.

RACE TRAITOR aims to serve as an intellectual center for those seeking to abolish the white race. It will encourage dissent from the conformity that maintains it and popularize examples of defection from its ranks, analyze the forces that hold it together and those which promise to tear it apart. Part of its task will be to promote debate among abolitionists. When possible, it will support practical measures, guided by the principle, Treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity. Dissolve the club

The white race is a club, which enrolls certain people at birth, without their consent, and brings them up according to its rules. For the most part the members go through life accepting the benefits of membership, without thinking about the costs. When individuals question the rules, the officers are quick to remind them of all they owe to the club, and warn them of the dangers they will face if they leave it.

RACE TRAITOR aims to dissolve the club, to break it apart, to explode it. Some people who sympathize with our aim have asked us how we intend to win over the majority of so-called whites to anti-racism. Others, usually less friendly, have asked if we plan to exterminate physically millions, perhaps hundreds of millions, of people. Neither of these plans is what we have in mind. The weak point of the club is its need for unanimity. Just as the South, on launching the Civil War, declared that it needed its entire territory and would have it, the white race must have the support of all those it has designated as its constituency, or it ceases to exist.

Elsewhere in this number, readers will find an account of John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry and some of the events it set in motion. Before the Civil War, the leading spokesmen for the slaveholders acknowledged that the majority of white northerners, swayed above all by the presence of the fugitive slave, considered slavery unjust. The Southerners also understood that the opposition was ineffective; however much the white people of the north disapproved of the slave system, the majority went along with it rather than risk the ordinary comforts of their lives, meager as they were in many cases.

When John Brown attacked Harpers Ferry, Southern pro- slavery leaders reacted with fury: they imposed a boycott on northern manufactures, demanded new concessions from the government in Washington, and began to prepare for war. When they sought to portray John Brown as a representative of northern opinion, Southern leaders were wrong; he represented only a small and isolated minority. But they were also right, for he expressed the hopes that still persisted in the northern population despite decades of cringing before the slaveholders. Virginia did not fear John Brown and his small band of followers, but his soul that would go marching on, though his body lay a-mould'rin' in the grave.

When the South, in retaliation for Harpers Ferry, sought to further bully northern opinion, it did so not out of paranoia but out of the realistic assessment that only a renewal of the national pro-slavery vows could save a system whose proud facade concealed a fragile foundation. By the arrogance of their demands, the Southern leaders compelled the people of the north to resist. Not ideas but events were in command. Each step led inexorably to the next: Southern land-greed, Lincoln's victory, secession, war, blacks as laborers, soldiers, citizens, voters. And so the war that began with not one person in a hundred foreseeing the end of slavery was transformed within two years into an anti-slavery war.

It is our faith - and with those who do not share it we shall not argue - that the majority of so-called whites in this country are neither deeply nor consciously committed to white supremacy; like most human beings in most times and places, they would do the right thing if it were convenient. As did their counterparts before the Civil War, most go along with a system that disturbs them, because the consequences of challenging it are terrifying. They close their eyes to what is happening around them, because it is easier not to know.

At rare moments their nervous peace is shattered, their certainty is shaken, and they are compelled to question the common sense by which they normally live. One such moment was in the days immediately following the Rodney King verdict, when a majority of white Americans were willing to admit to polltakers that black people had good reasons to rebel, and some joined them. Ordinarily the moments are brief, as the guns and reform programs are moved up to restore order and, more important, the confidence that matters are in good hands and they can go back to sleep. Both the guns and the reform programs are aimed at whites as well as blacks - the guns as a warning and the reform programs as a salve to their consciences.

Recently, one of our editors, unfamiliar with New York City traffic laws, made an illegal right turn there on a red light. He was stopped by two cops in a patrol car. After examining his license, they released him with a courteous admonition. Had he been black, they probably would have ticketed him, and might even have taken him down to the station. A lot of history was embodied in that small exchange: the cops treated the miscreant leniently at least in part because they assumed, looking at him, that he was white and therefore loyal. Their courtesy was a habit meant both to reward good conduct and induce future cooperation.

Had the driver cursed them, or displayed a bumper sticker that said, "Avenge Rodney King," the cops might have reacted differently. We admit that neither gesture on the part of a single individual would in all likelihood be of much consequence. But if enough of those who looked white broke the rules of the club to make the cops doubt their ability to recognize a white person merely by looking at him or her, how would it affect the cops' behavior? And if the police, the courts, and the authorities in general were to start spreading around indiscriminately the treatment they normally reserve for people of color, how would the rest of the so-called whites react?

How many dissident so-called whites would it take to unsettle the nerves of the white executive board? It is impossible to know. One John Brown - against a background of slave resistance - was enough for Virginia. Yet it was not the abolitionists, not even the transcendent John Brown, who brought about the mass shifts in consciousness of the Civil War period. At most, their heroic deeds were part of a chain of events that involved mutual actions and reactions on a scale beyond anything they could have anticipated - until a war that began with both sides fighting for slavery (the South to take it out of the Union, the north to keep it in) ended with a great army marching through the land singing, "As He died to make men holy, let us fight to make men free."

The moments when the routine assumptions of race break down are the seismic promise that somewhere in the tectonic flow a new fault is building up pressure, a new Harpers Ferry is being prepared. Its nature and timing cannot be predicted, but of its coming we have no doubt. When it comes, it will set off a series of tremors that will lead to the disintegration of the white race. We want to be ready, walking in Jerusalem just like John. What kind of journal is this?

RACE TRAITOR exists, not to make converts, but to reach out to those who are dissatisfied with the terms of membership in the white club. Its primary intended audience will be those people commonly called whites who, in one way or another, understand whiteness to be a problem that perpetuates injustice and prevents even the well-disposed among them from joining unequivocally in the struggle for human freedom. By engaging these dissidents in a journey of discovery into whiteness and its discontents, we hope to take part, together with others, in the process of defining a new human community. We wish neither to minimize the complicity of even the most downtrodden of whites with the system of white supremacy nor to exaggerate the significance of momentary departures from white rules.

We should say that there are some articles we are not interested in publishing. Since we are not seeking converts, we probably will not publish articles which lecture various organizations about their racial opportunism. Also we probably will not publish articles promoting inter-racial harmony, because that approach too often leaves intact differential treatment of whites and blacks and provides subtle confirmation of the idea that different races exist independently of social distinctions.

In the original film version of ROBIN HOOD (starring Errol Flynn), the Sheriff of Nottingham says to Robin, "You speak treason." Robin replies, "Fluently." We hope to do the same.



From Race Traitor no. 1 (Winter 1993)
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The Point Is Not To Interpret Whiteness But To To Abolish It

Postby American Dream » Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:34 am

The Point Is Not To Interpret Whiteness But To To Abolish It
Noel Ignatiev

Talk given at the conference "The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness" Berkeley, California, April 11-13, 1997.




Now that White Studies has become an academic industry, with its own dissertation mill, conference, publications, and no doubt soon its junior faculty, it is time for the abolitionists to declare where they stand in relation to it. Abolitionism is first of all a political project: the abolitionists study whiteness in order to abolish it.

Whiteness is not a culture... Whiteness has nothing to do with culture and everything to do with social position. It is nothing but a reflection of privilege, and exists for no reason other than to defend it.

Various commentators have stated that their aim is to identify and preserve a positive white identity. Abolitionists deny the existence of a positive white identity. We at Race Traitor, the journal with which I am associated, have asked some of those who think whiteness contains positive elements to indicate what they are. We are still waiting for an answer. Until we get one, we will take our stand with David Roediger, who has insisted that whiteness is not merely oppressive and false, it is nothing but oppressive and false. As James Baldwin said, "So long as you think you are white, there is no hope for you."

Whiteness is not a culture. There is Irish culture and Italian culture and American culture - the latter, as Albert Murray pointed out, a mixture of the Yankee, the Indian, and the Negro (with a pinch of ethnic salt); there is youth culture and drug culture and queer culture; but there is no such thing as white culture. Whiteness has nothing to do with culture and everything to do with social position. It is nothing but a reflection of privilege, and exists for no reason other than to defend it. Without the privileges attached to it, the white race would not exist, and the white skin would have no more social significance than big feet.

Before the advocates of positive whiteness remind us of the oppression of the white poor, let me say that we have never denied it. The United States, like every capitalist society, is composed of masters and slaves. The problem is that many of the slaves think they are part of the master class because they partake of the privileges of the white skin. We cannot say it too often: whiteness does not exempt people from exploitation, it reconciles them to it. It is for those who have nothing else.

Either America is a very democratic country, where cab drivers beat up city councilmen with impunity, or the privileges of whiteness reach far down into the ranks of the laboring class.

However exploited the poor whites of this country, they are not direct victims of racial oppression, and "white trash" is not a term of racial degradation analogous to the various epithets commonly applied to black people; in fact, the poor whites are the objects of race privilege, which ties them to their masters more firmly than did the arrows of Vulcan bind Prometheus to the rock. Not long ago there was an incident in Boston in which a well-dressed black man hailed a taxi and directed the driver to take him to Roxbury, a black district. The white cab driver refused, and when the man insisted she take him or call someone who would, as the law provided, she called her boyfriend, also a cabdriver, on the car radio, who showed up, dragged the black man out of the cab and called him a "nigger." The black man turned out to be a city councilman. The case was unusual only in that it made the papers. Either America is a very democratic country, where cab drivers beat up city councilmen with impunity, or the privileges of whiteness reach far down into the ranks of the laboring class.

We are anti-white, but we are not in general against the people who are called white. Those for whom the distinction is too subtle are advised to read the speeches of Malcolm X. No one ever spoke more harshly and critically to black people, and no one ever loved them more. It is no part of love to flatter and withhold from people what they need to know. President Samora Machel of Mozambique pointed out that his people had to die as tribes in order to be born as a nation. Similar things were said at the time Afro-Americans in mass rejected the term "Negro" in favor of "black." We seek to draw upon that tradition, as well as - we do not deny it - an even older tradition, which declares that a person must die so that he or she can be born again. We hold that so-called whites must cease to exist as whites in order to realize themselves as something else; to put it another way: white people must commit suicide as whites in order to come alive as workers, or youth, or women, or whatever other identity can induce them to change from the miserable, petulant, subordinated creatures they now are into freely associated, fully developed human subjects.

If abolitionism is distinct from White Studies, it is also distinct from what is called "anti-racism."

The white race is neither a biological nor a cultural formation; it is a strategy for securing to some an advantage in a competitive society. It has held down more whites than blacks. Abolitionism is also a strategy: its aim is not racial harmony but class war. By attacking whiteness, the abolitionists seek to undermine the main pillar of capitalist rule in this country.

If abolitionism is distinct from White Studies, it is also distinct from what is called "anti-racism." There now exist a number of publications, organizing programs and research centers that focus their energies on identifying and opposing individuals and groups they call "racist." Sometimes they share information and collaborate with official state agencies. We stand apart from that tendency. In our view, any "anti-racist" work that does not entail opposition to the state reinforces the authority of the state, which is the most important agency in maintaining racial oppression.

The simple fact is that the public schools and the welfare departments are doing more harm to black children than all the "racist" groups combined.

Just as the capitalist system is not a capitalist plot, so racial oppression is not the work of "racists." It is maintained by the principal institutions of society, including the schools (which define "excellence"), the labor market (which defines "employment"), the legal system (which defines "crime"), the welfare system (which defines "poverty"), the medical industry (which defines "health"), and the family (which defines "kinship"). Many of these institutions are administered by people who would be offended if accused of complicity with racial oppression. It is reinforced by reform programs that address problems traditionally of concern to the "left" - for example, federal housing loan guarantees. The simple fact is that the public schools and the welfare departments are doing more harm to black children than all the "racist" groups combined.

The abolitionists seek to abolish the white race. How can this be done? We must admit that we do not know exactly, but a look at history will be instructive.

When William Lloyd Garrison and the original abolitionists began their work, slavery was the law of the land, and behind the law stood the entire machinery of government, including the courts, the army, and even the post office, which banned anti- slavery literature from Southern mail. The slave states controlled the Senate and Presidency, and Congress refused even to accept petitions relating to slavery. Most northerners considered slavery unjust, but their opposition to it was purely nominal. However much they disapproved of it, the majority "went along," as majorities normally do, rather than risk the ordinary comforts of their lives, meager as they were.

The weak point of the slave system was that it required the collaboration of the entire country, for without the support of the "loyal citizens" of Massachusetts, the slaveholders of South Carolina could not keep their laborers in bondage.

The weak point of the slave system was that it required the collaboration of the entire country, for without the support of the "loyal citizens" of Massachusetts, the slaveholders of South Carolina could not keep their laborers in bondage (just as today without the support of the law-abiding, race discrimination could not be enforced). The abolitionists set to work to break up the national consensus. Wendell Phillips declared that if he could establish Massachusetts as a sanctuary for the fugitive, he could bring down slavery. They sought to nullify the fugitive slave law, which enlisted the northern population directly in enforcing slavery. They encouraged and took part in attempts to rescue fugitives - not, it must be pointed out, from the slaveholders, but from the Law. In all of this activity, the black population took the lead. The concentrated expression of the abolitionist strategy was the slogan, "No Union with Slaveholders," which was not, as has often been charged, an attempt to maintain their moral purity but an effort to break up the Union in order to establish a liberated zone adjacent to the slave states. It was a strategy that would later come to be known as dual power, and neither Garrison's pacifism nor his failure to develop a general critique of the capitalist system should blind us to its revolutionary character.

John Brown's attack on Harpers Ferry was not an aberration but the logical application of the abolitionist strategy. The slaveholders retaliated for it by demanding new guarantees of loyalty from the federal government, including a stronger fugitive slave law, reopening of the slave trade, and especially the expansion of slavery into the territories.

The white race is a club. Certain people are enrolled in it at birth, without their consent, and brought up according to its rules. For the most part they go through life accepting the privileges of membership, without reflecting on the costs.

As Phillips said, Brown "startled the South into madness," precipitating a situation where people were forced to choose between abolition and the domination of the country as a whole by the slaveholders. It was not the abolitionists but the slaveholders who, by the arrogance of their demands, compelled the north to resist. From Harpers' Ferry, each step led inexorably to the next: Southern bullying, Lincoln's election, secession, war, blacks as laborers, soldiers, citizens, voters. The war that began with not one person in a hundred foreseeing the end of slavery was transformed within two years into an anti-slavery war, and a great army marched through the land singing, "As He died to make men holy, let us fight to make men free."

The course of events can never be predicted in other than the broadest outline, but in the essentials, history followed the path charted by the abolitionists. As they foresaw, it was necessary to break up the Union in order to reconstitute it without slavery. When South Carolina announced its secession, Wendell Phillips was forced into hiding to escape the Boston mob that blamed him; two years later he was invited to address Congress on how to win the war. He recommended two measures, both of which were soon implemented: (1) declare the war an anti-slavery war; (2) enlist black soldiers. Has ever a revolutionary been more thoroughly vindicated by history?

The hostility of white laborers toward abolitionism, and their failure to develop a labor abolitionism, was not, as some have claimed, an expression of working-class resentment of bourgeois philanthropists but the reflection of their refusal to view themselves as part of a class with the slaves - just as a century later white labor opposition to school integration showed that the laborers viewed themselves more as whites than as proletarians.

The white race is a club. Certain people are enrolled in it at birth, without their consent, and brought up according to its rules. For the most part they go through life accepting the privileges of membership, without reflecting on the costs. Others, usually new arrivals in the country, pass through a probationary period before "earning" membership; they are necessarily more conscious of their racial standing.

The white club does not require that all members be strong advocates of white supremacy, merely that they defer to the prejudices of others. It is based on one huge assumption: that all those who look white are, whatever their reservations, fundamentally loyal to it.

For an example of how the club works, take the cops. The natural attitude of the police toward the exploited is hostility. All over the world cops beat up poor people; that is their job, and it has nothing to do with color. What is unusual and has to be accounted for is not why they beat up black people but why they don't normally beat up propertyless whites. It works this way: the cops look at a person and then decide on the basis of color whether that person is loyal to the system they are sworn to serve and protect. They don't stop to think if the black person whose head they are whipping is an enemy; they assume it. It does not matter if the victim goes to work every day, pays his taxes and crosses only on the green. Occasionally they bust an outstanding and prominent black person, and the poor whites cheer the event, because it confirms them in their conviction that they are superior to any black person who walks the earth.

On the other hand, the cops don't know for sure if the white person to whom they give a break is loyal to them; they assume it. The non-beating of poor whites is time off for good behavior and an assurance of future cooperation. Their color exempts them to some degree from the criminal class - which is how the entire working class was defined before the invention of race and is still treated in those parts of the world where race, or some functional equivalent, does not exist as a social category. It is a cheap way of buying some people's loyalty to a social system that exploits them.

When it comes to abolishing the white race, the task is not to win over more whites to oppose "racism"; there are "anti-racists" enough already to do the job.

What if the police couldn't tell a loyal person just by color? What if there were enough people around who looked white but were really enemies of official society so that the cops couldn't tell whom to beat and whom to let off? What would they do then? They would begin to "enforce the law impartially," as the liberals say, beating only those who "deserve" it. But, as Anatole France noted, the law, in its majestic equality, forbids both rich and poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. The standard that normally governs police behavior is wealth and its external manifestations - dress, speech, etc. At the present time, the class bias of the law is partially repressed by racial considerations; the removal of those considerations would give it free rein. Whites who are poor would find themselves on the receiving end of police justice as black people now do.

The effect on their consciousness and behavior is predictable. That is not to say that everyone now regarded as "white" would suddenly become a progressive, any more than everyone now "black" is. But with color no longer serving as a handy guide for the distribution of penalties and rewards, European-Americans of the downtrodden class would at last be compelled to face with sober senses their real condition of life and their relations with humankind. It would be the end of race.

When it comes to abolishing the white race, the task is not to win over more whites to oppose "racism"; there are "anti- racists" enough already to do the job. The task is to gather together a minority determined to make it impossible for anyone to be white. It is a strategy of creative provocation, like Wendell Phillips advocated and John Brown carried out.

A traitor to the white race is someone who is nominally classified as white but who defies white rules so strenuously as to jeopardize his or her ability to draw upon the privileges of whiteness.

What would the determined minority have to do? They would have to break the laws of whiteness so flagrantly as to destroy the myth of white unanimity. What would it mean to break the rules of whiteness? It would mean responding to every manifestation of white supremacy as if it were directed against them. On the individual level, it would mean, for instance, responding to an anti-black remark by asking, What makes you think I'm white? On the collective level, it would mean confronting the institutions that reproduce race.

The abolitionists oppose all forms of segregation in the schools, including tracking by "merit," they oppose all mechanisms that favor whites in the job market, including labor unions when necessary, and they oppose the police and courts, which define black people as a criminal class. They not merely oppose these things, but seek to disrupt their functioning. They reject in advance no means of attaining their goal; even when combating "racist" groups, they act in ways that are offensive to official institutions. The willingness to go beyond socially acceptable "anti-racism" is the dividing line between "good whites" and traitors to the white race.

A traitor to the white race is someone who is nominally classified as white but who defies white rules so strenuously as to jeopardize his or her ability to draw upon the privileges of whiteness. The abolitionists recognize that no "white" can individually escape from the privileges of whiteness. The white club does not like to surrender a single member, so that even those who step out of it in one situation can hardly avoid stepping back in later, if for no other reason than the assumptions of others - unless, like John Brown, they have the good fortune to be hanged before that can happen. But they also understand that when there comes into being a critical mass of people who look white but do not act white - people who might be called "reverse oreos" - the white race will undergo fission, and former whites, born again, will be able to take part, together with others, in building a new human community.




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Postby Wombaticus Rex » Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:46 am

!!!!!

I used to read Race Traitor in high school, it was a TRIP to re-read some of this stuff now.
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Postby theeKultleeder » Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:09 am

Image

scholars of "whiteness" -- a term encompassing everything culturally "white," from Vivaldi to hockey -- are fascinated with "crossover" figures like Wimsat. Indeed, he can be seen as practicing an idea that many of them have been thinking and writing about: that rejecting the privileges of being white might make those privileges disappear. So go ahead, act black. Sporting dreadlocks is a political action. If we can make whiteness go away, they seem to say, we'll be doing a favor for people of all races. It's not an idea that's coming out of nowhere, either. Award-winning historians have written highly praised books on "race treason" and "the abolition of whiteness." If this raises doubts about ivory-tower radicalism, there's also the matter of self-preservation. Plenty of scholars are so caught up in looking at their own whiteness that maybe they don't want it to disappear.

So why whiteness? At the crossroads of multiculturalism and critical theory in the academy, it was almost inevitable. With black studies, Latino studies and women's studies already institutionalized, why not examine what it means to be white? It isn't a question that's never been asked before. Shortly after World War II, when a French reporter questioned black American writer Richard Wright about "the Negro problem" in the United States, he replied, "There isn't a Negro problem, there is only a white problem." It was an idea echoed later by Malcolm X and other black radicals.

Today's scholars have taken it a bit further, though. Two men at the forefront of the field are historians, David Roediger and Noel Ignatiev. Roediger's 1991 book "The Wages of Whiteness" was the first real attempt to point to white identity as a major historical force. Workers learned to use their whiteness, he argues, as an advantage in elevating themselves above blacks. Ignatiev sees the clearest example in the American Irish. He shows the Irish, normally seen as a paragon of up-from-the-bootstraps assimilation, using every institution from the Longshoreman's union to the Democratic Party to escape their lumpen roots by cloaking themselves in privileged whiteness. He calls it the story of "How the Irish Became White," which is the title of his 1995 book on the subject. Both writers feel that the reason whiteness is such a powerful tool is that its beneficiaries see it as natural and deny that it even exists.

Like most scholars in the field, Roediger and Ignatiev are themselves white. Touting his working-class credentials, Ignatiev likes to mention that he'd worked for years as a miner and electrician before coming to teach at Harvard. At a recent conference in Manhattan, he was dressed casually in khakis and a polo shirt, smiling and schmoozing gaily with colleagues and admiring fans. His 8-year-old son sat on his lap while Ignatiev spoke in front of an audience of 150. Articulate, patient and avuncular, Ignatiev hardly seems like a bitter man or a grandstander, which is why it's a little puzzling when he takes center stage as the leader of a radical movement proclaiming that "the key to solving the social problems of our age is to abolish the white race."

Apparently, whiteness isn't just going to disappear on its own. Coming from the credentialed panelists, the rhetoric was both chilling and atavistic. Ignatiev went on in his typical manifesto manner, calling for "a vision as bold as that of the fascists and the white supremacists, and a vision that is more radical and more universal." Beyond the heated opening oratory, the two-day event was more like a makeshift teach-in than a weekend with the modern language association. Probably only a handful of actual scholars were there, and the rest of the young crowd looked like typical denizens of the East Village. Once the introductory speeches were over and the interactive "workshops" began, what little coherence was noticeable at the beginning pretty much fell by the wayside. The discussion on "Culture and Counterculture," for instance, was telling. After an hour of back-and-forth over the insidiousness of white suburbanization and the importance of beating up Nazi skinheads, one participant with baggy pants, chained wallet and a crew cut walked in at the very end. "All this talk, you know, is good and everything ... but I just want to do something," he said. "I just feel like tearing some shit up." Heads were nodding in agreement as the session commenced.

Clearly, Ignatiev and company are trying to take the message beyond a handful of indignant professors. In fact, Ignatiev inhabits only the fringes of the academy himself. Without the protection of tenure -- his lecturing stint at Harvard just ended this past semester -- he's not hopeful about his prospects. Understandably, his platform hasn't made him many friends in the establishment. "And I don't know if I can go back to being an electrician," he says.

He's managed to make a name for himself through a journal he co-edits with John Garvey, an administrator at the City University of New York, called Race Traitor. Almost like a fanzine, it's a collection of writings on whiteness by scholars, skinheads, bike-messengers and prisoners. In addition to an extensive Web site, Race Traitor has published selections in a single volume that has sold nearly 15,000 copies. There are turgid essays that could just as easily be found in an academic history journal side by side with personal ramblings by white teenagers talking about their penchant for hip-hop. All of them stick to the journal's motto that "treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity."

They might have broken out of academic obscurity (the arrival of whiteness studies was announced by a front-page article recently in the Wall Street Journal), but how popular can a movement based on eliminating the white race get? Does "abolish the white race" mean abolishing white people? The jacket cover of David Roediger's book, "Towards the Abolition of Whiteness," shows an image of a gargantuan nude black woman clutching two sporty white men in the palms of her hands as if she's about to squish the life out of them. The sociosexual overtones of that one you can figure out for yourself.

And while Roediger somehow avoids explaining exactly how to carry out his goal, Race Traitor is pretty clear -- deny your white identity by taking on a new one. The attraction to blacks is thinly veiled at best. According to Ignatiev, the American experience is fundamentally one of uprootedness, and it is blacks who most clearly personify this tradition. In other words, slavery is the quintessential American institution and blacks are the truest Americans. It's hardly the most nuanced view of history, but then again, this isn't a scholarship of finesse.

"For whites, the willingness to borrow from black culture does not equal race treason," the editors write. "Nonetheless, we are convinced that widespread borrowing hints at the possibility of something larger and more powerful than fashion decisions." Showing shades of Norman Mailer's 1957 essay "The White Negro," essentially a celebration of black hipness, Race Traitor looks fondly at "crossover dreams" like that of Sal Paradise in Jack Kerouac's "On the Road," which the journal quotes in an epigraph: "Wishing I were a Negro, feeling that the best the white world had offered was not enough ecstasy for me, not enough life, joy, kicks, darkness, music ..." Fortunately for the race traitors, abolishing the white race is cool, too.

Yet, while whiteness studies seems to have found its place on the scholarly radar, it's having a much tougher time finding some kind of cohesion. Not all of its acolytes are as simultaneously baleful and star-struck as the race traitors. Mike Hill, author of the forthcoming book "After Whiteness" and one of the outspoken new voices in the field, describes Race Traitor as "incredibly naive" and dismisses its touting of "loyalty to humanity" as "the same kind of whiteness trope the colonialists used." Annalee Newitz, a doctoral student at Berkeley and another young whiteness pundit, calls out both Roediger and Ignatiev for suffering from an identity crisis and indulging in a "spectacular white self-punishment" that makes them look like a couple of teenagers who've been watching too much MTV.

It's a pretty sly attack coming from a grad student. Hill and Newitz are two of the young essayists writing in a new volume called "White Trash: Race and Class in America." Unlike seasoned labor historians such as Roediger and Ignatiev, most of the writers in "White Trash" are up-and-coming critical theory buffs who think "loyalty to humanity" should have gone out with "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test." Hill describes it as a generation gap between older left-wing scholars and younger "theory-trained students." Tellingly, it's the aging historians who are talking revolution while the young hot-shots are reveling in kitsch and quibbling over Derrida.

But if the beatniks were enamored of blacks, the new school of whiteness finds its own romance in the trashiest of whites. "White Trash" co-editor Matt Wray specializes in studying trailer parks, shopping malls and gun shows. And cultural studies warrior Constance Penley proudly announces her own "white trash upbringing" as a guide for her project of "populist cultural criticism." Like Wray and Penley, many of these writers speak fondly and sagaciously of their trashy roots in the multicultural arena. At once self-immolating and self-celebrating, it's all part of cutting edge academia's progressive race to the bottom.

Is it really any wonder then that the attempt to turn "subversive" scholarship into a coherent movement almost always appears to be doomed from the start? Back at the conference, the group of speakers on the floor -- including Ignatiev, along with Robin Kelley, an African-American historian at NYU, and the Rev. Mary Foulke, Protestant chaplain at Wellesley College -- weren't much help in clearing things up. While Ignatiev gave the familiar line about moving beyond conventional discussions of race by attacking whiteness, Foulke spoke about the "spiritual emptiness of racism" and Kelley proclaimed that "the only way to abolish whiteness is to destroy the structures of racism itself."

A little confused, one audience member asked why some of the speakers were talking not about whiteness, but about "fighting racism," an agenda Ignatiev himself has openly dismissed. All three scrambled, fumbling over each other's thoroughly garbled lexicon of "construction," "abolition" and "treason," and never managed to answer the question. It was a testament to how divided critics of whiteness really are.

Not that it's been all for nothing. In spite of all the conflict and confusion, one could argue that many people are now willing to see that white is indeed a color of its own. And as scholars of all stripes joust over the direction of the field, they might take solace in the fact that they are marching together under the banner of whiteness.

Whatever that means.
July 2, 1997

Tim Duggan is a freelance writer living in New York City.

http://www.salon.com/july97/white2970702.html
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Postby theeKultleeder » Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:30 am

Hiding from White Trash Culture

For whites, this poor local culture can be closely tied with several problematic cultural components. Poor whites are stereotyped as being ignorant, and intolerant. This intolerance may be overtly racist and even manifest itself in white supremacy groups and ideology (Newitz 1997). For the purposes of the discussion, I will not challenge that stereotype. Let us assume that poor whites are racist and intolerant. Nevertheless, opposition to poor whites is two-fold. The first opposition is to this stereotypical intolerance. Second, and more the focus here, is opposition to the underclass itself. This particular combination allows elites to dislike the poor (opposition number two), for being poor (opposition number one). It allows elites to blame the victims, and thus diverge their privilege from these underprivileged people.

By studying the images and symbolism of poor whites in film, Newitz shows the fear and disgust that middle-class whites bear towards white trash. Avoiding the racist implications that accompany the poor white culture, this intra-racial, cross-class disgust and loathing sets middle class whites apart from poor whites and the implications of being associated with them. Wray and Newitz (1997) point out that “…the white trash stereotype serves as a useful way of blaming the poor for being poor.” Moreover, it “…helps solidify for the middle and upper classes a sense of cultural and intellectual superiority.” (p. 1)

Among aspiring whites then, there has been a denial of whiteness especially as it applies to race issues. Distancing oneself as far as possible from such poor whites’ attitudes is a tactical decision made by professional and “open-minded” whites. As an example of this, there is a “white nihilism” among the alternative rock culture that avoids the damning social entitlements of being white (Newitz 1997).

However, there is another side to middle class whites distancing themselves from poor whites. In an era of multiculturalism in the work force and in an era where global economies make multiculturalism more than simply a liberal ideology in the US, distancing oneself from the attitudes of poor whites is a necessity. Behind distancing themselves from such racist and sexist attitudes, lies the troubling fact that middle class and professional whites are still benefiting personally from their structural power as elites. It is in acknowledging this problem that Newitz concludes her piece.

Ultimately, whites in poverty make a perfect target for displaced white racist aggression, for one can denigrate them but avoid feeling like or even being called ‘racist.’ Furthermore, the idea that poverty is ‘primitive’ shores up many of the most cherished beliefs of a capitalist—and imperialist—culture…. And as the savagely humiliated [through films and movies], the upper classes are absolved of guilt…by consuming images of white self-punishment at the movies, on TV and radio, and in social criticism. (Newitz 1997: 152)

It is this recognition of white guilt that exists in liberal culture that I would like to inform a discussion of Bryson’s findings. I would argue also that the liberal guilt Newitz discusses applies more broadly than simply to race. This guilt des not simply address whiteness. It addresses all the privilege of the upper middle classes, as Brooks points out (Brooks 2000). It is not about distancing themselves from blacks or other minorities. It is about distancing themselves from everyone else, as well as from their responsibility to everyone else.


http://www.mundanebehavior.org/issues/v5n1/gibbons.htm
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Re: Abolish the White Race - By Any Means Necessary

Postby populistindependent » Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:17 pm

There are so many brilliant insights in that article.

The white race is a historically constructed social formation - historically constructed because (like royalty) it is a product of some people's responses to historical circumstances; a social formation because it is a fact of society corresponding to no classification recognized by natural science.


This is what I have been talking about when I say that race does not exist, and that white can be seen as a choice. White doesn't exist as a "classification recognized by natural science." What then does it exist as?

The white race cuts across ethnic and class lines. It is not coextensive with that portion of the population of European descent, since many of those classified as "colored" can trace some of their ancestry to Europe, while African, Asian, or American Indian blood flows through the veins of many considered white. Nor does membership in the white race imply wealth, since there are plenty of poor whites, as well as some people of wealth and comfort who are not white.


How then do people "see" race when they look at a person? Human beings are so mobile and cultures have been so interactive, with of course interbreeding, that there is no way other then by superficial and relatively insignificant external visual cues. But even then, classification of people into races is not based on objective reality. Regardless of the lineage of a particular person, any hint of minor physical characteristics arbitrarily associated with non-white "races" causes an individual to be placed into a racial category. While it is true that there are some whites - some considered to be whites - with "non-white blood" (which is an absurd concept of course), that is to say who can claim non-white ancestors, that gives a fals picture. Some whites love to claim non-white ancestry, and that ignores the fact that race has nothing to do with ancestry. It is not possible for whites to have non-white ancestry as a matter of race, or else they wouldn't be whites to begin with. All whites have non-white ancestry and all non-whites have white ancestry, for all practical purposes. Looking white - to whites - IS white. ANY variation from that is non-white. Who is to be considered white and who is not is dictated by those who consider themselves white, and always has been. Therefore, race is not based on neutral or objective criteria and cannot be separated out from social, political and cultural factors.

A much more important fact than whether or not whites may have non-white ancestors is that a person can have mostly white ancestors and still be considered to be non-white.

The white race consists of those who partake of the privileges of the white skin in this society. Its most wretched members share a status higher, in certain respects, than that of the most exalted persons excluded from it, in return for which they give their support to the system that degrades them.


It is difficult for poor whites to think of themselves as privileged and easy for them to resent non-whites as a result. That resentment is part of the mechanism for keeping racism in place.

The key to solving the social problems of our age is to abolish the white race. Until that task is accomplished, even partial reform will prove elusive, because white influence permeates every issue in U.S. society, whether domestic or foreign.


Racism underlies and dominates all of our cultural, economic, social and political institutions, and influences everything we do. It is not possible to understand our society, nor our role in it without examining and understanding racism.

Advocating the abolition of the white race is distinct from what is called "anti-racism." The term "racism" has come to be applied to a variety of attitudes, some of which are mutually incompatible, and has been devalued to mean little more than a tendency to dislike some people for the color of their skin. Moreover, anti-racism admits the natural existence of "races" even while opposing social distinctions among them. The abolitionists maintain, on the contrary, that people were not favored socially because they were white; rather they were defined as "white" because they were favored. Race itself is a product of social discrimination; so long as the white race exists, all movements against racism are doomed to fail.


This describes, very clearly and accurately, how racism has come to be re-defined in recent times so as to make it more difficult to see or understand.

People are not privileged because they are white, they are called white because they have been given a relative degree of privilege.

The existence of the white race depends on the willingness of those assigned to it to place their racial interests above class, gender or any other interests they hold. The defection of enough of its members to make it unreliable as a determinant of behavior will set off tremors that will lead to its collapse.


As I said, "white" is a choice and need not be embraced, and in fact need not exist. It is something that requires continual re-creation and reinforcement for it to exist and persist.

RACE TRAITOR ... will encourage dissent from the conformity that maintains it and popularize examples of defection from its ranks, analyze the forces that hold it together and those which promise to tear it apart. Part of its task will be to promote debate among abolitionists.


There is no such thing as "white" that is separate from "white supremacy." We abolish the second - and we would all benefit immensely from that - by abolishing the first. We abolish the first by seeing how we are creating it and how it operates on our lives and on our thinking.

Just as the South, on launching the Civil War, declared that it needed its entire territory and would have it, the white race must have the support of all those it has designated as its constituency, or it ceases to exist.


And here we find clues as to the connection between Civil War revisionist history and modern day racism. The mechanism for perpetuating the slaveocracy and the mechanism for maintaining white supremacy today are identical.
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Re: Abolish the White Race - By Any Means Necessary

Postby American Dream » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:33 am

From RACE TRAITOR #16:

"The 'Jewish' population of Israel includes people from fifty countries, of different physical types, speaking different languages and practicing different religions (or no religion at all), defined as a single people based on the fiction that they, and only they, are descended from the Biblical Abraham. It is so patently false that only Zionists and Nazis even pretend to take it seriously."
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Re: Abolish the White Race - By Any Means Necessary

Postby NeonLX » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:40 am

{SHRUG} People be people. Some of them really suck, and some of them really don't.

America is a fucked society because there is no room for essential human dignity. Its all about what you have, not who you are.--Joe Hillshoist
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Re: Abolish the White Race - By Any Means Necessary

Postby American Dream » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:51 am

NeonLX » Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:40 am wrote:{SHRUG} People be people. Some of them really suck, and some of them really don't.


I think the publishers of Race Traitor very much agree...
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Re: Abolish the White Race - By Any Means Necessary

Postby slimmouse » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:17 pm

American Dream wrote:
NeonLX » Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:40 am wrote:{SHRUG} People be people. Some of them really suck, and some of them really don't.


I think the publishers of Race Traitor very much agree...


As would I.

It therefore becomes something of a priority to expose, ridicule, show for the true asses they are, any kind of cultural, racist, ethnic supremacy that exists, without any kind of cherry picking.

Of course, where the deeds, as opposed to the words of of such people result in violence, misery and suffering as a result, then this becomes a truly pressing priority for all of us.

Its a "sticks and stones" thing.

I sincerely hope the publishers of race traitors hold such thinking within their texts.
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Re: Abolish the White Race - By Any Means Necessary

Postby American Dream » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:32 pm

slimmouse » Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:17 pm wrote:
American Dream wrote:
NeonLX » Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:40 am wrote:{SHRUG} People be people. Some of them really suck, and some of them really don't.


I think the publishers of Race Traitor very much agree...


As would I.

It therefore becomes something of a priority to expose, ridicule, show for the true asses they are, any kind of cultural, racist, ethnic supremacy that exists, without any kind of cherry picking.

Of course, where the deeds, as opposed to the words of of such people result in violence, misery and suffering as a result, then this becomes a truly pressing priority for all of us.

Its a "sticks and stones" thing.

I sincerely hope the publishers of race traitors hold such thinking within their texts.


I think they are grounded in the realities of racist oppression- be it White Supremacy in Chicago, Zionist oppression in Nablus, or whatever.

With one important caveat: they clearly affirm that "race" is socially-constructed and blindness to this hurts all of us...
"If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything."
-Malcolm X
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Re: Abolish the White Race - By Any Means Necessary

Postby slimmouse » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:37 pm

With one important caveat: they clearly affirm that "race" is socially-constructed and blindness to this hurts all of us...


Well I hope youve read enough of me by now AD to know that such a caveat is truly wasted on me, since I've been saying such for longer than I can remember.
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Re: Abolish the White Race - By Any Means Necessary

Postby American Dream » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:41 pm

slimmouse » Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:37 pm wrote:
With one important caveat: they clearly affirm that "race" is socially-constructed and blindness to this hurts all of us...


Well I hope youve read enough of me by now AD to know that such a caveat is truly wasted on me, since I've been saying such for longer than I can remember.


Yeah- but you've really got to practice what you preach and question your Protocols/Jewish bankers type beliefs- and all the baggage they carry- much more deeply...
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Re: Abolish the White Race - By Any Means Necessary

Postby slimmouse » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:45 pm

American Dream » 31 Jan 2014 17:41 wrote:
slimmouse » Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:37 pm wrote:
With one important caveat: they clearly affirm that "race" is socially-constructed and blindness to this hurts all of us...


Well I hope youve read enough of me by now AD to know that such a caveat is truly wasted on me, since I've been saying such for longer than I can remember.


Yeah- but you've really got to practice what you preach and question your Protocols/Jewish bankers type beliefs- and all the baggage they carry- much more deeply...



Youre putting words and thought into my mouth AD.

Can you provide some evidence for this claim?
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Re: Abolish the White Race - By Any Means Necessary

Postby jakell » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:50 pm

slimmouse » Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:45 pm wrote:
American Dream » 31 Jan 2014 17:41 wrote:
slimmouse » Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:37 pm wrote:
With one important caveat: they clearly affirm that "race" is socially-constructed and blindness to this hurts all of us...


Well I hope youve read enough of me by now AD to know that such a caveat is truly wasted on me, since I've been saying such for longer than I can remember.


Yeah- but you've really got to practice what you preach and question your Protocols/Jewish bankers type beliefs- and all the baggage they carry- much more deeply...



Youre putting words and thought into my mouth AD.

Can you provide some evidence for this claim?


Now now Slimmouse, listen to Nanny Dream and don't talk back.

It's not like you can thnk for yourself is it?

(did I get that colour right?)
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