From: kirby urner <>
Date: Tue, Dec 15, 2020 at 9:49 AM
Subject: Re: [MFM - Friends for Racial Justice]
The Inner Work of Racial Justice
To: Racial Justice Study and Action Group

I liked the Rhonda Magee recording.

As an expat, I got a lot out of Tiffany's story. She was raised
to identify as Japanese, then brought back to America by
her missionary parents so she could learn about American
racism and therefore be more bicultural:

I'm for disentangling "race" (which Rhonda agrees is fiction)
from "ethnicity".  They're not the same and should never be confused.
You have control over your ethnicity. You can be born mostly in one,
and die mostly in another.

Only some ethnicities encourage a belief in races e.g. those
white supremacist Bible schools that use the Genesis story
of Noah to reinforce the idea of races.

If you look at American history, this is how many Christians
first learned of "how the races began".  Contemporary science
has no such story as "race" has been mostly stamped out in
favor of "haplotypes" and "haplogroups" and other such genetic
talk.  "Race" is not a topic of serious scientific studies anymore.


On Sat, Dec 12, 2020 at 10:09 PM [ Friend ] wrote:
> Another good resource, This is a TED talk from  Rhonda Magee. I attended a zoom webinar with her and she was insightful, compassionate and informative. She wrote a book called The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming our Communities Through Mindfulness. She combines racial justice education with buddhist practice of non-violence and compassion
> Peace
>  [ Friend ]

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Countering racism by undermining the very concept of "race" is something you'd think the postmodernists would embrace, what with their famous "deconstructionism" and all that. However my impression is, following a fairly successful LGBTQ approach, their emphasis is on Race Pride instead (unless you're a "white" in which case what are you so proud of?).

The effort to obliterate the concept of race in favor of jargon more deeply based in genetics, e.g. "haplogroup" started with Ashley Montagu and his Man's Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race (1942) which I believe the postmodernists rarely include on their syllabi.

I could be wrong about that though (if it's assigned often), as I haven't seen any polls or surveys, and I went through university (Princeton) pre postmodernism's really jumping the Atlantic much. True, Rorty was my prof / adviser and he was up to date on his Habermas and Adorno, but American faculty weren't yet reading much Continental stuff -- I was getting into Lacan back then, but coming from Vienna Circle (Freud, Wittgenstein).

Erasing race is not about forgetting, forgiving or otherwise dismissing the damage done by Social Darwinism and its pseudoscience of eugenics. A lot of our nasty race ideas come from teaching about the Bible, and what Genesis must be all about. Obviously if humans were wiped out in the flood but for Noah and his family, then all races must descend from there, and, sure enough, that's what many Sunday Schools continue teaching to this day, spreading these anti-scientific meme viruses to the kids and infecting yet another generation with nasty rotten thinking, a kind of mental illness for which there's no real cure at the individual level (not believing in races yourself doesn't "fix" anything).

The concept of race is immature and silly of course, right up there with "superpower". It used to be the Irish people were racists against, and Italians. In Japan there's a lot of racism against Okinawans. For some years here in Portland I worked on Asian-Latin American racisms. The real concept to be using in place of race is "ethnicity" and the two should not be confused. You have a lot of personal control over your ethnicity. You can be born in one, die in another. On the other hand, your race is assigned to you and you have no way to change it. Similar to "sex versus gender" in some ways.

So-called "whites" (a pretend group with no real genetic meaning nor ethnic cohesiveness) have had no problem seeing themselves as a hundred races if need be, whatever it takes to articulate some kind of apartheid that preserves the privileges of some inner circle (e.g. WASPs) based on ancestry in some way.

That's something humans love to do: differentiate into "us-es" and "thems" (Tootsees and Hootoos) and then rank these subgroups in order of merit. I agree it's pathetic and stupid and that humans are disgusting little creatures but...

Oops, there's that misanthropy expressing itself again. S'been a problem since I was little. I popped out of the womb (Cesarean style) with a sneering sense of superiority towards humans, then I'd look down at my body and realize I'd better get to work on the cognitive dissonance. By now, closer to grave than cradle, I have cultivated huge admiration for humans and it's only when I think about their crappy buggy programming that I become sneering again. I have to check myself and get back to my philanthropic business plans.

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