I do understand his frustration… Lou (No, I’m not black)
Warning: He swears and might offend half the population.
I do understand his frustration… Lou (No, I’m not black)
Warning: He swears and might offend half the population.
In response to assumptions that the Boston bombing suspects were of Arab or Middle Eastern descent (and the use of a lot of rude terms for people from that part of the world), brilliant Twitter account @YesYoureRacist pointed out that the suspects were the textbook definition of white guys:
So these guys, from the Caucasus, are Caucasian. Me, with my mixed Slavic and Baltic heritage, I’m also Caucasian. So are my friends whose families come from Italy, Ireland, Germany, and pretty much anywhere else in Europe. How did all these different white ethnic groups get lumped into “Caucasian?”
It goes back to German anthropologist Friedrich Blumenbach. In his work in the late 1700s and early 1800s, Blumenbach divided Homo sapiens into five distinct races based on their physical characteristics. There was the Mongolian, or “yellow,” race, the red American race, the brown Malayan race, the black Ethiopian race, and the white Caucasian race.
While he looked at a lot of physical traits to carve out his categories, Blumenbach thought characteristics of the skull—the size and angle of the forehead, jawbone, teeth, eye sockets, etc.—were especially important. He thought that the skulls of Georgians were exemplary of the characteristics of his white race and named the group after the Caucasus Mountain Range that runs along Georgia’s northern border.
All this makes Blumenbach sound like a forerunner of phrenology, and “scientific” attempts to justify discrimination, but while he categorized the races, Blumenbach didn’t put them in a hierarchy and protested any attempts to misuse his groupings to divide people or paint one group as inferior to another. “Blumenbach wrote forcefully of the kindredness of the human races…he opposed the stress on racial hierarchies of worth by more conservative colleagues in his own university and elsewhere in Europe,” historian Nell Irvin Painter writes. “Throughout his work, and especially in the definitive 1795 edition of De generis humani varietate nativa (On the Natural Variety of Mankind), Blumenbach rejected racial hierarchy and emphasized the unity of mankind.”
Blumenbach’s Caucasians weren’t even strictly white or European, as the term is commonly used today. He described this “variety” as “Colour white, cheeks rosy; hair brown or chestnut-colored; head subglobular; face oval, straight, its parts moderately defined, forehead smooth, nose narrow, slightly hooked, mouth small…To this first variety belong the inhabitants of Europe (except the Lapps and the remaining descendants of the Finns) and those of Eastern Asia, as far as the river Obi, the Caspian Sea and the Ganges; and lastly, those of Northern Africa.”
The synonymity of Caucasian and white, and the use of racial lines as discriminatory tools, came later and from other men. Painter specifically calls out “Dutch anatomist, Petrus Camper, whose ‘facial angles’ proves so useful to scientific racists’ so-called ‘Great Chain of Being’,” and his “racist elaborators (like Edward Tyson, Josiah Nott, G. R. Gliddon, and even Johann Caspar Lavater) [who] placed Negroes and Kalmucks as close to apes as to Europeans.”
Today “Caucasian” lacks any real scientific meaning (though its cousin “Caucasoid” is still used in some disciplines), but hangs on in common usage as a blanket term for white/European people.
Feb 5, 2013
You Tube Description:
Every February, without fail, some white people ask “Why is there no White History Month?” In response, I’m examining the concepts of equality, privilege, and economic class in terms that even the most ignorant should be able to understand. You’re welcome, fellow white people.
Everything was possessed of personality, only differing from us in form. knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of the earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature ever learns, and that was to feel beauty. We never railed at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensified human futility, so whatever came we just adjusted ourselves, by more effort and energy if necessary, but without complaint.
Observation was certain to have its rewards. Interest, wonder, admiration grew, and the fact was appreciated that life was more than mere human manifestation; it was expressed in a multitude of forms.
The appreciation enriched Lakota existence. Life was vivid and pulsing; nothing was casual and commonplace. The Indian lived – lived in every sense of the word – from his first to his last breath.
The white man does not understand America. He is too far removed from its formative processes. The roots of the tree of his life have not yet grasped the rock and the soil.”
The war on drugs is pretty much the same as slavery before it was abolished.
This young black man is going home with a beer in a paper bag. L.A. cops engage him. Disgusting behavior.
When will discrimination end ?
Country’s increasingly hardline stances on immigration, tar sands, indigenous people and Quebec separatism spark soul-searching
There’s trouble brewing in Canada.
It’s difficult to perceive on first glance. In Toronto, the air is clean, crime rates are low and healthcare is universal. Yet an undercurrent of anxiety courses through the country’s public discourse and its media; it dominates conversations in coffee shops and university hallways. A volley of recent polarising political developments has led many Canadians to ask whether their country’s reputation as a tolerant, environmentally conscious international peacemaker is suddenly in doubt.
A harsh crackdown on illegal immigrants has belied the notion of a country open to incomers. Quebec has elected a separatist provincial government, triggering political violence. The extraction of oil from the vast tar sands of Alberta has proven hugely controversial, as has the marginalisation of the country’s First Nations indigenous people. In foreign policy, Canada is increasingly toeing the US line, most recently cutting diplomatic ties with Iran. And its Afghanistan deployment has been tainted by allegations of complicity in the torture of detainees.
Some, though not all, of this tendency has been blamed on the country’s conservative leadership, which gained a parliamentary majority in May last year. The prime minister, Stephen Harper, has tightened immigration policy, struck a hard line in the Middle East and adjusted environmental policy to encourage controversial oil extraction programmes in the country’s vast northern hinterlands.
“Everybody knew that Harper would have a different agenda from that of the Liberals,” said Herb Grubel, a professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University and former member of parliament. “What he has been doing is putting into effect some of these ideas.”
Canada is one of the few countries in the world that still looks to immigration as a tool for nation-building – 20% of Canadians were born abroad, and new immigrants add 0.8% to the country’s population each year. Multiculturalism has been a formal policy since 1971; it’s taught in the country’s elementary schools.Yet over the past year immigration authorities have radically adjusted the criteria for successful applications and cut resettlement programmes en masse. In June, Ottawa provoked a firestorm of controversy – and sparked a spate of doctors’ protests – when it eliminated all but the most basic healthcare for certain refugee groups. Last week, immigration minister Jason Kenney announced that 3,100 people would have their Canadian citizenship revoked for hiring immigration consultants to falsify their documents. Eleven thousand aspiring citizens are still under investigation.”There’s a lot that we need to fix pronto, otherwise the message goes out to the world that we’re not a welcoming place,” said Ratna Omidvar, president of Toronto-based immigration foundation Maytree.
Some analysts say the changes point to a deep-rooted, yet widely ignored undercurrent of racism in Canadian society. In late August, news leaked that the Bank of Canada had removed an east Asian-looking woman from preliminary designs of its new $100 bill, replacing her with a caucasian. Chinese groups were outraged, causing the bank to issue a public apology.
“Fighting racism in the States is like punching a brick wall, but fighting it in Canada is like punching a marshmallow – it always melds back to the same shape,” said Minelle Mahtani, a professor at University of Toronto Scarborough. “We live in an ostrich-head-in-the-sand-like denial that racism exists in this country, and yet systemic discrimination is the norm.”
Intolerance is also rife in francophone Quebec, which elected the separatist Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois as premier on 4 September. Marois’s ascent to power has been shadowed by violence: a man shot two people at the Montreal convention centre where her party was celebrating its victory, killing one and leaving the other in a critical condition. “The English are waking up!” the man shouted in French during his arrest, eliciting widespread soul-searching about the depth of the province’s linguistic divide.
Quebec was already reeling from a spring full of huge student-led street demonstrations. The movement, often referred to as the “maple spring”, began as a smattering of peaceful protests against tuition fee hikes. But when the then incumbent Liberal administration passed an emergency law to crack down on demonstrators, simmering discontent exploded into full-blown dissent. At the height of the movement, almost 1,000 protesters were arrested in a 400,000-strong Montreal march, some of them as young as 15.
Analysts say that Marois is unlikely to hold a referendum on independence – she is fighting from a minority position and popular support for secession has waned since Quebec’s last referendum in 1995.
Yet she has invited controversy by proposing measures that would restrict freedom of language and religion in the province. Her promise to strengthen Quebec’s French language charter would restrict access for some groups to English junior colleges. Her “secularism policy” would ban religious symbols such as headscarves, skullcaps and hijabs in public offices. Yet it would allow crucifixes, which, according to Marois, symbolise traditional Quebec culture.
“There is still a large group of ethnic nationalists who believe that Quebec should be for the pure-wool francophones who founded this province,” said Bruce Hicks, a professor of political science at Concordia University in Montreal. “Pauline Marois, out of deference to this more extremist group in her party, sort of pandered to that.”
Almost 4,000km away from Montreal, the vast plains of northern Alberta province lie at the heart of another national debate. The region contains 140,000 sq km of “tar sands” – a mixture of sand, water and clay the texture of cold molasses – which contain copious amounts of highly viscous petroleum. Over the past decade, technological developments and soaring oil prices have made its extraction economically viable, making it a prime destination for major international oil companies.
Critics say that Harper’s environmental policy favours these companies over the long-term wellbeing of Canada’s natural environment. Last month, Ottawa cancelled almost 3,000 environmental reviews on proposed development projects across the country, many of which involved tar sands oil extraction.
The Canadian government has approved a 730-mile pipeline from the Alberta tar sands to the shores of British Columbia, where it will be loaded on to oil tankers and shipped to Asian markets. Environmental groups have launched a united stand against the project, claiming that Enbridge – the Calgary-based company at its head – has been dishonest about the risk of potential oil spills. In 2010, an Enbridge pipe burst in northern Michigan, leaving a still-visible oily sheen on the area’s rivers.
“Canada has always been a natural resource extraction country – it’s logging, it’s hydro-power, it’s mining, it’s oil and gas,” said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, international director at the Natural Resources and Defence Council. “But the tar sands is such a big resource, and it drew such major players, that it’s really reshaped the way the government has dealt with environmental issues.”
Tar sands oil extraction has also underscored an already fraught relationship between the federal government and Canada’s nearly 700,000 indigenous people, called First Nations. For decades, resource extraction on First Nations land and chronically underfunded schools have left many of these communities mired in poverty, alcoholism and disease.
Gerald Amos, former chief of the Haisla Nation in coastal British Columbia, said that while his community used to survive by catching oolichan fish – a type of smelt – in the nearby Kitamaat river, this traditional way of life is long gone. Toxic dumping has destroyed the river, driving the fish to the brink of extinction. Amos fears that the Enbridge project will consume what’s left of the wilderness near his home, where the pipeline will meet the coast.
“I think that the big issue for a lot of communities – one that really hasn’t been grappled with yet – is the cumulative impact of what we call progress,” he said. “And that’s something that I think communities are going to have to start grappling with very quickly.”