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Identities vs. Difference

There is some debate and discussion about what percent of communication is body language. The percentages range from sixty to ninety. Whatever the percentage this type of communication is pronounced when difference, smothered in sameness, recognizes itself. It is that raised eyebrow lifting a slight nod of heads as two blacks acknowledge each other and […]

There is some debate and discussion about what percent of communication is body language. The percentages range from sixty to ninety. Whatever the percentage this type of communication is pronounced when difference, smothered in sameness, recognizes itself. It is that raised eyebrow lifting a slight nod of heads as two blacks acknowledge each other and the scarcity of their number in predominantly white neighborhoods, countries or among the passengers on an airliner.

It is the right of way that two female executives give each other in a conversation dominated by gray haired masculinity and the young guns emulating them. It is the static awareness in postures on a Jewish holiday in downtown Manhattan as conservative, reformed and orthodox Jews remember, revere and adhere to tenets of their faith.

It is the look of surprise on the face of two Hispanics that had no idea of each others shared presence until the ringing of one of their cell phones occasioned a conversation ease dropped by a mutual glance. It is a resting of diaphragms when gay men sharing each others company breath easily no longer having to fret about speech, gestures or fashion announcing them.

Body language is the sign language of difference. It is a colorful language that paints the lives of difference in the ways that we recognize, support, defend and celebrate ourselves. Too often, however, when this language speaks of and to collective identities, color fades into gray areas where we establish exclusion zones between and among ourselves. This gray area has been traversed by black women during the civil rights movement, Hispanics competing with blacks for jobs and gays fighting for civil rights and protections. Suffrage for white women defined itself against the backdrop of these gray areas as the franchise was extended to white and black men.

In another post on this blog, under the title ‘Identity‘, eRacism examines this gray area by attempting to grasp the antinomies nurtured by the ways of being and knowing difference that originate in social relations defined by a pursuit of self-interest among an association of self-interested individuals.

In plain English, what this means is that we adorn civil and human rights with possessive adjectives that reduce them to privileges that we are reluctant to share. When identities become opposed to difference, the body language changes. It expresses anxiety, loathing, fear and anger at difference declared illegitimate for wanting civil and human rights on the same terms they are extended to our fellow citizens.

I’m a black woman with a white husband. People assume I’m a prostitute all the time.
By Maureen Evans Arthurs




Sebastien De La Cruz who sang national anthem criticized on social media

Sebastien De La Cruz was criticized on Twitter because he is a “Mexican” singing the “American” national anthem.

Here’s a sampling:

“Why do we have this illegal immigrant singing the National Anthem?”

“You really had a Mexican sing the national anthem? Go to hell San Antonio.”

“Why was the kid singing the national anthem wearing a mariachi outfit? We ain’t Mexican.”

“It’s a little ironic how a little Mexican boy is singing the national anthem of AMERICA.”



Sierra Leone’s Fight for Gender Equality

Italy’s Northern League party called for first black minister to be raped

J.Bone Rome

The Attack on “All-American Muslim”
by Amy Davidson

“Thanks to both its quality and to a general dismay at Lowe’s, ads for the next episode are reportedly sold out; Russell Simmons, the music executive, tweeted about his efforts to buy time as an expression of support. Many people are very angry at Lowe’s, and they are right to be. In its Facebook post, the company mentioned a vague commitment to “diversity.” Perhaps it practices that in other areas, but in this one it chose a path of blindness. What is shameful about the company’s decision is that it bent to the suggestion that, simply by depicting Muslims as “nice” Americans, a show became too controversial for it to engage with.”

Naama Margolese, Israeli Girl, Bullied By Jewish Ultra-Orthodox Extremists

“Naama Margolese is a ponytailed, bespectacled second-grader who is afraid of walking to her religious Jewish girls school for fear of ultra-Orthodox extremists who have spat on her and called her a whore for dressing “immodestly.””

Kentucky Church Bans Interracial Couples

” The Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church voted 9 to 6 on Sunday to ban interracial couples from church services or functions, with the exception of funerals.

Stella Harville, 24, and her fiance Ticha Chikuni, 28, are the couple that prompted the church’s actions. Harville is white and Chikuni is black. The couple met at Georgetown College in Kentucky where both went to school and are scheduled to marry in July 2012.”

Civil Rights and Gay Rights
by Jennie Lee-St. John- Times – October 25 2005

“While gays have been, and still are in many instances, forced to play straight, they at least had a refuge. It was historically difficult, usually impossible, and often illegal, for a black person to pass as white (even if 15/16ths of his blood was). They had nowhere to hide.”

NINETY Iraqi students killed for having ‘strange hair and tight clothes’

“A group of armed men dressed in civilian clothing led dozens of teenagers to secluded areas a few days ago, stoned them to death, and then disposed their bodies in garbage dumpsters across the capital, according to activists, activists told the Cairo-based al-Akhbar website.”

Bigotry on the Playing Field

“The association’s ignorance and bigotry toward Islamic schools is more stunning. As reported in The Times, one Islamic high school that sought to join the association, known as Tapps, in 2010 got a questionnaire that asked the school: “It is our understanding that the Koran tells you not to mix with (and even eliminate) the infidels. Christians and Jews fall into that category. Why do you wish to join an organization whose membership is in disagreement with your religious beliefs?” It also asked: “What is your attitude about the spread of Islam in America?””


What exactly is the “quenelle”? by S.P.
“. . .a cross between an inverted Nazi salute and a bras d’honneur, or French sign for “Up yours”.”


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Curriculum Vitae

Tom L. States PhD Candidate

Fields of Interest: Political Theory, International Relations, Marxist Political Economy

Research Topic: eRacism - Conflicts of Difference

Education History: Williams College, BA Political Science; New York University, MA Politics; York University PhD Candidate

Languages: English, German

Hometown: Greenwood, Mississippi

Words of Wisdom: “IT” is what you are when you are young. Your youth mistakes certainty of the few things that you think you know for knowledge of things that it takes a life time to understand. With time and a few life experiences “IT” becomes the thing you pursue to give your life meaning. Somewhere along the way of having or getting “IT” you ask yourself, ‘Is this “IT”? Panic sets in when you realize that “IT” is your life. Fear and insecurity is that feeling you get when “IT” has not been worth a life time.


Harvey, David. Justice, Nature, and the Geography of Difference. New York: Longman, 1996.

Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin White Masks. Trans. Charles Lam Markmann. New York: Grove Press. 1967.

Cancian, Francesca M. Gender Politics: Love and Power in the Private and Public Spheres. Gender and the Life Course. Ed. Alice S. Rossi. New York: Aldine, 1985.

Sand, Shlomo. The Invention of the Jewish People. New York: Verso, 2009.

Lay, Shawn. The Invisible Empire In The West: Toward a New Historical Appraisal of the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920's. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004.


Carothers, Thomas. Think Again: Civil Society. Foreign Policy Date, (Winter: 1999-2000).

Ober, Josiah. The original meaning of "democracy": Capacity to do things, not majority rule. Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics. American Political Science Association meetings, Philadelphia, (2006).