web analytics

What is ‘eRacism’?

eRacism is the subordination and domination of difference towards the social production of sameness, that is, of white persons. ‘White’ for the purposes of this blog is understood as an experience of sameness buttressed by subordination and domination. Neither ‘white’ or the term ‘coloured’ are used to convey a static concept of skin colour and ethnicity. ‘White’ and ‘coloured’ are respective understandings of collective experiences of ‘sameness’ and diverse experiences ‘difference’.

  • (a) eRacism is a dynamic social, political and economic synchronization of experiences of difference around lowest common denominators of social relations. This way of knowing difference makes it possible to codify experiences of difference to be consistent with the social norms of collective experiences of ‘sameness’. It fails at any attempt to understand the social reality and validity of lives lived and coloured by experiences of difference.
  • (b) In other words, eRacism delineates obligations for lives coloured by difference to acquiesce to norms, standards, methods, regulations and most importantly reasoning rooted in the historical sedimentation of voracious efforts to subordinate and dominate specific differences of sex, race, gender, sexual orientation, faith and ethnicity.
  • (c) eRacism is a specific way of knowing advantages gained and sustained by the domination and subordination of difference toward privileging specific equilibriums in social relations of power.
  • (d) Finally, eRacism describes this blog’s attempt to understand the productions, reproductions and experiences of difference in conflict with privileged equilibriums in social relations of power.

In social, political and economic discourses of conflicts-of-difference, experiences of difference are sanitized to adhere to ahistorical (synchronic) ways of knowing and understanding lives coloured by differences of sex, race, gender, sexual orientation, faith and ethnicity. A sanitized synchronic discourse of difference and conflicts-of-difference sanctifies privileged equilibriums (status quos). By ‘sanctify’, it is meant here that experiences of difference and conflicts-of-difference are inoculated against the histories (past experiences of difference) from which they unfold into the present experiences of difference. Sanctifying a status quo in social relations of power, renders challenges to privileged equilibriums in various sets of social relations unholy and undue. From this (ad)vantage point, resistance is not substantiated by the sanitized histories of difference and conflicts-of-difference.

This process of sanitizing and sanctifying explains in-part the use of the word tautology in this blog when pointing to and out circular reasoning viz., the ‘cul-de-sacs’ in which dominate discourses of difference and conflicts-of-difference take place. From the vantage point of ‘difference’, eRacism is a constant process of configuring social relations such that difference is not a socially valid experience or reality in relations of power. eRaced, difference only matters when it is not a factor in expressing or realizing social, economic or political interest of people whose lives are coloured by the ways in which they are and experience difference.

‘A Chosen Exile’: Black People Passing In White America

References in this blog to ‘white’ and ‘coloured’ persons moves the discourse of difference away from designating people based on skin colour or bloodlines. ‘Coloured’ is a collective expression of social experiences of difference consistent with categories of diversity. Also an integral part in the process of configuring social relations, ‘coloured’ is how social status is determined by experiences of race, gender, ethnicity, sex and sexual orientation. The signifiers ‘coloured’ and ‘white’ abandon hyper and hypodescent determinations in favour of analysing social relations that determined whether and how some people are considered subordinate and inferior while others are considered dominant and superior. This distinction between subordination and domination is the background against which eRacism structures a discourse of power and powerlessness.

When Italians Were “Blacks”: The Dark-Skinned Sicilians

An example of discovering ‘difference’ beyond the scope of hyperdescent determinations can be found in experiments of several Southern states to replace black labour in the post Civil War era with Sicilians. Sicilians where considered by some to be subordinate and inferior. Putting them to work on cotton and tobacco plantations met with initial success and much praise. Supposedly they worked harder and produced more than ‘the Negro’. The experiments failed and fell apart when the Sicilians became aware of how their life and lives in the South were not ‘coloured’ by the ways in which experiences of difference had been calibrated to subordinate persons of African descent to the labour demands of Southern plantation economies.

White persons, not unlike the new so-called brown persons, was a designation adopted by the replacement workers based on their experience and awareness of how social relations of power were configured to administer ‘difference’. They had the option of opting for a designation that privileged domination over subordination. In other words, they crossed a ‘rational’ bridge constructed between power and powerlessness. The toll for crossing this bridge are experiences of difference that narrate powerlessness. The sense of ‘whiteness’ (sameness) that overcame the Sicilian replacement labourers is the precursor to the definition and use of the notion ‘white’ in this blog.

tr2b

How the Irish Became White

irih

The Irish had been placed, by American caste theory, on the lowest rung of the white race. In many Northern cities they were condemned to the same poorly paid jobs as free blacks. In the South, they did the work of slaves. Irish women were denigrated for being more likely to give birth to mixed race children than any other group of white women. Blacks were often called “smoked Irishmen” in reference to their seeming interchangeability with the new immigrants. In a country where race was everything, the Irish were precariously placed on the edge of whiteness, bordering on the disabilities of blackness in a racist society.‘White Negroes’ 

Whatever Happened to German America?

At the turn of the last century, Germans were the predominant ethnic group in the United States — some eight million people, out of a population of 76 million. New York City had one of the world’s largest German-speaking populations, trailing only Berlin and Vienna, with about a quarter of its 3.4 million people conversing auf Deutsch.

philrace

The Skin Color Paradox and the American Racial Order

Color preference is a cousin of racial prejudice, and like prejudice it is closely linked with the urge to obtain and keep power over others. Colorism differs from prejudice mainly by making distinctions within a nominal racial group instead of across groups. More simply, colorism is “the tendency to perceive or behave toward members of a racial category based on the lightness or darkness of their skin tone”. – The Psychology of Colorism’

Bleeding Ireland & The Woman Voter

crisirh

<

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.

Bookshelf

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.

Journal

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).