Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Veiled Criticism

An interesting piece about why criticisms of Michelle Obama's decision not to wear a head scarf are racists.

However, in coordination with the Chait piece - which is everywhere today - I have to question the use of the word "racist."

Saudis are not a race.  Even Arabs aren't really a race.  In fact, the more we discuss race from a biological point of view, the more we realize race is an artificial social construct.

It strikes me there is a poverty in the language to describe what Fisher calls racism.  It's a form of ethnocentric ignorance, but that's a mouthful.

So it's tough to conflate ethnocentric ignorance with, say, the legacy of chattel slavery or the treatment of Chinese and Japanese immigrants.  The word starts to lose its edge.

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