Racism Double Trilogy

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I've finally finished the double trilogy on racism that I've been working on for over six weeks, so it's fitting to sum it all up and collect all the links together in one post. (Also, I get to replace all the links in my favorite posts menu with this one, which makes the list a good deal smaller.) For the sake of a simpler discussion, I'm focusing on race relations between blacks and whites in the United States. I'm aware of many other issues and relations, but I'm focusing on that particular part of a larger framework here, mostly because the authors I've been drawing on do that.

I started with three posts presenting some of the standard liberal picture on racism today (or at least what I agree with of that picture). Much of this was framed in ways Patricia Williams discusses things in her Seeing a Color-Blind Future: The Paradox of Race, though some of the terms were my own. After the first in the first trilogy, I interjected an explanatory post about the overall goals of the series. These trilogy itself consisted of two on the biggest remaining problems of racism in our society, normative whiteness, white voyeurism, and racial narratives. The fourth post discusses Williams' views on what the ideal world (racially speaking, anyway) would look like and why.

The second trilogy takes its major content from John McWhorter's Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America but builds on the material in the first trilogy (hence my calling it a double trilogy). One racial narrative that works in the reverse of the racial narratives Williams discusses, negatively evaluating white people (with bad consequences for everyone involved) is the victimology narrative. This in turn leads to black separatism, which in some ways parallels normative whiteness but in a strangely ironic fashion, with some normativity for a racial narrative picture of whiteness and in a different sense for a construction of blackness. A particular kind of anti-intellectualism (seeing intellectualism as white) that damages the black community in many ways follows quickly from the first two problems. [This last post also ventures into the issues of test score gaps between black and white students for a bit.]

The ironic thing about all this is that Patricia Williams and other liberal thinkers on race give the theoretical framework to make McWhorter's pointed in a much more sophisticated way than he does (though I think his description is just as accurate). In the end there's not a lot to be said in any of this about where to go from here. Both authors say little, though McWhorter does say one thing we should stop doing, which I'll cover in my next post on race -- affirmative action. In a way some of this comes right out of the material in the anti-intellectualism post, but it's its own topic with a number of arguments not related directly to the structure of this series, so I'm not counting it as within the ranks of the double trilogy. More on that when I get around to it.

Update: It turns out my first trilogy wasn't a trilogy after all. There was a fourth post (though it was actually second) on White Voyeurism, and I'd forgotten to include it here. I've inserted it above without changing much else, so it will look a little odd as a four-part trilogy. Well, Douglas Adams had even more parts in his trilogy.

Also, I've fixed all the broken links in this post from the move to the new location. Not all my dead links have caught up, but this one was a priority, and I think they should all work now. Let me know if they don't.

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