Thursday, March 17, 2011

a little about power and multiculturalism

Chris Hedges: Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand. It's generally mighty fine. I especially admire a line that Stephanie Zvan objects to, this very accurate observation:
The liberal class has busied itself with the toothless pursuits of inclusiveness, multiculturalism, identity politics and tolerance—a word Martin Luther King never used—and forgotten about justice.
Having just gotten into a disagreement at Stephanie's blog about what people mean when they note that some women lie about rape, I don't want to get into another one there about the ways capitalists focus on identity politics in order to avoid addressing the reason the growing gap between rich and poor affects people of all hues and genders.

But I did get into that in seven comments at The Crow's Eye: ...on crawling out from under the failures which came before, and the ones which compound them further....


  1. I don't think any of us who write online for the thousands (or some tiny fraction thereof) can assume right now that we're not going to reach a larger audience. That's a very good thing, but it does come with complications. This is going to be one of them.

    It would be easier to manage if the traditional outlets were suddenly opening doors to the thousands and we knew who our audience would be, but that's not happening and not likely to happen. This is people in the thousands passing around material they've been reading forever and having their friends suddenly start reading.

  2. I think these issues should be addressed online because you don't know if or when you may reach a larger audience. The identity politics believers have already muddied the waters with charges of racism and sexism against folks who refuse to be distracted from the primacy of class issues. Without rebuttals, their charges are left without context.

  3. Somewhat related to this discussion, I just finished reading a book called The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander. I think you would find it interesting, and I'd bee interested to hear your comments on it. (I got it from my library so I'd suppose it might be similarly available to you, but let me know if it's not and I'll drop you a copy.)

  4. Does she get into incarceration rates for urban and rural folks? Too often, people think race is the only factor when results are racially disproportionate, but black poverty is more urban than white and Hispanic poverty. A few years ago, I ran the numbers on incarceration and found that if you factor in poverty, the death penalty isn't racist (or rather, it disproportionately targets blacks and whites compared to Hispanics, but that's probably due to Hispanic poverty being more rural), but the drug war appears to be very racist--though, again, it's possible that's also due to the urban/rural difference.