Schipper on Racialism, Ethnocentrism, Nationalism and Decolonization

James Schipper has always proven to be one of the most thoughtful commenters on this blog. He chooses his words carefully, and as EB White suggests in the Manual of Style, scarcely wastes a word.
This comment was in response to the Mystery Solved post, and it is so great I am going to post it.
I am curious why he calls White nationalists raci(al)sts. I assume he is trying to say that they are at once racists and racialists. That makes sense to me. WN’s are continuously saying that they don’t hate any other races; all they do is love their own kind. If that were the case, perhaps we would not mind. But the non-racist WN is a rare bird indeed. I know one fellow who might qualify, but he refers to Whites breeding with Blacks as “cross-species breeding.” That’s seems like a pretty racist thing to say.
I will admit that some WN are more racist than others. I’ve met a couple that don’t seem to dislike Blacks, but that is rare. A fair number of WN are Asiaphiles, but they are always being denounced as traitors. Even Jared Taylor is something of an Asiaphile. Some have Amerindian in them, but they’re constantly being threatened with being thrown out of the movement. In short, the vast majority of them are quite racist individuals, and many are savage racists. That’s just a fact.
Schipper suggests that ethnocentrism has nothing to do with race, but I even feel that Punjabis and Yemenis are members of my family, albeit distant cousins, yet Mexican Indians and Hmong are not. Am I mentally ill for thinking this way? I’ve recently expanded my view of my ethnic group to include most Caucasians, and it feels nice to include 1.5 million+ humans in your ethnic family. As far as the Mexican Indians and the Hmong, well, there’s friends and theirs family, right? Oaxacans and Hmong may be friends, but they can’t be family.
It seems to me that a narrow ethnocentrism that focuses only on one’s nation leaves something to be desired. If I were a Slovenian, I would rather be a Pan-Caucasianist and count 1.5 billion relatives than be a Slovenian nationalist and only count 2 million.
Schipper’s explanation of the rejection of White ethnocentrism as a rejection of White colonialism is an excellent one, and his summary of the crimes of White colonialism is chilling. I think most other ethnic groups would have done the same thing had they had the means, and they probably would have been crueler about it, but that doesn’t let us off the hook.
One of the disgusting things about White nationalists is that they usually cheer on the worst excesses of White colonialism and imperialism. Either they think it was a great idea, or they can’t admit they were ever wrong. Anyway, it’s stomach-wrenching.
His analysis of Hitler is excellent also, and I agree it’s bizarre to say that Jews aren’t White. Of course they are White!
I agree that Hispanic is a nonsensical category. Around here, a huge number of them have lots of White ancestry. Many are anywhere from mostly White to about as White as I am.

The internal racism of US Hispanics is much exaggerated by WN’s. WN’s insist that Hispanics are obsessed with race and love to be White. Truth is most of them don’t seem to care, and the whole subject is pretty touchy. The really White ones, if they have some money, are often proud to admit to Spanish ancestry, and you often hear Hispanics bragging about having ancestors with blue eyes or blond hair.
When my Mexican-American neighbor was growing up in Morenci, Arizona in the 1930’s and 1940’s, she said whenever a baby was born, the first thing everyone asked was, “Que blanco?” “How White is it?” Among this particular group of rural working class SW US Hispanics in that period, Whiter skin was valued like gold.
Nowadays, brown pride is all the rage. In the bars and all over town, you see Whiter Hispanics hanging out with, befriending, dating and marrying darker ones. At the lower end of the income spectrum, no one cares. Maybe at the higher end, people get touchier, but even there, you don’t hear about it much.

I would surely consider any mostly-White Hispanic to be part of my family, and there are millions like this.
Asians are not really a race, it is true, but there is a huge Macro-Asian race, along with smaller NE Asian and SE Asian races. I’d love to see Pan-Asianism take hold in Asians. If they could embrace 2 million or so humans as family members, what an interesting world it could be. Unfortunately, they probably dislike each other too much to do that.
I myself never cared about White ethnocentrism until I moved to a majority-Hispanic town and was an obvious minority. Since then I’ve embraced White ethnocentrism thoroughly, and I feel so much better than in my previous deracinated state. Ethnocentrism of any kind definitely feels good, and deracination feels like crap. It’s like the difference between getting a religion and being an atheist. Even if atheism is scientifically rational, it surely feels terrible.
Schipper:

Let’s not confuse race and ethnicity. WN are not ethnocentrists, they are raci(al)sts. Of course, ethnocentricity and racialism are psychologically similar because in both cases our own group is put first and at the top. In one case it is our ethnic group and in the other it is our race.
I’m white and so are Vladimir Putin, Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and Silvio Berlusconi, but I certainly don’t think that they belong to the same ethnic group as I do.
Ethnocentrism is indeed very common, but it doesn’t have anything to do with race. Until recently, Europe was an all-white continent and also filled with various ethnocentrics and chauvinists. The French liked to feel superior to the less civilized boches, the British felt superior to crazy continentals, the Poles thought that they were so much better than those half-Asian Russians, etc.
Even smaller nations could be pretty chauvinistic. I have met plenty of smug ethnocentric Dutchmen.
However, none of this had anything to do with race. White racism existed mainly in Western Europe and it arose in a colonial context. Since 1492, white racism became one of the ideological underpinnings of colonialism. By 1939, the white racists from Western Europe had conquered the entire Western Hemisphere, nearly all of Africa, Oceania and large chunks of Asia. Of course, not all colonialists were believers in white racial superiority.
Some believed in the superiority of the Christian religion or the cultural superiority of Europe.
It is this close relation between white racism and colonialism that made it contaminated. To some extent, the relentless denunciation of white racism is a reaction to colonialism. Decolonization was indeed necessary because it was a system of domination and privilege. Attacks on white racism are a form of mental decolonization.
As to Hitler, he was a combination of anti-Semite, Aryan racist and German nationalist. Since Jews are white and most whites are not Aryans, it is quite wrong to see Hitler as a practitioner of white nationalism. All of Hitler’s crimes were committed against other whites. I don’t listen to people who tell me that Jews aren’t whites.
Racism and nationalism are antithetical in multiracial countries. WNs in the US should feel more affinity with Russians, Frenchmen, Georgians, Greeks, Serbs, etc than with fellow American who are of a different color.
People who put race above the nation are bad nationalists. WN in the US are bad Americans for the same reason that Catholics in the US who feel more affinity with Polish, Portuguese and Argentinian Catholics than with Americans of a different religion are bad Americans. If Jared Taylor feels more affinity with me than with Obama, then he is not a very good American
Nationalists worthy of the name put their national identity above their religious, racial or other identities. WNs don’t do that. They don’t deserve to be called nationalists and should start calling themselves raci(al)sts.
As to Hispanics, they are a totally artificial category of the American government. In Latin America, people see themselves as Colombians, Chileans, Cubans, Argentinians, etc, or racially they see themselves as white, Amerindian, black, mestizo, etc. More educated Latin Americans may feel part of a broader Latin American nation, but Latin Americans who see themselves as members of a Hispanic race don’t exist. That only happens after they arrive in the US.
Do you really believe that Néstor Kirchner, Álvaro Uribe, Fidel Castro or Hugo Chávez see themselves as members of a mythical Hispanic race?
Asians aren’t a race either. They certainly aren’t an ethnic group, even if we confine the term Asian to East Asians. It is just as absurd to believe that Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos and Thais will all see themselves as part of one happy East Asian family as it is to believe that Poles, Swedes, Germans and Spaniards see themselves as members of one European nation. Just because people have the same type of eyes doesn’t make them one race or one ethnicity.
I’m indulgent toward mild ethnocentricity as long as it is not combined with gratuitous hostility toward members of other ethnic groups. Somebody once said that the best friend is someone who is slightly inferior. Since he is only slightly inferior, we can feel affinity with him while still enjoying the sinful pleasure of feeling superior. Maybe it is the same with many ethnocentrics. They like to feel superior but also to be friends with people who aren’t co-ethnics.

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11 thoughts on “Schipper on Racialism, Ethnocentrism, Nationalism and Decolonization”

  1. “I agree it’s bizarre to say that Jews aren’t White. Of course they are White!”
    Even Ashkenazi Jews ARE NOT WHITE since they have their origins in the Semitic Middle East and not White Europe – genetic science proves that Ashkenazi Jews are derived from the non-White Middle East and are genetically distinct from Whites: http://scienceblogs.com/gnxp/2009/01/how_ashkenazi_jewish_are_you.php & http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2008/04/snps-dont-lie.php
    In addition to the genetic evidence, Jews are also very culturally, socially, and religiously different from European-derived Whites.
    Face the facts and stop lying to yourself and others – JEWS ARE NOT WHITE.
    It is only in the clueless USA where Jews are erroneously thought of as White by the majority of the populace (probably because race is generally defined along a narrow Black-White continuum), and even that didn’t occur until Jews gained hegemony in many cultural, academic, and media-related sectors in America during the 1960s…before that it was known and admitted by both Jews and Whites that JEWS ARE NOT WHITE.
    However, quite a few Jews have mixed with Whites in the USA and elsewhere, so in that sense those Jews are partially White and partially Jewish.

  2. accidentaldissent is correct – full and permanent geographic separation of races is the key to a society which remains healthy, sustainable, and viable for the long-term.

  3. So we’ve got alpha unit questioning the sanity of anyone who thinks racial separatism is achievable (that’s her way of arguing against it) and Robert Lindsay saying it is the only possible result of supremacism taken to its logical end (that’s his way of arguing against it). Two arguments against it that are only compatible if supremacism cannot be taken to its “logical end”!
    You can’t both be right, and I suspect you don’t feel it’s necessary to try to find common ground because any argument thrown at racial separatism is enough to place the thrower above reproach. My guess is that in 1910, someone who suggested that an American college professor could create a dozen new European republics by the end of the decade would be thought insane too. I also deny that any sort of supremacism was at work in the creation of those republics.

  4. What I consider unachievable is the FULL AND PERMANENT separation of races.
    By what mechanism is this to be brought about?

  5. If Eman is talking about perfection from a public policy, I agree that that is impossible. Different people have different ideas of who constitutes what race. So a policy that’s perfect in one person’s eyes would be worthless in another’s.
    In a country with free movement between, and emigration from, states, the character of each homeland would self-reinforce. That is as close to permanent as I think you could get. A movement could arise to wake people up to the recognition that a Federally-created and -enforced right of each individual to live in every community necessarily kills the right of communities to determine their own ethnic character.
    With a change in the nature of the Constitution – mostly the 14th Amendment, actually – a state could have the right to block domestic settlement to it, while still being required by the old sheaf of laws and SCOTUS decisions to protect the political and civil rights of those who remain. A few states that specified themselves ethnically or racially would start to attract people with a desire to live there. The rest of the states would attract people who want to live in multiracial, multicultural settings, and that would be maintained.
    The main problem is that the sooner this is done, the easier and less painful it will be, but the incentive to do it is at present unknown.

  6. Ack, I left a bunch of words out.
    “With a change in the nature of the Constitution – mostly the 14th Amendment, actually – a state could have the right to block domestic settlement to it” … by any groups specified in state law. (I’d put something into the amendment specifying that anyone at least 50% descended from the indigenous habits of USA territory would not be excludable by state law.)

  7. Dear Robert
    If everybody is my brother, then nobody is my brother. If you consider Punjabis, people who don’t speak your language, don’t have your religion and are culturally quite different from you, as your brothers, then the word brother doesn’t mean much. I fail to see why you would feel more affinity with Punjabis than Philippinos, who are Catholics.
    As to your animosity toward the teeming Mexicans in your state, I can understand that perfectly, but what does it have to do with race? It is just a normal tribal reaction that is triggered by too many members of another tribe who are entering your territory. The more numerous immigrants are and the more different they are from the natives, the more hostility they will provoke among the natives, but once again, race has nothing to do with it.
    Suppose that all the Mexicans were lily-white but equal in every other regard, then you would resent them as much as you are doing today. On the other hand, suppose that they were far darker than they are today but much less numerous and in behavior very similar to native Americans, then you would resent them less.
    The Mexican invasion should not motivate you to become a White ethnocentric but an American nativists. As an American nativists you can oppose all immigrants who arrive in excessive numbers together with black Americans, who are just as much as you disadvantaged by the Mexican invasion. Massive immigration should sharpen national, not racial sentiments.
    Regards. James

  8. James: I am also an American nativist, of course. Lately when I see a Black, I am happy. At least I know he’s a fellow American. I feel happy in ethnocentrism. I wasn’t happy being deracinated. I feel happy now that I’m a Christian. I was not happy being an agnostic.
    A lot of the Mexicans are part of my racial family. Many, many Mexicans, especially here in the US, have lots and lots of White in them. For a long time in this state, most of them were mostly-White people. Even the ones who are not majority-White still often have lots of White in them.
    Being a minority is a known spur to ethnocentrism.

  9. Understood, Public Enemy No. 0.
    I guess you have much more faith in the human race than I do!
    I think any attempt to create an “ideal society” on earth is likely to fail, despite the best intentions.

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