scotartt on Wed, 27 Oct 1999 19:29:44 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> racism, documentation and comparison

> > But I am to think that Mumia's penalty erases the above situation
> > after all American's are worse and that comparison is all we need to be
> > Greek!
> Hardly.  You would be hard pressed to find any of the situations you
> mention above present here on a wide scale.  Certainly treatment of
> illegal immigrants can be questionable at times, but the vast majority
> simply deported.  However, you are not speaking of illegal, but rather
> legal immigrants.

Immigrants? What about citizens? The southern american states are racist
states founded on the exploitation of a black slave class. In practically
every statistic you can muster, and especially those relating to drug
abuse, laws about drug abuse, and imprisonment rates, that racism is still
apparent, nearly everywhere. The USA's prisons hold more per capita than
its frequent favorite tragets like China, or the old USSR. 

> it's ability and willingness to control the oppression of one group's
> rights, while still maintaining the other side's inalienable right to
> speak it's views.

Very true, but it depends on what you define as 'speak its views'. I don't
think this extends to racist abuse on the streets (or elsewhere) -- that's
assault, not free speech. 

Personally speaking, in my (non-american) experience I have found that the
most vocal (and very stupidest) racists can rarely have an argument about
immigration for long before descending into "Race XXX smells / is criminal
/ is stupid / doesn't belong / can't integrate" etc. Is that sort of
racial abuse disguised as an 'argument' constitue free speech? (i'd answer
actually yes, it is, but then they can expect back a lot of in-kind
insults about stupid anglo trash ;) nonetheless there are some sorts of
divisions here between 'hate speech', verbal abuse, and merely expressing
an unpopular view). 

> > Finnaly I have to mention that "madness" is a term that can not cover
> > racial hatred, there is nothing "mad" about being a fanatic.
> I disagree with this.  Racism is in itself not madness, but rather what?
> Perhaps ignorance, fear...... they all walk hand in hand.

Ignorance, fear, hate, all these are not madness. The former three are all
in touch with reality, feed from it, maybe through a wilfull denial of
facts that challenge the basis of that fear or hate (fear is a powerful
reality distortion field), but madness, is the lack of reality field in
the first place. Madness is an interesting medico-legal concept and I
really don't think it applies (we are talking about ignorance, fear, a
genuine concern about something, hatred, crime, i.e. things that either
can be agreed or sympathised with, tolerated, ignored, educated, or

To label some abbhorrent human activity as 'madness' I think is to find an
excuse for it. Mad people are not reponsible for their actions. Brutal
genocidal Rwandan Interhamwe soldiers, Milosevich/Arkan militia, the SS --
all are responsible for their actions -- by agreement of International
Law.  Lesser crimes of hate therefore don't deserve protection with some
arbitrary label which absolves guilt. 


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