Jeffrey Allen Gandy on Wed, 27 Oct 1999 19:36:29 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> racism, documentation and comparison

> Immigrants? What about citizens?

Exactly - different subject.  Which could go on forever.  But I will do my
best to respond. 

> 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.

Difficult and consuming subject to try and handle within a written
discourse.  I would much rather tackle it in person with a beer.  ;-)  You
can imagine the debates I have with my girlfriend, who is both Chinese and
a practicing lawyer in both countries. 

I do agree with your assessment of the racial disproportions tied to drug
law enforcement.  There are a lot of unjust happenings under the guise of
both drug laws and also DWI (driving while intoxicated) laws.  A lot of
this is political, and hence extremely difficult to change.  And sadly
much of it is tied to the Conservative movement in this country. 

Imprisonment IS high in this country.  It IS done under barbaric
conditions, which seem to only cause further divisions within the very
society it is supposed to protect.  Irregardless of the per capita
statistics though, the justice system as a whole is far different than
what one finds in China.  The sad part is that in this country we should
do better than what we have, both because we are capable and because we
should stand by our expressed ideals. 

> 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.

Yes and so are the demonstrations in front of the abortion clinics.  I do
not feel this is a guaranteed right either.  But what I meant was more
along the lines of books and open debate. 

> 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.

I read something interesting on a website the other day which helps to
track the "hate" groups in the US.  I can only paraphrase, but essentially
the statement was that there is nothing so vile to a racist than to force
him to drag out his dark reasons into the light of day, and force him to
defend them. 

> Is that sort of racial
> abuse disguised as an 'argument' constitue free speech?

Of course.  Which is why the argument and views cannot and should not be
banned.  Rather they must be exposed for what they are, during the process
of public debate.  It is the only way to truly insure their defeat. 

> nonetheless there are some sorts of divisions
> here between 'hate speech', verbal abuse, and merely expressing an
> unpopular view).

Yes, I think we have attempted to cover that.  Difficult, as I said, in a
written email exchange. 

> Lesser crimes of hate therefore don't deserve protection with some
> arbitrary label which absolves guilt.

Excellent point.

As a side note I had absolutely no idea that the mailing list I subscribed
to was an interactive thing between members.  I thought it was just some
sort of alternative news feed.  I am still not quite certain to what,
exactly, I've subscribed. 

Best regards,

Jeff Gandy

"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of
thought which they seldom use." 


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