Posts Tagged ‘civilizing mission’

White man’s burden (to teach the dark-skinned how to overcome racial prejudice)

Freitag, Mai 17th, 2013
I find it rather disturbing to see a map about „racial tolerance“ shared over Facebook which is so deeply racist that it makes me wanna throw up.

First of all, it’s sheer bullshit. You cannot statistically compare reactions to a concept like „race“ that operates differently in completely different regional contexts. For instance, in Germany (and perhaps throughout Europe) it’s inseparably connected with Nazi race ideology which sent millions of people to the gas chambers, whereas in the U.S. it’s kind of a politically neutral term made to denote „skin color.“ Even funnier, if you go back to the past, race in the French context could denote something like class consciousness, for the aristocracy had invented itself as a „race“ apart from the common people. And who knows exactly what race is made to denote in India, Africa or the Arab peninsula? But what we know exactly, especially from the German context, is that „racism“ does not cease to exist with the concept of race becoming unutterable and culturally taboo. It can be replaced by terms like „culture“ or „place of origin.“

So, after all, what is the ideological statement of this ridiculous map? Its assertion is that „fair-skinned“ people are the vanguard of tolerance and enlightenment, whereas the dark-skinned are „still racist“ to the fullest. Towards whom? We don’t know. Traditionally, racism is the ideology of white power over the other in the framework of colonial conquest, imperialism and the historical aftermath of slavery. What this map tries to accomplish then is to turn this power relationship upside down in order to renew the ideology of „white man’s burden“ to civilize the backward (= darker-skinned) people, although, ironically, this time in the global fight against „racial prejudice.“