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SNOB

“SNOB … stands for Social Naiveté of Behavior or Simple Necessities of Business, depending on which side you’re looking at. Those who espouse the SNOB theory hold dear the motto ‘Nothing so Blind as a Colonized Mind’. …

SNOB’s guiding principle is that human beings tend to imitate those they perceive as their social superiors. … With transnational capitalism, SNOB began to creep across frontiers … The goal of the practicing corporate (or development agency) SNOB is to enroll Third World bourgeoisies in the brotherhood …

Modern SNOB’s wouldn’t dream of using bombs and napalm when training programs, foundation grants, marketing experts, and mass media work so much more effectively. The fun of the game is to make the victim want your _______________. The blank may be filled in with ‘dangerous pharmaceuticals,’ ‘plastic shoes,’ ‘infant formula,’ ‘soft drinks,’ ad libitum, and easily extended to include ‘hospital based health care,’ ‘educational system,’ ‘agricultural techniques,’ etc.

This has proven almost too simple. The only element that adds spice and subtlety to the mind-colonizing game is this: The target population must be encouraged to abandon its own authentic culture in favor of a lower-middle class, Western, wholly commercialized ersatz. Third World elites must not, with very rare exceptions, be allowed to witness of to participate in the culture of Western upper classes, for the very reason that this upper class culture is often uncannily close to the one the conditioned victim must learn to despise as ‘backward’ and ‘inferior’ in his own country, for obvious commercial reasons. …

‘Savages’ breastfeed, as the quoted African doctor puts it. Western masses and nouveaux riches (and not so richs) Third Worlders bottlefeed with infant formula. Upper-class, educated Western women breastfeed.

‘Natives’ are thin because they work hard and often go hungry. Lower and middle class Westerners are often obese – as are rich Third World wives – living proof their husbands can afford to stuff them. Rich Westerners are slender – indeed they may spend as much money losing weight as putting it on. …

I believe SNOBism is here to stay. That is why I propose … that we encourage Third World imitation of Western modes, but that we make some effort in the direction of social equality … with volunteers from the best families … [devoted] to the display of authentic upper-class Western lifestyles. Trendy New York hostesses could lecture on how they serve unpolished rice and perfect vegetable terrines … Their husbands would explain that ‘nobody’ watches television or buys anything plastic when a natural substance is available …

Who knows? Western corporations could lose a few marginal markets, but Third World elites might begin to feel secure in their own traditions.”

aus: Susan George: Ill fares the land. Essays on food, hunger, and power. Washington D.C.: Institute for Policy Studies 1984, S.91-93, siehe auch erweiterte 1990 Internetversion.

04/24

07/04/2024 (22:02) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Joking

“People trying to hide behind the shield of satire are interesting. For me, who makes a living making fun of race, making fun of white people, it’s hard to say what exactly is acceptable and what works and what doesn’t. It’s like the old ruling on pornography where the judge says I can’t define it but I know what it is when I see it.

You don’t really have to be that smart to tell when someone’s satire is coming from a place of intelligence and not a place of hate. It is so hard to disguise the hate that comes out of people who try to call it funny.”

Baratunde Thurston: How to be black. New York u.a.: Harper 2012, S.230

03/24

01/04/2024 (23:48) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

White Noise

Common Questions that You’ll Have to Answer

White noise” is the term for sounds that are such a regular part of your environment that they blend into a dependable background hum. White noise is a subtle sound track for your daily life. It’s like living next to a freeway. At first, the sound of the cars may seem so loud you can barely hear yourself think. But after a while the drone becomes familiar, a standard part of your daily routine. In fact, some days you can’t imagine living without it. Just kidding.

You may have heard these statements so often that you’ve begun to tune them out. It’s time to splash some cold water on your face and listen again to what’s being said around you. . . .

• ‘Do black people get tan? What I mean is, does your skin get darker? And then do you call that ‘tan’ or ‘darker’? You get blacker, right? Or do you get lighter? Do you get lighter in the sun?’

• ‘You speak English very well. You’re so articulate. You can talk without even sounding black. But you could sound black if you wanted to, right? Do it now. Say something and sound really black.’

• ‘I used to try to make friends with black people, but black people just don’t want to be friends with white people. I try to talk to them and they look at me like I’m crazy. What am I doing wrong?’

•”I thought it would be really fascinating to meet you since you’re from the Caribbean. Oh, you’re not from the Caribbean? Well, you could be. Are you sure you’re not?’

• ‘I’ve met a few black people in my life. They were interesting, always wore the most colorful clothes. I don’t remember their names. I liked to look at them. But I didn’t make friends with any of them. We didn’t have anything in common.’

• ‘How come black people don’t come to our group? I invite them. I have food I think they will like, but they don’t come. Week after week we wait, and no people of color come. They just aren’t interested in our group. I guess we’re going to stay an all-white group. I don’t know how to change that. It’s not our fault. We want to talk about racism, but how can we do that without people of color there?’

• ‘Why do you call yourselves black? I mean you’re not really black, you’re more of a brown color. Though I did see this man once who was so black. He was actually black, like the color, like my shoes. Actually black. He was beautiful. I thought so.’

• ‘You have such an interesting name. Are you named after [insert name of geographical landmark] or [insert name of ethnic food] or maybe [insert rhyming name of impoverished country]? I’ve never met anyone with your name. Did you make it up yourself?’

• ‘Why are you always talking about racism? Can’t you just relax? I tell people not to talk about race around black people ‘cause you’ll get really angry and call them racist.’

• ‘I really don’t have very much experience with people of color. I don’t know what to say or do. I’m from an all-white town, remember? Don’t fault me for my circumstances. If I’m surrounded by white people, I’m going to know mostly white people and know about white people. What am I supposed to do? Yes, all of my friends are white, but I don’t know any other people. Am I supposed to seek out black people? You think they’re going to talk to me?”

• ‘My grandparents are the most racist people you’d ever meet. I sit at dinner sometimes and they say the most racist things. I can’t believe it. There’s nothing I can do about it. Let me tell you some of the things they say. They are so racist.’

• ‘Last year I read this book, I don’t remember the name, but a black person wrote it. You know the one they made into a movie? It was great. You’d like it. It wasn’t like anything I’ve ever read. You’d probably understand it more than I would. It was really good. The main character was black and he killed a woman and he was running from the police. And I don’t want to spoil the ending or anything ‘cause you really should read it, but he gets killed. In the end. In prison. He was guilty. It was really good. Really realistic. A black person wrote it, so it was accurate. I think it was based on a true story. I bet it was true. You’d like it. You should read it. I’ll lend it to you.’

• ‘Where I went to school there was a lot of racism and the black kids were always protesting. I don’t really know much about it. I heard once that the campus police beat this kid up because he was black. But he must have done something wrong. Anyway, I didn’t really get involved with it. I had to concentrate on important things, like my schoolwork.’

• ‘All the black people I’ve met are so angry, it makes it hard to be friends with them. But you are easy to talk to. You don’t get mad every time I say something.’

• ‘You come from a big family. And you grew up in the ghetto, I mean, inner city. Right? How many brothers and sisters do you have? Did you have to share a bedroom with all of them? Do you know your father? And you were really poor and on welfare. Or did you have money? Then you aren’t really black. Like, you are black, but you are kind of white too. You kind of act white. I bet you can be black or white depending on who you’re talking to.’

• ‘Were your great-grandparents slaves? I just found out that my great-great-grandparents were slave masters. They owned slaves. Of course I don’t think that’s good or anything. I’m glad that it’s all in the past now. I can’t be held responsible for something my ancestors did hundreds of years ago. It was a really long time ago. Everything is different now. People are equal. I can’t keep paying for things my ancestors did that I don’t even believe in. What am I supposed to do, pay a special tax? A white tax?’

• ‘People think that you, I mean black people, are uneducated. But you’re different. I mean, I don’t think of you that way. A lot of people I know think that way. You’re easy to talk to. Most black people aren’t as easy to talk to as you are. I can say whatever I want around you and I know you’re not going to call me a racist or something. Right? Because I’m not. I’m not a racist. You know that, right?’

• ‘I don’t even see race. When I look at someone I don’t see their race at all. I’m really beyond all of that.’

• ‘I don’t think of you as black.’”

aus: Damali Ayo: How to Rent a Negro (2005), im Internet.

Abb.: Pyris: White Noise, Plattencover, im Internet.

03/24

23/03/2024 (17:46) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Social Media 3

“First, platforms are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.”

aus: Cory Doctorow: Marshall McLuhan lecture on enshittification, Transmediale festival in Berlin, 30.1.24, im Internet.

Abb.: Carmsie Melodie: Frozen Girls, Second Life Art, im Internet.

02/24

14/02/2024 (15:20) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Anti-racism

“The national conversation on racism seems to be stuck in an endless loop. … instead of the nuances of racial inequality being understood, the issue is portrayed as a simple matter of people saying or doing bad things to each other, and we get a tiresome to and from between those ‘playing the race card’ and others ‘in denial’. Many of us just tune out, while the overall issue of racism in society – a real problem in need of an urgent solution – remains unaddressed.

That is why, six years ago, the Reframing Race initiative was set up. … We discovered – plainly – that words make a difference. …

The first problem we found was that people don’t agree on what the basic facts mean. For instance, ‘black people are stopped and searched at seven times the rate of white people’: some will believe this indicates a racist bias in policing; others will simply say it’s a sign of criminality in the black population. It is therefore important to tell the full story, which is that the over-representation of black people in the criminal justice system does not imply they are more inclined to commit crime. …

We did find one particularly effective way to communicate the problem of racism: namely, a CV investigation that showed recruiters were biased in favour of white applicants. In telling the full story of this study, we were able to rule out any explanations other than race-based discrimination. Choosing to represent structural racism in this way allows a mainstream audience to see it for themselves, and leads the discussion away from the ‘Is it racist?‘ ping-pong game. …

Another thing we found is that showing some intention behind structural racism – even naming a ‘perpetrator’, such as a government department – leads to a more fluent discussion about how to address it. This approach is also more likely to inspire hope that things can be changed; if something was designed in a way that disadvantaged certain racial groups, it is reasonable to suppose we could redesign it.

Surprisingly, our research also tells us that it is possible to be bold – even radical – in challenging racism, so long as your ideas are explained well enough. For instance, we found most people agreed with the idea of investing in mental health services so that police did not have to do the job of mental health professionals, and for teaching schoolchildren of all backgrounds their shared history. I doubt the phrases ‘defund the police’ or ‘decolonise the curriculum’ would have generated the same support.”

aus: Nina Kelly: How to have a meaningful debate about racism? We asked 20,000 people, and this is what we found, The Guardian Online, 28.12.23, im Internet.

Abb.: Sara Dilliplane, BLM, im Internet.

12/23

29/12/2023 (0:59) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Nobodies

“Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, and nobodies dream of escaping poverty: that, one magical day, good luck will suddenly rain down on them – will rain down in buckets. But good luck doesn’t rain down, yesterday, today, tomorrow or ever. Good luck doesn’t even fall in a fine drizzle, no matter how hard the nobodies summon it, even if their left hand is tickling, or if they begin the new day on their right foot, or start the new year with a change of brooms. The nobodies: nobody’s children, owners of nothing. The nobodies: the no-ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits, dying through life, screwed every which way. Who are not, but could be. Who don’t speak languages, but dialects. Who don’t have religions, but superstitions. Who don’t create art, but handicrafts. Who don’t have culture, but folklore. Who are not human beings, but human resources. Who do not have faces, but arms. Who do not have names, but numbers. Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the crime reports of the local paper. The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them.”

aus: Eduardo Galeano, Nobodies/1, The Book of Embraces, 1989, im Internet

09/23

08/10/2023 (0:25) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Smartphone 2

“What about when you get lost? ‘Oh my God, everyone asks that! Like getting lost is the worst thing that can ever happen to a human being,’ she exclaims. ‘So let me get this right: in exchange for the maps you will give away your democracy, the mental health of your children, your own mental health – for a map? I will get you a map! We are free! If you want to be free, you can free yourself.'”

aus: Zadie Smith: ‘I get in trouble when I talk about the state of the nation’, interviewed by Lisa Allardice, The Guardian online, 26.8.23, im Internet.

08/23

26/08/2023 (17:20) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Planes 1

“‘We live on top of a monstrosity now,’ she exclaims; the environmental crisis is ‘the perfect analogy’ to 19th-century attitudes towards slavery. ‘When we say ‘How could they ever?’, how can we ever?’ she asks. ‘Are you going to get on a plane this summer? We do it all the time. How can we ever?'”

aus: Zadie Smith: ‘I get in trouble when I talk about the state of the nation’, interviewed by Lisa Allardice, The Guardian online, 26.8.23, im Internet.

Abb.: Einsendung zum Deutschen Karikaturpreis 2019…

08/23

26/08/2023 (17:03) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

EU

“You are more than your myths. But to be the hope that the rest of us outside of Europe need, you must come to terms with history. The idea that Europe is a group of nation states that chose integration is a fatal myth. It is killing the future.

The European Union is the creation of failed or failing European empires. At the beginning is Germany. The Germans were defeated in 1945 after the most decisive and most catastrophic war of colonialism of all time. We remember it as the Second World War. Italy in 1945 also lost a colonial war in Africa and in the Balkans. Not long after, in 1949, the Netherlands lost a colonial war in the East Indies. Belgium lost the Congo in 1960. France, having been defeated both in Indochina and Algeria, makes a decisive turn to Europe in the early 1960s. … These are the powers that initiated the European project. None of them were nation states at the time. None of them had ever been nation states.

The same is true for the countries who first joined the European Union. …

When the European Union admitted east and central European states … it provided a home for the states that were created after the First World War …: Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, the Baltic States … All six of them ceased to exist soon after. The history of nation states in Europe tends to be nasty, brutish and short.

The European Union today is an assembly of two kind of states: those that used to be at the centre of empires, and those that were on the periphery. In both cases, the question of what to do after empire has been answered – and then forgotten. …

Your myth that you as nation states came together turns your head away not just from the responsibility for imperialism, but also from the scale of your own achievement in recovering from empire. The story of the end of empire is not usually one of the affirmation of sovereignty and the rapid recovery of prosperity.

The European story is nice. It’s a nice story about innocent, small European nation states who, in their nice little way, realized that economic interests united them. It’s a nice story but it’s not history. The history of the twentieth century is that European powers, which had dominated the world for the previous half millenium, found themselves forced to pull back to Europe, where they created something new. …

It is not visible from inside but is very clear from the outside that the European Union strengthens the European state. The debate about sovereignty inside the European Union makes no sense. There have never been so many European states lined up next to each other, ever. The reason why they are so strong internally and externally is precisely the European Union.

It strengthens its members by making the maintenance of welfare states easier here than elsewhere. As an American, this is something I would like to report. One does notice the difference.

The European Union also protects the state externally: it is the most powerful buffer against the forces of globalisation that exists in the world. If you want to feel the difference, leave the European Union.

That was a rhetorical statement. Do not leave the European Union!

… Isn’t it interesting that you have enemies? And isn’t it interesting that they are always the defenders of a completely untenable status quo? Behind your enemies are the imperialists of an exhausted earth.

You have enemies because you have a future. Your enemies try to take your future away. Have you noticed how the future has almost disappeared from the horizon of politics? This is not an accident.

All your enemies – the Russian ones, the American ones, the Chinese ones, the ones whose sponsorship we don’t yet know – always attack you at your weakest point: your myth. They always attack your idea of nation states. They affirm your weakness and irresponsibility by affirming your comfortable myth. They see your vulnerability even if you don’t see it yourself.

This is where I’m going to conclude. You, Europeans are responsible of where memory goes. Memory of war, Holocaust, and European integration can tend towards reasserting a myth about small, innocent nation states that bear little responsibility for the past or for the future. Or memory can flow into history in which you ran the world for half a millennium, created something new in the second half of the twentieth century and now bare particular responsibility for how things turn out in the twenty-first.

In the three critical questions – of ecological panic, state destruction, and dehumanization – the European Union has more power than any other entity at this particular moment in time. You can follow the myth into a past that wasn’t, or you can follow the history into a future, which is uncertain, but is at least real. The myth will lead you into comfort, then fragmentation and humiliation. The history will lead to pain, but it will also lead to responsibility and power.

Schuman spoke of a living Europe: ‘Une Europe organisée et vivante.’ He spoke of a Europe that would create: ‘Une Europe créateur.’ Schuman spoke of Europe that could serve the peace of the rest of the world. And as a non-European, asked to address Europeans, this was for me especially significant.

You are more than your myths. For those of us on the outside, you are also a source of hope about the future.”

aus: Timothy Snyder, Judenplatz 1010, A Speech to Europe, 13.5.2019, im Internet.

Abb.: Scopatore: European_Empire_Coat_of_Arms, althistory, im Internet.

08/23

09/08/2023 (21:23) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::

Intersectionality

“The critical race scholar who references postmodernism most explicitly in her work … is Kimberlé Crenshaw, a founder of critical race Theory and the progenitor of the concept of intersectionality. Intersectionality began as a heuristic – a tool that lets someone discover something for themselves – but has long been treated as a theory and is now describes by Crenshaw as a ‘practice’. …

She … uses the metaphor of a roadway intersection to examine the ways in which different forms of prejudice can ‘hit‘ an individual with two or more marginalized identities. … This … approach allowed for ever more categories of marginalized identity to be incorporated …, adding layer upon layer …

[Her 1991 essay] ‘Mapping the Margins’ provides the means: openly advocating identity politics over liberal universalism, which had sought to remove the social significance of identity categories and treat people equally regardless of identity. …

The number of axes of social division under intersectionality can be almost infinite – but they cannot be reduced to the individual. (People often joke that the individual is the logical endpoint of an intersectional approach that divides people into smaller and smaller groups – but this misunderstands the fundamental reliance on group identity. Even if a person were a unique mix of marginalized identities … she would be understood through each and all of these group identities, with the details to be filled in by Theory. …). …

However, there is nothing complex about the overarching idea of intersectionality … Nothing could be simpler. It does the same thing over and over again: look for the power imbalances, bigotry, and biases that it presumes must be present and pick at them. It reduces everything to one single variable, one single topic of conversation, one single focus and interpretation: prejudice … Theory … always assumes that, in every situation, some form of Theoretical prejudice exists …

All this ‘sophistication’ keeps intersectionalists busy … under an overarching metanarrative of Social Justice, which seeks to establish a caste system based on Theorized states of oppression. …

[This] is markedly different from the activism for universal human rights that characterized the civil rights movements … [which] sought and seek to equalize opportunities by criminalizing discrimination, remedying disenfranchisement, and defeating bigotry by making prejudice on the grounds of immutable characteristics socially unacceptable. …

Critical race Theory and intersectionality are characterized by a great deal of divisiveness, pessimism, and cynicism. … [Its] hallmark paranoid mind-set, which assumes racism is everywhere, always, just waiting to be found, is extremely unlikely to be helpful or healthy for those who adopt it. …”

aus: Helen Pluckrose / James Lindsay: Cynical theories, Durham, NC: Pitchstone 2020, S.123-129.

Abb.: Jim Chuchu, Mural, 2014, im Internet.

05/23

25/05/2023 (23:50) Schlagworte: EN,Lesebuch ::
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