Empty Days

Thursday, July 29, 2004



Racial hatred - hello there.

I make a point of being merciless when I need to express anger. Political correctness just doesn't fit in here.

If a late-night reception with disco in the nearby synagogue bothers my sleep I will call them fat pigs and I will want to paint a huge swastika over the main-entrance the next morning even though I don't mean it in the Nazi sense but it's the best insult for Jews so I'd want to use it, for lack of better insult. I'll call every black hoodlum bike-thief a fucking bare-ass Negro. I have no good bad-name for philippinoes so I just call them fucks, assholes and slum rats. And so on and so forth.

I wonder whether all of this makes me racist. Actually, it makes me wonder about how to define racism.

I think it's actually natural for people to hate each other. Especially groups. It's natural to have frictions and to get into each other's face. But it's far less natural to get massively murderous and ideological about it - whenever you get ideological about natural things, you're getting over your head.

What makes me different from the fat rich Jews at the synagogue is the same thing that makes me different from the slum-minded Philippino worker - difference of upbringing, culture, economic wealth, social status and such. It's insurmountable in the immediate present but I know that when I meet a philippino or a jew who share my values and views, there are no reasons for me to see them as different or hostile - that's where the racial moment fades away, quite naturally. The Indian-born anchor-man on CBC is far more canadian than I ever could be, and far less Indian than any Indian I meet in the streets. He looks Indian, but I can't even think of him as Indian - to me he's a vintage Canadian, I know in advance how he feels and thinks because I know what Canadians are like.

Second or third generation chinese call themselves "eggs" - yellow on the inside, white on the outside. "White" in being completely assimilated to predominant north-american culture, yet keeping a fundamental link to their "yellow" community which has all those real incompatible values and ideas. I had a good friend in computer school who was chinese but more assimilated to Quebec pop-culture than anyone I've seen - he kept blaming Quebeckers for being racist, and in that sense he was right, because Quebeckers are really new to having anybody assimilate to them - for the longest time it's been the other way around, so they are pretty tight-ass about it. But I couldn't really see this guy as Chinese despite his physical race - that cultural part was private and never shown, because it made no sense outside of his small chinese family-world. At the same time, he told me horrible things about Vietnamese - because it turns out that the Chinese have a things against gooks, and consider them vile and mean. Gee - I had no idea. But he came from Laos - and there the mixture of races produced long-standing hatreds. Perhaps main-land chinese don't have that particular problem, I just don't know.

So, what about racism then? I dislike the philippino community intensely because I have had problems with it - but I clearly recall a time when I had no idea what philippinoes could be like and had no bad feeling towards them, on the contrary even. I developed a hatred for this community because it really poisoned my life - I didn't exactly choose to live in their midst, it just happened that way. Next time I move, I will be careful to avoid any place where there are high concentrations of the philippino element, I am sure of that. So in that sense I am most certainly a racist - but not an ideological one. I know that all these kids will gradually grow out of their typical slum-mentality, not to mention the third generation. Mine is a circumstantial racism, it doesn't perpetuate itself into theory.

I've noticed that people who live comfortable lives on well-protected private property away from direct contact with whatever unseamly realities, find it very easy to be politically correct - to sing happy hymns to multiculturalism and all that stuff. Heh. Good for them. For me it doesn't work because I am knee-deep in all that mutliculturalism and I have to endure all the bad fumes. I could care less about being politically correct - I've got no face to lose with all the shit I have to face. So I'll leave it to the high-minded to be high-minded, and keep talking my talk as I see fit.

Racism is offensive just as life itself is offensive. The more you are isolated from the offensive realities of life, the more high-minded you get. I used to be so much more high-minded that I am now, I must say. I hadn't a clue. My academic friend in Toronto who employs philippino nannies loves philippinoes - well, I say: if I could employ a philippino nanny I'd love them too, dearly. But I am not sure my friend would feel all that comfortable if she had to live my kind of life. She'd find it most offensive. Just like this chinese guy from Laos developped an "irrational" hatred of Vietnamese because of dead bodies he's seen in the street as a kid - there were bad frictions there, and the chinese were a wealthy minority or something like that.

In short - people do hate each other all the time, and racism is an intermittent form of this hatred. When hatred gets over the top and we have communities trying to kill each other off, then we can speak of racism in the proper sense. All the rest is pretty much petty cash - it comes and goes, it can be settled and dissolved. Being a purist and having no tolerance for any manifestations of hatred is not a good idea - then you'll see every community friction in terms of budding genocide and that's not what it is. I don't believe the fights between chinese and italian and irish mafias in NYC could be called "racial frictions" in the proper sense - they were community mafia fights, that's all. Much of community hatreds is this way - people have different ways of life that often don't mix well. There are frictions. What can you do.

For any form of racism to disappear completely the differences between communities must disappear. It can't be done that easy. Frictions will remain, people will continue to hate each other. That's the real face of the melting pot - it takes a lot of heat to melt.

***

Political correctness thinking completely forgets that part - the unpleasant realities of it. I don't even know why it's there, what it's trying to achieve. If you take USA, there's always been immigration and different communities hated each other guts, fought in the streets, and nevertheless kept assimilating in due time. A predominant culture must exist to effect assimilation - that's where everyone meets, that's where those irreconcilable differences are melted and forgotten. It seems to me that the politically correct thing makes it harder for the dominant culture to assert itself - for all the different people to assimilate properly. Assimilation is never an easy process, it's actually pretty nauseating. In fact it only makes sense when you can feel that you are assimilating into something coherent and powerful - never because it's "nicer" than your own culture. It's a gravitational effect, of bigger body pulling smaller ones into its orbit - it's a violent process and things get broken and lost on the way.

It is probably harder to assimilate in Canada today than it is in the States. Likewise, political correctness is somewhat more pervasive here - probably a sign of weakness of the predominant culture, which is translated as "nicer". But it's not really that nice on the ground, where it all happens - and there is no reason why it would be.

So what does politically correct thinking achieve in the end? People stay different longer but they don't quite kill each other, and that's the main idea I suppose: contain frictions from too much diversity. Then they find out that Indian and Philippino kids still beat each other to death in school somewhere in the sunny B.C. - why do they do it? No, it's not racism. It's because communities are really big there and not in any hurry to assimilate - and there are frictions like that, what can you do.

In the end, it turns out that political correctness is almost entirely directed at weakening the community cohesion of the predominant culture - anglo-saxon canadian or american - and not in any way pertinent in weakening the cohesion of smaller community groups, so they get at each other's throats under the radar and it doesn't matter. On the face of it, the weakening of the cohesion is designed to weaken exclusiveness so that more different people could join in. But it's not that simple. Immigrant communities are extremely exclusive and also much more cohesive - it becomes harder to pull away from them if the dominant culture is too vague and getting vaguer. Instead of one generation it may take another generation to do the trick.

Is this a good result? I am not sure it is - at least it's not very inspiring.

***

Immigrant laws are also very strange due to all this. It's clear and obvious that people who want to emigrate to North America, be it Canada or USA, desire this for purely economic reasons. It's the only reason that could pull someone from a place like Pakistan to want to come to a completely foreign world with all the immense personal-ties loss and hassle that this implies - it's not any great desire for personal freedom or whatever high-minded shit like that. Only a small minority want to emigrate for really political and ideological reasons - most people come for a better life, rather than freedom and all that claptrap.

Yet immigration laws continue to stress the political factor as if it were essential. The land of free and blah-blah. Philippinoes don't come here to be free - they come here to buy a home and cars and raise family with electric laundry appliances. Jesus. And they work like mad for this little dream. Political freedom is a joke compared to that glorious vision. Same exact thing for all who arrive from empoverished countries - which is 90% of all immigrants, for all I know. Nevertheless, immigration officials continue to press for proofs of "political persecution" in home-countries and people keep inventing totally incredible stories with tears, all of this because they have no choice but to lie and satisfy the law.

This is totally sick. I wonder why there is such a deathly fear of facing facts and changing the law to cover realities rather than "democratic freedom" fantasies. I suppose then the poor officials won't know on what basis to discriminate between arrivals - since everybody is equally poor and destitute everybody is a fine candidate for admission: first come, first served? Quotas? All of this exists already. So people try to squeeze in over the quota with all those fake persecution stories. Maybe they're even glad there are such crazy laws they can try to play with. I think the one thing that prevents the law to face reality is that it would be too "inhuman" - refugee-status laws are different from those for immigration. Immigration can be economical, but refugees gotta stay political otherwise the whole concept goes up in smoke.

But the reality is that there is practically no difference these days. The world has changed. People flee poverty first and persecution second. It's kinda hard to maintain crystal-clear ideological principles under these conditions.

Is Cuba totalitarian or is it simply dirt poor? What about North Korea? And so on and so forth. In other words, the world has definitely changed from free-unfree to rich-poor. It is indeed a very "inhuman" reality - but it's real. I don't think it's been fully grasped by the powers that be as yet. But they're getting there.





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