History is a really tough one. At the very least, it's extremely imposed in a way we use to compose our present. Like cancer or mental illness, there are clearly objective physical elements that have to be interpreted and categorized in a way that makes up for our extremely limited knowledge. History may be unsolvable, not in the sense that there's nothing to be solved, but what there is to be solved is entirely too complicated for us to understand without a god-like ability to trace back causality.

There's a lot to be deconstructed about history. Margaret Thatcher once said that there is no such thing as society, and it's theoretically possible to analyze history through a purely individualist view of interactions between people without regard for constructs like race, which allows for nuance like free black slaveholders. If we look at it from a pure physical understanding, maybe we'd see it all as semi-deterministic interactions between particles.

These approaches both clearly miss a whole lot and aren't actually very helpful for a macro-level understanding of human society. For one, they completely ignore emergent properties, which is perhaps another angle to look at social constructs from. If biology is an emergent property of chemistry, and consciousness is an emergent property of chemistry/biology, then maybe society is an emergent property of multiple consciousnesses and social constructs are an emergent property within society? In that case, maybe there is something "real" and even physical/objective about social constructs within themselves.

Yesterday I watched a video about critical race theory. I don't fully trust this person given his takes on Marx and other stuff, but from what I've managed to glean about CRT from various sources, I don't think I like it. Kendi's Department of Anti-Racism idea, for example, is borderline insane and has really strong Ministry of Truth vibes. One has to wonder if the goal is to abolish race or permanently codify it in our society and law. You can't do both.

One of the most basic laws of conflict is that if you know your enemy and you know yourself, you'll know the outcome of a thousand battles. How can I possibly trust the CRT people to defeat whiteness when they fundamentally refuse to make an accurate evaluation of it? How can white people so powerful that they subjugate and control the lives of everyone on the planet, but also so weak they can't produce anything meaningful? Reminds me a bit of Umberto Eco's popular listicle.

If racism is primarily a set of institutions and policies that structurally disadvantage certain groups of people, wouldn't anti-racism be the opposite? Ending homelessness and the drug war would immediately and disproportionately benefit black people and other minorities, so why don't we focus our energy on that instead of bizarre social engineering projects? Maybe intellectuals do discuss how to solve these material problems, but it sure doesn't get any air time.

In regards to the Rachel Dolezal thing, I think this is generally a problem I have with black nationalism. Nationalism, as I understand it, is essentially politics based around an imagined community. Black nationalism functions in the sense that there's a set of people all around the world who have a shared experience of racism, and for defensive purposes it might be helpful from them to band together and create a separate society where they can flourish outside of the constraints of societal discrimination and oppression.

The problem with this in the long term is that it helps codify the existence of a category that isn't fluid. Prioritizing "American" lives over the lives of those in other countries is clearly awful and has evil consequences, but at least in theory anyone can become an American. Blackness, on the other hand, is something stamped on you at birth that can't really be changed. It means people aren't free to choose their affiliation, which can lead to resentment and violence. There are also certain pathologies that appear with people who are seen as not being black enough or "too white". I'm not going to pretend I know enough to do a sufficient analysis of black nationalism/separatism, but I'm personally very skeptical of its efficacy and on a selfish level I instinctively don't like it.




Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.

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Sam Young

Sam Young

Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.

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