Lola Adesioye, a British socio-political writer and commentator who lives in New York, took the time to ask some questions in “When ‘racist’ is an overused word.” I consider myself overqualified to answer the questions—which of course is not fashionable in these days of playing stupid for profit—so, I’m over here at my Blog, which means for the time being I can go ahead:
Q: How do you define a racist?
A: I define a “racist” as a person who assumes that the concept of “race” is not only scientific but also eternal or “universal.” People who describe themselves as “Afro-centric” need to work on thinking outside of the boundaries of modern European academic consciousness. Freedom is not the freedom to do what oppressors do. Envy not the oppressor.
Q: How do you define racism?
A: Based on my pervious answer I can refuse to participate in the intellectual framework supporting the existence of this question. Any attempts to ‘lock me in’ or violently disregard my attempts to escape this pedestrian mode of thought stem from the very place were “racism” finds a home. When people insist that you follow a line, they are usually borrowing from military science where focusing on killing is an elaborate discipline. Yes, it is true that soldiers can “think too much” in the haste of combat—but I am not a soldier and haste may come when I decide it is time to move. It is an error to misapply these military ways of death to ways of life. There are army men and then there are family men… This artifact of “racism” is a mere byproduct of invasive, aggressive, preemptive warfare which is merely stealing on a massive scale. This study of war requires egocentrism and its complimentary lack of imagination.
It follows that this “racism” thing comes from egocentrism, a lack of empathic imagination, warfare and the “peacetime” study of war. It is a strategic error to target the container labeled “racism” instead of focusing on these deeper, barbarous qualities of irreligious piety.
Q: What would you say is the difference between racism and discrimination?
A: This left-brain lysis (cutting) yields nothing of interest to me. Slicing a fine line between the container labeled “racism” and the container labeled “discrimination” may appear to be an intelligent thing to do—but I disagree. This aesthetic appearance is, to me, the difference between building with a complex web of flying buttresses and building in large, primal, blocks of stone. My tendency is to prefer primacy.
Q: What’s reverse racism?
A: In “Flippant Remarks about the Difference between a Bright Young Palestinian and Bright Young American Negro,” I wrote:
The Palestinian youths would largely regard as a human stage of adult maturity the ability to work in groups with each other. They should regard as bizarre the idea that working together in Palestinian-only groups is somehow related to “reverse racism”—or a “reverse” of the apartheid system in Israel today (and in the past). In fact, the Palestinian seeking true diversity would work for both Palestinian-only organizations and ethnically diverse groups. (You, reader, should notice that I do not mention gender here. I do not intend to defend certain sexist interpretations of the word of Muhammad.)
In “Flippant Remarks about ‘English-Prime,’” I wrote:
English grows like a cancer sucking in words into its language decade after decade. This activity is based on the imperial tradition of the Normans (the Norse Men—the North Men) who would kick your ass one day and take your clothes and dress and talk like you the next. The Normans are praised by the properly-assimilated [academic] authorities for their ability to conquer and assimilate at the same time. This is regarded as intelligent. In case you would like to flatter yourself with accusations of “reverse racism,” compare the number of words in French and the number of words in English—the French have a different imperial style of kicking ass.
The above probably does not answer the question so I guess I get an F on the standardized test. “Racism” is an abstract noun with the false promise of implied meaning. People who call themselves poets should not depend on these implications to carry their intent. My bias is revealed: being trapped in English, I recommend studying the Imagist movement of Hulme, Ezra Pound and others—as mentioned in “The Art of Poetry” here in the kinté space.