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Post Critical Race Theory: Bastian Contrario Weighs In...
Created by John Eipper on 11/10/21 2:25 AM

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Critical Race Theory: Bastian Contrario Weighs In... (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 11/10/21 2:25 am)

Our esteemed moderator has asked for comments on Critical Race Theory. This is a "wedding invitation" for a Bastian Contrario.

This Bastian has a few points:

1) In spite of its very good intentions, CRT has some drawbacks. In the recent past, worldwide public opinion reached the conclusion that human beings were all one race but with different cultures.  None is superior to another.  Different cultures developed according to local conditions, so CRT is a step backward, putting the concept of race back into play.

If we take this to an absurd extreme, we may even say that among the different cultures there is the one that appreciates the paintings at the Sistine Chapel, and another which appreciates the delicacy of human flesh. Further, the latter could be considered superior, as it is able to control the demographic explosion while protecting biological diversity and the environment, as it is not wasting anything and is not creating intensive farming with its emission of gases that exacerbate climate change.

2) In the specific case of the US, this nation was the final act of a long chain of slavery starting from Abraham (remember Agar?) all the way down.  The slave trade flourished in Africa, where the local independent "empires" held people in slavery and were extremely happy to sell them to Arab raiders who took them to the East, North, and West Coasts to be sold.

Ghezo, king of Dahomey, said in 1849: "Slavery is the principle that leads my people. It is the source of our glory and of our wellbeing."

3) Slavery in the world lasted officially until 1980, when Mauritania finally abolished it, but some kinds of slavery still exist in some Arab countries of the Gulf.  See the treatment of labor forces coming from the Philippines, Bangladesh, etc.

The first European Country to abolish slavery was the Republic of Venice in 960, but most probably this involved Christian slaves only, as apparently Saracen prisoners were used in its galleys. The Free Italian Republic of Ragusa (now Dubrovnik in Croatia) abolished all slavery in 1412, but it was on the occasion of changing its great fleet from the old galleys to the new sailing ships.

Personally, I saw photos of the Italian troops freeing the enslaved from their chains in Ethiopia. The present war there is the continuation of the wars existing at that time and a reason why many ethnic groups acclaimed the Italian intervention.

When I was in Mena Saud my Saudi skipper once asked me when he saw me being friendly with the other skipper, my Eritrean friend Amin.  He asked, "In Europe do you like Black people?" As he was rather brownish I thought that he was referring to himself, so I answered "Yes, why not?" He replied: "Oh, for us they are good only as slaves." Later, when I had already left the place he killed my friend Amin. Professional jealousy?

4) Finally the worst part of Critical Race Theory is that does not consider the problem as a whole.  As a result, it makes racism worse.

JE comments:  Bastian, your reflections above are not all that Contrario in US circles, where opposition to CRT has become mainstream.  While there's nothing offensive (I trust) in exposing history's warts, the outrage is about the "cancellation" of monuments, the renaming of military bases, and the like.  Political opportunism no doubt plays a crucial role--it's apparent that stirring up anti-CRT frenzy wins votes.  Just look at the Virginia governor's race last week.

If I were running a school district, I would repackage CRT with a less threatening name.  Historical Truthism?  Justice for the Forgotten?  Other suggestions are welcome.

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  • CRT: Parents Say "No" to Marxist Indoctrination (Francisco Wong-Diaz, USA 11/10/21 10:58 AM)
    I am glad that JE is not running a school district and disguising Marxist indoctrination by using renaming subterfuges.

    Teaching our children to read, write, learn math and how to think is what parents demand. JE should try to adopt a child and learn what it means to parent.

    JE comments: Amigo Francisco, words you minceth not.  I fail to see the dichotomy you establish between "Marxist indoctrination" on the one hand, and thinking (with reading and writing as tools for this) on the other.  Properly taught, a critical view of US history requires much reading, of primary and secondary sources, and writing to reflect, process and interpret.  "Critical" implies engagement, not the rote memorization that teaching history used to demand.

    And even math--students need to understand, for example, how the "3/5 Rule" was born of southern demographics, and what this meant for the marginalization of African Americans.

    Most of all, CRT in its ideal execution teaches empathy, towards the oppressed peoples of the past, with the Santayana-inspired hope that its mistakes will never be repeated.

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    • Anger is Not Argumentation (Francisco Ramirez, USA 11/11/21 3:57 AM)
      In response to Francisco Wong-Díaz, I have no idea what JE would be like as a parent.

      However, as both parent and grandparent, I taught my children and grandchildren that displays of anger do no add up to thinking. I also taught them that ad hominem arguments do not influence those with whom you disagree.

      The late Randy Black and I did not see eye to eye on a number of issues. But he did change my thinking about the JFK assassination though a careful marshaling of evidence to debunk some conspiracy assumptions. Had he merely name-called those with whom he disagreed, he would have been ineffective.

      Of course, WAIS can be a platform for competing ideas as well as an opportunity for personal venting.

      JE comments:  It's hard to believe that one of the pillars of WAISdom, Randy Black, has been gone for over two years.  Randy was an investigative journalist at heart, but with a strong personal viewpoint.  State your opinions, but back them up with facts.

      For you newbies, here's my tribute from April 2019:


      Francisco, you point out a truism of the ages:  Ad hominem attacks only stiffen your antagonist's position.  Yet this begs the question of why they persist.  Because they satisfy the attacker?  I would offer that they can be very profitable, especially in the political arena.  Look no further than the Trump Playbook.

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    • With CRT, Who Gets Victim Status? (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 11/11/21 6:08 AM)

      John E wrote that Critical Race Theory "in its ideal execution teaches empathy towards the oppressed peoples of the past."

      All very good, but...

      I do not see any empathy towards the Germans of the Sudetenland, Danzig, etc., the Italians from Fiume, Zara, Pola, Tenda, the Poles of Lwow, the Hungarians in many areas outside Hungary, the Serbians of Kosovo, the Palestinians, and I could go on at length.

      But the first thing to consider is that you cannot repair a previous wrong with another wrong.

      JE comments: The question for our times: Who has the right to claim victim status? You can get in trouble for pitying the Germans, for example, even though they suffered enormously after WWII--see, for example, Keith Lowe's very disturbing book Savage Continent (2012).  Can we add a "Chickens Shall Roost" corollary to the Victimhood Theory?  Or even more controversial, the notion that the Israelis get a carte blanche-by-default to oppress the Palestinians because of the Holocaust?

      Let's be clear:  CRT as presently defined refers primarily to the African American experience in the US, with Latinos and Asians far behind.  Other marginalized "hyphenated" groups (Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, Jewish Americans, etc. etc.) don't count.  Such an approach is not "critical" enough.

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