In my last article on Russophobia and Sinophobia, I commented on the intellectual and cultural intersection of modern day American racism and that of the European racism that empowered both Hitler’s “Aryanism” and Zionism.
European racism took on its distinctive character as an adjunct to the Industrial Revolution, whose mechanistic logic tried to organize societies in ever more finely defined categories and an increasingly complex social hierarchy.
Racism, back in the 19th Century, was simpler than it is today. To define obvious yourself as “in” or “out”, differences skin color or eye shape — or the shape of your nose — were convenient denominators. The meme was “I’m OK — you’re NOT OK”, as part of a status system in which all people were “objects” except those at the top.
If you were white you were OK but brown, yellow, or brown, you were clearly low in this new industrial Chain of Being. In the case of Jews, they were sneaky — they often looked like non-Jews — blonde with upturned noses and blue eyes . Fortunately, many lived in autonomous communities and, if they were orthodox, were identifiable by the hats, beards, and hair. Unfortunately for them, they occasionally had money and power, which contradicted the social rules of the hierarchy. .
As for Russians, they looked white — and they were mostly Christian, although not the right kind . Just as the Jews were seen to be corrupted by their middle eastern, “Semitic” ancestry, and suspiciously “non-European” culture, the Russians had. according to Slavophobes, miscegnated with orientals. — which meant many Europeans, the Russians were really Tartars, the descendants of the Mongols.
Hitler hated the Russians as “mongrels”.Americans hate them the same way.
“Racist” distinctions are useful for ethnic cleansing in the interests of nationalism as in the case of Nazism and Zionism. But “race” has no biological validity: we are all one species. So “race” is a kind of wild card: defined in some many different ways, according to personal bias.
As I have suggested, the naive industrial imperialism of the 18th and 19th Century — which expressed itself in global colonialism until the American Empire took over in 1945 — defined “race” in pretty simple terms.
As a result, Winston Churchill. a true 19th Century imperialist, cared not a wit for the the millions of Indians who starved as a result of his policies. Nor did the possibility of 40 million dead Russians deter his plans for a postwar nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. These “others” were, for him, not really human. Race, after all, is a denial of humanity.
Of course, Churchill’s imperialism was different from, say, Barak Obama’s — just as “racism” is not one thing,; neither is imperialism.
The Roman Empire at its height, featured amazing racial and ethnic diversity. Citizenship was defined by loyalty, not by ethnicity or race. Saul of Tarsus (St Paul) was a Roman citizen, for example, even if he was a gay Jew.
As America moved from federation to nation to empire, its racism evolved too, towards the Roman model, where humanity was determined by citizenship, rather simplistically by skin color, eye shape or nose shape.
Like Rome, the US was — and still is — ruled by a racially homogeneous oligarchy — predominately white and male. But its citizens were diverse, as were it’s federal components. The empire’s rulers needed the hoi polloi to work together harmoniously so in the 50s and 60s as the Empire expanded worldwide, the US of A implemented the myth of the American Dream and a democratic republic, where anyone could get ahead regardless of creed or color.
This myth was a propagandistic lie that had to be taught, But people had to really believe it — so you had to get to them young. The Empire put its schools and colleges and universities to work to brainwash the young that “race” didn’t matter, as long as you were an “American’. Later it was gender and sexual preference. The media propagated these “truths”. People were desperate to believe because industrialism had atomized society, breaking groups into ever smaller units, pitting them against each other, and people wanted to somehow “belong” and deny the demeaning fact that they were just cogs in a machine.
The American Dream — and Americanism — were “transformational” — except they did not nothing to change anything
Barak Obama was a good example. He ran on “change you can believe in” but worked hard to maintain the status quo. A nominally “black man” — with a white mother and raised in white schools with white advantages — he was not representative of most “black” Americans — and in some ways culturally and intellectually “whiter” than many of his Caucasian colleagues.
Once upon a time, Abraham Lincoln would have regarded Obama as subhuman. But that was then, not now. America had new marketing.
Modern American “racism” is a kind of “culturalism”, defining humanity according to cultural certification.
What that means is that Americans don’t really regard themselves as Homo Sapiens — but as Homo Americanus.
Russians and Chinese citizens can be human only if they are American citizens.
Non Americans are subhuman.
So, when 3000 people died during 9/11, the US of A went into a paroxysm of anger and grief. The 20 million people the US of A had slaughtered since 1945 don’t matter.
Non-Americans don’t matter.