Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Shit where you eat

Revealing, if not terrifying, post by Carl over at The Impostume. Interesting because I have seen this kind of political behavior already happening in Belgium and The Netherlands. The bottom-line is of course (and how this makes you sad!) that the formerly oppressed all too frequently join the ranks of the oppressors when they themselves are no longer oppressed. This way a situation becomes apparent in which something like 'being oppressed to the second degree' becomes reality. The Jamaican guy with whom Carl and his mate had a talk is most probably still being treated in a racist way fairly often. For some people he will always remain an Other. Now this Other reaches a mindset with which he, in turn, behaves in a racist way towards other Others.

Still, there should be no doubt that this kind of political behavior is entirely new. In the past immigrants migrated to what they perceived as a kind of Promised Land. They wanted jobs, they wanted to assimilate themselves culturally (naturally not in an absolute way, but relatively: one always retains at the very least a nucleus of the culture from which one springs). Now, we have a immigrant population who no longer view western culture as something to strive for (with, sadly, always one exception: when there is money to be made). Frequently they even view it as evil, something to reject and oppose.

And so you get the kind of situations like the one Carl describes, where those who used to be strangers treat others like undesirables. And then some people dare talk about globalisation and multiculture and all the good things those will bring us. Where, in fact, it would seem that for the greater part our (western) bad habits have been globalised.

5 comments:

dejan said...

fire I also liked Comrade Impostume's post. I think part of the problem is certainly that we're seeing the emergence of the multicultural society, it is still in its infancy really, and so turbulences are to be expected (to be honest Holland at least dealt with them relatively painlessly, if you exclude the murder of Theo van Gogh, which I don't consider an especially disturbing event even as it did epitomize the underlying racial resentments). But there is a huge danger which I think exists in all such melting pots (USA, Yugoslavia, ...) that the attempt at universalization would end in particularization and then conflict - as with Babylonia. As for the foreigners here, I notice the Dutch are almost exclusively racist to Moroccans, and am beginning to wonder whether the Mediterranean look fo my face has something to do with the fact that employers look so unimpressed when I talk to them. In Belgium it seemed even more conservative, although I only applied once or twice in Antwerpen. Groeten van een Leienaar (weet je dat Leidse volk de ''r'' als Amerikanen uitspreekt? Klinkt erg grappig.)

Anonymous said...

This mindset being entirely new? feel free to elaborate.

Fire in the Mind said...

i believe we were not properly introduced

Laban said...

"For some people he will always remain an Other. Now this Other reaches a mindset with which he, in turn, behaves in a racist way towards other Others"

The poor chap's obviously suffering from false consciousness. After all, fear of the "other" is quite ridiculous. Strangers are just friends who we haven't met yet, aren't they ?

Thank heavens there are more intelligent people to tell him how to think ...

Fire in the Mind said...

Strangers are just friends who we haven't met yet, aren't they ?

that's stretching it :-) but yeah you're right.