Well Happy New Year to you all, it's been a while hasn't it? I've been busy though you see, and will be busy this week too as I sod off to the proverbial Land of the Free for a week for work. However, I just thought I would pop up and pass comment on the multitude of comment around Diane Abbott and her rather unfortunate choice of generalisations.
For started, and to deal with those who will scream about "fake outrage", I wasn't offended by Abbott's generalisation one bit. To be offended by the ignorance and stupidity of ignorant and stupid people take for too much effort. It's much better to simply point and laugh at their ignorance and stupidity.
There is however a wider intellectual point at play though, and it's one that I've blogged about on many occasions over the past few years, and that is the inherent contradiction and inevitbaly consequence of politics based on identity.
You see, if you're modus operandi is, as Abbott's has been for years, to promote difference and diversity over discrimination and prejudice, through the use of positive affirmation and ideological positioning that views history in some sort of Hegelian master/slave, be it in race, or as it used to be class.
It's not difficult to see that positive discrimination is a paradox that will produce the sort topsyturvey idiocy we've seen this week, where vehement anti-racists make comments that they themselves would leap on has pure evil if directed in the reverse, and, consequentially we witness people who are proudly non-racist attempting to justify comments that ordinarily they wouldn't want too.
This has led to some rather amusing, if not completely retarded comment from some, such this joyous and argument from Stephen Baxter at the New Statesman who says anyonne complaining qabout Abbot is faking offense (see above) and most hilariously this,
"If it had been the other way around," is the general thrust of these arguments. Well if it had been the other way around, it would have been the other way around. If it had been the other way around, everything would have had to have been the other way around. We would have to be living in a country where black people dominated and white people didn't; where black people had all the jobs but spectacularly untalented black columnists would be writing about how unfair it was, somehow.Baxter has got some great priase for this little argument which is essentially using historical contextualisation to justify making generalisations about white people. One tiny problem with this though is, as pointed out to Baxter is the logical conclusion it implies.
You see, if the world was reversed as he is arguing, then he's also arguing that if someone from a particular ethnicity livers in a society where they are not the dominant ethnicity then they would be justified in making negative comments about the dominant race and it would be OK.
Come to think of it, that is yet another perfect example of why the politics of identity is so contradictory. For here we have someone who is anti-racist arguing that racism is OK depending on the historical contextualisation of the person making the comment or acting in a particular way.
In fact, and this is where it gets even more silly. If you're one of the historically downtrodden you are entitled use the history of your ancestors experience to justify your opinions towards the dominant group in the present who are, by association alone, barred from complaining because their ancestors were not nice to someone else's ancestors.
That's the sort of retarded lunacy that causes wars to start isn't it?