The cost of racism

A brief illustration.

What happens in a culture of white supremacy?* White people assume that they are the experts. Even in the absence of any history, education or knowledge.

So say somebody blogs about a new book about Iris Chang.  The book is titled The Woman Who Could Not Forget:  Iris Chang Before and Beyond the Rape of Nanking.  And in that brief 300-word blog, the person mentions a few facts that let you know he knows a little bit about Iris Chang.  Additionally he writes of his own history with Nanking.

The response?

(nanjing but whatever.) adding it to my goodreads.

*I’d note people of color internalize this crap too.

So here is the ignorance displayed in full view of immediately obvious evidence to the contrary.  See the book title?  … the Rape of Nanking.  Plus the blog writer talks briefly about his family history.  In Nanking.

But whatever.

Not only that, the first paragraph gives you an idea that the writer is familiar with Iris Chang and her work.  As well as Chinese history. 

But whatever.

So the respondent suffers from that lack of ability to see the obvious (willful not-seeing?) that I have noted so many times before.  But additionally took the opportunity to post what was thought of as a correction.  Not a question.  Not a notice of the disparity.  Nanking?  Nanjing? [I’m not even going to touch how this person then goes on to give it a stamp of approval by adding it to a reading list. Because my suspicion is the stamp is aimed at the self.]

Nope:

(nanjing but whatever.)

Because obviously this person knows more than you do. And has been told so in so many subtle and not-so-subtle ways. The superiority is so obvious that a consultation with Google wasn’t even necessary.

Because for many people, “I haven’t heard of that [through ignorance, often willful]” = “It doesn’t exist.”

This is the cost of racism. But whatever.

4 thoughts on “The cost of racism

  1. People’s persistent stupidity never ceases to amaze me. Nanking or Nanjing – it’s not written in English anyway! And I imagine that there is pronunciation variation among native speakers anyway. Plus there are tons of transliteration systems.

    Just generally in the US recently there has been a ton of expertise-rejection in favor of “my opinion!!” – hence Colbert’s bit at one of Bush’s White House Correspondent’s dinner about “look it up in your gut” because science lies. Drives me craaaaazy and it’s just another tool in the priviledged knapsack used to put down the marginalized “My gut doesn’t think that’s true, but whatever”

  2. It’s persistent, willful stupidity. But they think it’s superiority. On the internet, I’m always a little surprised because a quick google is so easy.

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