Thursday, 12 April 2012

From The Leading Edge Of The Plough

"This research note attempts to probe how contemporary racism has evolved to replace physical characteristics with cultural traits by examining the notion of model minority in America."
That is the very first sentence (emphasis mine) to the abstract of a ten page paper published in "Asian Ethnicity" in October 2008 by professor Chih-Chieh Chou of National Cheng Kung University here in Tainan - it was sent to me by a poli-sci Masters student there with a request for comment.

As you might imagine, my eyebrows remained seated throughout the ten page performance. Rather than comment in response to it, with objections from the floor as it were, I will hang a light over it, get my monocle out and try to say as best I can - and as brief as I can - what it is.

As it happens I think that first sentence serves well enough as the aleph to the entire paper. Note the appropriation of "evolved" from the field of biology, which is not so much there as a borrowed bow-tie from a respectable field of study (though it may also be that too), but predicates the equation of discrimination by skin with discrimination by aspects of character ("traits").

That is, I think, symptomatic of much of the humanities; the purpose of such papers as this is never simply to conduct empirical investigations as to, for instance, how much of what kinds of discrimination Asian-Americans experience and with what demonstrable consequences. No. The purpose is to track how racial discrimination yet persists through its' "evolution" into... character discrimination.

Would not Martin Luther King have been appalled?

That is how the great well of moral approbrium once reserved to an ugly subset of the terrain of human valuation is now being pumped up and piped out across fields of eighteen-year-old naivity. And why else would such a task be carried out in the "universities" if not for the wider cultivation of political power which, when it is ready, can be harvested to feed the troops in their continuing impugnment of the "capitalist system"? Cui bono?

It is as though the Left drew the wrong lesson from the civil rights movement - the point was to use political action to shame discrimination, not to shame discrimination in order to grab political power.

But perhaps that is where we have to "agree to disagree".


About the professor:

Chih-Chieh Chou is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Graduate Institute of Political Economy at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan. He got his PhD in political science at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo in 2004 and was an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Political Science at SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Geneseo and SUNY Buffalo from 2001 to 2004. His research concentrations include: international human rights, international organization and norms, human security, political change, ethnic politics. He also serves on the Board of Directors and as the Director of the South Taiwan Human Rights Forum of the Chinese Association for Human Rights in Taiwan.

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