Marxist feminism or petty moralism?

hfspc002 at hfspc002 at
Sun Nov 6 00:54:24 MST 1994

On Sun, 6 Nov 1994, Justin Schwartz wrote:

> There's a difference between being the beneficiary of undeserved
> advantages which you may not even want, as whites, males, and many (not
> all) Americans are, are being a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, or an
> imperialist oppressor. A lot of people on the left run these very distinct
> things together, as Ben does here, and as a consequence unnecessarily get
> people's backs up and alienate potential supporters. It's silly to feel
> either proud or ashamed of characteristics you cannot help having. And

Obviously we are working from two distinct definitions of "racism,"
"sexism," "homophobia" here.  To me these terms indicate not simply a
state of mind that predisposes one to feel superior to members of other
races, sexes, or sexualities.  If that is the definition of these things,
then the terms have become literally useless for an analysis of society,
and are only useful in talking about, say, the KKK.  For me these terms
also include internalized racism, etc., in which one who does not consider
him/herself to be a racist unwittingly supports the structure of
domination and exploitation that is based upon race (or gender or
sexuality).  From this definition we are all racist, and sexist, and
heterosexist, because we live in a society which is and until we own up to
that and take responsibility (rather than guilt or pride) for changing
those social conditions we are simply perpetuating the exploitation.

Ben Attias


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