[Marxism] Notes on David Brion Davis' review

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at berkeley.edu
Thu Nov 2 08:02:40 MST 2006

>hi rakesh:
>thanks for this post.  I agree with nearly all that's said here.

Gregory, Just to be clear: I quoted from an article by Nicholas Hudson.

>so I guess our disagreement comes down to this. I see scientific 
>racism (btw, william petty seemed to be engaging in it in late 17th 
>century) as one form of racism while you equate the two.


>I think racism is a social practice of subordination with flexible 
>ideological mechanisms, including cultural ones, and these 
>mechanisms are not reducible to biological determinist claims. for 

So then how are you defining racism?

>I suspect that the cultural inferiority you point to below did all 
>the work of biological racism.

Yet it was not the cultural inferiority of a 'subsumptive' race, and 
there was still some Enlightenment confidence that the the less 
advanced peoples could perhaps with fewer travails achieve what the 
first movers had already accomplished. Reginald Horsman perceptively 
studies how the American myth of Anglo Saxonism was hardened from an 
exuberant and paternalistic Enlightenment belief to a hardened racist 

>today, the dominant form of racism is not scientific racism (still 
>strong of course) but cultural racism. shit: see balibar and 
>wallerstein on this and of course samuel huntington types.

I think cultural racism is only polite. For example D'Souza's screed 
in the end grants that Murray and Herrnstein's account proves 
superior on grounds of the much mis understood Occam's Razor.

>the racists balibar talks about in england have made culture do all 
>the work or nearly all the work of biology. ineradicable difference 
>(cultural) takes the place of biology. yet the inferiorization 
>characterizing biology transfers easily enough to fetishized 
>concepts of culture.

But why are cultural differences so hard?


More information about the Marxism mailing list