[Marxism] markedivity [was: Slavery and Race]

Sayan Bhattacharyya ok.president+marxmail at gmail.com
Tue Nov 7 12:11:39 MST 2006

On 11/7/06, Mark Lause <MLause at cinci.rr.com> wrote:
> Sayan Bhattacharyya clarified, "The white man's burden (to civilize the
> natives, etc) used to be specifically called the 'white' man's burden (not
> 'man's burden')."
> So what?  The expression was Kipling's, I think, and came into vogue about
> more than two centuries after we have the legal distinctions of race
> imposed
> in North America.

So? I'm not sure what your point is here. You had sought an explanation of
the terms "marked" and "unmarked", and I was just explaining those terms to
you in my reply, not making or scoring any political or ideological point.

And the term "white man's burden" was never used
> universally and is never used today, save in the sense of a historic idea.

That's precisely what Greg said:  that  this  particular
markedness/unmarkedness has a *history*.

So I still don't know what you're trying to suggests that this means....

I'm not trying to suggest anything, as  I already said. You seemed to be
seeking an explanation of these terms,  and so  I provided it to you.

You further clarified, "By the time we get to Dukakis, 'white man' has
> become synonymous with 'man'. (Thus, D. was not identified as the 'white
> candidate' but just as 'candidate')."
> Yeah, but that still doesn't address the question of what this means....
> The words would be used the same for every candidate nowadays, unless they
> are not white...in which case they'd probably be noted as a " black
> candidate" or "Hispanic candidate" or "Indian candidate."


And I can't think
> of many presidential candidates that would be described as the "white
> candidate" since the term implies the other candidates were not white, and
> we've had zero national elections like that.


So I'm still trying to figure out the meaning of this.  What importance are
> you attaching to this????

That  there is  a history to this markedness/unmarkedness  -- which made it
ok to speak of "white man's burden" in the 19th century instead of just
"man's burden".  "Whiteness" used to be marked, but became unmarked down the
line. That's certainly quite interesting and worth trying to understand why.
(I don't have any theories about this, however).

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