• unenlightened
    3.1k
    So, as you may have noticed, I'm interested in identity, and thus in identity politics, and identity ethics, and I'm groping my way towards something that feels like a paradox, or a contradiction, or a limitation in this whole way of looking at things.Allow me to ramble...

    I'll start here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/28/india-body-john-allen-chau-missionary-killed-by-sentinelese-tribe

    "We" (googlers?) identify 'the Sentinelese' as an isolated minority who we know very little about. They might be complete arseholes and nazis, or they might be supremely happy and enlightened. All we know is they don't like us on their island. And the consensus seems to be that we ought not forcibly save them from their ignorant savagery, but on the contrary protect them from exploitation by rogue members of our own tribe.

    We used not to be so sensitive about genocide and cultural destruction, but such cultures have become rare, and perhaps we have become a touch less certain of the superiority of our own culture.

    So 'we' are the liberal, socialist, euro-centric middle-class, self-satisfied degenerate elite. If you're not of that ilk, you probably won't appreciate the difficulty I'm trying to get to, and will be inclined to say helpful things like,"well duh, stop being so wrong!" - in which case please just butt out and let us namby-pambies agonise in peace a minute.

    So we are supporters of oppressed minorities, of black folks, the disabled, women, etc etc. And thus supporters of the Sentinelese, in so far as we interpret their murderous treatment of immigrants as a legitimate demand for privacy.

    And there is the beginning of the problem. Because we do not, elsewhere, at the Israeli-Palestinian border, or the US -Mexican border, or the European-African border, take the same respectful understanding view of those cultures that want to maintain their own privacy/purity/security/cultural integrity.

    We can fix this problem ad hoc, with an appropriate distinction between refugees and colonials,
    even if there are hard cases, but the problem is wider.

    Here, unquestionably, is an immigrant having problems with natives and native government.

    And here is the oppressed indigenous native, trying to protect his culture from the oppressive colonials.

    Identify a culture as local native indigenous, and give it special status in that location. In Rome, do as the Romans do, and if the Romans come here, it's their business to fit in with us.

    But unless you are Sentinelese, your culture likes to be in contact with other cultures, and that implies both going to Rome, and welcoming Romans to your place. If Your place is still your place.

    Wales, the oldest colony, Welsh the oppressed, versus Wales the coloniser and oppressor. "We" - we politically correct namely-pambies that is, are against oppression, and for equal rights. But the nice distinctions refuse to lay flat; cultures, and therefore individuals, can fall on both sides. We want to identify as oppressed, (and thereby) not as oppressor. But that "thereby" does not run, and there is no virtue in being oppressed.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.2k
    Oruj Defoite may feel she belongs to Wales, but at least some people do not. This doesn't strike me as altogether unfair (or altogether fair, either). Presumably there is some element of 'blood' to Welshness, as well as language, culture, history, location, and so on. How long would it take American blacks from the slums of Chicago, having moved 400 miles to Minneapolis, to be considered "Minnesotan"? Maybe in more than 2 or 3 generations, depending. Oruj Defoite will probably be recognized as Welsh faster.

    There are Norwegians here who were born and raised in Brooklyn, NY who were accorded pretty much instant native status. Race is a factor, of course, but so is accent, personal style, public presentation, patterns of affiliation, history, life goals, and so forth. There are various people belonging to minorities who have qualified as "native Minnesotan". A white cracker from Alabama would have about as much difficulty being accepted as a native Minnesotan as a Chicago slum black would.

    It strikes me as normal and appropriate that people maintain cultural boundaries. Even as a native born WASP son of Minnesota there are other WASP groups in this state to whom I would never be considered acceptable. Guys that are gay, not sufficiently bourgeois, didn't attend the right high school and college, not in the right business, lack critical social graces, don't know the right people, etc. just don't get accepted, and quite possibly neither do their children and grandchildren, WASP though they may be.

    I just don't accept the idea that diversity of population (race, ethnicity, language, gender, sexual orientation, accent, location on the poverty - wealth continuum, and so on is inherently necessary or advantageous.

    IF we value cultural uniqueness, then we have to accept that some groups will be more or less closed to outsiders.

    Example: I took a white leftist friend to a Christmas concert at St. Olaf College. It's a big deal, nationally broadcast, etc. The several hundred students in the choirs and orchestra are all pretty much descendants of northwestern Europeans, with very few exception. He objected that there weren't enough minorities in the choir. Naturally there are few -- the success of the college is based on serving a specific constituency -- just like historically black colleges are.

    Unique cultural institutions require exclusivity, else they won't be unique.
  • frank
    2.1k
    When people rise up to protect a cultural identity, that usually means that identity is headed for the identity-graveyard. The people are rising up because they're full of grief for what's disappearing. Telling them they have no right to feel that way will just make them more prone to panic.

    Does colonization really have something to do with that?

    BTW, only 16% of Americans think there are too many immigrants in the US. It's largely a manufactured problem.
  • andrewk
    1.9k
    When people rise up to protect a cultural identity, that usually means that identity is headed for the identity-graveyard.frank
    Your 'usually' may be correct. I don't know the statistics of the case. But there are some interesting examples in the opposite direction - the Jews and the French.

    I am pretty sure there are many more people in the world now that follow Jewish cultural practices than lived in the ancient kingdom of Judah before the diaspora with the Roman destruction of the temple, followed by marauding barbarians, crusades and so on. Cultural Jews seem to be very protective of their cultural identity, and it is flourishing. They have even revived a dead language (or close to dead) - Hebrew - and turned it into a fully alive one.

    The French are very protective of their language and, IIRC, even have a government department devoted to its defence against Anglicisation. From what I can see, this is very effective, with far fewer anglicised words in French French than in other European languages. An interesting comparison arises from comparing French French to Canadian French, with the latter using a great number of English/American words that French French do not use.
  • andrewk
    1.9k
    I'm not sure there is a tension here. The view that I understand to be seen as the progressive one on these issues is that:

    1. it is immoral to impose one's culture on another against their consent, unless it is known that their culture causes significant harm to those living there (and the lack of consent seems to be implied by the word 'impose')

    2. those of us that live in affluent societies have some degree of moral obligation to help those who are suffering in non-affluent societies, including refugees and asylum seekers.

    People will argue greatly about the extent of the obligation in 2 but it would be a rare person indeed that says we have no obligation to help any refugee or asylum seeker ever (eg I didn't see anybody saying nobody should help the Saudi girl whose passport was stolen by a Saudi diplomat while she was in transit at Bangkok airport).

    We note that 1 is an obligation on those that are seeking to enter the land of another tribe, while 2 is an obligation on those whose tribe-land some outsiders are seeking to enter. So the two cannot conflict. An analogy is to say that it is moral to share but it is immoral to force another to share by stealing from them. Most people would agree with that to some extent.

    Another difference is that the obligation in 2 is only on the affluent. We would not say that a country whose people are struggling to survive, like South Sudan, has an obligation to accept refugees from Syria, but many would say that OECD countries do. So again this appears to dispel any conflict, as the affluent are rarely in the position of having a culture imposed on them.
  • andrewk
    1.9k
    Here, unquestionably, is an immigrant having problems with natives and native government.unenlightened
    That reminded me of the TV series The Indian Doctor, which I greatly enjoyed. I expect you've seen it. I thought it portrayed the issues involved in a thoughtful and sensitive way. It was also interesting to see Sanjeev Bhaskar play a non-comedic role (I'd only seen him in The Kumars before that).

    My feeling about that article is that it is reasonable for the Welsh government to privilege people who have made the effort to learn Welsh. But they need to apply that distinction even-handedly. As long as a white Welsh person whose distant ancestors lived in Wales suffers the same discrimination for not speaking the language as a first generation Welsh person whose distant ancestors lived in India, that seems fair to me. From what the writer says, it sounds like that is not happening, and language skills are just being used as a cloak for racism. Unfortunately, that is the natural human condition, but we namby-pambies can nevertheless feel unconflicted in condemning it wherever we see it.
  • unenlightened
    3.1k
    From what the writer says, it sounds like that is not happening, and language skills are just being used as a cloak for racism.andrewk

    Right, I think this expresses the beginning of my argument very nicely. But there is a follow-up challenge. What is the difference between a sheep, and a wolf in sheep's clothing? An answer has to avoid essentialism, and your 'just' is doing all the work for you. It's not just a cloak for racism, it's that and also a legitimate nativism.
  • ssu
    893
    Right, I think this expresses the beginning of my argument very nicely. But there is a follow-up challenge. What is the difference between a sheep, and a wolf in sheep's clothing? An answer has to avoid essentialism, and your 'just' is doing all the work for you. It's not just a cloak for racism, it's that and also a legitimate nativism.unenlightened

    There's the Paradox: nativism gives a premise to racism (and xenophobia), yet is also the cornerstone of any ethnical or cultural identity. Just like patriotism and nationalism or jingoism are related. It's just what the viewpoint you select to look it, which typically is a bit illogical in our present society. As the joke in the university went, ethnologists study and are fascinated of all human cultures except their own, which they loath. Or that in the US promoting your ethnic/racial identity and heritage is fine... except when being a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.

    The illogical attitudes basically comes from hypocrisy, that we want to be far more good and benevolent than we are and get tangled up in our so righteous reasoning.

    The "sentinels" are the perfect example of this hypocrisy. As the island is so small and meaningless, the Indian authorities have made it an example of how a benevolent actor the country is. Would the Island be more important, then ages ago somebody claiming authority would have "put down the law" to the place. Now we can ponder about the rights of the "Sentinels", but if they would have been in contact with outside culture and would clothe themselves in Nike T-shirts and shorts and speak broken English, we wouldn't care a rats ass about them. Likely that idiot American who got killed wouldn't have gone there in the first place.

    That's how actually the "noble savage" thinking goes.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.2k
    So we are supporters of oppressed minorities, of black folks, the disabled, women, etc etc. And thus supporters of the Sentinelese, in so far as we interpret their murderous treatment of immigrants as a legitimate demand for privacy.

    And there is the beginning of the problem. Because we do not, elsewhere, at the Israeli-Palestinian border, or the US -Mexican border, or the European-African border, take the same respectful understanding view of those cultures that want to maintain their own privacy/purity/security/cultural integrity.

    We can fix this problem ad hoc, with an appropriate distinction between refugees and colonials,
    even if there are hard cases, but the problem is wider.
    unenlightened

    I agree, the problem is far wider. It is not just a matter of cultural identity, because there is also the matter of land ownership thrown into the mix. You mix these two together, as they always are, and you cannot separate them. Are the actions of the Sentinelese meant to defend their own principles, allowing them to sustain their own value system, and cultural identity, or are they meant to defend their rights of ownership to the piece of property which they live on. The two cannot be separated. Colonialism demonstrates that you cannot take a society's property, and tell them that they can continue to live there and maintain their culture. You end up with clashing legal systems. One must submit to the other.

    There are wide ranging human attitudes with respect to migration. Some people have a home, getting very attached to the place where they live, thinking I'll defend my right to this patch of ground until the day I die. If you're comfortable, and it's others who are actually defending you rights, then why not? What is a "demand for privacy" other than the claim of rights to a place? But many are quick to wander, not having that patch of ground, or that right, perhaps seeking it, perhaps not even considering the possibility, just roaming. With billions of people in the world and changing weather patterns, the dynamics are complex. I don't think there's any ad hoc solution.
  • unenlightened
    3.1k
    There's the Paradox: nativism gives a premise to racism (and xenophobia), yet is also the cornerstone of any ethnical or cultural identity.ssu

    Well yes. In fact I can further generalise it: identity is always divisive. The cohesion that makes a group is sucked from the other that it excludes.

    The illogical attitudes basically comes from hypocrisy, that we want to be far more good and benevolent than we are and get tangled up in our so righteous reasoning.ssu

    Well I don't know about you, but I also want to be less illogical and hypocritical, so I need a moral reasoning that does not get tangled. My problem is that the reasoning is already tangled, and that gives hypocrisy a place to stand, where arguments can go in all directions.
  • unenlightened
    3.1k
    I agree, the problem is far wider. It is not just a matter of cultural identity, because there is also the matter of land ownership thrown into the mix.Metaphysician Undercover

    That's a very interesting aspect, but I'd like to shine a light from a different angle. Suppose one says,"I belong to the tribe, and the tribe belongs to the land." This is a very different inverse form of identification from one who identifies as a 'land owner'. The sovereignty of the individual over his tribe and environment is a very modern fantasy, although in a sense identity has always ranged from complete subsumption into Nature, the drop in the ocean, to the Almighty alienated Solipsist God.
  • Echarmion
    191
    I think an important question would be what we are trying to protect when we protect cultures.

    Are we protecting merely individual rights? In this case "classical" moral philosophy ought to be the tool to arbitrate disputes.

    Are we protecting some collection or cultural expression? But that would be merely museum pieces, that could be preserved, but not something that is in need of protection from oppression. In that sense, the only value of diversify would be the knowledge embodied by different cultures, but that doesn't require the culture to still be practised.

    Or is culture supposed to be a living entity apart from the individuals that make up the culture? If so, it seems to me there ought to be some attribute of a culture that entities it so a special consideration beyond just the consideration of it's individual members. I have no idea what that might be though. I am sceptical towards the concept that cultures have some sort of inherent value because the consequences seem to clash with individual morality.

    If identity politics is just collective bargaining by individuals, we ought to be able to resolve conflicts by referring to the morals governing the interaction of individuals. That isn't easy, but it's not a new problem.
  • frank
    2.1k
    so I need a moral reasoning that does not get tangled.unenlightened

    Maybe this is ground zero. Morality is a tool of identity. Forgiveness kills identity.
  • frank
    2.1k
    Cultural Jews seem to be very protective of their cultural identity, and it is flourishing.andrewk

    Zionism was a reaction to perceived assimilation. Perhaps it's not necessarily the death of identity that drives a protective response, but just change. But the Jewish identity is an example of one that's based on a long-standing grudge, referring back to my previous point: morality and identity are aspects of the same thing.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.2k
    Jewsandrewk

    Zionismfrank

    Well, that certainly didn't take long.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.2k
    But the Jewish identity is an example of one that's based on a long-standing grudgefrank

    Surely this broad-brush stroke of stereotyping should not be allowed to stand without objection. I object.
  • unenlightened
    3.1k
    Jews
    — andrewk
    Zionism
    — frank
    Well, that certainly didn't take long.
    Bitter Crank

    identity

    politics
    — op

    It didn't have far to go.
  • frank
    2.1k
    But the Jewish identity is an example of one that's based on a long-standing grudge
    — frank

    Surely this broad-brush stroke of stereotyping should not be allowed to stand without objection. I object.
    Bitter Crank

    I thought I was just being historically accurate. Memorializing mythical moments of oppression is central to Judaism. What do you think of the point I was trying to make though: identity and morality are inextricable?

    IOW, if we try to take a naturalistic view of identity, we just have: Monkey-tribe-A tries protects its territory from Monkey-tribe-B. When we ditch morality from the view, all the base notes of identity fall away as well.
  • csalisbury
    1.6k


    I think @ssu is on the right track. A lot of this has to do with power.

    A couple things that come to mind. (Focusing only on one aspect here. I think it's more complex than this.)

    (1)

    Potlatch. In showing generosity, one enhances one's own prestige. Potlatch increases one's prestige because, in order to take care of others, one has to have at one's disposal resources far in excess of what one needs to take care of oneself (or family). So the feast is symbolic, but a weird kind of symbol. It's a symbol that symbolizes one's capacity to create the symbol. Sort of the same logic behind diamond rings - they don't just symbolize love, they display, in-and-of-themselves, that the lover has the means to buy a diamond ring (and the means, by extension, to take care of the beloved. )

    Both potlatch and diamond rings reinforce existing power differentials (or shift them to the advantage of those throwing the party). To give 'selflessly' is also, often, to say : You need me more than I need you. Which is also to say: It would definitely not be in your best interest to threaten my power, or to find a source of power for yourself. (The inherent connection between diamond rings and patriarchal norms and the independent heroines of 19th century novels dying in squalor )

    (2)

    For each and every virtue tied to economic and power differentials, there corresponds a 'spiritual' one.

    "you can't provide for others unless you can provide for yourself."

    "How can you love someone before you love yourself?"

    The familiar Hegelian and Nietzschean point that many of the more ethereal virtues are direct inversions of earthly ones. Epictetus, the stoic, was a slave - 'slave morality.' "You may have power over me irl, but I have power over you in my mind. " Later, the marxist point that bourgeois sanctimony conceals actual exploitation. What still matters, ultimately, is economic power - only now lip service has to be given to its opposite. To the point where people are genuinely confused about what they value (disconnect between behavior and professed values.)

    (3)

    Those who are pro-immigration usually discuss the issue in those ethereal, moral terms. It's true that they focus on what immigrants lack materially. But the guiding idea is generally that it is good/humane to provide for those who lack.

    Those who are anti-immigration usually come at the question in terms of physical, economic and scoial security. They are worried about crime, loss of jobs andoverburdening the welfare system.

    Both arguments exist along a spectrum. At the hyperbolic end of the pro-immigration side, you have those who want totally open borders and seem to display symptoms of spiritual megalomania. On the anti-immigration side, you have open racism and seething resentment.

    Both sides often slip into characterizing the other side in terms of that side's most hyperbolic proponents.

    (4 - the main thing I want to get at.)

    There is way of excluding others, quietly, through quiet signs. What allows one into highly exclusive, or partially exclusive subcultures? Just south of those groups inclusion in which requires very Old Money, its usually manners. Ways of talking, or other of the 'critical social graces' @Bitter Crank spoke of. It seems like belonging to a group which won't take in just anybody is crucial for some part of the human soul. In the same way you can't really feel loved by a lover who would just as easily love someone else, you can't feel like you belong to a club that would include everyone. So, like you said, identity (especially in the mode of belonging-to) is built on exclusion.

    Back to potlatch. Those who are most of assured of their own exclusionary clubs are those who will most freely dispense that generosity of spirit which excludes exclusion itself. Those whose aren't are going to get nervous and defensive. It seems to me (caveat: no studies conducted, or even consulted) that pro or anti immigration views usually correspond less to income than to social security. For those who have it, its often invisible, taken for granted. In the same way Kant talks about the transcendental conditions of perception, we could talk here about the social conditions of the virtue of inclusivity.Perception can't perceive its own conditions; It's only through reason that it's able to reflect on itself. In the same way the virtuously inclusive are often blind to what allows them their virtue.

    And, because of this, they have no trouble seeing their virtue and moral judgments as exemplifications of a universal virtue ethics or a universal moral matrix which can - and should - be applied to everyone. Again, this is similar to Marx's criticism of bourgeois morality.

    (5)

    If there's always, inherently, a kind of social power differential in play when it comes to providing for others, then there can be no universal moral answer or heuristic here. While there any many patterns that repeat, the specific power dynamics of any place are complex and singular. The knots of reason come when, from consideration of one particular situation or set of situations, there is extracted a universal ethics, which is then turned around and applied to all situations.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.2k
    No, I don't think that the way you put it is true. People generally have an identity and they generally have a system of morality. They are not inextricably linked so that if one goes down, the other goes down with it. If that were so, then wouldn't multiculturalists end up being immoral? Or is multiculturalism just another identity? But multiculturalists seem to be hostile to identity.

    For instance, Americans from Iowa can become Buddhists without losing their identity as Americans or Iowans. Buddhism became part of several different people's identities India, China, Tibet, Japan, Burma, Thailand, etc. Many Chinese have become Christian; it doesn't seem to be the case that they are no longer Chinese. Many Nigerians became Anglican or Moslem. Does that mean they were no longer Nigerians?

    It seems to be the case that identity is usually at least somewhat flexible. That would certainly be the case of the Jews. After the Jewish diaspora (100 CE) Jews settled everywhere from India to Belarus. Some things stayed the same, and somethings changed. Just for example, Many Jews started eating meals at Chinese restaurants on Christmas and Easter. Was Chinese food kosher? No, but it was just strange (and delicious) enough to fit outside the dietary rules once in a while. Egg rolls and kung pao weren't mentioned in Leviticus, so... let's have that. (Jews and Chinese were new immigrant groups in Manhattan at around the same time.)
  • andrewk
    1.9k
    I made a positive comment about people striving worthily to maintain their rich cultural tradition. I utterly repudiate the implication that such striving has anything to do with land claims and race.
  • andrewk
    1.9k
    It's not just a cloak for racism, it's that and also a legitimate nativism.unenlightened
    I feel that if the nativism is applied selectively then it is nativism mixed with bigotry. Arguing against myself, I concede that a dark skin is the most easily detected indicator of not being indigenous in Wales. An accent is another easy indicator. If the author was raised in India, I presume she has an accent that is easily identified as non-welsh. My first wondering from that is whether equal discrimination would be applied against a white person with an RP voice, a cockney or a scouser. Possibly it would be. I have heard tales of Welsh having resentment against English visitors, especially when they are only there for long weekends and holidays, in their seaside cottage that is empty the rest of the time.

    What about surnames though, of somebody whose family has been in Wales for a few generations? Would the Llewellyns, Evans and Cadwalladers be as suspicious of a white person with a strong welsh accent and surname Bentley as they would of a dark-skinned person with a strong welsh accent and surname Kaur?
  • frank
    2.1k
    It's that if you truly believe you're evil, you have the sickness unto death. You're headed toward change, which means at least the partial death of your identity.

    That's why it's confusing that diversity could be held as a virtue. Diversity is potentially dangerous to identity so it appears to be suicidal to welcome it. Only a very robust identity could accept diversity at all. And maybe such a robust identity would reach out for it as a kind of medicine.

    I think csalisbury points out one way that works.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.2k
    Suppose one says,"I belong to the tribe, and the tribe belongs to the land." This is a very different inverse form of identification from one who identifies as a 'land owner'. The sovereignty of the individual over his tribe and environment is a very modern fantasy, although in a sense identity has always ranged from complete subsumption into Nature, the drop in the ocean, to the Almighty alienated Solipsist God.unenlightened

    There's probably more than one such inversion involved here, and that's why the issue is complex. Take a look at this particular inversion though. We tend to identify with where we're from, a place on the earth. This is consistent with "I belong to the tribe, and the tribe belongs to the land", because this places me as from the land, at this place. The inversion comes about because I am given identity, citizenship, and this is distinct from the identity which I give myself, as from this place. The citizenship gives me rights in this land where I am from, but by the same token, it denies me rights within other lands. This is done by the powers of government. But the government belongs to the people, it does not belong to the land, hence the inverted way of seeing things.

    What the citizenship does is take away my individual identity, making me a member of the tribe. I am not "MU" from this particular place, instead I am a citizen from this country, or if you like, member of this tribe. It's a generality which is imposed upon me by these tribal, or government forces . Now the tribe, or government, has this inverted perspective. It is a type of idealism, or ideology, where the government sees itself not as having a material basis, "from the land", it sees itself as being derived from the ideals of the people. Then it must act as "land owner", caretaker of the land. It sees the people in their material basis, as from the land, and dependent on the land, so for the sake of the people (their ideals), the tribe or government must take ownership of the land. This is what I mean by land ownership, rather than private ownership, ownership by the tribe, the government. Divisions, frontiers, are produced along the lines of ideological differences, and by the powers of the tribe, or government, the people are not allowed to intermix.
  • TheMadFool
    2.9k
    How about looking at it from the standpoint of an individual in a community. An isolationist policy by any culture would translate as loneliness. Just like one man can't do anything without positive and negative feedback from his community, no culture can make any real progress without some level of interaction with its neighbors.

    Of course if a culture is perfect then it's worth preserving and isolating it from external corruption but such is nonexistent. In fact perfection is impossible. Identity isn't as important as progress. Why would we let cannibals preserve their identity?
  • unenlightened
    3.1k
    What the citizenship does is take away my individual identity, making me a member of the tribe.Metaphysician Undercover

    I wonder what you mean by this? Identity always does this - subsumes the individual to a group - I am a doctor, or I am a melancholic - or whatever. And curiously, unique identifiers are the worst of the lot for it, one is reduced to a number.

    How about looking at it from the standpoint of an individual in a community.TheMadFool

    Again, I wonder at this. Where else do you think anyone might be looking from? Someone seems to have told you that society is made of individuals the way a house is made of bricks, Whereas the reality is that an individual is made of social relations. Even Crusoe without Man Friday is embedded in his social roots both physically by the tools and supplies he brings with him, and way of life that he does his best to reproduce out of his own being, of house and field, furniture, hearth bed, domestic beast, etc.

    Morality is a tool of identity.frank

    Of course. "they saw they were naked (identity), and were ashamed (morality)." Identity makes morality possible, and morality gives identity significance beyond 'mere facticity'.

    ____________________________________________________________________________________


    Within the tribe of forum members, I have identified my intended audience and myself as "Namby-Pambies". We are the neo-colonialists, that stand in judgement over cultures, ranking them, paradoxically, according to their conformity to our cultural norm of cultural relativity. Our global culture of conformity to this doctrine of cultural relativity is exemplified by our 'tolerance' of the intolerant Sentinelese, our respect and support for indigenous cultures, and our willingness, through our education (which is the inverse of enculturation, and leads out of the collective identity to a critical self-reflection) to stand in judgement from an abstract individuality that is indeed God-like in conception, our own origins in our own society.

    "This is Hell, nor am I out of it." - Mephistopheles.
  • unenlightened
    3.1k
    There is way of excluding others, quietly, through quiet signs.csalisbury

    Indeed, tribal markings. There is a way of talking, a subtlety of response that is the admission ticket to the club of the Namby-Pambies.

    It seems to me (caveat: no studies conducted, or even consulted) that pro or anti immigration views usually correspond less to income than to social security. For those who have it, its often invisible, taken for granted.csalisbury

    Well social security is one way of putting it. But I think it is clearer if one calls it colonialism. 'Let the world become a great big melting pot, and We will prevail.'
  • Terrapin Station
    6.8k
    The difference is that with the Sentinelese and similar tribes, there's no reason to expect them to be familiar with the bulk of cultures' interlaced history of laws, ideas of human rights, political discourse and diplomacy, etc. So invoking violence to make them adapt to any of that--which is surely what we'd have to do, not only seems unjustified but it would possibly just wipe them out altogether.

    That's not the case when we're talking about the U.S. and Mexico, or Israel and Palestine, etc.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.2k
    I wonder what you mean by this? Identity always does this - subsumes the individual to a group - I am a doctor, or I am a melancholic - or whatever. And curiously, unique identifiers are the worst of the lot for it, one is reduced to a number.unenlightened

    I don't think so. Identifying myself as MU, born at such a place, at such time, of such mother, and father, does not place me into a group. That simply identifies me as an individual as distinct from all other individuals. It is the further relations, the place where I was born is part of X country, the time I was born puts me in Q demographic, and my parents are of L and M descent, are what subsumes me into various groups.

    Nor does that unique identification reduce my identification to a number, because it provides valuable information, unique identifiers, which could ultimately be used to classify me to various groups. But there are many possible ways to classify me. If there is a problem, it probably lies in the way that the person is classified, and for which purposes. So it comes down to "purpose", which again is a matter of ideology. People are classified according to ideology. And, according to my last post, the ideologies seek to maintain the frontiers, as supportive to the existence of 'the group". it's a feedback situation. The ideology creates the group, then the boundaries are enhanced to maintain the reality of the group. This supports and strengthens the ideology.
  • unenlightened
    3.1k
    Identifying myself as MU, born at such a place, at such time, of such mother, and father, does not place me into a group.Metaphysician Undercover

    Huh? A family is not a group?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    5.2k

    I didn't say anything about a family. See, you're already using my identity information to classify me into a group, "a family", for some ideological purpose.
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