Making the analogy between racism and sexism.

In making an analogy between racism and sexism, I don’t want to imply that understanding racism is dependent on understanding sexism, or that racism is less important than sexism, but I think there is definitely a great deal of correlation.

The main axis of sexism runs along the following lines:

sexgendergenderismsexism/Patriarchy

Sex is the given, what we are all born with biologically, the rationale upon which everything else is based. Gender is the imposition of superior and inferior roles based on sex. Genderism is the ideology which defines and defends gender. And finally, sexism is the prejudice which is the result of accepting and supporting genderism, and the Patriarchy is the set of those institutions which support genderism.

Likewise, we can trace the main axis of racism as such:

cultureraceracismimperialism

When two societies meet, what we observe directly is different cultures, by which we mean the specific ways in which people concretely fulfilling their needs (what they eat, how they talk, and so on). Race is the artificial construct which divides people into superior and inferior groups, on the basis of hostility between cultures. Racism is the ideology which defines and defends race. And finally, imperialism is the prejudice against other cultures which is the result of accepting and supporting racism, as well as its concrete implementation in internal and foreign policy.

This is probably not a perfect analogy, but the symmetry is pretty striking to me. In both cases, sex and culture are “the given” that we observe more or less directly (although I am not saying here that sex and culture are not constructed at all or cannot change, because that’s not at all true), while gender and race are clearly social constructs. By using these social constructs to form a hierarchy, we can then go back to “the given” and assign it a new layer of meaning.

The derivation would more specifically look something like this:

1. “These people look and act different than us.”
2. “These people are a different race than us.”
3. “These people are an inferior race to ours.”
4. “These people deserve to be killed/deprived of educational opportunities/deprived of some human rights.”

Like gender, races form a hierarchy, although the order of this hierarchy has greatly varied depending on the era. Until recently, the Whites were always at the top of the rankings, but now Ashkenazi Jews, the new darlings of the pseudo-scientists, occupy the apex; East Asians also occupy a high place in the rankings, often above Whites.

I think it’s obvious with these two examples how race is our way of dealing with different cultures. For centuries, Christians, and the Nazis (the highest point of Christianity), put the Jews at the bottom of their racial hierarchy; because of the Holocaust, it is no longer possible to do so. Likewise, the industrialization of Japan and China, their integration in the world economy, and the stereotype of Asian people being advanced in technical and technological areas, makes it impossible to put them at a low point in the hierarchy.

In general, races are delimitated and ordered in ways which support the interests of the power elite which does the delimitation and ordering. While they “technically” belong to different races, including Whites, Hispanics are routinely classified as inferior to Whites. This is the result of Hispanics being seen as a nuisance and, at best, cheap labor.

Racism comes first, then its rationalization under the guise of pseudo-science. This has always been the case. The correlation between black slavery and the rise of proto-Social-Darwinism in the US is another example of that.

Nowadays “ethnicity” is the new concept used to engineer cultural divisions within society. While “race” is being increasingly questioned, “ethnicity” remains outside of the scientific domain because it is more subjective, therefore easier to manipulate. “Hispanic” is not considered a race, but it can be an ethnicity.

Like genderism, racism entails “racial roles.” Whites are leaders and thinkers, Blacks are criminals and made for low-wage jobs, Asians are technical workers, Hispanics take the jobs no one else wants. It also entails stereotypes, such as Hispanics being prolific breeders (“they’ll outnumber us upstanding Whites!”) and Asians being bad drivers. These roles and stereotypes reflect people’s racist fears and hopes, just as gender roles and stereotypes reflect people’s sexist fears and hopes.

In sexism, a man is the default human, while women are a specific sub-species. In racism, we see that Whites are the default humans, while other races are sub-groups. So it makes sense for a White to ask a Black a question like “what are you gonna do about Black-on-Black violence.” No one would ever think of asking a White “what are you gonna do about White-on-White violence.”

I have said that “snti-genderism means fighting with all your strength against all attempts to equate biological characteristics with behavioral expectations.” I think this does not even need any change to fit anti-racism. In the case of anti-imperialism, simply replace “biological” with “cultural.”

There is one major difference between sexism and racism: self-definition is easier within a “race” than within a “gender” because people of the same “race” tend to live with each other, while people of the same “gender” are forced to intermingle with other “genders.” It took centuries for women to achieve what Black slaves had from the very beginning, a conception of themselves as an oppressed class.

This doesn’t mean that sexism is “worse” than racism. It doesn’t really make sense to play Oppression Olympics because there’s nothing measurable to compare. All hierarchies must be eliminated, no matter who’s affected.

3 thoughts on “Making the analogy between racism and sexism.

  1. Brad Reddekopp March 19, 2014 at 21:37 Reply

    My granddaughter made this connection on her own at the age of thirteen. She told me about a boy in her class who was making derogatory comments about girls in general. She asked me if that was like racism except it’s about females. I told her, “Yes, it’s called sexism.”

    Then told me that she “whupped his ass”. She was referring to defeating him in wrestling in gym class at school.

  2. Heretic March 14, 2015 at 16:59 Reply

    “Hispanic” or “Latino” is definitely considered a race within the US, as they have little concept of “ethnicity” – i.e., they and “White” are usually listed separately, so the white-passing have no idea what to choose. Plus, I know of very few people from Latin countries who refer to themselves as Latino, but rather by their nationality. In the US if you are white-passing but still have an accent you are considered an outsider anyway. Anyone who straddles two different races or cultures is considered a traitor to both.

    It’s offensive to mistake someone for a nationality they’re not (i.e. a Puerto Rican for a Mexican), but you’d be surprised how much people from Latin countries dislike each other, too – for example, Peruvians call Ecuadorians “monos” (monkeys).

    Whiteness makes more sense as a process of assimilation by xenophobes, as anyone who was not Anglo-Saxon was considered inferior until at least a few generations later. Colorism works somewhat differently, as whiteness is associated with class and wealth, so in places like Brazil or the Caribbean you’d see racism against a daughter dating a black man unless that man had money, then they’d make an exception and overlook it, because their babies would be mixed anwyay (and mixed is considered more beautiful than black). Lots of mixed people outright deny their ancestry due to self-hatred. But also, even white-passing people dye and straighten their hair and wear contact lenses.

    Then there’s the subset of specifically white women in the sex industry and I’ve seen one argument made claiming that black men in porn are ultimately the real victims because of racism and hurtful “big black c-ck” stereotypes. Even if nobody can agree that the fetishization of Eastern European women (considered the most beautiful, more feminine, and also stereotyped as insatiably horny) in the sex industry and the assumption that those who aren’t in it are prostituted anyway, or the fetishization of white women in non-white majority countries – is a form of racism, it is very much a case of misogyny. There’s a black artist who photographs white women being used as scarves which he says is “satire” of black men using white women as status symbols, and I’d consider that misogyny.

    • Francois Tremblay March 15, 2015 at 01:12 Reply

      Yea, as you probably know the concept of “White” itself is relatively recent, and so is “European.” In some places in Europe they still don’t really have a concept of being “White” like we do. Like all racist hierarchies and concept, they are ever-fluid.

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