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Re: [xmca] Hedegaard article

Dear Martin:
I don't find Jay's comments at all offensive, and they are simplistic only in the sense of being telegraphic (like the word "nasty"). Actually, I find Jay's work anything but simplistic; if anything it's a little too nuanced for my purposes (coding data involves a LOT of categorial distinctions!)
I interpreted Jay's comments in the context of Mariane Hedegaard's article, particularly the ending, where Halime is describing her relationship to the Danish language and to the Danish "good life". I'm assuming that this article was written well after the Centre-Right Rasmussen government came to power (in 2001) with, of course, the support of the Bush administration, which they promptly returned by embroiling Denmark in the Iraq War. 
What is not so well known is that the Rasmussen government is supported by the Dansk Folkeparti of Pia Kjaersgaard, which is the equivalent of Jean Marie Le Pen's Front Nationale in France or Jurg Haidar's neo-fascist Austrian People's Party. This party, which has been shown to be infilitrated by terrorist neo-Nazi organizations like Combat 18, opposes all forms of immigration, consider white people to be oppressed by the Muslim minority in Denmark, and after 9/11 Kjaersgaard said that the Americans were wrong to call this a clash of civilizations because "There is only one civilization and that is ours." 
Here are some quotations from their parliamentary delegation, just to give you some sense of what Halime is talking about:

Morten Messerschmidt, DPP member of Danish Parliament: 

"I believe that all Muslim communities are, by definition, loser communities. The Muslims are not capable of critical thinking."[24]

Pia Kjærsgaard's newsletter (February 25, 2002): 

"The Social Security Act is passé because it was tailored to a Danish family tradition and work ethic and not to Muslims, for whom it is fair to be provided for by others while the wife gives birth to a lot of children. The child benefit grant is being taken advantage of, as an immigrant achieves a record income due to [having] just under a score of children. New punishment limits must be introduced for group rapes because the problem only arrived with the vandalism of the many anti-social second-generation immigrants." [25]
It seems to me that in the USA in the sixties and again today there was a fairly common liberal sentiment to the effect that racism was above all just a bad idea, and that since it was nothing more than a bad idea, it could be cured fairly easily by a dose of Sidney Poitier or Barack Obama.
The corollary of this sentiment is that, of course, the oppressed must not be allowed to cherish similar bad ideas, not merely because it might provoke the oppressor to even more savage acts of oppression but above all because racism is just a bad idea in general.
Well, it doesn't take much to show that this liberal sentiment is simply wrong. Sidney Poitier did not cure American racism, and neither will Barack Obama. The reason is simple; racism is not "just a bad idea" but, like any other pervasive and systematic ideology, a reflection of real material historical conditions. 
Specifically, racism reflects the historical conditions of American slavery, European colonialism, and the not merely historical reserve army of the unemployed, which is growing by leaps and bounds as we speak. Perhaps it's time to consider the idea that so-called "reverse racism", or rather, the rage of the oppressed, is really NOT part of the problem, but in fact part of the solution. 
David Kirshner's colleague, Kaustuv Roy, has written a wonderful book (Thanks, David!) called Neighborhoods of the Plantation which begins with a quote from Walter Benjamin on immigration and borders as a means of keeping "culture" pure. Benjamin committed suicide when, fleeing the Nazis, he was not allowed to pass from occupied France into Spain : 
"Where frontiers are decided the adversary is not simply annihilated; indeed he is accorded rights even when the victor's superiority of power is complete. And these are, in a demonically ambiguous way, 'equal rights', for both parties ot the treat it is the same line that may not be crossed. Here appears, in a terribly primitive form, the same mythical ambiguity of laws that may not be 'infringed' to which Anatole France refers satirically when he says that 'Poor and rich are equally forbidden to spend the night under bridges.'"
David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

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