Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism.… ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage — the notion … that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.
NB: strong language.
EspañolA video reporter attended the #BlackLivesMatter march on Saturday in Baltimore, to give voice to those who decry police brutality. Instead of explaining their message and showing appreciation, participants accosted and robbed her.
She was far from alone in being on the receiving end of what descended into a riot, with juvenile and tragic violence and vandalism on display for the world to see. The culpable individuals — spurred on by outside agitators, according to the city’s mayor — attacked innocent bystanders as vengeance for Freddie Gray, who died a week earlier in police custody without proper medical attention.
Granted, the violent faction achieved their presumed goal by garnering plenty of attention, but they created far more enemies than friends with their escapades. In letting off steam in such a manner, they reinforced negative stereotypes, marred a legitimate protest, made people fear them, and necessitated a police crackdown, including 35 arrests.
Worst of all, they themselves acted on and perpetuated the conceptual root of racism: collectivism.
Collectivism, both in its political and philosophical manifestations, places the importance of groups (collectives) above the rights of each individual. Stemming from the fallacy that groups act, rather than individuals, collectivism also assigns responsibility to one’s “people” — whatever group that may be — and fosters prejudices and division.
This pernicious and widespread fallacy suggests that you are culpable for (or can take pride in) the actions of anyone who shares characteristics with you: gender, class, genetic lineage, etc. If someone of your nationality does wrong, so goes the thinking, you are liable for punishment too — as Islamic State militants have espoused.
When purported “anarchists” riot and inflict damage, as in Baltimore, they do not blink, because “fuck the police,” as though all policemen are evil. Likewise, the imagined collective of the bourgeois capitalists must be brought down in a class war, so that justifies open season on anyone who appears well-off.
What they fail to forget, amid their venomous groupthink, is that many policemen have not committed the ills that they protest, even if police brutality is a grave concern. Likewise, there is no such thing as a capitalist class, and developed nations such as the United States and Canada have a high degree of income mobility.
Initiatives to prevent police brutality and racism, such as peaceful civil disobedience and live-stream filming of their activities, deserve our praise. Violent agitators aside, many injustices need to be addressed.
But let us also remember the conceptual breakdown that justifies the wrongs on both sides of the aisle. We are distinct individuals with natural rights, which come before misguided notions of the collective that obfuscate right and wrong and perpetuate injustice.
EspañolThe Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) requested on Thursday that Cuba take steps to safeguard employees of the Center of Legal Information (Cubalex), after they were subject to an “alleged series of constant harassment and threats.” The Cuban organization offers free legal advice on human-rights matters, immigration procedures, housing legalization, and the defense of civil rights for Cubans and foreigners living in the Caribbean nation. Information obtained by the Organization of American States (OAS) was judged to demonstrate that the members of Cubalex are “in a serious and urgent situation, because their lives and personal integrity are in danger.” The commission requested Cuba to adopt all necessary measures to protect the life and safety of the organization's staff, so they can “develop their activities as advocates of human rights without being subject to violence and harassment." It also asked the government report back within 15 days on the adoption of the security measures. However, it is unlikely that Havana will answer the commission's request. Cuba was expelled from the OAS in 1962, after the organization declared that its Marxist-Leninist ideology under Fidel Castro was “incompatible with the Inter-American system.” The sanction was cancelled in 2009 at the General Assembly of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, but the Cuban government subsequently refused to attend summits. The presence of Cuban President Raúl Castro at the seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama earlier in March was a surprise breakthrough, although work remains to be done before Cuba is fully integrated again. The OAS has released multiple studies and reports on the human-rights situation in Cuba. As the only organ of the OAS in charge of the promotion and protection of human rights in the Americas, the commission views Cuba as "legally responsible" for rights violations, as the 1962 resolution excluded the Cuban government, and not the nation itself, from the Inter-American system. Source: El País