Last week I noticed a kid getting smeared hard by a magazine, a social justice magazine, and during the PewDiePie scandal, there wasn’t a lot I could do to raise awareness. I did my best, got almost 100 retweets on a tweet I made, however this pales in comparison to the pull of the 50k strong magazine bullying the kid.
Even despite my measly 250~ or so followers – @EvelynAtieno suddenly became @EvelynVWoodsen on Twitter, clearly in attempt to avoid backlash.
Evelyn, who “broke” this total smear campaign, has since blocked me after having other writers of her magazine come at me bro. Including this one, who sees no problem with using racial slurs against white people and making fun of the fact that they are racist towards white people:
I had more backs and forths with Affinity fans on Twitter about this subject ultimately dying down, only to see that Affinity dropped a new article, clearly a low-key response to the buzz I created. “Dear White People” it starts, “your dictionary definition of racism is wrong, here’s why!”
I’d like to start of by saying that – dictionary definitions don’t just belong to white people, they’re totally skin-colour free. They’re simply a catalogue of human language use. Its for this reason that words like “literally” have had their definition to be updated to include figuratively, even despite people being angry that literally “literally” doesn’t mean figuratively. However literally has become commonly used as figuratively, and that’s the reason for the figuratively part of the definition being added. If tomorrow people started widely using the word “spanner” to mean french kiss, eventually that definition would also be added to the word in the dictionary.
To assume the dictionary is about one race of people, or benefits them more than the other its straight racism in and of itself. Its literally (as in actually) just a collection of words and how they have been used.
With that out of the way, lets tackle some key points of this post by Affinity:
Another claim made in the article; racism was invented by European scientists in the 17th century. Incorrect. Anti-racist sentiments can be found as far back as Muhammad in the Hadith, in the year 632. Here’s the quote from his final sermon:
“Indeed, there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, nor of a non-Arab over an Arab, nor of a white over a black, nor a black over a white, except by taqwa (piety).
This is anti-racism, not racism. However, you wouldn’t need an anti-racist rule if there wasn’t already wide-spread racism. Its like banning smoking if nobody smokes. It wouldn’t happen.
We can also find examples of Aristotle, great Greek philosopher claiming that Greeks were free by nature, and non-greeks were slaves by nature. Blatant racism from the late 300 BCE.
The racism the article talks about is the scientific idea of racism, it wasn’t the invention of racism – it was merely an attempt by scientists at the time to explain why racism existed. Some would argue it was necessary, that it was right – and this is obviously racist and wrong. Others argue its just a natural part of human society, that we favour those who look like us more than those who don’t – like Dawkins, for example, who said:
Racial prejudice, while not evolutionarily adaptive, “could be interpreted as an irrational generalization of a kin-selected tendency to identify with individuals physically resembling oneself, and to be nasty to individuals different in appearance”.
These people were just trying to explain behaviour they could see, not invent a whole new behaviour. Science is all about observation and how to explain what is observed. So racism must have existed before scientific racism tried to explain it. Again, not inventing racism – merely just trying to explain its existence.
Next the article says that “dictionaries are written by white men” – so what? Are you being racist against white men and assuming they can’t write objectively? What possible reason could you have, that isn’t inherently racist, for why white people shouldn’t be able to participate in writing dictionaries?
Either way its still wrong. The people who write dictionaries are called “lexicographers” and can be found across all races. Here’s a long list on Wikipedia and here’s a shout out to a few that aren’t white to really hammer home my point:
Harischandra Wijayatunga – alive today, Sri Lankan, Practical Sinhala Dictionary (1982) and Gunasena Great Sinhala Dictionary.
Magdi Wahba – Al-Mukhtar: a Concise English–Arabic Dictionary, considered as one of the most thorough dictionaries of its kind.
Ganjam Venkatasubbiah – is a Kannada writer, grammarian, editor, lexicographer and critic who has compiled over eight dictionaries, authored four seminal works on dictionary science in Kannada, edited over sixty books and published several papers.
Is the English dictionary largely written by white people? Yes and no. Modern dictionaries tend to be compiled and worked on by hundreds if not thousands of people at a time. Its unreasonable to assume all of them are white in our multicultural societies. Though every editor in chief of the OED has been white, yes. I still don’t think this means anything because I’m not a racist.
Finally we move onto the last paragraph in this shit-tier response from Affinity. The idea of ism implying a system, meaning racism is inherently systemic. Back to the dictionary we go!
As you can see, “ism” does denote a system – but its not limited to only a system as the Affinity Mag would have you believe. Its also a distinctive practice, philosophy, a political ideology or an artistic movement. Lets have a quick cursory glance at some examples of each of these.
An example of the philosophy could use solipsism or skepticism. For political ideology we have Conservatism or Nazism. As an artistic movement we can go check out cubism and as a practice we can use absenteeism. Racism itself, judging by the definition, appears to fit into the ideology camp, as its literally about a belief. This might result in racism as a practice – ie, being a dick to Chinese people based on your belief (racism) about Chinese people. Everyday racism is not systemic, it never was.
And finally… we get to my favourite part of this article, where the writer of the response suggests that dictionary definitions shouldn’t be used because the dictionary definition of ketchup says its spicy. Here’s that shit debunked in a quick slideshow, mostly because I like using the slide show feature:
@Seb – Don’t defend racists, judging people by the colour of their skin is racist, no if no but.