Racism is like a Cadillac, they bring out a new model every year.
- Malcolm X
YAAAAAAAASSSSS. Don’t be fooled by this “post-racial society”. Jim Crow is alive and real. One of my professors in class said, “Jim Crow is still around. He’s James Crow now. He doesn’t have to be obnoxious or wear a KKK uniform. He’s very polite, wears a suit, and sits on Capitol Hill. Same guy. Different tactics.”
how do I transfer to where you study (via kristalclearly)
While China is officially home to 55 ethnic minority groups, the Middle Kingdom is far more ethnically homogeneous than the United States. Han Chinese make up 91.59 percent of the population, and the majority of the remaining 8.41 percent are visually indistinguishable from their Han counterparts. In part due to this difference, race and nationality are often conflated in China. A white foreigner is likely to be called laowai, or “old foreigner,” while a black foreigner is more likely to be described as heiren, or “black person.”
Read more. [Image: Marketus Presswood]
"There is a well-documented correlation between poverty and high birthrates. In little countries and big countries, capitalist countries and communist countries, Catholic countries and Moslem countries, Western countries and Eastern countries—in almost all these cases, exponential population growth slows down or stops when grinding poverty disappears.
This is called demographic transition. It is in the urgent long-term interest of the human species that every place on Earth achieves this demographic transition. This is why helping other countries become self-sufficient is not only elementary human decency, but is also in the interest of those richer nations able to help. One of the central issues in the world population crisis is poverty.
The exceptions to the demographic transition are interesting. Some nations with high per capita incomes still have high birthrates. But in them, contraceptives are sparsely available, and/or women lack any effective political power. It is not hard to understand the connection. At present there are about 6 billion humans. In 40 years, if the doubling time stays constant, there will be 12 billion; in 80 years, 24 billion; in 120 years, 48 billion. …
But few believe the Earth can support so many people. Because of the power of this exponential increase, dealing with global poverty now will be much cheaper and much more humane, it seems, than whatever solutions will be available to us many decades hence. Our job is to bring about a worldwide demographic transition and flatten out that exponential curve—by eliminating grinding poverty, making safe and effective birth control methods widely available, and extending real political power (executive, legislative, judicial, military, and in institutions influencing public opinion) to women. If we fail, some other process, less under our control, will do it for us.”
Members of the Maquis (French Resistance) barricade themselves on a Paris street during the Liberation of Paris from the Germans. Image taken by French photographer Robert Doisneau. Paris, France. August 1944.
While the Nazis were doing their horrific work in Germany, the Japanese outdid them in mainland Asia, undertaking a regime of ruthless experimentation the likes of which are too disturbing to imagine. Everyone knows about Nazi experimentation, but the story of Unit 731 is far less known, and all the more horrific for it. Unit 731 was a research base in Northeast China, and the home of more than 10,000 deaths by experiment. The patients were vivisected without anaesthesia after infection with diseases; pregnant women were vivisected and the fetus removed; limbs amputated to study blood loss; said limbs re-attached to the opposite side of the body; extremities were frozen by repeated immersion in water while left in icy conditions, then amputated or thawed to study gangrene; prisoners had their stomachs removed, and their oesophagus attached to their intestine directly; live humans were used to test grenades at various ranges and positions; flamethrowers; chemical and biological agents including plague, cholera, smallpox, botulism, syphilis and gonorrhoea; being hung upside down until they choked to death; air injected into their arteries to cause embolism; horse urine injected in their kidneys; deprived of food and water till death; placed in high pressure chambers till death; being exposed to extreme cold; burned to see how well they could survive different degrees of burns; spun until death on a centrifuge; animal blood injections; lethal radiation doses; injected with sea water to see if it could be substituted for saline; and buried alive. A laundry list of human atrocities. While many of the Nazi doctors were at least brought to justice for their crimes, Unit 731 merely disbanded and General MacArthur gave immunity to its doctors in exchange for information on biological warfare, and the majority got off scott free. However, Russia brought war crimes proceedings against a number of the perpetrators, and sentenced them to hard labor in Siberia. I can’t help but think they got off light.
Motherfuckers should have hanged.
As messed up as it was, that research was going to be done eventually, especially then, at such a pivotal development in modern warfare, biological and chemical weapons. Realistically that is the only way to test and research the lethality of weapons like that, and I’m sure if the United States didn’t pardon the physicians involved in the program, the US would have no doubt operated a facility similar, if not more unethically heinous than the Japanese one. Assuming the US doesn’t already have a research facility like this.
Under corporate authoritarianism, the psychological traits deemed most desirable for average citizens to possess are efficiency, conformity, emotional detachment, insensitivity, and unquestioning obedience to authority - traits that allow people to survive and even prosper as employees in the company hierarchy. And of course, for “non-average” citizens, i.e., bosses, managers, administrators, etc., authoritarian traits are needed, the most important being the ability and willingness to dominate others.
But all such master/slave traits are inimical to the functioning of real (i.e. participatory/libertarian) democracy, which requires that citizens have qualities like flexibility, creativity, sensitivity, understanding, emotional honesty, directness, warmth, realism, and the ability to mediate, communicate, negotiate, integrate and co-operate. Therefore, capitalism is not only undemocratic, it is antidemocratic, because it promotes the development of traits that make real democracy (and so a libertarian society) impossible.
- Matilda Lee: Humans are social animals competing for status, which, in our consumer society, is displayed largely through the things on which we spend our money. How can we ever sate our appetite for status without these things?
- Erik Assadourian: Culture defines what gives one status. In our consumer culture, status is equated with stuff. In some cultures, it is not a status symbol to keep buying new stuff, but to take care of the stuff we already have. Changing status symbols will not happen without serious cultural engineering. This may be uncomfortable for some, but cultural engineering has been happening for consumer interests for the last century or more.
- For example, in order to spread the car the automobile industry had to 'normalise' the idea that roads are for cars and not people. It did this not only through advertising and marketing, but also by working with schools to get children to sign petitions not to play in the streets. In some cities, they bought up trolley systems and dismantled them to destroy the competition.
- The environmental community, if it really expects to create a sustainable society, needs to start using these same tactics more effectively, rather than just fighting at a political advocacy level.
- ML: Western consumerism has become an almost unstoppable force around the globe. Just as many in China and India are starting to lead lives closer to the average American, environmentalists are saying they mustn't. Doesn't this smack of unfairness?
- EA: First of all, this assumes that people strive to be consumers just because it is a better life. Chinese individuals and families aren't taking on these consumer trends because they are better, but because there is a huge effort to market these ideas as better. It's a manipulative process to get people to be consumers.
- This isn't about developing countries not following in our mistaken footprints, but the fact Western countries have to willingly let go of our consumer culture. Consumer interests have a high level of regulatory capture. The answer to me becomes that those individuals who already understand what is looming ahead of us need to take an active role in transforming cultures.
- ML: As regards economic growth, what do you make of the idea of 'good growth' as opposed to 'bad growth', or do you believe that 'no growth' economics is the answer?
- EA: It depends on the country and the community, but a country like the US should have in its agenda not 'good growth' or 'no growth' but literally to 'de-grow'. The de-growth movement recognises that we are far beyond our ecological capacity. The world could maintain only 1.4 billion Americans. There are already 300 million of us, so we have to get to a fraction of our current consumption levels.
- Certain markets and businesses will still grow as they replace less sustainable businesses. Shortening work hours is essential - the New Economics Foundation put a number on it: 21 hours. Shorter working hours would ensure a better distribution of income and more time for families and communities to live sustainably. With more time you can cook, walk and bike more. While more people could afford the basics, discretionary income would be reduced, so fewer people could afford to fly to the Caribbean or buy a second car.
- ML: To what extent does our relationship with nature need to change to bring about the needed culture shift? Do you think it is sufficient for us to have a basic ecological understanding, or do we need to love and respect nature in order to live in harmony with it?
- EA: This is a running debate. The environmentalist in me wants to say that it has to do with love and respect of nature. But ultimately, it doesn't have to be either/or. If we truly understood our dependence on the planet in order to survive and thrive, even if we didn't have an internalised mythological relationship with it, I think we would be OK.
- ML: Science and technology - from carbon capture and storage, GM, nuclear, geo-engineering, in-vitro meat - is bringing solutions to many ecological crises without the need to change our consumption patterns. What's your view on our ability, through science and technology, to invent our way out of global crises?
- EA: If you listed a different set of technologies, I would have given you a different answer. Technology is an essential tool that we will use. But the technologies that are most valuable in my mind are things like Findhorn Ecovillage in Scotland's 'Living Machine', a biological sewage treatment system, which is now used by a town of 500,000. It has developed to the point where they are even treating the things we don't know what to do with, like estrogens.
- The technology of our future, if we truly understood our dependence on the earth, would probably be more biological, not this artificial gene manipulation where we are assuming that climate change is the problem. In reality, it is just a symptom of a culture that is maladapted to life on a finite planet.
- ML: You point to the need to change the stories we tell as a society. Millions of people have seen the film Avatar. Do you think people walk away with a greater awareness of, or connection to, the planet? What else is need to bring about sudden shifts in behavioural patterns?
- EA: Advertising is basically fertiliser to stimulate consumption. Even a failed advertising campaign that doesn't end up selling more of a product ramps up the broader background noise to consume.
- Watching Avatar won't lead to a sudden shift but will help build up a background of stories with ecological messages. Avatar has a very powerful story, similar to the documentary Crude, but seen by millions more people.
- ML: When it comes to changing culture, lot of ideas you discuss are essentially intangibles. Traditional campaigning is quite different, relying on changing specific policies or reducing a given pollutant. How are campaigners meant to measure the success of attempts at culture change?
- EA: Our current system is dependent on foundation grants that expect us to measure success in quantitative terms. This is not a campaign, but a deeper cultural shift. We may need a different set of indicators to track change.
- A lot of people engaged in cultivating a culture of sustainability probably don't see themselves in cultural change terms. Those working on making school meals more sustainable, local and healthy aren't trying to change culture, but they are having a major impact on our understanding of where food comes from.
- There needs to be some lee-way for those working at the deeper level of supporting cultural change agents.
- ML: Could you give a few of the most promising examples of culture change in the US and abroad?
- EA: The Roman school food system, where 67 per cent of the city's school food is organic and 26 per cent is local, is inspiring just by virtue of how far they've got.
- In the US, the non-profit organisation B Labs has already certified 190 corporations as B Corporations, redesigning corporate charters with a social mission.
- Governments have a valuable tool in 'choice editing', which essentially cuts out unnecessarily damaging products and provides more sustainable choices in order to redirect norms. We often talk about changing people's values in order to change their behaviour. But actually if you change people's behaviours their values change in accordance.