NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Vol 17.2: Fall 2017 - Page 152

RSD: RAC ISM SPECTRUM DISOR DER Through a series of acts from 1670 to 1705, the Virginia assembly made laws distinguishing African and Indians from Europeans. They forbade Africans and Indians to own Christian servants and the legal definition of “Christian” now excluded baptized African and Native Americans… Through various legislative measures and social pressures While the legislative acts that engineered racism and White racial privilege equalized the social status of all those defined as “White,” it did not equalize the economic and political interests of poor Whites and the ruling (White) elite. That is to say, although the social identities of White workers improved, their economic interests were neither aligned with nor prioritized by the ruling elite. In acquiescing to this new regime, therefore, poor Whites sacrificed their economic and political self-interest for the mostly symbolic “wages of Whiteness.” In systematically discrediting the image of non-Whites and enlisting the participation of poor Whites in this project, the ruling elite launched a two-pronged psychological assault on non-Whites and on poor Whites. By assimilating to this new racialized self-definition, poor English workers — and later Irish, Italian, German, Polish, and other ethnic Europeans in the u.s. — relinquished their cultural distinctiveness, class-specific epistemological standpoint, and interpretive autonomy. Their acculturation to the illusion of dominance shared with the ruling elite was the first indication of racism’s ability to uproot, to impair intellectual agency and interpretive competence. In effect, White racial privilege was the nation’s first designer drug, consuming vital capacities — intellectual, psychological, moral — with every thrilling intake. The “pledge” among Whites to “ensure the degraded position” of all those defined as non-White would find expression and fulfillment through narrative acts and the re-configuration of “empathic bias.” This would involve scripting negative narrative relationships toward non-Whites and positive narrative relationships toward Whites sufficient to overshadow the empathic biases that would otherwise have evolved from their lived interactions and moral commitments. From the outset, therefore, racism was a psychological, not a moral, disorder dependent on a conditioned emotional detachment. While this detachment and resulting disorder can have moral effects and/or implications, the disorder is itself psychological with perhaps identifiable neural correlates. As a psycho-social spectrum disorder, racism stems from an involuntary and symmetrical blindness to one’s own and to other people’s human worth. It involves both conditioned emotional detachment and hyper attachment and produces disparate forms of impairment and disability. From its foundational measurement of human worth, racism establishes other “race”-based measurements of human capacities, human achievements, human potential, human rights, and human responses. While racism’s blindness is typically assumed to manifest itself in attitudes and acts of hatred or meanness, these are merely points on the racism spectrum. The socialized blindness that undergirds racism can manifest in a broad spectrum of attitudes and actions, involving varying degrees of emotional detachment or hyper-attachment towards persons positioned at various tiers on the hierarchy of human worth and entitlement posited by the ideology of race. Attitudes and actions toward persons positioned at or near the bottom of the hierarchy of human worth include, but are not limited to: suspicion, fear, unwarranted and frequently self-endangering mistrust, disinterest, apathy, a lack of concern for actual and potential danger or injury to such persons, sexual attraction, curiosity, envy, a desire to help or rescue, a lack of self-restraint or gentleness towards such persons, indifference or permissiveness about abuse towards such persons — a spectrum of psychological dispositions conditioned by emotional detachment. Attitudes and actions toward persons positioned at or near the top of the hierarchy, and that constitute White racial privilege, include but are not limited to: feelings of comfort, interestedness, empathy, unwarranted and frequently self-endangering trust, feelings of concern and distress at real or imagined danger or injury to such persons, a sense of the greater value, greater relevance of their roles and contributions — a spectrum of psychological responses conditioned by hyper-attachment. As a psycho-social spectrum disorder, racism also involves a socialized blindness to the structures through which hierarchical distributions of advantage, opportunity, immunity, and material resources are made. As such, it self-propagates through a concurrent blindness to its own operation, an effect with considerable strategic significance. As Wahneema Lubiano has observed, it allows White people to see themselves as acting morally when, according to their own moral tenets, they are not. 5 The tendency to self-propagate, as Weil emphasizes, is precisely what makes uprootedness (through White racial privilege) “the most dangerous malady to whic )յͽѥ́ɔ͕t(]ఀԤ)QхɬɅЁݕ)ɕ͕́ѡЁɥ镐ѡѱ)ɥɥ1ѥɅ)́ѡ́́ѡ)ɕ͕͕́ѡɅѥ)ѥ́ȁѽéѱ]є)ɽ́́ѕݽѡ丁%Ёѕ)Ѽѡɥɕ́ѥ)хЁѼͽ́ͥՅѕ)ɕЁѥ́ѡɅɍ䁽)յݽѠͥѕѡ)Ʌ%ɅʹЁɕѕ)ѥхЁѽ݅ɐ)]єѥ́)䵵́ݽձЁٔ)ɽѕѡ́ͽѥ)ݽձٔɥ́)ɸЁɴЁѡ́)Ʌ̸]Ѡ)ѥхаѡݽձٔ)Ѽɍ͔ѡɅ)ɕͽѡЁݽձٔɽ٥)ͥ́ȁեɥqɅѥٔ)ݱtPѼ͍͕)ɕѕȃPѡՕЁȁɽɥє)ɕ̸͕%ѥ)хЁЁɕ)ϊdѼɵձєѥٔ)ɅՑЁЁѡ)ѡєݕѥѠ䰁ѡ)ѡɅѥͽѥ́܁)Օݽձٔɽ͕)ѡ1ٕ́ݽձٕٔͅѡ)ݥѠՍɕ́ɕ䁥)ٕ́ݽձٕܸͅ)%Ʌѡѽ䁽ͱѥٔ)٥͕ٕѕѠ)YɝɽݡɅɅʹ)Օѥ͍ѥЁ)=ͽ)ѕ́ѡЃqÍݔ܁܁)ЁЁݡѡЁ)ѡ͡ɕ́ѡ9܁]ɱt(=ͽİԤIʹ=ͽ)͕̰q݅́ɅєՉ)͍́䁽ѡYɝձ)їt=ͽİܤٕѕѼ)ɕЁɽ̵Ʌ)ѥ̸%ѡѥѥѱ+qQɅѥAɽѡ]є) ѥ镸t=ͽɕչ̰)Yɝѕ́ͥձхͱ)ѕɥ́Ѽѥ)ɕх䰁Ʌх)ɕѕ܁ɽ)ɕѥٕɥ٥)ɕѽɔչݸ)յѽ丁Iɭ)ѡ͔ɕ͕́ɥ)Ȱѕȁ͕مа)ѕݱ䁥Ѽ)ͥɽչЁ)䁉ЁѡɥЁѼ)ݸɽ䀡Ց)յɽ䤰ѡɥЁѼ)͡ɔѡՉ̰ͥ)Ѽɔѡ)Ʌͥѥѡ͔)́=ͽİ(ش)ɕͽȁ]єé͕)ɸȁѡȁݸɅ)ɑ䁥́ѡյѥѡЁɅʹ)́ɅЁѡЁ٥)ՙЁɅչѥ)չ丁9յɽ́ѽɥ)ᅵ̰ݕٕȰ䁑Ʌє)ѡЁ٥ѕͥٔɅ)չѥ͔́ЁɅ)ɥѥIѡЁє)ٕ͕ѡɅѕ)ѡ9܁QхЁѡЁՑ)Սѥ́Ѽٔȁ)͕́ѼɕЁѡ́́)ݽձѼɕѕѡɱ)ɽɥم́Ѽѡɥ)ݕɔչѼɕͥЁɅЁ͍ɥѥ