Saturday, September 27, 2014

To see in black and white is to be colorblind

In an important essay on our Summer of White Supremacy , author  surveys the United States of Fear that many of our citizens must live within.  However, by its own terminology and frame of reference, the article contains the seed of its own failure because it adopts the falsehood at the core of white supremacy, that is, it assumes the very core of the model of reality, i.e., the premise of "race," that white supremacy created to foster its ideological goals. As long as we continue to assume the framework that race exists, then we have adopted and clothed ourselves in the framework of the white supremacy movement, and we are subtly promoting the very perspective that we are against. 

Put another way, a black and white television is a colorblind television; so if we don't want to be colorblind, then we need to get out of the framework of seeing the world of human diversity in the colorblind terminology of "black" and "white."  The very slogan "the denial of black humanity" actually does deny the humanity of everyone in the category of "black" by its own framework.  Humanity can not be divided into "black humanity" and "white humanity," and to divide humanity so only falls into the scheme created by white supremacy.  Thus, even as one would argue for the equal humanity of black humanity, one has already given into and adopted the falsehood of the ideological model of the white supremacists, i.e., that there is a "white humanity" and a "black humanity" instead of only one humanity that comes in many different colors, none of which are "white" or "black." 

Here's a simple test. If you think you are "white," then just place your hand on a sheet of plain white paper and tell me that your hand is the same color. Obviously, it is not.  When you can state the color of your hand as it really is, without using the word "white," then you will have liberated yourself from the colorblind state of mind that the white supremacists have brainwashed people with for centuries.

Similarly, for those who of you who think you are "black." When you can state your own skin color without using the word "black" and refer to people of European ancestry without the fake name "white", then you will have liberated yourselves from the colorblind state of mind that the white supremacists have brainwashed us with for centuries. 

Until we throw off the imaginative and linguistic shackles of the mind that force us to view people and speak of them as "white" or "black," we will never be able to free ourselves from the worldview created by white supremacists and prevent white supremacy from continuing to reign supreme in our land.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

They should be called "Islamic Dynasty" or DIIS not "Islamic State" or ISIS or ISIL

They should be called "Islamic Dynasty" not "Islamic State," but what's in a name?  You might be confused, as many people are, by the various names used for the most recent bogey-man group known in various English translations as ISIS or ISIL. The organization's name is al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham, which would make it's acronym DIIS. However, English news organizations did not want to explain the use of the Arabic initials (even though they did not have a problem with the Russian KGB or Spanish FARC), so they attempted to translate the name into English. It could have been translated as State of Islam in Iraq and Sham or SIIS, but the English translators did not know what to do with the Arabic term "sham." It includes more than Syria but doesn't include quite all of what is called the Levant in English. So some translators used "Syria" and others use "Levant" even though both were technically incorrect. And instead of saying State of Islam, they use Islamic State. Thus we have been given both ISIS for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and ISIL for Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, even though both are actually erroneous. 

Somewhere along the way, the English speaking media thought that "Islamic State" sounded like a better enemy than either "ISIS" or "ISIL," so that name began to be bandied about as well.   Apparently the leadership of  al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham also thought that "Islamic State" sounded much cooler and tougher and now we hear that they have shortened their name to just al-Dawla al-Islamiya and they want to be called Islamic State in English. 

But is "Islamic State" a correct translation for "al-Dawla al-Islamiya"? Originally the word "al-dawla" meant "reign" or "dynasty," referring to the reign or dynasty of the current caliph.  But in the modern times of secular states with no caliphs or caliphate to reign in dynasties, the term has been used to indicate the sovereignty of the secular state.   However, since the specific goal of al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham is to create a caliphate and not a secular state, the term "al-Dawla al-Islamiya" should be translated into English according to the earlier meaning as "Islamic Dynasty" not the secular meaning of "Islamic State."  It would make a very different impression if we were hearing about a group accurately named "Islamic Dynasty" rather than "Islamic State."