Monday, April 13, 2015

Western theories that misabel, mischaracterize, stereotype, and divide non-Western societies

‘Religion’ and ‘caste’ are two fraudulent categories that the Western imperialists and knowledge system superimposed upon the Indian cultural matrix.

The great variety of Indian cultural traditions has never had anything to do with ‘religion’ and ‘caste’ both of which constructs are Western colonial inventions.

Being an abusive labeling system built on sand – (the sand being ‘belief’ or ‘faith’ which is an oft-changing, unascertainable mental state of an individual) – the very concept of 'religion' is fraudulent and coercive.

‘Religion’ is, in fact, an outright denial of 'dharma' which allows individual freedom in quest for knowledge and understanding and playing of one’s part within a social context.

Our various darshans, jnan-margs, panths, sampradayas, etc. – as also the concept of ‘dharma’ – are embedded within the larger Indian cultural matrix which is quintessentially ‘syncretistic’.

‘Religion’, on the other hand, hates and curses ‘syncretism’ as an anathema and apostasy. What a contrast!

(By ‘religion’ I only mean Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the so called ‘Abrahamic’ faiths that are quite substantially inter-related in their ‘histories’ and other falsehoods.)

Derived from Spanish/Portuguese ‘casto’ meaning pure, unmixed – ‘caste’ is likewise a Western racial construct with nothing in common with ‘jati’ which has never existed as a rigid, written down ‘system’ as is pretended nowadays by motivated ‘intellectuals’ and ‘politicians’.

India’s clans, communities, samaj, biradari – which are mislabeled as ‘caste’ by the Western knowledge system – had always been - and continue to be in great measure even today - flexible and dynamic entities that allowed inter-community interactions, including marriage.      

Officially designating them as ‘castes’ or as based on a ‘caste system’ – as British Raj and now Republic of India have been doing – thus becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

We have the so called ‘castes’ insofar as we allow Republic of India to mislabel us as belonging to ‘castes’.

Thus ‘caste’ and ‘religion’ are embedded within the colonial legacy and makeup of Indian State whose ever-expanding processes have been enforcing and reinforcing these two colonial constructs on our communities which are thus conditioned to view themselves as belonging to ‘caste’ and ‘religion’.

And there has been underway for a long time a sinister effort, funded primarily by Christian churches and other Western institutions, to have the so called ‘caste’ officially designated as ‘race’.

It’s an agenda for India’s balkanization. Let’s not be sitting ducks for this massive fraud.

Let’s try to see through the Western knowledge system.

The material that I have copy-and-pasted below will give you an amazing insight into the theories that Western imperialists have employed to mislabel, mischaracterize, stereotype and balkanize non-Western societies.
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http://www.suppressedhistories.net/articles/racism_history.html

Racism, History and Lies
by Max Dashu

Some doctrines of racial supremacy as classically taught in Euro/American institutions, textbooks and media:

PHYSICAL CALIBRATION DOCTRINE: In which white anthropologists treat people as racial specimens, measuring "cephalic indices" and attempting to prove superiority of the "white" brain. Ugly racist terminology: "prognathism," "platyrhiny," "steatopygous," "sub-Egyptian." Mug-shot lineups of "the Veddan female," "Arapaho male, "Negroid type," "Mongoloid specimen" characterize this approach. Out of favor in the mid-20th-century, it has enjoyed a revisionist comeback with sociobiology and works claiming racial differentials in intelligence, such as "The Bell Curve."

TECHNOLOGICAL CALIBRATION DOCTRINE: Insists on forcing archaeological finds as well as living cultures into a grid of "development" based on whether tools, materials and techniques valued by "Western" scholars were in use. Example: "They were a stone age civilization who never discovered the wheel!" This model forces cultures into a progressional paradigm: Old and New Stone Ages, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Industrial Revolution, Space Age. This classification ignores the complexity of culture, and the fact that metallurgic technology and military might are not the ultimate measure of advanced culture.

STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT DOCTRINE: The assumption that "primitive" cultures represent lower "stages" in historical evolution, and have yet to attain advanced forms of culture. One English scholar referred to "the child-races of Africa." Usually, social hierarchy, militarization and industrialization are taken as prime measures of "advanced" civilization. In the 19th century, scholars openly used the terms "savage," "barbarian," "civilized." Though these offensive words have (mostly) been dropped, the underlying assumptions are still quite influential. (For a good discussion of how the insistence on talking about "tribes" distorts African history, see http://www.africaaction.org/bp/ethall.htm. )

SPREAD OF CIVILIZATION DOCTRINE: Credits all achievements to conquering empires, assuming their superiority in science, technology, and government. Adherents are usually incapable of perceiving advanced earth-friendly systems of land management, agronomy, medicine, collective social welfare networks, healing, astronomical knowledge, or profound philosophical traditions among peoples considered "primitive" by dominant "Western" standards.

PASSING OF THE TORCH DOCTRINE: Claims a chain of cultural transmission from Mesopotamia and Egypt to Greece to Rome to western Europe to the USA, leaving vast gaps where the history of the rest of the world should be. (And the discussion never returns to Egypt or Iraq to consider what happened there after the fall of their ancient empires.) Most of the planet's cultures are discussed only in relation to the European conquest, if mentioned at all. As a result, few people have any idea of the history of Sumatra, Honduras, Niger, Ecuador, Mozambique, Ohio, Hokkaido, Samoa, or even European countries such as Lithuania or Bosnia.

IF IT WAS GREAT, IT MUST HAVE BEEN WHITE: If advanced science, art, or architecture is found in Africa or South America, then Phoenecians, Greeks, Celts, Vikings (or, in the extreme case, space aliens) must be invoked to explain their presence. (Here, whiteness often functions as a relative concept, as "lighter than.") This bias gives rise to a pronounced tendency to date American or African cultures later than warranted, and as a result dating for these regions is constantly having to be revised further back into the past as evidence of greater antiquity piles up.

Corollary: IF IT WAS WHITE, IT MUST HAVE BEEN GREAT. Thus, the conqueror Charlemagne was a great man, in spite of his genocidal campaign against the Saxons, but the Asian conquerors Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan were simply evil. Stereotypes of head-hunters picture Africans (in the absence of any evidence for such a practice there) but never Celtic head-hunters in France and Britain -- much less Lord Kitchener making off with the Mahdi's skull in Sudan, or U.S. settlers taking scalps and body parts of Indian people. This doctrine also underlies the common assumption that European conquest must have improved life for subject peoples.

IF IT WAS NOT WHITE, AND ITS GREATNESS IS UNDENIABLE, THEN IT MUST BE DEPRECATED IN SOME WAY:  Example: The Epic of Man, published in the '60s by Time/Life Books, says of the advanced civilization of ancient Pakistan: "It is known that a static and sterile quality pervaded Indus society." It used to be the academic fashion to call ancient Egypt a "moribund" civilization which "stifled creativity." Similar writings dismissed the "Incas" (Quechua) as "totalitarian," or the Chinese as "isolated" and "resistant to change," ignoring their interchange with steppe societies as well as Southeast Asian cultures.

The AFRICAN GAP DOCTRINE: After examining the first humans hundreds of thousands of years ago, this historical approach completely skips over most of the African archaeological record. It discusses ancient Egypt but ascribes its civilization to "the Middle East," denying its African identity and archaeological connections with Saharan and southern Nilotic civilizations. Saharan civilization, Ile-Ife or Mwanamutapa are not discussed at all. Africa is simply dropped from historical consideration until the era of European slaving and colonization, when it is portrayed as culturally and technologically deficient. The existence of female spheres of power in Africa is ignored.

The BERING STRAIT DOCTRINE insists that all indigenous American peoples came across a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska, filtering down through Central America into South America. Problem: numerous archaeological sites in the Americas predate any possible Bering Strait migration by many thousands of years. Access from Alaska to the rest of North America was blocked for millennia by two great ice sheets that covered Canada. An narrow opening that might have allowed passage appeared much too late (about 13,500 years ago) to explain the growing evidence that people were living in both North and South America much earlier than these "first" migrations.

By 1997-98, the tide of opinion began to turn: several scientific conclaves declared that a majority of attending scholars rejected the Bering Strait theory as a full explanation of how the Americas were peopled. The long-doctrinal hypothesis of Clovis hunters as the first immigrants is crumbling before the new dating, as hundreds of pre-Clovis sites pile up: Cactus Hill, Virginia (13,500 BP); Meadowcroft Rock Shelter in Pennsylvania (14,000 - 17,000 Before Present); Monte Verde (13,500 BP); Pedra-Furada, Brazil (15,000 BP, and possibly as old as 32,000 BP).

Bering Strait diehards discount the oral histories of indigenous Americans. In spite of the huge diversity among the American peoples and differences between most Americans and east Asians, all are declared to be of "Mongoloid racial origin."

After the initial press stampede declaring "Kennewick Man" to be "white," study of the genetic evidence shows something entirely different. Instead, it appears that there have been several waves of migration: from central China, from the ancient Jomon culture of Japan, from south Asia or the Pacific islands. And "Luzia," an 11,500-year-old female skeleton in Brazil "appeared to be more Negroid in its cranial features than Mongoloid," in the stodgy anthropological terminology of the New York Times (Nov 9, 1999). (Actually she most closely resembles aborignal Australians.) But there is also a uniquely North American X-haploid group of mitochondrial DNA, which has yet to be explained.

THE POWER OF NAMING

STEREOTYPING entire peoples as mad, uncontrollable threats: "Wild Indians," "Yellow Hordes" or "the Yellow Peril." As inferior nonhumans: "primitives," "savages," "gooks," "niggers" -- this last term used not only against African-Americans, but also by 18th-century English colonizers of Egypt and India. Even the word "natives," which originally meant simply the people born in a country and by extension the aboriginal inhabitants, took on heavy racist coloration as an inferior Other.

POLARIZATION: "Scientific thought" vs. "primitive belief"; "undeveloped" vs "civilized"; or "the world's great religions" vs. "tribal superstitions," "cults," "idolatry" or "devil-worship." Depending on where it was created, a sculpture could either be a "masterpiece of religious art" or an "idol," "fetish," or "devil." Few people realize that "Western" scientists did not match the accuracy of ancient Maya calculations of the length of the solar year until the mid-20th century.

Indians who resist colonization and land theft are commonly portrayed as evil in popular media, which applies negative labels such as "Renegades." Here indigenous people are Other; the intruders in their country are The Good Guys. The white hero is named after the Texas Rangers, systematic killers of Indian families. His Indian sidekick's name, Tonto, means "fool, stupid person" in Spanish.

RENAMING: Dutch colonists called the Khoi-khoi people "Hottentots" (stutterers). Russians called the northwest Siberian Nentsy "Samoyed" (cannibals). These are blatant examples, but many nationalities are still called by unflattering names given by their enemies: "Sioux" (Lakota); "Miao" (Hmong); "Lapps" (Saami); "Basques" (Euskadi); "Eskimos" (Inuit). European names have replaced the originals in many places: Nigeria, Australia, New Caledonia, New Britain, etc. (But "Rhodesia" bit the dust, after a revolution.)

DEGRADATION OF MEANINGS: "Mumbo jumbo" has become a cliché signifying meaningless superstitions, but it comes from a Mandinke word -- mama dyambo -- for a ritual staff bearing the image of a female ancestor. (Look it up in any good dictionary.) "Fetish" now connotes an obsessive sexual fixation, but originated as a Portuguese interpretation of sacred West African images as "sorcery" (feitição). The holy city of Islam is often appropriated in phrases like "a Mecca for shoppers."

DOUBLE-THINK: Conquest becomes "unification," "pacification,""opening up," and conquered regions are dubbed "protectorates." The convention is to use Europe as the standard, writing texts from the viewpoint of the conquerors / colonizers. Thus, a Rajasthani rebellion against English rule was termed the "Indian Mutiny." A peculiarity of this thinking is the tendency to refer to times of bloody invasions and enslavement with respectful nostalgia, as in "The Golden Age of Greece" and "The Glory That Was Rome," or "How the West Was Won." British subjugation of southern Nigeria is recast as The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger.

A contributor to Men Become Civilized, edited by Trevor Cairns, explains it all to children:
"When the king of one city conquered others, he would have to make sure that all the people in all the cities knew what to do. He would have to see that they all had rules to follow, so that they would live peacefully together."

Double-think finds ways to recast genocide as regrettable but necessary, due to failings of the people being killed, who are somehow unable to "adapt." Distancing the agent is key here, obscuring the violence with the idea that some kind of natural process is at work: "vanishing races," "by that time the Indians had disappeared."

THE POWER OF IMAGES
Hollywood tomtoms beat as fake Indians jump up and down, uttering brainless cries and grunts. There's the "squaw" complex in literature and cinema, the faithful Indian sidekick, and Robinson Crusoe's "Man Friday." John Wayne as the Western movie hero, saying: "There's humans and then there's Comanches." Or in real life, the actor tried to justify the settler theft of Indian countries: "There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves."

Advertising is an important transmitter of historical misrepresentation. It draws on colonial mythologies such as the notion that the Dutch "bought" Manhattan for the equivalent of $24 in trade goods --in spite of the fact that the Indians did not think of land as something that could be sold. The role of violence is completely obliterated. Even history books do not go into the massacres of Native people. On Staten Island settlers slaughtered the people they called "Wappingers," and afterward played football with their severed heads.

Tarzan goes up against witch doctors and eye-rolling African chiefs. The Caribbean is shown as full of fearful, superstitious natives and zombies, Arabs who have nothing to do all day but loll around in harems, or cheat the white hero. Seductive Suzie Wongs, thieving Mexicans, and shiftless and sexually insatiable African-Americans. Movies commonly depict the Chinese as obsequious and deceitful, Arabs as treacherous, Africans as ignorant and barbaric.

COUNTERPOINT
*The Mande were farming millet and other crops in West Africa in 6500-5000 BCE.
*Temples in Peru and Sudan are much older than the Parthenon.
*People in Mississippi, Illinois and Mexico traded with each other and exchanged ideas and symbols, as the the sea-faring Ecuadorians did with Costa Rica and western Mexico.
*A small-statured Black people built the oldest civilization in southeast Asia, leaving megalithic temples and statuary in south India, Cambodia, Sumatra and other Indonesian islands.
*Archaeology shows that the earliest formative influences on ancient Egypt came from Sudan and the Sahara, not the "Middle East."
*The oldest megalithic calendar in the world has recently been discovered in the Egyptian Sahara, dating back to 7000 years ago. European megaliths may have an African origin.
*Polynesian mariners had begun navigating by the stars and settling the vast ocean expanses of the Pacific islands before the time of Moses.

WHAT GETS DEFINED AS HISTORY?
In the last half century, the boundaries of "acceptable" history have been expanded by a multidisciplinary approach, including sources previously dismissed: orature (oral tradition), linguistics, anthropology, social history, art, music and other cultural sources. More recently, the social locations of historians have come under consideration as a factor shaping their perspectives, along with a sense that there is no absolutely "objective" view of history. Past claims of objectivity have biases clearly visible today, notably in siding with European settlers and slavers against non-christian cultures, and the almost total eclipse of female acts and experience from historical accounts.

A reader who might react negatively to a blatant expression of racism often misses perceiving one cloaked in scholarly language, in assumptions, judgments and misinformation most people have not been educated to catch. It does not occur to many people to question a pronounced overemphasis on Europe, the smallest continent (actually, a subcontinent of Asia.) If a chapter or two on African and Asian history is inserted in a textbook, publishers go ahead and call it a world history. Typically, media depictions of history have not caught up with information now available in specialized academic sources, and continue to present the old stereotypes and distortions as fact.

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