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29 October 2012

On the origin of the word Racist


There is an urban legend that has been floating around for some years now, that the word racist was coined by Leon Trotsky, for the purpose of cowing and intimidating opponents of leftist ideology. In his History of the Russian Revolution Trotsky applied the word racist to Slavophiles, who opposed Communism. 

Just from the word's etymology (the word race with a suffix added) it is not immediately apparent why this word is supposed to be inherently derogatory. Words like anarchist, communist, and fascist have a negative connotation for many people, but that is because of their perspectives on anarchism, communism, and fascism, not because the words are inherently derogatory. The words anarchist, communist, and fascist have objective content toward which one may be positively or negatively disposed. Likewise the word racist. Objectively, it seems to denote somebody for whom race is a concern. 

Is it not possible that Trotsky's use of the word, regardless of what his feelings about racism may have been, was merely descriptive, insofar as the effort of Slavs to assert and preserve their Slavic identity inherently involves a concern with race? Are not racists, as Trotsky regarded them, essentially just a species of anti-Communist, rejecting submersion into nondescript humanity under alien personalities and interests?

Our so-called conservatives in the United States do not ask such questions. If the left uses a term with a negative feeling attached, our conservatives accept that what the term denotes is objectively negative. If leftists and Jew-controlled mass-media disapprove of racists and racism, our so-called conservatives will not dispute that value judgment; for the purpose of rhetoric they will even embrace it. Conservatives outwardly accept that racists and racism are bad, and will not challenge it.

What the conservatives like to do instead of debunking their enemies' assumptions, which are also supported by mass-media, is to try to find a way to throw an accusation back at them, even a ridiculous accusation based on a specious argument and a flimsy premise. (I believe that this preference for responding with accusations, rather than truth and reason, derives from the fact that staying on the attack means not having to clarify one's own position on touchy matters. For somebody trying to win a popularity contest in the short term, rather than inform and educate for the long term, it makes perfect sense to try to keep one's own positions obscure.) The legend that Leon Trotsky coined the word racist offers a basis for that kind of rhetoric. It seems a silly argument, but they will say something like, If you use the word racist then you are a bad person like Communist mass-murderer Leon Trotsky, because he invented that word!

Did Trotsky really invent that word? No, apparently not. The work in which Trotsky is supposed to have coined that word was written and published in Russian in 1930.  I found several examples of the French form, raciste, preceding Trotsky's use of the word by far.



Leftist Use of "Racism" before Trotsky

In Charles Malato's Philosophie de l'Anarchie (1897) we find both raciste and racisme:


Nul doute qu'avant d'arriver à l'internationalisme complet, il y aura une étape qui sera le racisme; mais il y a lieu d'esperer que la halte ne sera pas trop longue, que l'étape sera brûlée. Le communisme qui, au début de son fonctionnement, apparait devoir être fatalement réglementé, surtout au point de vue des échanges internationaux, entrainera la constitution de fédérations racistes (latine, slave, germaine, etc.) L'anarchie qu'on peut entrevoir au bout de deux ou trois générations, lorsque, par suite du développement de la production toute réglementation sera devenue superflue, amènera la fin du racisme et l'avénement d'une humanité sans frontiéres. (p.47)
Charles Malato
TRANSLATION: No doubt that before arriving at complete internationalism, there will be a stage which will be racism; but it must be hoped that the layover will not be too long, that it will be rapidly surpassed. Communism, which appears that it must inevitably be regulated at the beginning of its functioning, especially in regard to international trade, will bring about the establishment of racist federations (Latin, Slavic, Germanic, etc.). Anarchy -- which we can glimpse at the end of two or three generations when, as a result of the development of production, any regulations will have become superfluous -- will bring the end of racism and the advent of a humanity without borders. 

Although Malato was not in favor of racistes or racisme as such, regarding them as constituting an intermediate stage on the path from the destruction of the existing empires to his ideal of global anarchy, his use of those words back in the late 19th century was clearly not polemical but based on their objective content. Malato saw a tendency in Europe toward reorganizing political boundaries and allegiances along racial (or ethnic) lines, and he called this tendency racism. Note also that Malato refers to Pan-Slavism as a form of racism, thus anticipating Trotsky's specific application of the word.


First English Use

A piece for National Public Radio (Gene Demby, "The Ugly, Fascinating History of the Word 'Racism'," 6 January 2014) cites the Oxford English Dictionary to the effect that the first use of the word racism (in English) was by Richard Pratt in 1902, five years after Malato's use of raciste and racisme in French. 

In fact, Pratt had used the word even earlier, at least as early as 1899, in remarks at a conference of the Friends of the Indian.  On that occasion Pratt advocated an approach to destroying "racism and classism." (Proceedings of the Seventeenth Annual Conference of the Lake Mohonk Conference of the Friends of the Indian, 1899, publ. 1900)

Pratt was a Baptist religious zealot who was particularly devoted to stamping out the identities of various North American tribes through assimilation. NPR's author for some reason finds it paradoxical that somebody who condemns racism would be trying to stamp out the racial as well as the specific ethnic identities of Cheyenne, Choctaw, or Muscogee, when in fact it is perfectly consistent. Racism in its proper meaning, as we see with Charles Malato and the Occitanian separatists a century ago (contemporary with Pratt), means concern for one's race (however that race is defined), and an impulse to preserve that race, and, in accord with that, organization along racial lines. To condemn racism as such is ultimately to condemn the preservation of any race, with the mongrelization of all mankind, explicitly hoped by some, being the predictable long-term result. Deliberate destruction of races through assimilation and mixture, as advanced -- although in a more direct and obvious manner than we usually see -- by Richard Henry Pratt with his Carlisle Indian Industrial School, is the ultimate implication of  anti-racism. It is remarkable that anyone pretends to be confused about this.


Positive Racism

I find pensée raciste (French for “racist thought”) and individualité raciste (“racist individuality”) in the volume of La Terro d’oc: revisto felibrenco e federalisto (a periodical championing the cultural and ethnic identity of people in southern France) for the year 1906.  Here the word racist was used without a hint of negativity:


Je forme des voeux pour la réussité de vos projets, car je suis persuadé que, dans cette fédération des peuples de Langue d’Oc luttant pour leurs intérêts et l’émancipation de leur pensée raciste, le prestige de Toulouse trouvera son compte. (p. 101)
TRANSLATION: I express my best wishes for the success of your projects, because I am convinced that, in the federation of the peoples of Langue d’Oc fighting for their interests and the emancipation of their racist thought, the prestige of Toulouse will benefit.

Ce malheureux Midi! Il est victime, de toutes les façons! Ruiné, spolié, abruti, c’est un sort de pays vaincu qu’on lui réserve et tout ce qui serait de nature à caractériser son individualité raciste et dont la survivance ou le culte pourrait le faire reprendre conscience de lui-même pour l’arracher à sa torpeur et assurer la sauvegarde de ses intérêts matériels et moraux, est-il bon à autre chose qu’à être combattu et tourné en dérision? (p.68)
Occitanians were proudly racistes in 1906.
TRANSLATION: This unfortunate South! He is a victim in every way! Ruined, robbed, brutalized, it’s a fate of conquered countries that one reserves for him, and whatever would be likely to characterize his racist individuality and whatever’s survival or worship could make him regain consciousness of himself to snatch him from his torpor and safeguard his moral and material interests, is it good for anything except to be combated and ridiculed?

While racists were bad people for Leon Trotsky, some people in Occitania in 1906 did not share that value-judgment, because they had a different perspective and different interests. 

Finally there is the Théorie du Racisme (Theory of Racism) written by a former volunteer of the Légion de Charlemagne, René Binet. He wrote in 1950:


Several years ago, a flag was raised over the world. It is not the flag of a nation, nor that of a party, but the flag of a new breed of men armed with new knowledge and belonging to all the White nations: these men are racists.
The powers of the old world, the adherents of ancient philosophies, the servants of old divinities, have joined forces to combat this type of man and to tear down his emblem.
From now on, everyone anywhere on the globe who opposes the decay of his people, the decline of his race, and enslavement, will be accused of racism and fascism because he took up the flag. 
Thus the time has come for racists to declare openly their will to save those of our values​​ that still can be saved, and to proclaim before the obsolete world that makes an insult of the word racist, what it really means to be racist.

Why should I accept the value-judgments of my enemies? The label racist is only an effective attack if it is perceived as one, which means, only if the value-judgment attached to it is accepted. Don't accept that! If you can stop worrying about being called a racist, if you can refrain from  using a barrage of flaky counterattacks (the way "conservatives" do) to avoid talking about your own real views, then you can be sincere and really communicate with people. You might even have a chance to explain that almost everybody is racist and that it's normal -- which is a fundamental fact that every White person needs to know.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

It might be possible to rehabilitate these type of words by spelling and pronouncing them in French. (A "Frankensteen, not Frankenstine" ploy.)

But, Trotsky and his commie pals gave the word the meaning it has in the English language, the dictionary meaning. No need to quibble with those who credit it to Trotsky.

Hadding said...

Trotsky is not responsible for the fact that the word racist has been given a negative connotation in the English language. Anti-racists, especially in mass-media, are responsible for that.

They abused the word fascist in exactly the same way. Should we run away from using the term fascist where it is objectively accurate because of that?

I don't care so much if people go to the specific trouble of rehabilitating the word racist -- although letting the enemy have a free rein in determining connotations of words in general seems to me a really bad idea.

I do care if people base an argument on a false claim. I have shown here that Trotsky did not coin the term racist, and that it was originally an objective term, with either a positive or a negative connotation depending on one's own perspective.

TomCruise said...

You nationalist-socialists confuse the hell out of me. As I look through your site, there are blatant antisemitism, yet you support the left wing using the term racism to destroy political enemies? Fix yourselves!

Hadding said...

Tom Cruise, it is not apparent from your comment that you read the article.

Hadding said...

I see that somebody called Ezra Claverie cited this article in a publication called "Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media." http://intensitiescultmedia.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/e-claverie-lovecraft-fandoms2.pdf

Unfortunately he didn't actually READ the article. He quoted a single sentence, which he misinterpreted, somehow totally missing the point.

He noted that I had found uses of the terrible word before Trotsky,and that nobody else had done this, but failed to note that I had found raciste used before 1900.

Apparently the guy has a graduate-degree in English. In spite of that, the way he used my work was sloppy.

Chechar said...

Hello Hadding,

This article claims something about "the 1872 Synod of Constantinople. For the sake of clarification, let’s reproduce a section from said Synod: ' We renounce, censure and condemn racism'..."

https://praiseoffolly.wordpress.com/unorthodox-matt-parrott-orthodoxy-and-ethno-nationalism/

If the quote is genuine that would mean that they used the word as early as 1872. I don't know if it's a genuine quote though...

Chechar said...

P.S.

See also here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyletism

Hadding said...

That Wikipedia article is fraudulent. The council wrote that declaration because they objected to the formation of a Bulgarian national church. They did not use the word racism at all; they used the word φυλετισμός (phyletism), which is best understood to mean tribalism or, in this case, nationalism.

Matthew Raphael Johnson discusses that council and its corrupt motives in one of his talks. Phyletism really is not a sin in Christianity; it is in fact traditional.

Unknown said...

THE RACIST "CHOSEN PEOPLE" IN THE APARTHEID "PROMISED LAND"!
THE ORIGIN OF JUDAIC SATANISM

 

According to the biblical paradigm, the Creator of the Universe became the God of Israel when he chose the Hebrews. But according to biblical scholarship, the historical process was the reverse: it is the god of Israel who became the Creator of the Universe. This process, which was only completed during the Persian period, was not so much due to a progress in metaphysical thought as to a political cunning. The book of Ezra betrays a calculated effort from the Levites to confuse, in the mind of the Persians, “the god of Israel who resides in Jerusalem” (7:12–15) with the “God of heaven” whom the Persians also called Ahura Mazda, with the aim of obtaining the support of the Persian king for their theocratic project in Palestine.

In Ezra, only the kings of Persia, in the various edicts attributed to them, recognize Yahweh as “the God of Heaven,” while in the rest of the text, Yahweh is merely “the god of Israel”. The same can be observed in the book of Daniel, when Nebuchadnezzar, impressed by the gifts of Daniel’s oracle, prostrates himself and exclaims:

“Your god is indeed the God of gods, the Master of kings” (Daniel 2:47).

Such passages give away, for those willing to see it, the deepest secret of Judaism, which is the key to understanding the relationship of Judaism to universalism:

Yahweh is really the god of the Jews, while Gentiles are led to believe that he is the supreme and only God.

“In the heart of any pious Jew, God is a Jew,” confirms Maurice Samuel in You Gentiles (1924). (1)

This secret is not a fully conscious thought for most Jews; it is more like a family secret running unconsciously through generations. Nevertheless, it is the binding force of the Jewish people, and I am reminded of Carl Jung’s remark that secrets:

 “are of vital importance on the primitive level, for the shared secret serves as a cement binding the tribe together. Secrets on the tribal level constitute a helpful compensation for lack of cohesion in the individual personality.”(2)

As he usurped the majesty of the Heavenly Father of all mankind, Yahweh in no way lost his character as a military god bent on looting and slaughtering the enemies of his only chosen people. Against the Babylonians, his sword is expected to “devour until gorged, until drunk with their blood” (Jeremiah 46:10). Against the Edomites, “it is greasy with fat” (Isaiah 34:6).

If Yahweh had remained a tribal god from the desert, he would simply be recognized as particularly primitive and cruel; perhaps a demon escaped from hell through an Arabian volcano. But his successful claim to be honored as the true and only God is the biggest sham in human history, and a civilizational disaster of incomparable magnitude.

It is ultimately responsible for the spread of atheism in the West. As long as Christians were discouraged from reading the Old Testament, they were not much disturbed by it. As soon as it became widely available, it started corroding Christianity. Philosophers like Voltaire had an easy job denigrating Christianity by quoting the Old Testament:

“Never was common sense attacked with so much indecency and fury” (Sermon of the Fifty).

Rather without God than with such a God, became the logical and morally decent thinking.

“The finest trick of the devil, Charles Baudelaire wrote, is to persuade you that he does not exist” (Paris Spleen).

Perhaps he was mistaken. His finest trick, I believe, is to convince the world that he is God.

NOTES:

(1)Maurice Samuel, You Gentiles, New York, 1924 (archive.org), pp. 74–75.

(2)Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflexions, Pantheon Books, 1963, p.

Source: Laurent Guyenot