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Zer Netmouse
December 21st, 2013
09:10 am


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How Liberal is Defined These Days

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Date:December 21st, 2013 05:58 pm (UTC)
This has since become closely affiliated with the sort of "tolerance" Žižek criticizes above. He has also said,

"For the multiculturalist, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants are prohibited, Italians and Irish get a little respect, blacks are good, native Americans are even better. The further away we go, the more they deserve respect. This is a kind of inverted, patronising respect that puts everyone at a distance.” ― Slavoj Žižek

FWIW, this is EXACTLY the form of multi-culturism that was in full flower when my kids were in school in the 1980's. On more than one occasion the kids were assigned to "bring in" some sort of ethnic tradition to share with the class, and it was made quite clear that middle-American melting pot traditions didn't count. Something "ethnic" was required, the more exotic the better. Absolutely nothing from my well-assimilated family of origin was acceptable as a "tradition." I believe we made do with some half-remembered Norwegian stuff from Richard's childhood, which was marginally acceptable.

I found this quite annoying at the time, although it was clearly well-intentioned. I wasn't actually worried that my family's mainstream cultural roots were being marginalized (i.e., the War on Christmas backlash, which strikes me as ridiculous). Mainstream culture is never in any danger. It just struck me as intellectually dishonest. In retrospect, I think I agree with the analysis that exoticizing other traditions is a way of keeping them at a distance. On the other hand, it's probably better than pretending that these other traditions don't exist. Or worse, vilifying them.

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