• 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
India And Modernism
Fits better here.

Related to Post 17:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Defining White Privilege</b> 
Posted by Andrew on Tuesday, October 08 @ 22:46:30 EDT 

See also: Peggy McIntosh, "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack," available from the Wellesley Centers for Women.
By Kendall Clark
January 27, 2003

white privilege, a social relation
1. a. A right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by white persons beyond the common advantage of all others; an exemption in many particular cases from certain burdens or liabilities.
b. A special advantage or benefit of white persons; with reference to divine dispensations, natural advantages, gifts of fortune, genetic endowments, social relations, etc.
2. A privileged position; the possession of an advantage white persons enjoy over non–white persons.
3. a. The special right or immunity attaching to white persons as a social relation; prerogative.
b. display of white privilege, a social expression of a white person or persons demanding to be treated as a member or members of the socially privileged class.
4. a. To invest white persons with a privilege or privileges; to grant to white persons a particular right or immunity; to benefit or favor specially white persons; to invest white persons with special honorable distinctions.
b. To avail oneself of a privilege owing to one as a white person.
5. To authorize or license of white person or persons what is forbidden or wrong for non–whites; to justify, excuse.
6. To give to white persons special freedom or immunity from some liability or burden to which non–white persons are subject; to exempt.
I started WhitePrivilege.com in order to make the structures of white privilege—its causes and effects—less socially invisible, primarily by pointing out instances in U.S. society where it is or seems to be at work. I needed, therefore, a good working definition of the social phenomenon I was looking for. I hit upon the long, detailed definition—which has been used in antiracism education in many educational contexts, including a wide–range of colleges and universities and even PBS—one day, rather suddenly, while talking to a friend of mine, the philosopher Bijan Parsia, who’s spent a good deal of time working on the philosophical theory of oppression. “White privilege is after all,” Bijan said, “a form of social privilege per se.”

If that’s true, one good way to define racialized social privilege is by reference to social privilege generally. In other words, you can figure out what white privilege is in part by figuring out what any social privilege is. So I walked over to my copy of the Oxford English Dictionary, looked up the word “privilege”, and after reading it through a few times, I realized that if I rewrote the definition of privilege to refer to white people, rather than people in general, I would have the basis of a working definition. And so that’s what I did, with a few modifications and changes as seemed appropriate.

In that sense, the definition is like a working hypothesis, subject to change and adjustment as we accumulate and study more and more facts. I have from time to time tried to make the defintion less verbally complex (because I initially didn’t realize that the OED’s language is a bit stilted for everyday use) but its main conceptual claims have remained stable.

Why is it important to define “white privilege” so carefully? Because, in part, many people want to deny that it exists at all, especially in response to other people’s assertions that it is at work in some particular situation, that it exists unjustly and so should be dismantled. This pattern of assertion and denial is itself racialized: for the most part, people of color say white people enjoy white privilege, while white people for the most part deny not only that they have it, but that such a thing even exists. I have been assured countless times by white people that there is no such thing as white privilege and that the very idea is nonsensical.

(For example, among the objections to the idea of white privilege, there is one which deserves some consideration here. Given the fact of a systematically unjust society, such as is the case in the U.S., the differential possession of basic human and political rights becomes a privilege. Yes, every person by virtue of being a person has the right to enjoy and possess certain rights. But, in fact, over the long course of U.S. history only white people have enjoyed and possessed the rights which they loudly proclaimed were fundamentally human rights. I think it is fitting and accurate, in such an unjust situation, to call the racially differential possession and enjoyment of human rights a privilege arising out of particular social relations.)

In studying historical examples and theories of oppression, it becomes clear that social (in)visibility is an important strategy. Early feminists make this point over and over. If men and women equally believe, for example, that women are by their very nature subordinate to men, then gender oppression seems natural, inevitable, timeless. If you can design structures of oppression which are invisibile, which seem natural, they will be more effective than structures which are visible. If you can convince everyone, but especially members of the oppressed group itself, that the way things are is natural or inevitable or unavoidable, people will be less likely to challenge the way things are.

If that idea is correct, then we should expect the very idea of racialized social privilege—that is, social privilege which attaches to a group or groups which are identified racially (whether one understands ‘races’ culturally or scientifically)—to be invisible socially. We should expect that members of the dominant group, the one which has the privilege, to deny that it exists or that it could exist. Which is precisely what we white folks do (for the most part) when faced with claims by people of color that we enjoy social privilege by virtue of the social fact that we are taken to be white.

<b>To sum up, (1) white privilege should be defined carefully because it is contested; (2) that contestation is itself racialized, (3) which is what we should expect, since (4) socially invisible structures of oppression are more effective and enduring than socially visible ones.</b>

We define it in order to make it a problem for white people, to show that it is an unjust, historical creation. Whatever has been made by human hands can be unmade by others.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Even in such dialogues and the commentary, they forget the most important thing. It's always carefully made invisible but it won't go away: The Americas are native American land. Always will be.
S. Gurumurthy</b>

Modern Indians, including Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who argued the case for a modern India with Mahatma Gandhi, could neither own nor reject India’s past. Nehru bluntly told Mahatma Gandhi once that <b>he did not consider Ram Rajya of the past, revered by the Mahatma, as the ideal road map for India’s polity, nor did he want it back. But with most Indians refusing to snap their links with the past, many modernists, silently — and some, even openly — had written off India as a lost cause, almost agreeing with the likes of Max Weber who asserted that Hindus and Buddhists who believed in karma and rebirth could not develop in a modern world.</b> But it is now evident that India, once written off, has more than just survived, with loyalty to its past reasonably intact. Today it is perceived as a rising global power. <b>If India could handle the future without disowning its past, is it not time that Indians also debated whether it was their past that is wrong, or their adjudication about it?</b>

Begin from the run-up to India’s freedom. Winston Churchill predicted that free India would slip into anarchy; he even counselled the British “to leave India to God; and, if that is too much, leave her to anarchy”. <b>But India did not oblige Churchill. Instead, within a couple of years, it formulated a Constitution based on the rule of law on which the British had based their right to civilise, even rule, others. India unfailingly conducted elections, installed elected governments.</b> More. When Indira Gandhi attempted to undo this, the Indian villagers, whom the West and the Westernised in India — like Nehru did in his letter to Mahatma Gandhi way back in 1928 — despised as illiterate and uncivilised, handed an unforgettable defeat to her and restored democracy.

Some two decades after Churchill, another accomplished Westerner, but from the United States, J.K. Galbraith, confirmed India as an “anarchy”, but a “functioning” one. Galbraith, US Ambassador to India, was an admirer of Nehru, who proudly confided to Galbraith that he, Nehru, would be the last English Prime Minister of India! (Nehruji should be happy in heavens that he was wrong!) Many in the West believed that “anarchic” India would function only till Nehru was around. <b>A leading American journalist, Welles Hangen, even wrote a book titled After Nehru, Who? (Err..India is despite Nehru, not because of Nehru) which concealed the implied question, what after Nehru — anarchy?</b> But India has, by now, seen after an inevitable Nehru, two more inevitables from the Nehru stable, and many non-Nehrus, as Prime Ministers. It has proved that it could do business with even a Deve Gowda, a farmer, or Inder Gujral, a refugee from Pakistan, or Manmohan Singh, a World Bank pensioner, as Prime Ministers. Far from one Nehru or one party in charge, coalitions of two dozen parties have been running governments successively for full terms, something which an Italy, which is some 2% of India, could not do; and Japan — less than a tenth of India — did not; which is something unthinkable for a Britain, that is about 5% of India; and is something that might even break the United States.
Free India has handled a Constitution that is based on an Anglo-Saxon worldview, with marginal indigenous input. The Indian Constitution instituted parliamentary democracy, but Indian polity has formalised dynasty; it preaches secularism, but our politics patronises communal vote banks; it celebrates socialism, but our economy functions on free market; it proscribes caste-oriented discrimination, but our polity prescribes caste-based differentiation; it is centred on individuals, but our politics is built around crowds; it makes Hindi the link language, but India is branded as the world’s second largest English-speaking nation. What does this mean? Indian civilisation seems to possess unbelievable flexibility to handle these seemingly irreconcilable contradictions. Destiny has given India a durability which it seems to have denied to its cousins in the West and Middle West. There is no Greek or Roman or Egyptian or Babylonian or Arab or Persian civilisation today. Spiders weave a web where Caesars ruled, said Swami Vivekananda. Yet, more than a century ago, he foresaw India’s rise, when no one suspected it would ever happen.</b>

India is now seen, even by those who had earlier written its obituary, as a rising geopolitical, economic power. Responsible analysts assert that three decades from now, India is likely to rank on par with the US as the second largest economy in the world; and as one of the top three world powers — the other two being US and China — reducing Germany, England, France, Japan and Russia to just regional status. Is this the rise of a backward nation?

British historian William Dalrymple sees rising India as merely claiming back its original status as a leading global power. Pre-colonial India was the leading economic powerhouse of the world. But, led by the colonial view that India had no proud past, distant or recent, free India’s leadership worked, unsuccessfully, to bury the past which it found difficult to handle. Worse, it trivialised its past by labelling the slow progress of the nation under a socialist regime as the “Hindu rate of growth”, implying that India’s past was holding down its growth rate. But the truth is the other way round. If the label Hindu rate of growth is acceptable in economics, it has to be equally conceded that it had made India the leading economic power for 17 centuries. <b>A study of global economic history by Angus Maddison, adviser to OECD, has confirmed that from the dawn of the Common Era, till 1700 India was the global economic leader. Maddison’s study says that, in 1725, China overtook India, but India was the next, with France and Britain much lower down. This order continued till 1800. Later, the deepening colonial exploitation pushed India to the third position, and slowly, with the rise of the US and other countries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, India was pushed into backwardness. It was colonialism, as Dadabhai Nowrojee substantiated first and as Will Durant eloquently articulated later in his paper, “The Case for India”, that ruined India.</b>

It is not over yet. The education system that free India adopted from colonialists kept these facts away from young Indians and instead addicted them to self-flagellation and negativism, making many of them feel shy, rather than proud, of their past. Result? <b>Most Indians, finance minister P. Chidambaram included, are unaware that India was the global economic topper till the 18th century and that it lost that position only due to colonial assault. Recently the finance minister even chided those who maintained that India that was once prosperous was ruined by colonialism. Free India’s leaders had blamed its underdevelopment on its past, trusting Western sociologists like Max Weber who certified in the 1920s that India was unfit for socio-economic development on modern lines as it believed in caste, karma and rebirth.</b> But today in many American universities, says the International Business Week, capitalism aligned to the philosophy of karma is being taught as the way out of the current corporate capitalist mess.

Back in India, a Harish Damodaran from the Marxist stable, being the grandson of E.M.S. Namboodiripad, and others write books on how different castes — not just Vaishyas or other Savarnas, but also OBCs and even Dalits — have risen up on the development ladder. And thanks to their entry, business has generated a mass entrepreneurial movement in India. The Global Entrepreneur Monitor Study [2002] identifies that 18% of the Indian people in the age group of 16 to 64 are entrepreneurs, while in China it is 12% and in the US it is 10%. That is why the growth story of India, with foreign investment less than 2% of its total investment, is regarded as entrepreneur-driven, while China’s is seen as largely foreign investment-driven.

Finally, India has only 12,404 police stations, as per Indian home ministry’s statistics for December 2004, to supervise thousands of towns and lakhs of villages, and yet it has the lowest crime rate, according to UNDP. <b>Evidence is mounting against those who blamed India’s past to escape all blame for the present.

William Dalrymple is right when he says that for India it is back to prosperity, not backwardness to prosperity. Hence the question: Is its past that is to blame for India’s underperformance for half a century after freedom, or was that just an alibi for a leadership that did not perform?</b>

There is problem with India being put next to catholics


<img src='http://margaux.grandvinum.se/SebTest/wvs/articles/folder_published/article_base_54/images/0valuemap.gif' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

The World Values Surveys were designed to provide a comprehensive measurement of all major areas of human concern, from religion to politics to economic and social life and two dimensions dominate the picture: (1) Traditional/ Secular-rational and (2) Survival/Self-expression values. These two dimensions explain more than 70 percent of the cross-national variance in a factor analysis of ten indicators-and each of these dimensions is strongly correlated with scores of other important orientations.

The Traditional/Secular-rational values dimension reflects the contrast between societies in which religion is very important and those in which it is not. A wide range of other orientations are closely linked with this dimension. Societies near the traditional pole emphasize the importance of parent-child ties and deference to authority, along with absolute standards and traditional family values, and reject divorce, abortion, euthanasia, and suicide. These societies have high levels of national pride, and a nationalistic outlook. Societies with secular-rational values have the opposite preferences on all of these topics.

The second major dimension of cross-cultural variation is linked with the transition from industrial society to post-industrial societies-which brings a polarization between Survival and Self-expression values. The unprecedented wealth that has accumulated in advanced societies during the past generation means that an increasing share of the population has grown up taking survival for granted. Thus, priorities have shifted from an overwhelming emphasis on economic and physical security toward an increasing emphasis on subjective well-being, self-expression and quality of life. Inglehart and Baker (2000) find evidence that orientations have shifted from Traditional toward Secular-rational values, in almost all industrial societies. But modernization, is not linear-when a society has completed industrialization and starts becoming a knowledge society, it moves in a new direction, from Survival values toward increasing emphasis on Self-expression values.

A central component of this emerging dimension involves the polarization between Materialist and Postmaterialist values, reflecting a cultural shift that is emerging among generations who have grown up taking survival for granted. Self-expression values give high priority to environmental protection, tolerance of diversity and rising demands for participation in decision making in economic and political life. These values also reflect mass polarization over tolerance of outgroups, including foreigners, gays and lesbians and gender equality. The shift from survival values to self-expression values also includes a shift in child-rearing values, from emphasis on hard work toward emphasis on imagination and tolerance as important values to teach a child. And it goes with a rising sense of subjective well-being that is conducive to an atmosphere of tolerance, trust and political moderation. Finally, societies that rank high on self-expression values also tend to rank high on interpersonal trust.

This produces a culture of trust and tolerance, in which people place a relatively high value on individual freedom and self-expression, and have activist political orientations. These are precisely the attributes that the political culture literature defines as crucial to democracy.

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)