Expert Incompetence (P3 & P4)

Part 3

Errors tend to stem from mishandling-language, which itself, determines competence in interpretation, and capability. In their state of sleep, the group makes sweeping assumptions about the state of language, homogenising something which has many nuances, and much depth, but more importantly, the group is brutal, and hostile towards that which might “embarrass” it, by simply existing. I have found, for example, that few people can disagree without being violently disagreeable; whilst with many others, they are more passionate about arguing than being constructive. In this vain, I want to highlight a few maxims, axioms, truisms and dictums which can guide individuals in avoiding unnecessary and/or extravagant conflict. It must be realised that “language itself is never completely explicit. Words have suggestive, evocative powers; but at the same time they are merely stepping stones for thought.”

Furthermore, “we never fully grasp the import of any true statement until we have a clear notion of what the opposite true statement would be.” Most the time, people that want to argue with me do not even know what they are arguing against, which is why: “we should have a great many fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves.” For this reason, “every sentence I utter must be understood not as an affirmation, but as a question.” These people remain eluded by the reality because they can only see their side, when really, “you cannot become a truly effective advocate unless you know all sides of your subject thoroughly, opposing arguments as well as your own.” If you cannot argue my position, you shouldn’t be arguing.

The group fails to accept that “all men see the same objects, but do not equally understand them. Intelligence is the tongue that discerns and tastes them.” If only they realised that “words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon absolute truth”, they might be less brash in rushing to conclusions, and yet, “stupidity consists in wanting to reach conclusions. We are a thread, and we want to know the whole cloth.” In the end, I can only concede, that “some of the great controversies would cease in a moment, if one or other of the disputants took care to make out precisely, and in few words, what he understands by the terms which are the subject of dispute.”

Part 4

Although whiteness might usually be determined in relation to shade (complexion) there is another dimension to it: consciousness. Whiteness must be seen as going beyond image, and understood in terms of function, i.e. how a person operates. For the purposes of these writings, the author has concluded that whiteness is oppression, arguing that it is the equation which dominates people acting within its context. If so, the question to be asked is, what does it mean to be a racist, as it relates to oppression? Accepting that the supremacist mindset is manifested in and through racist oppression, the author would argue that a racist is someone that participates in the system of oppression, without effectively challenging it, in such a way as to conclusively dismantle it. Assuming this, the author proposes a broader concept of racist oppression.

To reference something and/or someone as racist is to refer to a coherent pattern of domination which is, and reinforces, that which is dehumanising, inauthentic, fragmented and imposed, as defined by the denial and/or distortion of balance, harmony, equilibrium and wholeness. Although parts of this are descriptive, it is attempt at a static definition which outlines principles which can be recognised when in operation, and its significance is as follows. The author does not think it is enough to say that people are mistreated on the basis of “colour” (race) as this has various layers and implications. ‘Race was initially founded upon visible differences such as skin colour, hair texture, facial features and so on.’ At the same time, race was exploited in terms of its associations which summoned assumptions and conjured connotations. It was and has been used to imply intelligence, pronounce pathology, and brand beauty, even drawing upon more delicate shades from within a narrower spectrum when it served such purposes, so where might this definition lead us?

If race has tended to be used as a marker and thus, precursor to oppression, what might be obscured by an emphasis on “colour?” The author has concluded that in missing the emphasis on legitimising the denial of IDENTITY (non-likeness) an understanding is lost. In provincial Italy, disputes were over location; in Congregational New England disputes were over creed, and yet, arguably, the historical horrors associated with racial oppression were really inventions animated in the 19th century (and that is not to say that there weren’t traces of this royalist supremacy, and elitist denigration, much earlier.) The definition above provides for anticipation of the changing face of oppression, for it recognises that people will be degraded by the powerful, who will desire to obliterate them on the basis of identity, however this might be referenced in any temporal moment. These victimisers, whilst seeking to justify this eradication, will ultimately do so on the basis of identity, however, the greatest danger, as we have now, comes when this group of victimisers accrues so much power as to be able to radically enforce their will upon the victimised, for this is supremacy. Our definition provides a basis for those who are oppressed to access the language which enables them to express their oppression. Finally, who is exempt from exploiting this definition?

About omalone1

I live I die I write
This entry was posted in Oppression Studies and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s