Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.
One issue that continues to intrigue me is the nature of the relationship between sex / gender and the globally operating system of White Supremacy (Racism).
According to seminal Counter-Racist thinker, Neely Fuller Jr., Sex is one of the nine major areas of people activity within the system of WS/R, the others being Economics, Education, Entertainment, Labour, Law, Politics, Religion and War*.
Fuller Jr. makes the following interesting claims about the relationship between Sex and WS/R in The United Independent Compensatory Code/System/Concept: a textbook/workbook for thought, speech and/or action for victims of racism (white supremacy), viz.
Four (4) Basic Motivating Factors in People Behavior in the Known Universe
1. Racism (White Supremacy)
2. Re-action to Racism
3. Sexual Expression
4. Re-action to Sexual Expression
Racism, in the form of White Supremacy, is the greatest motivating force, by people, that exist among the people of the known universe.
Every person in the known universe is either practicing White Supremacy (Racism), or, he or she is compelled, at all times, to re-act to those persons who are practicing it.
Both the practice of White Supremacy, and the re-action to it, affects all people, in all areas of activity, including economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex, and war.
Sexual intercourse, and/or “sexual play” is the second greatest motivating force, by people, that exist among the people of the known universe.
Every person in the known universe is either engaging in acts of sexual intercourse and/or “sexual play”, or, he or she is, at all times, directly or indirectly re-acting to those who are so engaged.
Both the acts of sexual intercourse and/or “sexual play”, and the re-actions to such acts, affects all people, in all areas of activity, including economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex, and war.
No other socio-material forces, by people, affect so many people, in so many places, so much, in so many areas of activity, as the factors of race (Racism), and sex.
From an Islamic Counter-Racist perspective, this position may be sound since (attempted) Muslim scholars have traditionally made a distinction between the ‘lower’ or carnal and ‘higher’ or spiritual aspects to the human ‘self’ (nafs). Although this was framed in a somewhat different context, I would argue that identification of the ‘lower’ aspect with Sex and the ‘higher’ aspect with Racism (White Supremacy) is sound insofar as Sex is fundamentally biological / material whereas Racism (White Supremacy) is fundamentally ‘spiritual’ (or psychological) / social.
Fuller Jr. goes on to state that
In the process of learning, many “white” people discovered that when they had sexual intercourse with “Black” people, any off-spring produced were usually not a nearer “likeness” of themselves. The off-spring were “non-white” in appearance, and/or “classification”, most of the time.
Being, collectively, “smarter” than Black people, being incapable of producing “white” off-spring through sexual intercourse with them, and “fearing” the ability of Black people to produce people of all “colors” as well as the “non-color” [“white”], many “white” people decided to subjugate “Black” people – using “color” as a basis, or “reason”. (p.124)
It is unjust and incorrect for non-white persons to cause and/or promote the extinction of people who appear to be “white” (Caucasian, blond, etc.)
When White Supremacy (Racism) no longer exists, it is just and correct for all persons to agree that the existence of “white” people as well as “non-white” people is just and correct. Under conditions not dominated by White Supremacists, the only way to insure that “white” people will not be forced into extinction is for “white” people and non-white people to engage in sexual intercourse only if it is impossible for either of them to produce off-spring.
This practice will end the possibility of “white” people becoming extinct through sexual intercourse with non-white people. At that time, in this way, constructive communications involving sexual activity between white people and non-white people can be promoted without causing imbalances associated with genetics. (p.201)
Fuller Jr. appears to trace the origins of Racism (White Supremacy) to what Dr Frances Cress Welsing, author of The Isis Papers: Keys to the Colors, has described as white fear of / anxiety about genetic annihilation. According to Cress Welsing,
The Theory of Color Confrontation states [that] the white or color-deficient Europeans responded psychologically with a profound sense of numerical inadequacy and color inferiority upon their confrontations with the massive majority of the world’s people all of who possessed varying degrees of color producing capacity. (p.34)
(For a critical analysis of Welsing’s theory, which is based on Freudian assumptions, I refer interested readers to the following article: “An Analysis of the Cress Theory of Color Confrontation“, Eddie S Galude, Jr., Journal of Black Studies 22(2), 1991, pp.284-293.)
In this connection, I should also like to point out that Charles W. Mills, author of The Racial Contract (1997) lists the following as possible explanations for the origin / establishment of White Supremacy (Racism):
– Religio-cultural dispositions (religion)
– Expansionist colonial capitalism (economics)
– Rationalisation of psycho-sexual aversion (sex)
– Rational-choice power politics (politics)
– Global ethnocentrism
(SOURCE: Mills, C.W. (1998) Blackness Visible: Essays on Philosophy and Race. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.)
As I have argued previously on this blog, from an Islamic Counter-Racist perspective the origin of Racism (White Supremacy) can be traced to the ‘proto-Racism’ / supremacism of Iblees, the despairing personality suffering from an inferiority complex, who later manifests as ash-Shay’th’aan, the alienated and alienating personality. (In this connection, I refer interested readers to the following post:REFLECTION: The Spectre of Racism (White Supremacy).) On this basis, I am, like Glaude Jr., led to reject Welsing’s biological determinism and reductionism, albeit for different reasons.
However, I think Mills might be on to something with his idea of “rationalisation of psycho-sexual aversion”, although I don’t see this as foundational to the global system of Racism (White Supremacy). Rather, I think the idea of a connectionbetween Sex (and gender) – through patriarchy and/or matriarchy – is sound since The Qur’an presents an interesting set of ‘pre-historical’ / allegorical narratives linking the ‘proto-Racism’ of Iblees to the appearance of male-female conflict – what is often referred to as “The Battle of The Sexes“.
From a Counter-Racist perspective, whatever can assist in the way of minimizing conflict between the sexes should be seen to have constructive value, and in this connection I should like to refer interested readers to the work Believing Women in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of The Qur’an by Asma Barlas. Unlike so-called “radical feminists” – more specifically, white radical feminists – Barlas, like Amina Wadud Muhsin, does not call for the replacement of what she sees as oppressive patriarchy with enlightened matriarchy; rather, analogous to Fuller Jr.’s call to RWSWJ (Replace White Supremacy With Justice), Barlas calls for moving from patriarchy to equality [=justice/balance] based on a Qur’anic praxis.
A copy of the book can be downloaded (PDF format) from here.
* Counter-Racist analyst Isa Ibrahiim adds a tenth area, Language; non-white psychologist and Counter-Racist Frances Cress Welsing identifies the tenth area as Health.