8
Racist Ontology, Inferiorization, and Assimilation

Jung Min Choi


INTRODUCTION

Western thought has been overwhelmingly realistic. Consequently, writings and discussions about race/ethnic relations in the United States have been dominated by realism. While calling for equality and respect for differences, realists have continually supported an abstract set of norms that foster assimilation.

In point of fact, conservative writers throughout American history have viewed minorities consistently as inferiors who must assimilate to succeed in the mainstream of society. For example, starting with Edward Ross and Gunnar Myrdal in the early to mid-1900s, and moving to Milton Gordon and Arthur Jensen in the 1960s and 1970s to Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein at present, race/ethnic relations in the United States have been regulated by a racist ontology that culminates in assimilation. A unique portrayal of knowledge and order, in other words, establish the conditions necessary to justify assimilation.

Assimilation hinges on a schism that demarcates two distinct ontological planes. Assimilationists adhere to tenets that support an asymmetrical relationship between the individual and society. In a Durkheimian manner, society is equated with the "sacred," while the individual occupies a more mundane, "profane" position.

This type of asymmetry has had dire consequences for minorities. To be specific, the lofty position given to society has been controlled regularly by a particular individual or group. The implication is that certain individuals or groups exemplify the pinnacle of human achievement. These specific individuals or groups have been attributed positive traits and characteristics, and are considered to be most important in maintaining society. And since these people reflect the ideals of society, they have been regarded as superior to the rest in

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Postmodernism and Race
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • 1 - The Spiders of Truth 1
  • References 14
  • 2 the Importance of Social Imagery for Race Relations 17
  • References 28
  • 3 - A Brief Archaeology of Intelligence 31
  • References 48
  • 4 - Dialogue and Race 51
  • Introduction 51
  • References 64
  • 5 - Symbolic Violence and Race 65
  • References 76
  • 6 - What is a "Japanese"? Culture, Diversity, and Social Harmony in Japan 79
  • References 100
  • 7 - Community Control, Base Communities, and Democracy 103
  • References 112
  • 8 - Racist Ontology, Inferiorization, and Assimilation 115
  • Introduction 115
  • Conclusion 125
  • Notes 125
  • Notes 126
  • 9 Analyzing Racial Ideology: Post-1980 America 129
  • Introduction 129
  • Conclusion 140
  • References 141
  • 10 - Neoconservatism and Freedom in Postmodern North American Culture 145
  • Introduction 145
  • Conclusion 158
  • Notes 159
  • Selected Bibliography 163
  • Name Index 177
  • Subject Index 183
  • About the Editor and Contributors 189
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