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Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Britannica 1911 example

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  • Peter Staudenmaier
    Hi Daniel, you wrote: The question is whether Steiner s concepts, as expressed in his words, are or are not racist. I very much agree. That is indeed the
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 6, 2004
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      Hi Daniel, you wrote:
       
       
      "The question is whether Steiner's concepts, as expressed in his words, are or are not racist."
       
       
      I very much agree. That is indeed the question I had hoped to address here. Steiner's concepts include the following: that some races are higher than other races, that some races are backward while others are advanced, that the negro race is substantially determined by childhood characteristics, that black people do not belong in Europe, and so forth. Those concepts are racist, no matter what words one uses to express them. Maybe you could explain again why you think that these concepts are not racist. Thanks,
       
       
      Peter


       
      Deborah:
      "Here is an example of the commonly acceptable style of discussing
      race and racial differences and racial characteristics of 100 years
      ago."
       
      Peter Staudenmaier:
      This is an excellent indication of why the "political correctness" line is entirely beside the point. The question is not whether Steiner's racial doctrines are or were "commonly acceptable". The question is not whether they are or were immoral, pathological, or anything else. The question we have been debating is quite simply, are some of these doctrines racist? I politely recommend that those who answer "no" to that question pay attention to just which question they are answering.
       
      Daniel:
      Peter, the above is a perfect example of how you are unable to move from the printed words that mean what you want them to, to the what the author intended when he or she wrote or spoke the words. The question is not whether or not Steiner's words can be made to look racist if properly arranged. The question is whether Steiner's concepts, as expressed in his words, are or are not racist.
       
      Deborah was attempting to show how language that at first glance might appear to be racist can actually express ideas that themselves are not racist. Deborah is not arguing that Steiner or the Encyclopedia Britannica were actually expressing ideas that are racist, only that both use language in a way that today would probably be easily confused for racism. In both cases, it is necessary to use a little historical imagination and try to understand what the author was thinking, and judge that; getting overly excited about the appearance of the word "race" or "Negro" in the text and claiming that this proves racism is historically naive. Polemically useful, but historically naive.
       
      I maintain that Steiner's concepts are not racist. I do not deny that Steiner can be made to look racist with enough selective quotation.

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