Makulatur Press

Ethnology is also such a rather slippery ice


Ethnology is also such a rather slippery ice

The ethnologists move on thin ground, therefore they do not want an overall view of connections in racism. Some ethnologists would like to separate the term “race” in English completely from the German term “Rasse”. Historically. This seems problematic.

Politically, it is also problematic, since one would thereby kindly imply in regards to Germany that there are no continuities whatsoever from the roots of völkisch German racism to völkisch Nazi racism to racism in the present in the FRG, and other countries that can be put into a close relationship via language and culture – culturally.

Also global-politically one should contextualize connections – especially from the point of view of racist-discrimination-affected-groups – and thereby the big chapter of the völkisch-German „race“-thinking cannot be left out, simply because the hot iron is still touched far too little.

If the discourse of racism and the critical reappraisal in English-speaking countries can use and coin the term “race” in a politicized way, then it must be equally feasible here for those critical of racism. Who has sovereignty over how sensitivities ought to proceed and where the rug ought to be laid over an embarrassing present, by not letting the perspective of political defensibility express itself in a way that is linguistically comparable?

Racism is simplistically assigned to a political right camp. The past and the experienced present of many people, however, let’s us recognize that racism does not necessarily reveal itself through affinities with right-wing parties or groups.

As far as the use of language on the part of those critically affected is concerned:

After all, I do not put the morpheme “rac” in rac-ism [“Rass”-ismus/Rassismus/”Rasse”] in quotation marks [in German]. The claim to the existence of the phenomenon and the criticism of it, should be expressible beyond the word racism [in German] … .

There is still a problem of assignment into racist compartments in Germany.

According to Merriam-Webester (i.e.): „ethno- combining form : race : people : cultural group; ethnocentric“.

Interesting is also the info on this etymology website:

And note, in the given context:

Instead of taking the view of “ethnicity” in comparison, you could speak of sociologies, politics, cultures, in particular how they intersect or are neighbouring or diverge. The focus of “ethnicity” in the human historical political scope, and on just exactly that map, means a map of interest and conflict of those sides mingling and defining any other ones in an epistemologically hegemonial way.

Because, how can we even believe we truly can “cover” the ideas and contents of all and any different cultures?

When cultures are

a.) no monothiths, never … (putting others into the borders of cultural monoliths is ethically „dangerous“) and when

b.) cultures are always in change within themselves and people can hardly even follow them within their own generational histories, with “inner” conflicts/conflict potentials, especially given the influence and mingling of other nations such as we discuss them in coloniality/decoloniality i.e..