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Who is a Jew ? Heydrich defined them for the Nazis

Heydrich announced that mixed-race persons of the first degree would be treated as Jews. This would not apply if they were married to a non-Jew and had children by that marriage. It would also not apply if they had been granted written exemption by "the highest offices of the Party and State." Such persons would instead be sterilised.

"Mischlings of the second degree" would be treated as Germans unless they were married to Jews or mischlings of the first degree, or had a "racially especially undesirable appearance that marks him outwardly as a Jew", or had a "political record that shows that he feels and behaves like a Jew". Persons in these latter categories would be deported even if married to non-Jews.

In the case of mixed marriages, Heydrich advocated a policy of caution, "with regard to the effects on the German relatives". If such a marriage had produced children who were being raised as Germans, the Jewish partner would not be deported. If they were being raised as Jews, they might be deported, or sent to Theresienstadt, depending on the circumstances.

So who is coloured to this woman ? Full colour, half-colour, people of caucasian appearance who self-identify as black ? The madness of Heydrich, reproduced above, shows how nonsensical this becomes when written down.

Just as in wimminism, essentialism rears its head in racial theory. I reproduce its tenets here, it's not hard to see how it applies more generally

The idea that men and women are essentially fundamentally different and that the only way for women to find their own unique expression was to withdraw from male society as much as was possible.

Now it is easy to criticise essentialism, its basic premise of what makes certain groups of people the way they are (for example, women, blacks, Jews), are the political-philosophical constructs of conservatism. The history of essentialist argument is one of oppressors telling the oppressed to accept their lot in life because "that's just the way it is." By buying into the idea that women are the only non-aggressive, nurturing and life giving gender they were actually supporting patriarchal assumptions that kept women oppressed. Ironically, essentialism is becomes a specifically anti-progressive philosophy

I've heard the same argument in bellydance. It's ridiculous. If you're having a women's therapy group where women get together in communal self-healing, then okay, but don't pretend it's a dance class. And you'd better have a qualification in therapy else I might suspect there's a certain amount of bullshit going down.

Especially when it's a dance form with a tradition (however buried and denied) of male as well as female practitioners.

People who select on criteria of culture or race or gender should be challenged. Cultural separation is always a dead end and is invariably, as I found within bellydance, a veneer over much darker prejudices. And cultural relativity, the idea that equality is okay for white people, but we have to relax our expectations of other peoples because, well frankly they're not "advanced" enough, is an overtly racist concept. And if racists or sexists want to hide behind such things then they should be confronted.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 at 08:52:25 AM EST
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