Self-defense paranoia & politics

One of the things that keeps cropping up in the Ukraine crisis is this theme of “self-defense forces” being established by the people who least need to defend themselves, usually because they make up 60-90% of the local population.

Of course, that’s a pattern that has been repeated over many decades all over many parts of the world. The empowered majority forms paranoid self-defense paramilitary groups and leagues for the unstated (or sometimes explicitly stated) purpose of defending themselves against imagined or wildly exaggerated threats coming from the nearby minority population.

That repetition of history includes the United States, even to present day. From the Klan of old to modern “neighborhood watch” groups in idyllic suburbs, the ruling racial or economic class in the U.S. has often formed organizations to offensively protect themselves from non-real threats from the minorities near their communities.

Past AFD guest contributor Chris Chinn actually wrote an interesting essay on that topic recently on his new practical martial arts blog, Fist of the South End. Here’s an excerpt:

The unfortunate part of the whole self defense scene in the US is that most of the people deeply into it are usually privileged folks who end up obsessing and projecting about when they’ll finally get to “show their skills”, which mostly ends up sounding like the usual militia/Ron Paul fears of a scary brown people attack or an 80s Charles Bronson film plot. The people least likely to be attacked spend a whole lot of time fantasizing about how awesome they’ll be when they are.

He notes that there are plenty of legitimate reasons to get into martial arts and self-defense, but his point still stands: a lot of people are in it for the wrong reasons. Some more unconsciously than others, of course.
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A violent people

Fellow White people: What is wrong with us? We’re terrifying!

Contrary to the constantly terrible traditional media spin, especially on TV news, White-on-White murder is a much bigger problem than Black-on-Black murder. And unlike what the media implies, if we should be scared of anyone it’s of people who look more like us than not:

In the United States, a White person is almost six times more likely to be killed by another White person than by a Black person, according to FBI homicide data. In 2011, there were more cases of Whites killing Whites than there were Blacks killing Blacks.

(This is, if you stop to think about it, not too surprising given other criminology stats we already know: such as people being quite likely to know their attackers — especially since many murders are part of domestic violence incidents — or many violent crimes occurring near both the attackers’ and victims’ residences…in a country that remains pretty segregated by residence.)

We’re also the most homicidal in general:

According to statistics from the Justice Department, White men are more likely to kill than any other racial group.

And we’re the most extreme in that homicide, as well as more involved in other horrible crimes:

[…] from 1980 to 2008, they found that compared to Blacks, Whites were more likely to kill children, the elderly, family members, and their significant others. They commit more sex-related crimes, gang related crimes, and are more likely to kill at their places of employment.

Out there killing children and old people, then joining gangs and becoming sexual offenders? We White people must have terrible role models in our community!

(Ok, that’s not why, but it’s no more nonsensical than the constant claims that minorities are killing each other and whites every which way, coupled with suggestions that it must be due to some moral/character defect or leadership deficit. Stop being racist, media.)

I have solution to all our ills, says Russian white supremacist

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a lunatic elected white supremacist Russian politician (born in often race-troubled Kazakhstan) has identified the source of all Russia’s global image problems as that goddam Mongol letter (“ы”) being in the alphabet, goshdarnit!

“Only animals make this sound, ‘ы- ы,'” he said, adding that the regular ‘и’ (‘i’) is enough for the Russian alphabet. ‘Ы’ doesn’t exist in any other European language, argued Zhirinovsky. “This primitive, Asiatic sound is the reason people don’t like us in Europe,” he told lawmakers.

Yep, nailed it. THAT is why “people don’t like” Russia “in Europe” these days. Nothing to do with invading Crimea.

The politician seemed to have a longstanding issue with the “guttural” letter, which he claimed his son wasn’t able to pronounce as a child. “He once told me, ‘Dad, dad, look, there’s a ‘мишка’,” the Russian word for ‘bear.’ “I thought ‘What ‘мишка’? A bear? But he meant ‘мышка’,” the word for “mouse.”

Curiously, the same man just last month called for Russia to annex back its Central Asian republics as “subject” states. Because nothing gets rid of “nasty Asiatic” influences in your culture like re-occupying your imperial-era Asiatic conquests.

Then again, as he is also famous for advocating that people only kiss one another on the forehead, I guess he’s not one for embracing bulletproof logic. Not that racists typically are, really, I suppose.

Such irredentist rhetoric — advocating for seizing territories formerly held by one’s country, to reunite with ethnic populations abroad — is swirling around Russia’s political class in full fury right now to justify the Crimea invasion. He’s far from alone on that point. Small wonder then that many non-Russian folks in Central Asian countries with large Russian populations, such as Kyrgyzstan, are starting to worry that they are next.

And Kyrgyz and Kazakh speakers are definitely not nostalgic for the idea of returning to direct rule by those who see their languages as inferior and “primitive,” as Zhirinovsky labeled them.

Beside the Russian and Belarussian Cyrillic alphabets, the letter ‘ы’ also exists in most of the Turkic languages spoken in former Soviet republics, including Kazakh and Kyrgyz, which use the same alphabet.

The vowel is widely used in Kazakh and Kyrgyz, sometimes several times in the same word. “Ырыс алды—ынтымақ,” (“Yrys aldy—yntymaq”) reads a Kazakh proverb, which translates as “There is no abundance without solidarity.” The letter ‘ы’ also makes up most of the vowels of a well-known Kyrgyz saying— “ырысы жоктун ырымы күч” (“yrysy zhoktun yrymy kuch”)—that means “a person with no confidence believes in superstition.”

The history of Russian rule over Central Asia is largely one of Russian white-euro supremacy being inflicted on the local populations to try to stamp out their languages and cultures.

Death penalty primarily in cases with white victim

Sociological Images just posted about how the race of the victim determines whether the perpetrator gets the death penalty.

Even though half of all homicide victims are black, 77% of cases that result in the death penalty have a white victim. That’s a pretty clear indicator of what kind of lives we value.

The data is since 1976, and an Amnesty International report from 1990 shows similar patterns. Things might be improving (or they might not; it’s hard to find this kind of information), but they are still pretty bad:

A January 2003 study released by the University of Maryland concluded that race and geography are major factors in death penalty decisions. Specifically, prosecutors are more likely to seek a death sentence when the race of the victim is white and are less likely to seek a death sentence when the victim is African-American.

A 2007 study of death sentences in Connecticut conducted by Yale University School of Law revealed that African-American defendants receive the death penalty at three times the rate of white defendants in cases where the victims are white. In addition, killers of white victims are treated more severely than people who kill minorities, when it comes to deciding what charges to bring.

But let’s be cautious in how we handle this information: the solution should not be to give more people the death penalty, but to give fewer people the death penalty.

This post originally appeared on Starboard Broadside.