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The New York Times and Liberal Racism

If you need any further proof that the New York Times is incorrigibly racist when it comes to international affairs, look no further than today’s (Saturday, December 10th, 2005) Times, here and here. On page 3, they have a rather patronizing (mixed with a teeny tiny hint of worry) review of Evo Morales’s prospects as a Presidential canditate in Bolivia, which, if he wins, will make him the first Andean leader in South America in five hundred years. Then, in the opinion page, you have the usual diatribe against Hugo Chavez, the U.S’s latest bete noire. In case you don’t believe me, or have the time to read the original articles (or if the links are dead), here are a few quotes from the first article. Judge for yourself:

“……..Crowds of peasants amassed behind him, while a ceremonial escort of indigenous leaders led him across cobblestone streets to a field filled with thousands. There, Mr. Morales gave the kind of leftist speech that increasingly strikes a chord with Latin America’s disenchanted voters, railing against privatization, liberalized trade and other economic prescriptions backed by the United States……………….

Mr. Morales, 46, a former llama herder and coca farmer who has a slight lead in the polls for the election on Dec. 18, offers what may be the most radical vision in Latin America, much to the dismay of the Bush administration.

But the sentiment extends beyond Bolivia. Starting on Dec. 11 in Chile, voters in 11 countries will participate in a series of presidential elections over the next year that could take Latin America further to the left than it already is……….”

God forbid if that were to happen. Indigenous people taking control of their resources? How dare they?

There’s liberal racism in a nutshell. Conservative ( i.e., reactionary) racism is easy to understand: it boils down to “they are all niggers”. Liberal racism is subtler. For example, one of its so called “progressive” planks is to give non-western peoples and nations credit as long as they strive to become more like the west. A prime example- this week, the NY Times ran a four part series of articles on the new Indian highway project (the golden quadrilateral). In these articles, westernization is repeatedly glorified and traditional superstition pilloried. Here are a couple of quotes:

“………Kali, Hindu goddess of destruction, thinks otherwise. She is angry, say the colorfully garbed women massing in the holy tree’s dappled shade……………
 Goddess versus man, superstition versus progress, the people versus the state — mile by mile, India is struggling to modernize its national highway system, and in the process, itself……….
 At its heart, the redone highway is about grafting Western notions of speed and efficiency onto a civilization that has always taken the long view……..”

The same sentiment, albeit more carefully expressed, can be found in Tom Friedman’s writings, where he repeats the following mantra “Watch out! China and India are overtaking the West in our own game.” Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

But, there is a limit to their acceptance of our right to play their game. If we start acquiring things that make us really really like the great powers, such as nuclear weapons, then big brother disapproves. We are still irresponsible little kids at the global table, ergo, we should be seen but not heard.

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