January 29th, 2005

fangirl, _schools4303

Racism and the Mudbloods

I've been thinking about ataniell93's assertion that anti-Muggle and anti-Muggleborn prejudice is in fact different from racism, and wondering why I don't agree with it.

As I understand Az's position, the crux of the difference lies in that when you come down to brass tacks, race, ancestry, religion, and culture do not create the sort of fundamental difference that exists between Wizard and Muggle.

A child of one (human) race and culture can be taken in as a baby and brought up in another culture with a family of another (human) race, and other than some cosmetic differences and a need to keep an eye out for any health issues common to the kid's biological family, there really isn't that much of a difference. Furthermore, parents of one race cannot engender a child of another race. Heredity is pretty straightforward, and while some interesting hidden recessives may show up and surprise everyone, you can't be, say, part Irish unless one of your parents was also either Irish or part-Irish.

Wizardry, on the other hand, is a relatively clear case of have and have-not between the Wizarding and Muggle population. Wizardry is a pan-racial talent, and either you're a wizard or you're not, regardless of ancestry. If you have the power of possession and control of magic, you're a wizard, whether the people around you like it or not. Unlike an Irish child being born to parents with no Irish blood in them, a wizard can be born to Muggle parents, and wizard parents can wind up with a squib in their crib.

JKR hasn't gone into dreadful detail about how, exactly, magic or lack thereof, is inherited. Likelihood is that it's a gene or a combination of genes doing wacked-out things, or it could be triggered by environmental conditions in the womb, or, who knows, the little magic-fairy might go around kissing children and blessing (or cursing) them with magic. Until she tells us, we can speculate all day long, but we still won't know.

Az's position, as I understand it, is that since heredity of magic and heredity of race work differently, and since there are real root-level differences between wizards and Muggles, and there really aren't that many differences between different human races on that scale, saying that anti-Muggle, anti-Muggleborn, pro-Pureblood prejudice is equivalent to racism is logically flawed.

I disagree with the position because I believe that people who hold racism on as extreme a level as Bad Tommy's gang of thugs hold their blood prejudices truly believe that there are differences as extreme as the differences between wizard and Muggle between their hated race and their preferred race. The difference between races may be an illusory other than the cosmetic and the cultural components, but not as far as hardcore racists are concerned. Furthermore, I think that a whole lot of the core members of the Death Eaters are, in fact, so insular and Old-Vor about bloodlines, breeding, and having had magic in the family since time immemorial, that they are in fact taking their prejudice beyond magic vs. non-magic.

One of the rational arguments I heard in favor of the old wizarding families' blood prejudices was, IIRC, in Pawn to Queen, where two of the Slytherins told Hermione that Muggleborn wizards and witches should marry other Muggleborns for as many generations as it took in order to make sure that the magic bred true before introducing their genes into the wizarding society at large. That's a reasonable idea, purely from the viewpoint of wanting to strengthen the genetic tendency towards magic.

But I don't think that half the people who believe in the superiority of wizardkind over Muggles is that rational about the topic. If only all of them were, and did base their opinions firmly on the idea that wizards and Muggles are different, and the magic genes will eventually start breeding true, and stopped wanking over their family trees, then I'd agree with ataniell93 that the analogy between Pureblood-superiorists and racists is flawed.

As it is, since Muggle racists can't grasp hold of the fact that there's really no difference between Us and Them, and certain wizards have trouble letting go of the fact that once someone's bloodline has started breeding mostly wizards, that they're an Us and not a Them, I still say that racism and the Muggle/wizard conflict have a lot in common.
  • Current Music
    R.E.M. - The worst joke ever
documentation, writing, quill

Typo of the Evening (a new word)

Tonight's typo of the evening: "prejucide" for "prejudice", swapping the places of the d and c, and looking English enough to pass the eye, but not the spell-checker's canny little dictionary.

Really, though, it's an apropos word that should go into the language. "Pre", something existing beforehand, "ju", a shortening of the Latin "jus", right or law, and root of words like justice, judgment, and "-cide", a killing. A killing because of a pre-existing judgment, or a killing based on a prejudice.

I think it's a good word to replace "hate crimes", in cases where the crime is a killing or attempted killing.
  • Current Music
    The Alan Parsons Project - Old and Wise
running, bomb tech

Burn, Santa Baby, Burn

Sis came over today to look for stuff to sort, pack, and move. She found the Santa candle that her grandmother had given her.

The Little Fayoumis wasn't around, so she took great glee in setting Santa on fire. She's hated the candle ever since she first met it, and when her grandmother gave it to her, she took pleasure in the idea that some day, she would get to burn the hated thing to smoke and a puddle of wax.

Santa is now a puddle of wax, a few bits of wax-paint, and a cute little flame.
trust, best friends forever, snot-nosed brats

Assorted today-things:

Didn't get to sleep until about 6 am. Not good.

Sis came over before noon. Ow.

We sorted some stuff.

I took a nap.

I called Darkside and we talked for 1 hour, 21 minutes. (The good phone has a call timer. I pay close attention to how long we actually did spend on the phone, because we have a habit of losing track of time, and it helps my time-sense to make note of how long it actually was when we sign off.) He explained why he went out of town. I tore my hair out at him about the recent events, even though his trumps mine.

Tomorrow is not a good day for me to drop by; he is cleaning his room. Archaeologists are invited to try and learn something from his floor before he picks everything up.

I went grocery shopping. Bread, meat, lettuce. Bookmans is open. I managed to locate something that might be like lime soda. We shall see. The Bookmans on the corner is open now; I anticipate that when I have spare cash and some books in mind, I'll be spending serious time there.

But not until I move.

Bed now. Work in the morning. Hooray, work. Hooray, getting to talk with best friend.
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    loved loved