This is a tough one. I don’t think you can legitimately make the claim that Charlie Hebdo was a racist publication, but to say as a blanket statement that it was not racist, full stop? That seems extremely unlikely, given what we know about the pervasiveness of racism*.
I didn’t write that title, but honestly if this is how people are going to be arguing, I don’t think a real discussion can be had. People haven’t been making general statements like “No one’s immune from racism.” They’ve been arguing for the past day or so that CH is a racist publication, using a couple of cartoons as alleged illustrations. The clear implication is that they are espousing racist ideas in the manner of Minute and other racist publications, using racist tropes and dog whistles for humor not caring about who’s hurt, or at the very least disregarding whether their content promotes racism. People are just flinging these claims out there and then failing even to acknowledge when the images’ context and intent are revealed to them.
The idea that racism is pervasive and so therefore they’re racist like everyone is just vacuous here. References to people you know who found certain (uncited) images racist are a problem. As was discussed on the other thread, many people are taking the images at face value, without knowing, in one case, that an image was explicitly targeted at a racist rightwing publication. People are interpreting the cartoons and speculating about their effects without knowing relevant facts about their targets, the contemporary political context, the historical context, CH’s history, the local history of visual humor, or their public reputation (the fact that they openly consider themselves to be and present themselves as an antiracist publication doesn’t, of course, mean that they’re purified of any racism, but it’s certainly relevant to the assessment of both racist intent and the local reception of the images).
Sure, but that implies there isn’t a racist Left.
No, it doesn’t. I’m trying to understand why people are seizing on a couple of putative examples as evidence of CH’s racism, ignoring their intent and the context of the images’ production and reception to cling to weak arguments about possible splash damage and so on. Why people are allowing others to declare that it’s a racist publication and “Je ne suis pas Charlie” and the like while demanding that anyone challenging these claims prove that CH is entirely free of any trace of racism, even unintentional, or let the claims stand. I find this morally and intellectually irresponsible, and I’m trying to understand the reasons people might be doing it. One motivation that I’ve experienced is that we recognize the danger of millions of people being seen as allied with and encouraging the FN and other violent far-Right European parties, so we want to make sure that isn’t the message we’re sending by showing solidarity with CH. But vetting CH shouldn’t mean demanding perfection, or failing to appreciate the complexities and pitfalls of political humor in this context. We’re far from perfect ourselves.
Charlie Hebdo’s intent with the particular cartoons that are appearing as examples, while important and significant, isn’t any more magic than anyone else’s.
Magic and highly relevant are not the same thing.
(I also know a few people who are clearly over-compensating because I know they do not know enough about not being white or the French cultural context to make a decent judgment on whether any of the cartoons are racist.)
I see it as wise and basic fairness to people who were just massacred to try to understand the situation as well as possible before forming judgments.
Ultimately, I don’t think it’s useful at this point to either make the claim that Charlie Hebdo was a racist publication or that it wasn’t racist at all. I think both are pretty clearly false. I do think it’s important to remember and celebrate and perpetuate what the victims stood for, even when their execution was flawed.
Ultimately, I think that’s an empty comment. It suggests that there is no definition of racist or possibility of intelligent investigation of the evidence to come to any even tentative conclusion. It fails to remember or perpetuate what they stood for, or even to show any real concern with finding out what they stood for.
Yes. He was. I’m appalled to see that racism, transphobia and misogyny defended.
This thread is about racism. You haven’t seen racism defended here. You’ve seen people who are trying to form a fair and informed impression of other imperfect human beings.