Quotes from Pierre-André Taguieff‘s

«The Force of Prejudice (On Racism and Its Doubles)».

Taguieff declares his task that of strengthening the antiracist camp by pointing out what he sees as a serious problem, a tendency to engage in discursive strategies of condemning the racist Other that all too often resemble the latter’s exclusionary discourses, the very reason for the condemnation. Hence, in his treatment, antiracism can become a «double» of the racism that it opposes.

-(Translator’s Preface, xi)



(page 222)

The principle of absolute inter-ethnic difference moves between the
conception of nationality-citizenship and that of the desirable type of
education. The idea (and the ideal) of an education specific to each
race appeared in the sphere of influence of the polygenist school, as
these remarks by Louis Agassiz, dating from 1850, illustrate:

What would be the best education to be imparted to the different
races in consequence of their primitive difference?.. .We entertain
not the slightest doubt that human affairs with reference to the
colored races would be far more judiciously conducted if, in our
intercourse with them, we were guided by a full consciousness of the
real difference existing between us and them, and a desire to foster
those dispositions that are eminently marked in them, rather than by
treating them on terms of equality.59

The polygenist thesis is congruent with the polylogical norm in
education, as absolute cultural pluralism is distributed just as well in
the pedagogical ideal as in the model of «acculturation.» In this way
is presented one of the first statements of the theorization, in the midnineteenth
century, of the pluricultural model of education. Here is
a provenance, which should well be called racist (seen from today),
of the contemporary models of differential instruction according to
ethnic origins — a provenance assuredly covered by forgetfulness.
In his evaluation of the «pragmatic reach of racial theories,» Gaston
Bouthoul proposed to distinguish «religious and political beliefs,
even the most fanatical ones,» from «racial beliefs.» For the first are
constitutive of doctrines that are open in that they cut the path of
conversion, whereas the second are at the basis of the type of the
closed doctrine par excellence, without bridge or gate (conversion),
without a road to redemption, atonement, or salvation (perfectibility).
And what the sociologist said about biological racism applies just
as much to culturalist ethnicism: «Racial beliefs are without remission.
There is no conversion or redemption for them. They negate
human perfectibility, and consequently intellectual progress as much
as moral redemption. And they do it all the more as they proscribe
metissages, considered a crime against the race.»60

If every community affiliation is a quasi-destiny, racism has nothing to propose but an overdestiny.

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