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Cookie Cutter Bigotry

Posted by libhom Tuesday, September 21, 2010

News reports about an anti immigrant party getting its first seats in the Swedish parliament have reinforced a pattern I have observed elsewhere over the past few months. Groups of people marketed as outsiders are the foci of raging hate campaigns.

The groups are defined by racial, religious, or ethnic lines. Far right politicians almost always are leading the charge. The scapegoating takes place in wealthy countries devastated by the Great Recession. It is all so similar, whether the targets are African Americans or Latinos in the US, Roma in France, or Muslims throughout the West.

Immigrant populations are especially convenient because they have less economic and political power to push back.

Scapegoating has long been a rather effective tactic used by power elites to maintain control, especially during bad economic times when people are angry. However, this is all so cookie cutter that it suggests some kind of coordination is involved between wealthy elites and rightist politicians, to their mutual benefit.

In any, case, we should not allow ourselves to be fooled by it.


  1. Jonny Gray Says:
  2. Kenneth Burke theorized that scapegoating is a response to guilt in the "guilt/redemption" ritual cycle.

    When faced with a breach or crisis (like the global recession), people feel a kind of guilt about that. They respond to that guilt with "victimage" -- which takes the form of either scapegoating (blaming and punishing the Other) or mortification (blaming and punishing the Self). The act of victimage brings about a short-lived sense of redemption -- but of course, if the original crisis doesn't go away, then the cycle repeats and often intensifies.

    Burke identifies this cycle as a ritual structure. So really, all this scapegoating of [pick your type] Others is not that different from throwing a virgin in a volcano to appease the gods and prevent an eruption. And, well, about as effective.

  3. GDAEman Says:
  4. ... Bungy... we've not come very far as humans have we? Divide and conquer ... we make it too easy for the establishment. But, the other historical fact is that the unwashed masses routinely rise up and obliterate the royalty. My plan is to be ready to get out of their way.



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