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PostAre "Homogeneous" Societies Less Racist? Mussolini on Race (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 12/21/16 6:10 am)
As usual, our esteemed moderator has pinpointed the problem about race and racism. (See John E's comment on the excellent post of Tor Guimaraes, 20 December.)
In my hometown of Savona, the first black man who arrived from Congo in the mid 1960s was extremely well accepted. Everybody liked him, a job was immediately found for him, and he married a cousin of mine, a professional classical guitarist. They had three children, and one of them went to sea.
Years later, a Moroccan arrived selling carpets. When he would go into the bar near my home, there was always someone offering him coffee or whatever. Many would purchase from him even if they did not need the stuff.
Now there are thousands of immigrants. They justifiably want to maintain their customs but they also want money, housing, and women (they are mostly young men), and now the local people are sick and tired of them.
But "racism" is widespread all over the world. Once when I was in Mena Saud, my Saudi skipper, rather brownish, asked me if we Italians liked black people. At first I was assuming that he was referring to himself, as he was not white as the Europeans (50 years ago), and I confirmed to him that the Italians did not have prejudice against black people. He answered: "Very bad; the Negroes should only be slaves." I found racism all over. Very surprisingly to me, the "less bad racists" were many white South Africans, who considered black people in their nation as children to be taken care of.
In Italy we had a silly law on "Defence of the Race" in 1938.
The famous Emil Ludwig (Emil Cohn 1881-1948) had an interview with Mussolini in 1932 reported in the book Talks with Mussolini. The Duce stated: "Of course a pure race does not exist, not even the Jewish one. But from happy mixtures strength and beauty are born. Race is a sentiment, not a reality; 95% is sentiment."
Referring to Italy in 1938, Mussolini wrote to his sister Edvige, "Purity of race in this nation, through which many invasions have passed and which has absorbed so many peoples from the four cardinal points, is a myth."
Contrary to the silly interpretations of the Defence of the Race in 1941, the philosopher Julius Evols in his book Sintesi di Dottrina della Razza, recommended by the same Mussolini (see Renzo De Felice Storia degli Ebrei italiani sotto il fascismo and also Filippo Giannini), he presented his thesis on racism.
"Materialistic racism is not important but rather the racism of the spirit is important. Not the physical race of blood or skin but a spiritual race, independent of the ethnic mixtures, that should aim for a new man/woman full of virtues."
JE comments: Is "paternalistic" race thinking, as in the case of white South Africans cited by Eugenio Battaglia, still racism? Most would argue that it is. Look no further than the "White Man's Burden" school of thought in the 19th century. I hope John Torok, WAISworld's "critical race theorist," will add a comment.