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Western racism and the stereotyping of Russians

The ugly stereotyping of Russians which has become pervasive in the West, is the last remaining acceptable form of Western racism. Like all forms of racism, it is however offensive, dehumanising and dangerous.

Alexander Mercouris

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In a world of political correctness one form of ethnic stereotyping in the West remains not merely tolerated but even fashionable. This is the ethnic stereotyping of Russians.

Russians are nowadays regularly represented in the West in certain characteristic ways. 

Russian men are brutish, sullen, slovenly, often drunk, and always cruel.  They speak in thick heavy accents.  They dress badly, are dishonest, violent and greedy.  They treat women oafishly.  Their taste is comically terrible.  If they are rich they are corrupt; “Russia” and “corruption” being two words which Westerners have conflated with each other.  Typical Russian men are thieves, hitmen or crooks, an honest Russian businessman (an “oligarch”) being a contradiction in terms.

During the Cold War the Western stereotype image of Russian women was that they were fat, masculine and ugly.  It came with a measure of condescension.  Russian women typically were represented as peasants, street cleaners or tractor drivers.

Today the Western stereotypical image of Russian women is that they are beautiful.  However this is not something to be celebrated.  On the contrary it is something to be feared or at least to be on one’s guard against. 

Where Russian women during the Cold War were thought of as plain and dull but ultimately honest, today they are represented as materialistic, money-focused, tacky, manipulative, promiscuous, under-dressed and amoral.  They are femmes fatales out to gull unsuspecting innocent Westerners of their secrets, their morals, and (of course) their money.  Typically they are spies, prostitutes or gangsters’ molls.

Russians, both male and female, are according to these stereotypes axiomatically dishonest. The ease with which the Western public accepted the entirely unproven claims of Russian cheating during the recent Olympic doping scandal without giving the Russians the slightest benefit of the doubt is a good example of this.  

The supporters of the demand for a blanket ban on Russian athletes competing in the Rio Olympics did not feel the need to justify their claim that the Russians should be denied the presumption of innocence.  Since the Western stereotype of Russians is that they are axiomatically dishonest there was no pressure on them to do this.

Russians are also at one and the same time – and despite the obvious contradiction – both diabolically cunning and rather stupid.  They are also completely incompetent and inefficient.  Nonetheless they are scary because they are so aggressive and so violent.

The one quality Westerns do typically allow Russians is bravery.  Russia’s record of victory in war makes it impossible to do otherwise.  However this Russian bravery is not thought of as being the same as Western courage.  Rather it is the product of Russians’ underlying stupidity and aggressiveness and their supposedly characteristically Russian obsession with money and power.  

As might be expected of such people Russians in the Western imagination spend their ill-gotten gains in the most dreadfully hedonistic way: on yachts, luxuries, partying and promiscuous sex.  If Moscow today unlike during the Cold War is famous for its nightlife this is not something to be celebrated – as it is for example in the case of Berlin – but is all of a piece with the supposedly gross appetites of Russians, making it somehow sinister.

Russia itself is of course all that might be expected of a country which produces such terrible people. 

It is violent, corrupt and brutal, ruled over by a government as violent, corrupt and brutal as the people over whom it rules.  Like the people it is scarily aggressive, diabolically cunning but also somehow stupid and inefficient.  As a result, though it is threatening and dangerous, it is also overweening and in the end somehow absurd. 

Needless to say the leader of such a country must be a macho thug, who typically poses topless on a horse.  Ruthless” is perhaps the most common word used to describe him.  He is a gangster – violent, amoral, corrupt, cunning and ruthless – like the people he leads.

That this Western stereotype of Russia and Russians is so far detached from reality that I find it impossible to relate any part of it to the truth should not need to be said. 

For the record, Russia – or at least those parts of Russia which I have visited – has impressed me as extremely law-abiding and orderly, with Russians coming across as family-centred, tolerant, law abiding, well educated and very cultured – the latter to an often touchingly self-conscious degree.  Standards of personal and public honesty are in my experience actually very high, in the case of the straightforward directness of some Russians, unsettlingly high. 

As for Putin himself, on the only two occasions I have seen him in person, what struck me most about him other than his very highly developed sense of humour and his obvious intelligence was his old fashioned courtesy – a quality mentioned even by Obama in the gargantuan interview he recently gave to The Atlantic.  This largely unreported but obviously deeply ingrained habit of courtesy is something which immediately distances Putin from the stereotypical image most Westerners have of him.

In saying all this I of course do not deny Russia’s many problems.  Nor have I any wish to present Russians as better than they are.  However since this is an article about the negative stereotyping of Russia and of Russians it is the positive about them I have chosen to dwell on.

Negative stereotypes about various ethnicities of the kind that now circulate about Russia and about Russians have of course a long history in European and Western culture.  As recently as the 1970s stereotypical representations of various ethnicities such as Germans, people from the Caribbean, Indians and Pakistanis from the subcontinent, Irish and even Jews, were a stock feature of British comedy.  

They have now thankfully completely disappeared, having come to be seen – quite rightly – as  racist and deeply offensive of the people they stereotype.  British comedy is far the better for their absence.

One glaring exception however remains. 

Negative stereotyping of Russia and of Russians has not only not disappeared; it has grown far more common and become much worse.  Indeed it is now pervasive, repeated endlessly in Western films, on television, in the media, and in endless numbers of thrillers, graphic novels and pulp fiction stories.  It is so pervasive that no Westerner can avoid it, and very few can resist its influence.

What makes it much worse is that there is no objection to it.  Where at a time of Jihadist terrorism and violence negative stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims in the West is rightly and strongly condemned as Islamophobia, negative stereotyping of Russians goes by entirely unremarked.

This is the situation which clearly lies behind the strong reaction in Russia to the recent video release “Party like a Russian” by the British singer Robbie Williams. 

The video is in fact capable of more than one interpretation.  In my opinion it is not intended to be a mockery of Russians in general.  Rather it looks to me like a dig at a specific type of Russian: the corrupt Russian oligarch who has fled to Britain after stealing money from Russia.  

That this is the sort of Russian the video is intended to reference is in my opinion shown by the fact that the video is filmed in what is visibly a large English country house – one of the Tudor or Jacobean era – exactly the sort of opulent country residence favoured by a certain type of fugitive Russian oligarch who has fled to Britain to escape the Russian authorities and has found refuge here.  

In my opinion the lyrics of the song also bear out this interpretation.  They too seem to refer to someone who has fled Russia with his ill-gotten gains to enjoy the high life in the West under the West’s protection.

“It takes a certain type of man with a certain reputation

To alleviate the cash from a whole nation

…..

I put a bank inside a car, inside a plane, inside a boat

It takes half the western world just to keep my ship afloat”

(bold italics added)

If that is right then the video is actually intended – despite the unfortunate misuse of some Russian themes eg. the references to Rasputin, Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights, the 1917 Revolution, and the clothes obviously copied from the Russian ballet – to be sympathetic to the Russian people rather than hostile to them.

However given the massive negative stereotyping of Russia and of Russians – and the obvious overlap between the character depicted in the video and some of the stereotypical characteristics so often attributed in the West to Russians – I can completely understand why many people in Russia do not see the video that way, and have taken strong offence to it.  

Indeed the overlap is so strong that there are many people in the West who actually agree with them, and who approve of the video precisely because they see it as hostile to Russians and to President Putin in particular.

Which brings me to something else.  What the episode of the video shows is that when people in Russia – for completely understandable reasons – complain that they are being stereotyped, there is no rush in the West to reassure or support them, just as there is never any outcry when other more clearly negative stereotypical representations of Russians appear. 

The tidal wave of condemnation which reliably takes place whenever ugly stereotypical representations of (say) Jews, Muslims or Irish appear, in the case of Russians never happens.

Consider the response of the British newspaper The Guardian – that stalwart liberal defender of political correctness and anti-racism – to Russian protests about the Robbie Williams video

The Guardian’s response was neither to condemn the video, nor to discuss it in any meaningful way, nor to acknowledge why Russians might see it as offensive – as it surely would have done in the case of any other popular music video about any other ethnicity.  Instead it commissioned a single shortish article from the Russian journalist Natalia Antonova.  This it must be said starts promisingly enough

“Tired of political correctness, debates on cultural appropriation and being shamed over racist jokes on Twitter? Don’t worry. There is still an entire country you can safely stereotype – and it’s Russia, of course.

Although it has resulted in some controversy, Robbie Williams’s Party Like a Russian is not likely to negatively impact his career, spark a protest, or cause Robbie to be no-platformed should he suddenly feel the burning need to speak at an academic conference. It’s just a song about those crazy Russians, with their vodka-soaked escapades and curious penchant for putting dolls inside other dolls. Everybody knows that stereotyping Russians is a harmless bit of fun – and if you have a problem with it, you’re an oversensitive loser who can’t take a joke.

The idea that there are “good” and “bad” stereotypes is not new and, as Yale University professor Marijeta Bozovic has noted, there is something odd about the way in which tired cultural cliches are “smilingly tolerated by cosmopolitan elites when directed at Slavs in the 21st century”.”

The force of these entirely proper words is then however completely lost when Antonova claims that the video is actually correct after all.  Russians do party wildly – why Antonova has done it herself!  So really there is nothing to complain about!

Racial stereotyping is always something to complain about.  It is dehumanising, intolerant and ugly.  It is racist and profoundly offensive of its target.  This is so whenever it is used to mock or label any ethnicity or national or cultural group.  Russians are not an exception. 

A society that indulges in it, and which tolerates those who do, forfeits its claim to anti-racism and interracial tolerance.  The fact that it is treating just one ethnic group – Russians – in this way, denying them the moral and legal protection which it accords others, in no way diminishes its racism and intolerance.   It emphasises it. 

At a time of heightened international tension between the West and Russia the dehumanisation of Russians inherent in this sort of stereotyping also has multiple other negative consequences.

Firstly, it can only work against achieving understanding.   What understanding can there be between the West and those the West chooses to see as gangsters and savages?  

In the process it lowers the threshold where violence against Russians becomes acceptable.  This has been the invariable pattern of Western racism in the past against any group or ethnicity which it targets.  There is no reason to think that against Russians it will be any different.  

In doing so however it increases the danger of war.  Unlike other groups targeted by Western racism in the past, Russians have the capacity to resist and hit back, and their history shows that like all other peoples if pushed to extremes they will do so.

It is in the West’s own interests therefore to bring this ugly habit of stereotyping Russians to a stop.  This is one example – by no means the only one but certainly one of the more pressing – where the principles the West likes to proclaim – in this case of anti-racism – and its own interests fully coincide.

For that to happen however the stereotyping of Russians – like the stereotyping of all other cultures and ethnicities – must be condemned and identified as the straightforward racism that it of course is.

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Defeat in Bavaria delivers knockout punch to Merkel’s tenure as Chancellor (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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The stunning CSU defeat in Bavaria means that the coalition partner in Angela Merkel’s government has lost an absolute majority in their worst election results in Bavaria since 1950.

In a preview analysis before the election, Deutsche Welle noted that a CSU collapse could lead to Seehofer’s resignation from Merkel’s government, and conceivably Söder’s exit from the Bavarian state premiership, which would remove two of the chancellor’s most outspoken critics from power, and give her room to govern in the calmer, crisis-free manner she is accustomed to.

On the other hand, a heavy loss and big resignations in the CSU might well push a desperate party in a more volatile, abrasive direction at the national level. That would further antagonize the SPD, the center-left junior partners in Merkel’s coalition, themselves desperate for a new direction and already impatient with Seehofer’s destabilizing antics, and precipitate a break-up of the age-old CDU/CSU alliance, and therefore a break-up of Merkel’s grand coalition. In short: Anything could happen after Sunday, up to and including Merkel’s fall.

The Financial Times reports that the campaign was dominated by the divisive issue of immigration, in a sign of how the shockwaves from Merkel’s disastrous decision to let in more than a million refugees in 2015-16 are continuing to reverberate through German politics and to reshape the party landscape.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the stunning Bavarian election defeat of the CSU party, and the message voters sent to Angela Merkel, the last of the Obama ‘rat pack’ neo-liberal, globalist leaders whose tenure as German Chancellor appears to be coming to an end.

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Via Zerohedge

Voters in Germany’s economically dominant southern state of Bavaria delivered a stunning rebuke to the ruling Christian Social Union, in an election that delivered another crushing blow for the parties in Angela Merkel’s grand coalition in Berlin.

With all eyes on Sunday’s Bavaria election, moments ago the first exit polls showed a historic collapse for the ruling CSU party, which has ruled Bavaria continuously since 1957, and which saw its share of the vote collapse from 47.7% in the 2013 election to just 35.5%, losing its absolute majority and suffering its worst result since 1950, as voters defected in their droves to the Greens and the far-right Alternative for Germany.

German newspaper Welt called the election “the most painful election defeat of the past 50 years for the CSU”. As predicted in the polls, the CSU experienced a “historic debacle” in the Bavarian state elections, according to Welt. The CSU was followed by the Greens which soared in the election, more than doubling to 18.5% from 8.6% in 2013, the Free Voters also rose to 11% from 9.0%, in 2013.

Meanwhile, the nationalist AfD are expecting to enter Bavaria’s parliament for the first time ever with 11% of the vote, and as such are setting up for their post-election party. Party leader Alice Weidel already is having the first beer in the small community of Mamming in Lower Bavaria.

Establishment party, left-of-center SPD also saw its support collapse from 20.6% in 2013 to just 10% today.

The full initial results from an ARD exit poll are as follows (via Zerohedge):

  • CSU: 35.5 %
  • Grüne: 18.5 %
  • FW: 11.5 %
  • AfD: 11.0 %
  • SPD: 10.0 %
  • FDP: 5.0 %
  • Linke: 3.5 %
  • Sonstige: 5.0 %

The breakdown by gender did not show any marked variations when it comes to CSU support, although more women voted for the Greens, while far more men supported the AfD:

There was a greater variation by educational level, with highly educated voters tending more towards the green GRÜNE (G/EFA) and liberal FDP (ALDE) then the average, while low/middle educated voters tended more towards CSU (EPP) and AfD (EFDD).

This was the worst result for the CSU since 1950.

Zerohedge further reports that alarmed by the rise of the anti-immigration, populist AfD, the CSU tried to outflank them by talking tough on immigration and picking fights with Ms Merkel over asylum policy.

But the strategy appeared to have backfired spectacularly by alienating tens of thousands of moderate CSU voters and driving them into the arms of the Greens.

Meanwhile, as support the CSU and SPD collapsed, the result confirmed the Greens’ status as the rising force in German politics. Running on a platform of open borders, liberal social values and the fight against climate change the party saw its support surge to 18.5%, from 8.4% in 2013. Meanwhile the AfD won 11%, and for the first time entered the Bavarian regional assembly.

“This is an earthquake for Bavaria,” said Jürgen Falter, a political scientist at the University of Mainz.

The CSU had governed the state with an absolute majority for most of the last 60 years. “It was Bavaria and Bavaria was the CSU. That is now no longer the case.”

The latest collapse of Germany’s establishment parties highlights the shaky ground the grand coalition in Berlin is now resting on as all three parties in the alliance, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, the CSU and the SPD, are haemorrhaging support. Some are now questioning whether the coalition, already frayed by personal rivalries and near constant bickering over policy, can survive a full term in office.

“This outcome throws ever more doubt on the future of the grand coalition,” said Heinrich Oberreuter, head of the Passau Journalism Institute and an expert on the CSU. “Based on current polls, if an election were held now, the CDU, CSU and SPD would not even command a majority in the Bundestag.”

The CSU will now be be forced to form a coalition government — a humiliating outcome for a party that has run Bavaria single-handedly for 49 of the last 54 years. Its preference is probably for a three-party coalition with the Free Voters, a small party that is mainly focused on local politics. It could also team up with the Greens, though it would be highly reluctant to do so: the two parties are deeply divided over immigration, transport and environmental policy.

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Elizabeth Warren’s DNA ploy backfires big time (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 1.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at Senator Elizabeth Warren’s ‘genius’ idea to accept POTUS Trump’s ‘Native American DNA’ challenge. Let’s just say that Warren will never recover from this self-inflicted wound.

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The Cherokee Nation issued a statement crushing Elizabeth Warren for her “continued claims of tribal heritage.”

“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America. Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation. Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, who ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is prove. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.

– Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin, Jr

Zerohedge reports that Elizabeth Warren just owned herself after releasing a DNA test confirming that she’s as little as 1/1024th Native American – about half the percentage of the average white person.

What’s more, the DNA expert she used, Stanford University professor Carlos Bustamente, “used samples from Mexico, Peru, and Colombia to stand in for Native American” as opposed to, say, DNA from a Cherokee Indian which Warren has claimed to be throughout her career.

Adding to the absurdity are two major corrections by the Boston Globe (which has become the media mouthpiece of Warren’s 2020 damage control efforts of late), letting readers know that “Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 10th generation relative. It should be 1/1,024,” and later updating it to “between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American.”

Adding to the absurdity are two major corrections by the Boston Globe (which has become the media mouthpiece of Warren’s 2020 damage control efforts of late), letting readers know that “Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 10th generation relative. It should be 1/1,024,” and later updating it to “between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American.”

Elizabeth Warren’s got trolled by Trump in the most epic fashion, pushing the Senator to make a blunder that will follow her for the rest of her career.

The Daily Caller’s Benny Johnson exposed Elizabeth Warren’s history of lies in 10 simple tweets…

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Hillary Clinton: Democrats have been TOO CIVIL with GOP (VIDEO)

Civil war becomes more likely as Clinton calls for greater civil unrest after weeks of absolutely insane behavior from leftist activists.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Former presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton just called for an end to civil behavior towards Republicans and conservatives. In an interview with Christiane Amanpour of CNN expanded on in a piece by USA Today, the failed candidate had this to say:

“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about… That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and / or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again.”

Clinton said that Senate Republicans under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., “demeaned the confirmation process” and “insulted and attacked” Christine Blasey Ford – who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about a sexual assault she alleges Kavanaugh committed in 1982 – along with other “women who were speaking out.”

It should be pointed out here that Clinton told a lie. The Senate Republicans did everything possible to hear out Dr Ford’s testimony, and no one has gone on record with any sort of insults or demeaning comments about her. Every Republican Senator who stated anything agreed that something happened to her, but they also agreed that there was no corroboration showing that Judge Kavanaugh was actually involved in any misdoings. USA Today’s piece continues:

Clinton compared the handling of Kavanaugh’s confirmation to “Republican operatives shutting down the voting in 2000,” the “swift-boating of John Kerry,” attacks on former Arizona Sen. John McCain in the 2000 Republican primary and “what they did to me for 25 years.

“When you’re dealing with an ideological party that is driven by the lust for power, that is funded by corporate interests who want a government that does its bidding, you can be civil but you can’t overcome what they intend to do unless you win elections,” she told Amanpour.

Clinton compared Kavanaugh’s swearing-in ceremony at the White House on Monday to a “political rally” that “further undermined the image and integrity of the court.”

She told Amanpour the effect on the court “troubles” and “saddens” her “because our judicial system has been viewed as one of the main pillars of our constitutional government.”

“But the President’s been true to form,” Clinton added. “He has insulted, attacked, demeaned women throughout the campaign – really for many years leading up to the campaign. And he’s continued to do that inside the White House.”

Here, Clinton told at least two more incendiary whoppers.

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First, no one has been specifically after her, and second, President Donald Trump’s record with women including in the White House has been nothing short of stellar and gentlemanly. Nikki Haley, who supported Marco Rubio in the 2016 campaign and has at times been openly critical of Donald Trump, yesterday announced her full support of his 2020 campaign and her intent to campaign with and for him.

By all accounts, Mrs. Haley is a woman.

The first American Civil War had economic policy and states’ rights as its central focus. Slavery was a part of that issue, though slavery was practiced in the North as well in the South before this war began.

Now a new civil war is coming, but perhaps it should be called the American Social War. It is not about any real policy matter at all. It is hysteria, but it appears to be hysteria with a purpose.

The first American Social War has two apparent sides and allying forces and groups:

The Left:

  • pro-gay marriage
  • pro-death (in other words, pro-abortion)
  • anti-Christian, especially Christianity that says these first two issues are wrong
  • anti-GOP / Republican / Conservative
  • “victim class” – feminists, some millenials
  • supporters of legalized use of mind-altering / mood-altering drugs
  • appears to support overreaching socialist style government, featuring “fair” wages, such as a $15.oo minimum wage
  • anti-traditionalist
  • Mainstream media is strongly allied here
  • George Soros is a supporter
  • social media outlets, like Facebook and Twitter are supporters through “scrubbing” of media content
  • anti-white, anti-male, and if you are white, male and Christian, look out. You are Enemy Number One
  • supports and executes violence against all these people they are against, including family members.
  • very zealous, and very monolithic in terms of alignment and energy

The Right:

  • Conservatives
  • people who generally want the government to leave them alone
  • generally favors life, considering abortion tragic and to be avoided, though some consider that it should be made illegal
  • marriage has always been between one man and one woman and it should not be redefined to fit the whims of a few
  • God is sovereign (though many conservatives would never make this connection)
  • No real animus against the left, but at the same time, fed up with being hectored by the left all the time, as we saw in Senator Lindsey Graham’s explosive confrontation against Senate Democrats
  • Generally Republican by party affiliation, though many libertarian and conservatives are also present as well as a number of conservative democrats.
  • seeks to avoid violence. While there do exist a very few neo-Nazi types, their numbers are infinitesimal, and their behavior is rejected by the Right
  •  generally against drug use, though many have unfortunately moderated on the matter of actual illegality

The main characteristic of this approaching war, as stated before, is little more than some sort of outrage over identity politics and perceived victimization. This is something both new and old, as there is always a party in any war that claims that they are fighting because they are in fact the aggrieved party, under the other side’s aggression and suppression.

That factor exists with this war too. However, the reality of that aggression or suppression is that it does not exist, and this makes it very difficult for the “perceived aggressors” to ramp up the zeal needed to carry out the fight.

This factor is often very maddening for conservative people. As a whole they do not wish to fight. They wish to be left alone. The left on the other hand insists that everything must be fought for because the right has somehow managed to take it away from them, or is keeping it away from them.

This is purely fiction but it is almost impossible to convince a leftist that this is so. Tucker Carlson expands on this matter in this report. He makes reference at 6:37 about how Hillary Rodham Clinton is now openly calling for civility to the GOP to end (as if it hasn’t already!), but the entirety of this report begs to be seen to give perspective to the look and feel of this crisis:

This is unfamiliar territory in many ways, and it is unclear how far this will go. But one this is clear: it is testing all available limits, and it may come to real fighting, and real killing, for no reason better than perceived victimization.

It should be understood that the advocates for violence are all people that reject God and traditional values openly. There is certainly a connection.

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