Sarmiento’s Children

I was reading an article on the new Pope in the most recent issue of The Nation when I saw a phrase that made me pause in disbelief. According to the article’s author, Pope Frances comes “from the most Europe-like of Latin American nations.” The vicious, unapologetic racism of this statement made me gasp for breath.

In the XIXth century, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, a leading Argentinean thinker and the future president of the Republic, argued in his book Facundo that all of Argentina’s ills were caused by its barbaric non-European populations. These useless, dirty, lazy animal-like non-Europeans had to, in Sarmiento’s opinion, be substituted by droves of clean, industrious, civilized European immigrants.

Sarmiento’s dream was brought to reality. The indigenous and mestizo populations of Argentina were exterminated and enormous numbers of European immigrants were brought in to replace them. This experiment in social eugenics didn’t bring the fruit Sarmiento had hoped for, however. Argentina did not escape the fate of its Latin American neighbors. Poverty, dictatorships, genocide, torture, an abysmal record on human rights, the horrific and shameful oppression of women – Argentina experienced it all just as much as Chile, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, and everybody else in Latin America did. To the shock of racists everywhere, the ethnic origin of a country’s people turned out to mean absolutely nothing.

Racists, however, are irredeemable. Argentinean racists still insist that they are “European.” Being European in this context means a single thing: being whiter than the neighbor. I’m sure that all of the non-white Europeans would take a huge exception to this but the racists among Argentineans (which, thankfully, are not the majority) keep insisting on their “Europeanness.” They do it because in their completely warped way of thinking it is somehow better or more prestigious to be European than anything else.

What I find especially sad is that this racist worldview is very popular among Argentinean intellectuals. I once caught flak in class from a professor for starting my presentation with “Argentina is one of the countries in Latin America which. . .” The professor insisted in a loud an irritable way that Argentina was located in Europe, and no appeal to geography could change his mind.

This is why it is so annoying that a journalist for The Nation should mindlessly repeat an offensive and stupid trope about Argentina. Argentina is a Latin American country and its future lies in the solidarity with other nations of Latin America, not in a mindless, misplaced pride in its imaginary Europeanness.

How to Know Your Colleague Is Not Ukrainian

I’m walking with a colleague.

“I never manage to recognize this guy S when I meet him,” I say. “First, he lost an incredible amount of weight, then he gained it back again, and as a result I never recognize him.”

“And do you know how he lost all that weight?” the colleague asks. “All he had to do was give up on soda and carbohydrates. That is all he had to give up. Nothing else!”

“If he had to give up potatoes,” I say, “then there is nothing else left.”

“But that was all he had to give up,” the colleague insists.

“But potatoes. . .” I object.

“Yes, but that’s a small sacrifice.”

“BUT POTATOES!!!!!” I repeat.

Ukrainians and non-Ukrainians will never reach an agreement as to whether giving up potatoes is a huge sacrifice.

Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

Is there anything more hilarious than a Twitter war between Michele Malkin and Donald Trump?

I suggest this so-called Economist of the Day puts his money where his stupid mouth is and lets us all manage his life, his property, his house and his bank account in the spirit of democracy. It’s easy to preach that people should hand over their property to you. It’s a little bit harder to set an example by handing over your property to others.

This is the kind of creepily illogical conversations I keep having with my students.

Here is an extremely offensive post that says there is no difference between Steubenville rapists and professors who sleep with female students. It is horrifying to see the lengths to which people who need to see women as victims in every single situation can go. Apparently, the word “consent” means nothing to such pseudo-feminists.

A lot of hype is being created about this so-called “yet another cheating scandal at Harvard” but the whole thing seems extremely trivial. Judge for yourselves.

Smith College is behaving in a stupid and offensive way by not letting a transwoman become a student. I always said that these gender-based quasi-educational institutions were vomit-producing. When I was desperate for a job to the point where I applied for positions in Texas and Oklahoma, I still refused to apply to these gender-segregated places. The very concept creeps me out completely. What next? A college for the blondes? A college for the tall people?

It is incredible how immature and stupid some people are: “This was our first baby we had no way of knowing how things were supposed to be we were clueless thinking we were going to have this beautiful romantic home birth & instead we live in a nightmare…” A birth is not supposed to be “beautiful” or “romantic”, you stupid twat. It’s supposed to be safe and safe and safe. It’s about another person’s entrance into the world, not about your narcissistic freak show.

Professors and students are extremely weird at Florida Atlantic University. (This is about the Jesus-stomping incident).