On the origin of the word “racist”

by Hadding Scott

Trotsky racist wrong
 
There is an urban legend that has been floating around for some years now, that the word racist was coined by Leon Trotsky, for the purpose of cowing and intimidating opponents of leftist ideology. In his History of the Russian Revolution Trotsky applied the word racist to Slavophiles, who opposed Communism.

Just from the word’s etymology (the word race with a suffix added) it is not immediately apparent why this word is supposed to be inherently derogatory. Words like anarchist, communist, and fascist have a negative connotation for many people, but that is because of their perspectives on anarchism, communism, and fascism, not because the words are inherently derogatory. The words anarchist, communist, and fascist have objective content toward which one may be positively or negatively disposed. Likewise the word racist. Objectively, it seems to denote somebody for whom race is a concern.

Is it not possible that Trotsky’s use of the word, regardless of what his feelings about racism may have been, was merely descriptive, insofar as the effort of Slavs to assert and preserve their Slavic identity inherently involves a concern with race? Are not racists, as Trotsky regarded them, essentially just a species of anti-Communist, rejecting submersion into nondescript humanity under alien personalities and interests?

Our so-called conservatives in the United States do not ask such questions. If the left uses a term with a negative feeling attached, our conservatives accept that what the term denotes is objectively negative. If leftists and Jew-controlled mass-media disapprove of racists and racism, our so-called conservatives will not dispute that value judgment; for the purpose of rhetoric they will even embrace it. Conservatives outwardly accept that racists and racism are bad, and will not challenge it.

What the conservatives like to do instead of debunking their enemies’ assumptions, which are also supported by mass-media, is to try to find a way to throw an accusation back at them, even a ridiculous accusation based on a specious argument and a flimsy premise. The legend that Leon Trotsky coined the word racist offers a basis for that kind of rhetoric. It seems a silly argument, but they will say something like, If you use the word racist then you are a bad person like Communist mass-murderer Leon Trotsky, because he invented that word!

Did Trotsky really invent that word? No, apparently not. The work in which Trotsky is supposed to have coined that word was written and published in Russian in 1930. I found several examples of the French form, raciste, preceding Trotsky’s use of the word by far.

I find pensée raciste (French for “racist thought”) and individualité raciste (“racist individuality”) in the volume of La Terro d’oc: revisto felibrenco e federalisto (a periodical championing the cultural and ethnic identity of people in southern France) for the year 1906. Here the word racist was used without a hint of negativity:

I express my best wishes for the success of your projects, because I am convinced that, in the federation of the peoples of Langue d’Oc fighting for their interests and the emancipation of their racist thought, the prestige of Toulouse will benefit.

This unfortunate South! He is a victim in every way! Ruined, robbed, brutalized, it’s a fate of conquered countries that one reserves for him, and whatever would be likely to characterize his racist individuality and whatever’s survival or worship could make him regain consciousness of himself to snatch him from his torpor and safeguard his moral and material interests, is it good for anything except to be combated and ridiculed?

While racists were bad people for Leon Trotsky, some people in Occitania in 1906 did not share that value-judgment, because they had a different perspective and different interests. Why should I accept the value-judgments of my enemies? The label racist is only an effective attack if it is perceived as one, which means, only if the value-judgment attached to it is accepted. Don’t accept that! If you can stop worrying about being called a racist, if you can refrain from using a barrage of flaky counterattacks (the way “conservatives” do) to avoid talking about your own real views, then you can be sincere and really communicate with people. You might even have a chance to explain that almost everybody is racist and that it’s normal—which is a fundamental fact that every White person needs to know.
 

Even earlier examples

In Charles Malato’s Philosophie de l’Anarchie (1897) we find both raciste and racisme:

No doubt that before arriving at complete internationalism, there will be a stage which will be racism; but it must be hoped that the layover will not be too long, that it will be rapidly surpassed. Communism, which appears that it must inevitably be regulated at the beginning of its functioning, especially in regard to international trade, will bring about the establishment of racist federations (Latin, Slavic, Germanic, etc.). Anarchy—which we can glimpse at the end of two or three generations when, as a result of the development of production, any regulations will have become superfluous—will bring the end of racism and the advent of a humanity without borders.

Although Malato was not in favor of racistes or racisme as such, regarding them as constituting an intermediate stage on the path from the destruction of the existing empires to his ideal of global anarchy, his use of those words back in the late 19th century was clearly not polemical but based on their objective content. Malato saw a tendency in Europe toward reorganizing political boundaries and allegiances along racial (or ethnic) lines, and he called this tendency racism. Note also that Malato specifically refers to Pan-Slavism as a form of racism, thus anticipating Trotsky’s application of the word.
 

First English usage

A piece for National Public Radio (Gene Demby, “The Ugly, Fascinating History of the Word ‘Racism’,” 6 January 2014) cites the Oxford English Dictionary to the effect that the first use of the word racism (in English) was by Richard Pratt in 1902, five years after Malato’s use of raciste and racisme in French.

Pratt was a Baptist religious zealot who was particularly devoted to stamping out the identities of various North American tribes through assimilation. NPR’s author for some reason finds it paradoxical that somebody who condemns racism would be trying to stamp out the racial as well as the specific ethnic identities of Cheyenne, Choctaw, or Muscogee, when in fact it is perfectly consistent.

Racism in its proper meaning, as we see with Charles Malato and the Occitanian separatists a century ago (contemporary with Pratt), means concern for one’s race (however that race is defined), and an impulse to preserve that race, and, in accord with that, organization along racial lines. To condemn racism as such is ultimately to condemn the preservation of any race, with the mongrelization of all mankind, explicitly hoped by some, being the predictable long-term result.

Deliberate destruction of races through assimilation and mixture, as advanced—although in a more direct and obvious manner than we usually see—by Richard Henry Pratt with his Carlisle Indian Industrial School, is the ultimate implication of anti-racism. It is remarkable that anyone pretends to be confused about this.

Published in: on July 30, 2015 at 7:14 pm  Comments (9)  

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  1. About this article, Jack Frost commented today:

    At your [Hadding Scott] site you ask rhetorically why “racism” should necessarily have a moral connotation when other terms of similar construction, such as anarchism or fascism, do not.

    Your analysis of the term is pretty good, but you gloss over the connection to Christianity, which is always the source of moral value in white societies.

    It’s no accident that the first use of the word in English was by Pratt, whom you describe as a “Baptist religious zealot”.

    Christianity and anti-racism are conjoined.

  2. If one understand the 1917 Revolution, one would understand that perpetrators or leaders of the revolution were non Slavic. Trotsky used the term as a weapon for propaganda purposes, much like the anti-whites who are facilitating the genocide the Europeans today. Look at the declensions that he (Trotsky) used for the word in his writings, There was a clear target for this word. Maybe he was not the first to use the word, but he propagandized the word to demoralize a target group.

    • I am no expert on this subject but I defer to Hadding—and especially Frost’s exegesis that Christian axiology is at the root of this inversion of healthy values.

  3. God damn Hadding, thank you again for this piece.

    Want to know the true secret origin of the word “racism”? It’s “race”, a biological grouping of humans, combined with the suffix “-ism”, denoting an ideology which stresses the importance of the root word.

    It was not invented to “demonize” racists, it was invented to describe us. How would it demonize us? We have a strong ideological concern for race. Race-ism. Race-ist. A simpler more neutral term cannot be conceived for what Trotsky was trying to describe. Had he invented the word, I would commend him on his racially-atypical fairness.

    Why did Trotsky call himself a “Scientific Materialist”? Didn’t he know “materialism” was, in his time, a more controversial doctrine than racism? He called himself a materialist because he was a materialist, and he wasn’t a chump pussy conservative who was afraid to call himself what he actually ideologically was.

    It completely boggles my mind that there are people on Stormfront who say they love Hitler and want to ship the Blacks back to Africa, but they won’t call themselves “racist” because it will “alienate” people. I hope to god those people are secretly Jews sent by ZOG to troll me by being complete retards.

    If you oppose racial mongrelization you are racist. You should call yourself racist unless you’re trying to trick people. Stop being gay, pls.

    • The problem I see with the word “racist” is exactly the same Manu Rodríguez sees with the Newspeak word “pagan”.

      • I’m not really sure I agree with Manu on that, but at least he can say that “pagan” implies rural and retrograde, and that isn’t necessarily accurate. Rejecting “racism” is more like rejecting “polytheism” even though you (theistically) worship multiple gods. Because Christians portray polytheism as bad. But that’s because they portray worshiping multiple gods as bad, and that’s called polytheism.

        They aren’t demonizing the word, they’re demonizing the concept the word objectively describes. Americans don’t just believe “racism” is evil, they believe prohibiting interracial marriage is evil, and rejecting colored immigrants is evil, and Hitler was evil.

        They genuinely hate the ideas we stand for, and will hate White Whateverism just as much as they hate “racism” once they understand that it refers to the same thing.

        Maybe I’m biased by the fact that I went from liberal to racist very quickly. I was never really a conservative. The human equality bubble popped and that was it, the NAACP was wrong and the KKK was right.

      • I understand. You probably mean what says a popular tweet:

        “OK I’m racist, now let’s debate facts” may be the best debate tool ever. They totally melt down after that.

  4. “OK I’m racist, now let’s debate facts” may be the best debate tool ever. They totally melt down after that.

    Thanks, that’s “a keeper.”

    Since the use of the word as an epithet is not backed by any actual argument, but purely by emotional connotation acquired by repetition, then applying it to oneself matter-of-factly in a neutral tone short-circuits their verbal attack: you are supposed to cower apologetically, but you don’t, nor do you counter-attack.

    But be prepared for what comes next:

    If the cowards (and they always are) feel that they have the overwhelming advantage, they will resort to violence. Be prepared to smack the nearest one in the face hard enough to break bone.

  5. […] y sionista, además de comunista antes de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, al igual que el término : Racismo. Batalla, casi medieval, referida que hace elevar el sentido patrio continuado de los -NAFARROS- su […]


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