Alexander Dolitsky: On systemic racism, looking back and forward - Must Read Alaska
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Alexander Dolitsky: On systemic racism, looking back and forward

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By ALEXANDER DOLITSKY

Recently, the Juneau Assembly initiated an investigation of so-called “systemic racism” in town—although there is no clear evidence of any institutional discrimination in Juneau.

In my 36 years in Juneau, I have never experienced or observed any institutional racism in Southeast Alaska. Ignorance—yes, but institutional racism—no.

In fact, today’s notion of “systemic racism” resembles findings of a prominent American sociologist, Charles Murray in his book, “Losing ground: American social policy, 1950–1980,” which is about the terrible failures of the huge federal programs of the mid-1960s through 1980s to fight poverty and racism, showing how they actually made matters much worse for the poor, despite huge federal spending and affirmative action programs.

To my surprise, the socio-political changes that occurred in the mid-1960s concerning poverty and civil rights movement parallel so much of what is happening in our country today—especially the concepts of “systemic racism” and “structural racism.”

Murray explained the hugely important shift in both political and academic ideas that occurred when suddenly poverty was seen as “structural poverty”— poverty that occurs not because of the collective actions of individuals, but because the entire socio-economic system is to blame.

In Murray’s words: “Structural poverty” refers to poverty that is embedded within the nature of the system (or demographics) and will not be eradicated by economic growth…. Poverty was not the fault of the individual but the system.” This is entirely analogous to today’s “systemic racism” rhetoric.

When the whole system is to blame, then the solution requires major government effort — changes in laws and policy and funding of massive new government assistance programs to “correct” it.

Indeed, this current big push about “systemic racism” is right from the 1960’s socialist playbook.

Murray’s book was published in 1984, but the parallels are today. If patterns of history have any relevance as a guide to what we might expect next, then it is a very reasonable to expect that if the socialists take power, we will see massive changes in government spending, racially-targeted handouts, government-controlled redistribution of wealth, and more laws and policies promulgating — more racism in the name of “reparations” or “anti-racism.” It will be affirmative action on steroids.

Indeed, patterns of history will repeat themself, and the socialist activists don’t really care whether that means huge waste of money and even huge failure in what they claim to be the purpose of their new socio-economic programs.

To summarize Charles Murray’s insights on “losing ground” in America, I find it especially ironic that today so many educated and intelligent people are influenced by radical socialist rhetoric of “white privilege” and “systemic racism.”

It just demonstrates how political ideology, especially combined with mass media propaganda, can so easily brainwash people who actually participate in the brainwashing willingly. 

What we are seeing in our country is really very frightening, alarming and very discouraging development, especially among our youth. 

The ultra-liberal activists will not be persuaded, or even open their minds, to different ideas for social justice and equal opportunities for all in our society. 

The responses and rhetoric of the ultra-liberal activists appear  “compassionate” and “helpful,” falsely advocating for neo-Marxist ideology and neo-utopian socialist equality for all.

As George Orwell put it in reference to socialist-type equality, “Some people are more equal than others.”

In fact, that’s how this extreme group-think has developed. They are saying, “This is how we think about it and we want to help you.” And the listener, who is part of the “we” group, understands “This is how you, too, should think about it if you are one of us.” 

It happens gradually, step by step, but it all adds up to a lot of brainwashing and indoctrination. It’s brainwashing and indoctrination by gentle coercion, and all done in a “helpful” manner — perhaps even truly intended to be “helpful.”

In reality, this gentle coercion is an avenue and clever tactic toward a political power by radical ultra-liberal activists and an emerging socialist ruling class; and an ultimate establishment of the dictatorial socialist regime.

As George Orwell in his book “1984” stated: “Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.”

Indeed, to anyone outside that warped train of thought of group-think, the nonsense and hypocrisy is obvious, but not so to those within it. Unfortunately, many young people have swallowed this “compassionate” and “helpful” socialist narrative, and actually believe in it to its core. Sad. 

Alexander B. Dolitsky was born and raised in Kiev in the former Soviet Union. He received an M.A. in history from Kiev Pedagogical Institute, Ukraine, in 1977; an M.A. in anthropology and archaeology from Brown University in 1983; and was enroled in the Ph.D. program in Anthropology at Bryn Mawr College from 1983 to 1985, where he was also a lecturer in the Russian Center. In the U.S.S.R., he was a social studies teacher for three years, and an archaeologist for five years for the Ukranian Academy of Sciences. In 1978, he settled in the United States. Dolitsky visited Alaska for the first time in 1981, while conducting field research for graduate school at Brown. He lived first in Sitka in 1985 and then settled in Juneau in 1986. From 1985 to 1987, he was a U.S. Forest Service archaeologist and social scientist. He was an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Russian Studies at the University of Alaska Southeast from 1985 to 1999; Social Studies Instructor at the Alyeska Central School, Alaska Department of Education from 1988 to 2006; and has been the Director of the Alaska-Siberia Research Center (see www.aksrc.homestead.com) from 1990 to present. He has conducted about 30 field studies in various areas of the former Soviet Union (including Siberia), Central Asia, South America, Eastern Europe and the United States (including Alaska). Dolitsky has been a lecturer on the World Discoverer, Spirit of Oceanus, andClipper Odyssey vessels in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. He was the Project Manager for the WWII Alaska-Siberia Lend Lease Memorial, which was erected in Fairbanks in 2006. He has published extensively in the fields of anthropology, history, archaeology, and ethnography. His more recent publications include Fairy Tales and Myths of the Bering Strait Chukchi, Ancient Tales of Kamchatka; Tales and Legends of the Yupik Eskimos of Siberia; Old Russia in Modern America: Russian Old Believers in Alaska; Allies in Wartime: The Alaska-Siberia Airway During WWII; Spirit of the Siberian Tiger: Folktales of the Russian Far East; Living Wisdom of the Far North: Tales and Legends from Chukotka and Alaska; Pipeline to Russia; The Alaska-Siberia Air Route in WWII; and Old Russia in Modern America: Living Traditions of the Russian Old Believers; Ancient Tales of Chukotka, and Ancient Tales of Kamchatka.

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  • First they will come for our guns, exactly as the National Socialist German Workers Party did in Germany. If we give them our guns then they will come for us, or our neighbors. Only the Second Amendment and personal courage will save our lives.

  • The only racism I have seen is reverse racism implemented by/for the blacks.

    • No such thing as *reverse racism* its simply good old fashioned racism. As to systemic racism, of course it exists, look no further than the Congressional Black Caucus, and every trickle-down version thereof.

      We have been well trained to ignore the most obvious of things.

      • Surely you just want to be mouthy, but you must have heard of racism against whites. I’m a Native American but I’ve seen blacks get more given to them than any other race.

        • You’re not helping yourself or the message here, merely reenforcing their self-serving racist narrative. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS REVERSE RACISM, PERIOD, IT’S SIMPLY RACISM. Their racism is being “justified” when we label it differently than the white mans.
          .
          We’ve all been sold a bill of goods. Just like the term HATE CRIME, no such thing, it’s simply CRIME. Damage or kill a white, yellow, red or black person and they all bleed RED blood and will ALL expire through physical trauma if the violence is severe enough.
          .
          If a yellow man punches you in the face and calls you a red devil and then punches me in the face calling me a white devil, then punches a black man in the face calling him a black devil, IS ANY AN ACTUAL HATE CRIME by your logic? See how messed-up this irrational line of [non] thinking is?

          • I’m tempted to say George Orwell would approve, but then again, I’m not so sure. It’s the punching that’s the problem, not so much who’s doing it.
            Good nom de plume. Nicely played.

    • There are none so blind as those who will not see.

  • Ah, racism. My ancestors came from northern Africa, so am I African-American? Some came from Spain, some from the Middle East, so where do I get muh check? I am an American. Period! The history of mankind is of one civilization, culture, replacing another on a regular basis. The Black Hills were not the traditional home of the Sioux; in the 1700s the Lakota drove the Arapaho from them after the Kiowa drove out the Crow, and before them the Cheyenne and before them the Arikara. We think of the Black Hills as sacred to the Sioux only because for that moment in time when the whites arrived the Sioux happened to occupy them. In the same way England is home of the Anglo Saxons because they drove the Britons to near extinction. When they find the bodies in the bogs, their skin is black, not Anglo white. So who is racist? When does the finger pointing stop? Why can’t we all just be human beings? Identity politics is just another vicious tool used by corrupt politicians to divide us and set one against another in order to gain greater power and wealth for themselves. It is time to stop. If there must be hatred, let’s all band together to hate the vile politicians trying to divide us. They are the ones who should be persecuted.

    • Thoughtful comments and understanding of history.

    • You kind of went a little like Archie Bunker on me there. Are you trying to say the Moors or in England? They were tribal, and or eventually assimilated by the Vikings. They most certainly weren’t black though. It goes against nature, the latitude is too far north for black skin to have evolved.

      • The first Britons had black skin.People with white skin didn’t arrive until about 8,000 years ago and obviously had a survival advantage with Vitamin D production. Who are the English? The Britons? The Welsh? The Jutes? The Frisians? The Vikings or Normans? The Anglo Saxons? Human history is the continuing process of one population replacing another. Normandy is named for the Normans-Norsemen under Rollo who came and decided to stay (another of my ancestors); the Moors came to Spain and also decided to stay but eventually their religion was driven out while much of their culture and genetics remained. All of us are temporary and all civilizations rise and fall, usually with the climate change, but that is another story.

  • It’s always “racism”. Can’t prove it, won’t fix it, makes a great weapon.

    It’ll continue until enough people decide they’re more afraid of the people accusing them than the actual accusation. In short: no time soon.

  • An excellent article written by a world class intellectual who has no doubt experienced the worst of what he describes and perhaps thought he was escaping it by coming to America!! Surprise surprise!!

  • I always felt I was granted America’s constitutional rights that as long as I do my best follow the State and Federal laws police will leave me alone, and So far they had left me alone. Now, today I am feeling more uncertain will Anchorage accept me and believe in me when I am leaning further and further into christian and more conservative values that my appearence what is becoming my new norm appearing more apparent without me even saying anything? -will I be fairly respected being an employee by leaning democrat even liberal employers though I carry myself differently than their liberal crowd? Frankly after 2020 the democrats made apparent they do not want to hire anyone who is not like them-Thats Institutionalized Racism right there.

  • If people won’t listen to a learned and experienced person like Alex, then they’re destined to ignorance, forever.

    • The Nazis actually eased up on gun laws a bit- unless you were Jewish.

      The bodies in the peat bogs are black due to the nature of the tanning process they go through.

      The real tragedy of affirmative action is that now every single time I deal with a minority in a leadership position, a little voice in the back of my head questions if they are here just because of what they look like.

      There’s a quote that goes something like if the system is fighting against something within itself you can be sure it doesn’t exist.

      • It was long thought that bog bodies had black skin due to tanning, but recent genetic research shows that in some their skin is genetically black. Original homo sapiens left Africa estimated about 40,000 years ago. Only about 10,000 years ago the light skin gene variants, SLC24A5 and SLC45A2, mutated in the Middle East, arriving in Europe about 8,000 years ago and embedding themselves in the population as lighter skin allowed greater Vitamin D production with the accompanying survival advantage (gene HERC2/OCA2 gives blue eyes). Just like the X-Men movies, white people are mutants with a survival advantage in northern climates and a disadvantage nearer the equator. But inside we are all humans, each the same and each unique.

  • Fantastic! A well written piece. Thank you sir!

  • Another outstanding analysis by Professor Dolitsky! I too am befuddled by how supposedly “educated and intelligent” people succumb to the ideas of “systemic racism” and “white privilege.” How easily people are manipulated when they fear being labeled, left out of their sphere of influence, or simply lack a healthy dose of skepticism to keep one objective.

  • Some interesting thoughts here. It is apparent to anyone paying attention that federal governmental actions, such as the war on poverty and numerous efforts to try to even up the playing field with minorities haven’t been very successful. We still have poverty and we still have bigotry.
    I’m not sure who these socialists are that Mr. Dolitsky refers to, but they seem to exist in both parties on both the local and national level. Perhaps he is referring to the Soviet version of socialism, which is an ill disguised version of totalitarian dictatorship. Nevertheless, there have been numerous attempts to level the playing field for those of differing races and social status, all of which have done little to share the wealth that the ultra-rich have accumulated since WWII. The only transfer of wealth has been from the poor and middle to the rich. This is undeniable. The richest 1% are enormously wealthy and hold most of the money in this country, and now that the poor are tapped out, the powers of monopolistic capitalism are now sucking the middle class dry.
    I find it fascinating how Mr. Dolitsky lays out a plan of action that he says “socialists” use to brain wash the masses. These are the same techniques the right uses to tilt the world in their favor. They seem to be more persuasive than the left, since they are gaining in places like Poland, Hungary, and, to a lesser extent, Austria, Germany, and France. These countries are cautionary tales. We ignore them at our peril.
    I also find it fascinating that the author quotes George Orwell. Orwell would likely not endorse the author’s position, since Orwell was an outspoken advocate for democratic socialism. If Mr. Dolitsky is also an advocate for democratic socialism, I apologize for so badly misreading his article.

    • I recognize a socialist’s voice and misconstrued statements. And either way, socialism is one brutal regime.

      • I think the Finns, Norwegians, Swedes, and Danes might not agree with you. They are scratching their heads trying to figure out why we haven’t figured this out yet.

  • One of these days structural Communism is going to be taken for the serious threat that it is.

    • Spoken like a good fascist.

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