Re: Racism, Crowley, Blavatsky
Jul 17, 1997 09:58 PM
At 11:34 PM 7/17/97 -0400, Tim Maroney wrote:
>>While there may be shortcomings with everyone, I still feel his very clear
>>racist attitudes especially to Indians was shown when he used to refer to
>>Jiddu Krishnamurti as a *nigger*. He as an Englishman should have known
>>better. If this has to be ignored, it is ok but not with anyone who truly in
>>their hearts believe in the human brotherhood/sisterhood. I also think his
>>shortcomings are more far reaching and fundamental and cannot be compared to
>>those of HPB. Just looking at her sacrifice and what she has left behind
>>says it all.
>I would hate to presume to tell anyone else what an appropriate level of
>disgust towards a flawed character like Crowley would be. Your concerns
>about Crowley's racism are generally well-founded and if that puts you
>off him for good, that's your right and your privilege.
>I do have some problem if you insist that because someone had a serious
>flaw like this, then they could have had no positive qualities at all,
>which seems to be the meaning of "he was a racist pure and simple." It's
>not an accurate biography. How about something like this: "I would never
>want to give any support to such a racist, so I am not concerned with
>whatever value others may find in him"?
>A nit in your presentation: I don't understand why you think an
>Englishman would "know better." Unfortunately, "nigger" was a very common
>slang term among Englishmen of Crowley's period for anyone on the swarthy
>side, Indian, African or otherwise. Most of these Englishmen didn't write
>in vernacular and so they didn't put it into print very often, whereas
>there are a few cases where the often-casual Crowley did (e.g., his
>account of the origin of "Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-Dee-Ay", the letter entitled
>"Monsters, Niggers, Jews" in MTP -- which paradoxically argues that
>everyone should be admitted to Thelema regardless of their race!) I don't
>recall his use of this epithet toward Krishnamurti but it is quite
>believable. I'm sure many other Englishman were saying the same thing
>over their snifters.
>Finally, how do you feel about Blavatsky's statements about Australians
>and Africans in "The Secret Doctrine"? One problem that progressives face
>is that almost everyone from prior eras incorporates prejudices from
>their milieu, and if we start throwing them overboard every time we find
>an element of bigotry, we're left with a human history that appears
>unpopulated until a few decades ago.
>>This was what I had in my mind when I made the comment. Hope this clarifies.
>>Nothing personal, BTW.
>Nothing personal here either. I'm glad that racism is such a serious
>concern to you.
>Tim Maroney firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.maroney.org
thanks for the response. This issue of Crowley vs Jiddu Krishnamurti came up
several months ago in I believe a post I saw in a newsgroup and was myself
surprised. If Crowley's works has value for anyone, I have no problem
because who am I to tell anyone what they should and should not like or
favour or benefit from. The problem is that JK issue arose at a time when he
was very well known around the world and in that context, to me a reference
to him as "nigger" Krishnamurti is totally inappropriate even if it was
acceptable terminology in the England of that time.
Personally, any issue of any discrimination of anyone for any reason is a
serious concern to me, even though most of the time there is not much a
single individual can do. World would be a much better one if it could move
to one of less discrimination.
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