Mihhail Lotman: Antiracists are using the same arguments as racists

Mihhail Lotman
Mihhail Lotman Source: Rene Suurkaev / ERR

Semiotics professor and Riigikogu member Mihhail Lotman commented on protests and restlessness in America, saying that part of the anti-racism discourse from white people portrays black people as incomplete, and who need to be told fairytales, not the truth.

Mihhail Lotman explained on Vikerraadio show "Uudis+" on Thursday: "There have been two narratives regarding George Floyd's death. One of them is correct, that white police officer Derek Chauvin brutally killed Floyd, who was a black unarmed Christian. And then there's the false narrative, that Floyd had a criminal past, he had been arrested for drugs, armed robbery, and violence-related offenses. On that fateful day, he was using counterfeit bills and was resisting arrest. That's the false narrative and anyone who uses that is risking being accused of racism."

He added that racism is disgusting and revolting, but he wants to point out the discursive roots of racism. Between two discourses, which both rely on the correct info, there can be no dialogue.

Lotman said: "The thing is that antiracists, both white and black, are using the same argumentation as racists. If they look at it proportionately, how many black people there are and how many of them are in prison. That is a racist approach."

According to Lotman, a non-racist approach would be equal treatment, meaning that if someone commits a crime, they get handled adequately.

Lotman concluded: "The way we speak on it has to change significantly. The thing is, parts of the antiracist discourse from white people portrays black people as incomplete. They should be told fairy tales that they like but not what is actually reality. And that's a big problem. And those, who point this problem out, are marked as racists. I'll say again, racism is disgusting and un-European, but the truth is also important."


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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