Hatreds: Racialized and Sexualized Conflicts in the 21st Century

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Hatreds: Racialized and Sexualized Conflicts in the 21st Century

By Zillah Eisenstein
Routledge, 1996
223 pp. $62.95

This book begins with a diatribe against contemporary hatreds, from Bosnia and Rwanda to Oklahoma City and Los Angeles. The target, however, proves elusive, as every national, ethnic, or religious hatred sooner or later elides into some form of sexual oppression. Just as Lenin was surprised that nation trumped class in 1914, so Eisenstein is dismayed that ethnicity trumps gender today. While the author would like to see this priority reversed through global feminist solidarity, I'm not sure she will be any more successful than socialists of the Second International. There is a deep contradiction at the heart of her agenda: favoring multiculturalist identity politics over what she regards as the fraudulent universalistic and egalitarian aspirations of American democracy, she ultimately ends up encouraging precisely the kind of self- regarding communalism that is the source of contemporary group hatred.

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