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11/18/2016 3:38 pm  #1


What is racism and what makes it wrong?

Anyone have thoughts on the title questions?

 

11/19/2016 12:13 pm  #2


Re: What is racism and what makes it wrong?

Peter Hitchens draws interesting distinctions between racialismculturism, and racism:

A 'racialist' could only be a person who believed in unalterable racial differences, and in the superiority of some racial groups over others. This was the word's precise meaning, usually dated back to the prescriptive racial theories of Houston Stewart Chamberlain, who was (conveniently for the links we liked to make in the late 1960s) a Nazi sympathiser who actually took German citizenship and maintained that Jesus Christ was an Aryan. I think it was this precision, and this history, which led to the word being abandoned. It was too exact for its new and very different use. The newer term, on the other hand, was vague enough to suggest all kinds of things without actually needing to make specific, deniable accusations. In my (quite considerable) experience of being politically defamed, a person does not need to express or even privately feel any racial prejudice to be called a 'racist'. He does not need to embrace any theory of racial superiority or unalterable difference. Nor does he need to engage in acts of wrongful discrimination. Based on race or colour. If an organisation is being accused, then the charge of 'institutional racism' widens the mouth of the net, and narrows its gauge, still further. One of the most fascinating facts of our time is this: that the (widely unread) Macpherson report into the Lawrence affair found not one single instance of actual racial discrimination in the Metropolitan Police handling of the case, and so found it easier to convinct that force of 'institutional racism', a charge so vague that there is no effective defence against it.

This misleading name-calling and its effect on public policy is a large problem for our society. But let us return to the use of 'racist' to describe a person. A helpful (to the zealot) confusion is created by the fact that all racialists are racists (just as all jihadists are Muslims) but not all racists are racialists (just as not all Muslims are Jihadists). So the racist may truly be a racial bigot, a Holocaust denier and secret Nazi sympathiser, and may himself actively discriminate between people on irrational grounds. But he may do none of these things. He will, entirely unjustly, often find himself classified and dismissed as a racist if he is in fact what ought to be called a 'culturist', someone who believes that migrants should adapt to the country in which they arrive, rather than the other way around. This is how I would describe someone who uses expressions such as 'host country' (which I have heard angrily booed at a meeting in North Kensington held to discuss the Lawrence affair) and who states or implies that the existing culture of this country is worth preserving or indeed badly needs to be preserved. 
(Peter Hitchens. The Broken Compass. Continuum, 2009, pp. 92–93.)

 

11/23/2016 9:36 am  #3


Re: What is racism and what makes it wrong?

John West wrote:

The newer term, on the other hand, was vague enough to suggest all kinds of things without actually needing to make specific, deniable accusations. In my (quite considerable) experience of being politically defamed, a person does not need to express or even privately feel any racial prejudice to be called a 'racist'. He does not need to embrace any theory of racial superiority or unalterable difference. Nor does he need to engage in acts of wrongful discrimination. Based on race or colour.

Yes, I think the word has acquired a not inconsiderable flexibility.

Here are a few different strands of thought as to what makes an action racist.

(1) A racist action is motivated by and expresses animus toward a particular race.
(2) A racist action aims at achieving a worse outcome for an already disadvantaged race.
(3) A racist action achieves or perpetuates a worse outcome for an already disadvantaged race.
(4) A racist action presupposes a false, negative belief about a disadvantaged race.
(5) A racist action presupposes a negative belief, true or false, about a disadvantaged race.

(1) and (2) distinguish motive and intent. It's possible to intend that a particular race be worse off without hating that race--though, perhaps, this must be intended as a means, for it's hard to imagine why one would intend worse outcomes on the basis of race as an end if one felt no animus toward anyone on the basis of race. It's also possible for an action to be racially motivated without aiming at worsening outcomes for that race; I take it that, generally, someone who creates derogatory, racist graffiti is not aiming at any concrete outcome.

Actions that are racist in motivation / motivated by racial animus are the focal and least controversial cases of racism. Conservatives and liberals agree that actions performed on the basis of hatred for a disadvantaged race are heinously immoral, though there may be some disagreement regarding whether actions performed on the basis of hatred of a privileged race are immoral at all. As I've said, it's somewhat hard to think of examples of actions that are racist in intent but not in motive.

What is more controversial is (3). Most liberals, especially in the academy, now hold that intent is irrelevant. If an action has the effect of harming an already disadvantaged race, or if it perpetuates that race's being disadvantaged, then it is racist. So say that black Americans typically live in areas with worse school districts. Then ceteris paribus they will be less adequately prepared for higher education and will be less competitive applicants in race-blind admissions. So admissions ought not to be race-blind; race-blind admissions, even if it is not instituted in order to prevent black Americans from succeeding, or on the basis of animus toward black Americans, perpetuates the worse outcomes for black Americans, and thus would be racist.

(4) and (5) are orthogonal to (1)-(3). They address the question of profiling. Most people would agree that it is bad to act on the presupposition of a false stereotype, barring non-culpable ignorance. But what about true stereotypes? Suppose that some race is disproportionately correlated with something bad, like crime. One of course need not believe that everyone of that race is a criminal, but is it racist to act on the presupposition of that statistic by, for example, stopping more people of that race in security lines, or crossing the street if someone of that race is on one side? In neither case do I need to hate people of that race, nor wish that they experience worse outcomes.

     Thread Starter
 

3/26/2017 4:04 pm  #4


Re: What is racism and what makes it wrong?

Greg wrote:

Yes, I think the word has acquired a not inconsiderable flexibility.

Like fascist or Nazi, for that matter. Indeed, even race realism makes you a Nazi now according to the Progressive clique in charge of schools and media: being opposed to mass immigration for simply economic reasons [like high unemployment or demonstrable decline in the real income of labor] makes you a racist, too (which is itself actually racist because the person charging you with racism assumes only, e.g., non-white or non-European immigrants are immigrants).

Today we are being brainwashed with progressive propaganda ("we are a nation of immigrants...") into thinking mass immigration is a default and necessary condition or policy for America, even though this is totally ahistorical. In North America we associate mass immigration with national success because during periods of rapid economic and territorial growth, development and expansion we also had a massive increase in immigration to supply needs and demand (such as settling new lands with farmers or making manpower available for new mines and factories, etc.). But these brief periods of mass immigration were related to the economy; today, they have been divorced completely and is now a de facto policy. All it can do is drive down the price of labor by generating more competition for the insufficient number of jobs the economy has and produces, which isn't terribly proletariat friendly and, of course, can only fuel nativism, resentment and backlash [or as Chomsky is calling it, fascism].

Last edited by Timocrates (3/26/2017 4:14 pm)


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3/26/2017 4:13 pm  #5


Re: What is racism and what makes it wrong?

Timocrates wrote:

Greg wrote:

Yes, I think the word has acquired a not inconsiderable flexibility.

Like fascist or Nazi, for that matter. Indeed, even race realism makes you a Nazi now according to the Progressive clique in charge of schools and media: being opposed to mass immigration for simply economic reasons [like high unemployment or demonstrable decline in the real income of labor] makes you a racist, too (which is itself actually racist because the person charging you with racism assumes only, e.g., non-white or European immigrants are immigrants).

Today we are being brainwashed with progressive propaganda ("we are a nation of immigrants...") into thinking mass immigration is a default and necessary condition or policy for America, even though this is totally ahistorical. In North America we associate mass immigration with national success because during period of rapid economic and territorial growth, development and expansion we also had a massive increase in immigration to supply needs and demand (such as settling new lands with farmers or making manpower available for new mines and factories, etc.). But these brief period of mass immigration were related to the economy; today, they have been divorced completely and is now a de facto policy. All it can do is drive down the price of labor by generating more competition for the insufficient number of jobs the economy has and produces, which isn't terribly proletariat friendly and, of course, can only fuel nativism, resentment and backlash [or as Chomsky is calling it, fascism].

Related to this point, I would like to share some statistics.

In the last year of Obama's presidency, he admitted the maximum number of naturalized immigrants allowed by law [which George Bush Sr. tripled, from 225 thousand to 675 thousand] and also granted more than 1 million permanent resident cards. So in the last year of Obama's presidency, he added 1.675 million people from abroad to America's legal labor pool. He also boasted of creating 1.8 million private sector jobs. Now recall that we are not including refugees, non-permanent residence admittances or - most importantly - illegal immigration. So how many jobs did Obama actually create for Americans? Literally not a single one; in fact, Americans lost jobs - a lot of them. Does this fact have any effect on immigration levels? No, it has no effect. So one must ask: who was the idiot who drafted such an absurd immigration policy, the only effect of which that can be guaranteed from it is the certain possibility that American labor could be devalued? It has no rhyme or reason to it. One dares to think that the people calling everyone else a racist were almost deliberately trying to fuel racial and class tensions with such nonsensical policies.

Last edited by Timocrates (3/26/2017 4:15 pm)


"The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State."
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 16 (3).

Defend your Family. Join the U.N. Family Rights Caucus.
 

3/26/2017 4:17 pm  #6


Re: What is racism and what makes it wrong?

@Greg,

I'd say yes it is still racist to do the things you said regarding racial profiling as it seems to me that it is based off a negative assumption of a person of that race without even knowing them at all, which is prejudice. 

 

3/26/2017 8:19 pm  #7


Re: What is racism and what makes it wrong?

AKG wrote:

I'd say yes it is still racist to do the things you said regarding racial profiling as it seems to me that it is based off a negative assumption of a person of that race without even knowing them at all, which is prejudice. 

So what are under discussion are actions of the type (5): actions which presuppose a negative belief about a disadvantaged belief, even when that belief is (we may suppose) warranted and true.

Need one acting on the basis of such a belief (about, say, the statistical correlation of crime and race) be assuming anything negative about a person though? A TSA agent who picks out individuals of a certain race more frequently, it seems, need not be assuming that any individual he picks out is planning to commit a crime. Indeed, it would seem to be irrational for him to do so, for he knows that most individuals of the race most positively correlated with crime do not commit crimes, if his belief in the latter correlation is warranted.

It is not that he is assuming that any individual he picks out is planning to commit a crime, but perhaps instead he is assuming that the individuals he is picking out are more likely to commit crimes than others. But it doesn't seem that he could rationally believe that either, on the basis of a belief in a statistical correlation of race and crime. The probability that a certain individual will commit a crime need not have anything to do with the frequency at which others of the same race commit crimes, so the profiler shouldn't form the former belief and doesn't have to.

It is important to keep before us that we are interested in two questions. First, which actions are racist? Second, which actions, of the types mentioned, are wrong? I suppose that you are suggesting that type (5) actions are both racist and wrong. Type (5) actions, whether they are worth calling racist or not, are not the focal case of racism, so we could understand the decision to decline calling them racist. But even if we did call them racist, we would still have to ask whether they are wrong. (In the end, the latter question seems more fundamental. Today 'racist' is condemnatory, so we probably should define racism so that racism is always wrong.)

If you do hold that type (5) actions are both racist and wrong, do you think that prejudice (in the sense of assuming something negative about a person prior to knowing him) is always wrong?

     Thread Starter
 

3/26/2017 9:29 pm  #8


Re: What is racism and what makes it wrong?

Well racism in itself is inherently wrong so I would say type-5 actions being racist, and wrong would make prejudice inherently wrong and always wrong as well. Also I think all actions done in the name of racism are wrong given that racism is itself inherently wrong. That includes racial profiling.

 

 

3/28/2017 7:09 pm  #9


Re: What is racism and what makes it wrong?

A simple remark on Racism:

Persons are free moral agents and thus have praise or blame assigned based on their intentions and intended actions - it's a category mistake to assume genetics or racial heritage, neither of which are free actions, are of moral import.

(True most racists attempt to justify their racial preferencing by claiming that one race is superior in some way to another. Even if this could be proven however it would in no way justify assigning different value to persons of divers races - we do not for instance assign a different moral status to a champion runner and someone who can barely make the sprint to the buss. It would be interesting to ask racists by what mechanism they derive normative claims from their claims of superior fitness or intelligence)

I will be unpopular here though, as I'm not sure the above claims prove that racial profiling is morally wrong. The reason for this is that the profiling works not on the basis of the race per say but on certain acts associated with some members of a certain group. Is national profiling wrong? Would it be wrong for instance in the midst of IRA bombings to attach importance to someone's Irish nationality? Laws like this are generally 'prudential' - since it's actions the profiler is concerned with they have to admit the possibility that someone of a completely different race or nationality may commit the same acts.

 

3/28/2017 7:49 pm  #10


Re: What is racism and what makes it wrong?

The thing with profiling is that it can easily be abused, and creates a stigma associated with a certain group, which NEVER ends well. As an African-American Muslim I know people such as my dad who have faced unfair situations due to profiling. Also profiling has the potential to be very biased/abused by those unworthy of power, and cause other actions to be overlooked. I mean in the USA white supremacy is considered by the FBI to be the greatest terror threat to the USA right now, but President Chuckles the Ass-Clown, and his Legion of Doom are trying to focus on "Islamic" terrorism, and focus more attention on Muslims due to their moronic prejudice that goes against the facts. This is VERY dangerous,and sends a signal to the white supremacist(well considering President Dumbass surrounds himself with white supremacist, and probably is one it's not surprising but now I'm going off-topic). In fact correct me if I'm wrong but I haven't heard of any positive benefits due to profiling. We don't want to be Sam Harris or President Stupid Von Evil now do we?

 

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