It's a word that gets thrown around, usually meant to stop debate (that's racist!), that really doesn't mean shit anymore. I've been caught up with that myself.
So, what the fuck does it mean? To me, it means thinking of a group of people as biologically inferior, which is almost always stupid. It doesn't refer to criticizing their culture or habits or politics.
July 18th, 2007 8:15am
For me it means other people thinking they are better than others because of issues of race.
Is today's PC world everyone keeps hush but behind closed doors and to their own racial group people are more relaxed and more racist.
Just talking from personal expereince but most peope I find that are racist are 30+, if they are below 30 they are usually just really ignorant
what are you reading for?
July 18th, 2007 8:28am
"Race" is a biologically meaningless concept (for the most part). African Americans, for example, are considered "Black", yet almost all have some European ancestors.
July 18th, 2007 9:49am
Yup, there are different 'tribes' of humans, each with different strengths and weaknesses. Sickle-cell Anemia, digesting milk, sensitivity to peanuts.
I don't think it's racist to acknowledge that.
Racism is when you identify some collection of features (dark skin) and tie that to some notion of inferiority. Because with all our differences, we're still 99.99% identical to each other.
Especially when you start trying to tie intelligence (or the lack of it) into that analysis. First of all, there are many kinds of intelligence, "good test taker" being only one. Second of all, I think all "races" have a distribution of individuals with various intelligence levels -- intelligence is NOT one of those racial characteristics.
So judge a man by the content of his character, instead of the color of his skin. That's what we should be doing.
July 18th, 2007 9:57am
> "Race" is a biologically meaningless concept
why? It is only if one assumes distinct and non-overlapping categories for race (ie, like single inheritance for an OO language).
But that bit of pop biology doesn't work for non-human species either. Species aren't hard categories, they are statistical and overlapping groups. Can race be the same? If drug X works statically better than drug Y for African-Americans, shouldn't race be a factor in which drug is prescribed? Is that 'biologically meaningful'?
I do grant that it's part of the people think about the world, the way they impose their brain structure onto the world, part of the 'Imperative of the Category' (like that damn OS file system). Myths and stories about animals throughout the world put animals in distinct categories with specific embedded characteristics. The exceptions -- chimeras, blends -- prove the rule (chimeras are always 'special', fantastical or magical).
July 18th, 2007 10:19am
It came to me. Racism is a very specific type of bigotry.
July 18th, 2007 10:25am
It's not the "categorization" that's the problem. It's when you immediately jump from categorization to identifying those different from yourself as less than yourself.
Because that "immediate jump" typically ascribes WAY too many negative attributes to "the other". Less intelligent, lazy, less clean, less disciplined, less able to get ahead, less rights to housing, jobs, promotions, education. ALL of which are bigoted and racist point of view.
Racism is not there mere acknowledgment that there are differences among people. It's the attitude that those with differences are LESS than yourself.
July 18th, 2007 10:34am
racism = an ignorant word to describe an ignorant understanding of another culture.
July 18th, 2007 10:39am
> It's the attitude that those with differences are LESS than yourself.
This is the egotistical fallacy: "I'm right, everyone else is stupid". Racism is just EF applied to hereditary groups. It doesn't mean races don't exist, or, to drop the negative connotations of the word, 'genetic subspeciation' is a completely useless concept (there might be a separate, cogent argument).
July 18th, 2007 11:02am
According to Ayn Rand, (and I totally agree)
Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man's genetic lineage--the notion that a man's intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.
Racism claims that the content of a man's mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man's convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control. This is the caveman's version of the doctrine of innate ideas--or of inherited knowledge--which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of animals, but not between animals and men.
Wow, brilliant, Tapiwa. I didn't think I agreed with Ayn Rand in any way -- but I do this time.
July 18th, 2007 2:04pm
"the notion that a man's intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry"
In some way, it is true. If one of your parent is schizophrenic, depressed, anxious,etc, you are more likely to be schizophrenic, depressed or anxious.
July 18th, 2007 2:20pm
Does schizophrenia have anything to do with intellectual ability?
Careful there, Rick, it almost sounds like you're about to defend Racism as being accurate.
Unless you know that all Chinese who move to Vancouver are Schizophrenic by experience, you probably don't want to plant that justification in people's minds.
July 18th, 2007 3:14pm
I guess I am defending collectivism.
As Ward always says, northern chinese women are more beautiful thatn southern ones.
July 18th, 2007 3:24pm
>>> It's when you immediately jump from categorization to identifying those different from yourself as less than yourself.
So don't jump, ....
(1) Racism relies on genetic categories.
(2) Racism is bad.
(3) to be a good person, one should not believe genetic categories have *any* biological basis?
hmm .. Socratic method .. (1) and (2) are true. doesn't mean (3) is. There could be genetically stereotypical categories which are value-neutral (like different drugs for different ethnicities).
It's mostly that humans (existentialists) have an aversion to being boxed in, being told where to fit in, and yet, simultaneously, we search with no minor anxiety for our place in the world.
July 18th, 2007 3:27pm
Very good, 'straw', that was exactly my point. "Racism" IS the "jumping to the negative conclusion", THAT is the bad part. Merely identifying characteristics that differ is NOT "Racism".
So don't jump.
July 18th, 2007 3:31pm
I feel dirty. I agreed with Ayn Rand.
July 18th, 2007 3:59pm
Just because she's Ayn Rand, doesn't make her wrong about everything. Doesn't make her right, either. But that is a lovely quote.
July 18th, 2007 4:04pm
She was a disgusting human being with a stupid philosophy.
July 18th, 2007 4:52pm
I don't know about her human-being-ness, but I agree her philosophy has unintended consequences which are very damaging.
July 18th, 2007 4:57pm
"her philosophy has unintended consequences which are very damaging."
Just like Christianity but on a much smaller scale :P
July 18th, 2007 5:46pm
July 18th, 2007 5:47pm
"It's a word that gets thrown around, usually meant to stop debate (that's racist!), that really doesn't mean shit anymore."
I have that feeling about anti semitism. It doesn't mean shit.
July 18th, 2007 8:22pm
I think Ayn's problem, was her verbosity.
I whole heartedly agree with a lot that she wrote. I disagree with a lot.
Still, I have read Atlas Shrugged a few times, but I have *never* slogged through the entire John Galt speech.
D'Anconia's speech about money is another masterpiece. It could have been so much shorter though. And enough of the gold standard shite!!
Oh yeah, the whole rape fantasy thing was always disturbing.