Thursday, June 2, 2011

Everybody is a little bit racist.

First, a definition:

    noun /ˈrāˌsizəm/ 
    1. The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, esp. so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races
      • Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on such a belief
        • - a program to combat racism

    In light of this definition here; no, NOT everybody is a little bit racist.

    Twice in my life, I've been shocked to hear that phrase from the lips of those I once held in high regard (as well as numerous times from those held in not-so-high regard). It's evidently something that even otherwise intelligent people are capable of believing. I'm here to tell you all it's bullshit.

    Let me count the ways.

    1. I do not believe that all members of any particular race/ethnicity share any common beliefs, or traits, or characteristics beyond physical ones, to distinguish them from any other race/ethnicity.

    2. I feel no animosity towards anybody based simply upon the colour of their skin or the shape of their eyes or the size of their lips. Literally, none at all. *

    3. I feel no friendliness towards anybody based simply upon aforementioned 'racial' characteristics.

    4. I do not believe that 'race' is, in the first place, a useful or relevant way to segment the human population.

    There is something insidiously vile about proclaiming that racism is something that everybody is prey to, when it's categorically untrue. Even if I was the only person in the whole world with no racist inclinations, the statement would be untrue. But I'm as sure as it's possible to be, that I am not the only person who isn't racist.

    Rather than trying to generalise ones' personal failings to the rest of humanity, it is infinitely more noble to acknowledge that this is a personal failing, acknowledge that it is possible to live without such a failing, and then maybe you can work on fixing it, or correcting for it.

    But if you go around thinking, and saying, that everybody in the world is racist, it becomes less important for you personally not to be, because hey, everyone else is doing it, right..?


    *And yes, I've done the Implicit Association tests. My statement stands. Furthermore, we're not talking about racism that may or may not be present beneath conscious knowledge.


    1. Top post, I agree with everything you say.

    2. "Even if I was the only person in the whole world with no racist inclinations, the statement would be untrue."

      That is how I approach an argument with someone trying to make a blanket statement (negative or positive) about a certain group. Even if there's just one person that defies your stereotype (and there always is), that's enough to invalidate it.

      Great post. People need to stop giving racism a pass. Especially "self-racism".

    3. It's a way for people to cope with being racist instead of changing their behavior. Just because there are racial stereotypes prevalent in society as a whole doesn't mean that everyone in said society holds them. In fact, since there are less of those stereotypes in society as a whole today than there were 50 years ago speaks to how much this is all changing and how the number of racists is in fact declining.

    4. What exactly is a little racist? obvious jokes about midgets aside if you are a little racist, you are racist.

      furthermore this totally sounds like an argument a chick would make.

      p.s. I'm a little misogynistic.

    5. I would really love to see some elaboration on what makes a "chick" argument, as opposed to a, I assume, "manly" argument.

    6. Although you put a very well strong arguement here, you seem to gloss over the way the term racism is being weilded as a defense mechanism. Sure your not racist, you give everyone a fair shake and that is admirable. And it is also a truth that no "race" has some psycic link with eachother that determines their actions. That being said, lets look at predjudice. If 90% of all black people I have met in the city I live in has been an unpleasant encounter or either loud obnoxious and blatant rudeness, am I "allowed" by teenage liberals to feel even the slightest distaste for them? After being shown time and time again when I reach out to be kind and friendly to them, I am met with complete attitude and ridicule for my own race (white boy be all like, "Hey how you doing there dude!") that's the generic "white guy voice" I've heard a million times, which is OK because black people cant be racist, its scientifically impossible.

      So sorry if some of us older ex-liberals who got a hefty dose of reality of the situation as it lies. A smart man once told me life if is a game of odds. If 70% of black males have a criminal record (wild guess, might be lower, might be higher), than is it racist to try to avoid them? Should I ignore that fact and blame the system? Is it racist that I feel completely safe walking through the suburbs but prominently black neighborhoods make me uneasy and keep me looking over my shoulder? Could that possibly be because the only people in my life that have tried to rob me were both back? Must be a coincidence. Yes it's so easy to say people are violent and cruel to eachother because they are oppressed. Yet the Jews, who lived in the original Ghetto's were not out killing eachother in record numbers. They were starving and desperate too, so why is it racist to observe a statistic, a natural fact, and not draw a personal conclusion? Is it racist to look at Africa,where the majority of black people live in the world, is by far the most dangerous and poorest country in the world?

      Come visit some American ghettos and paint yourself white and see how quick you feel some real racism. When a black guy walks through my neighborhood he is left alone to his business. I walk around in a back neighborhood in Denver I am harassed and shouted at on every other block. Yeah but lets all believe its because they are poor. Sure.

    7. ^ Why are you blaming that on RACE, rather than CULTURE or socio-economic status? CULTURE is the defining aspect of those statistics, not race. There is a world of cultural, and religious, difference between African Americans and Jews. Simply BEING black, genetically, gives no indication that one is more likely to be a criminal. What DOES give that indication, is where one grows up, and who one grows up with. Unless you're trying to tell me that black genes are what make people criminally inclined. Which, frankly, would make me laugh really hard.


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