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Racism is normal

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/19/2018 Category: Science
Updated: 4 weeks ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 377 times Debate No: 112958
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
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Race is a useful social construct based on identifiable features. Although race is a continuum without concrete borders for each race, there is a general distinction between races. These distinctions correlate with geographical origin and are based upon many shared biological and measurable differences.

Because races are distinct enough from each other to warrant their own categories, this means that judging people based upon their race is normal, natural, traditional, and useful. Judging a group of people who exhibit shared differences in instinct, behavior, chemical makeup, genes, physical attributes and mental abilities is perfectly reasonable.


I am going to assume that based on your opening comments that your use of the word racism is less focused on prejudiced and discriminatory meanings of the term and more centred of the definition "the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races."

Firstly I agree that in some circumstances it can be desirable and natural to explore 'racial' (or more appropriately 'ethnic') differences; for example from a biological perspective our genes are different from ethnicity to ethnicity, with physical features, susceptibility to illnesses, and even mental well-being.

However I believe it is naively collectivist to get bogged down in this thinking outside of a purely scientific approach. Individuality is far more valuable than such boxed in views of humanity. No, racism should not be normalised. Cultural differences are a more important focus imo.
Debate Round No. 1


You've conceded that we are inherently different at the genetic level, and these differences are great enough to affect some things like mental and physical health. I would like to point out that these differences go beyond that. Races vary in:

Physical attributes (size, maturation timings, skeletal structure)
Mental attributes (general intelligence, impulsiveness, creativity)
Chemical components (blood types, superficial appearances)
Social behaviours (pair bonding, social conformity)
Moral qualities (empathy, aggression, selflessness)

Acknowledging these very important differences is not "naively collectivist" nor is it getting "bogged down". These differences are all measurable and verifiable. It is important not to sacrifice objectivity for idealistic notions of "individuality".

Furthermore, cultural differences are neither more or less important than racial differences. They are just as important since, logically, culture stems entirely from race.


I agree that we are inherently different at the genetic level, yes. I believe that racial definitions are tenuous at best when going beyond noting physical differences, chemical make up. There may be an argument over the link between race and mental health, however from my understanding the extent at which mental attributes are also socialised cannot be ignored.

You claim that "culture stems entirely from race". This is a falsity. Where race is absolutely heredity, culture is not. Culture is learned. While culture is passed down it is done so through socialised learning. It is more accurate to highlight the links between race and culture, we know of Black culture, East Asian culture etc. But we also know that there cultural boundaries can be passed, as not every Black person participates in Black culture... and so on.

We have agreed that some racial differences are "measurable and verifiable". However, outside of a scientific/academic context, what is the use of normalising racism?
Debate Round No. 2


Culture does stem entirely from race. Saying that culture is "socialised" does not contradict this at all. Culture is learned, and thus culture is taught. Culture is just a lifestyle that has been honed over generations and is largely suited to the nature of the people that have developed it. Cultures are different because races are different. East Asians have a strong shame culture, because they do not possess to the same degree the internal self-policing attribute that Europeans possess, known as guilt, an involuntary reaction to the knowledge you have caused suffering. Culture does not fall out of the sky. Environment shapes race which in turn shapes culture.

Normalising racism outside of a scientific/academic context is extremely important, because it affects our way of life. Understanding that there are differences, and then in the real world acting like there arent any, is illogical and dangerous. If people are different, then they should be treated differently.


Again, I have to dispute that. Culture has strong links to race, but to claim that culture entirely stems from race neglects many human elements. Anthropologically you've to consider factors such as environment (conditions, resources, economy etc.) and human interaction and choice. To claim race is the entire provider of culture has no scientific or logical backbone. It's unfounded. So cultures are different because of numerous socialised elements. Environment shapes culture, yes... race, no. As I am unaware of any well regarded evidence to back up this claim, I would sincerely like it to be included in your RD4 argument.

Moreover, in paragraph two where you say "it affects our life" it is unclear what you mean here, so without expansion I cannot agree or disagree. What is a real world situation where highlighting racial difference is beneficial? How should people be treated differently and to what benefit? I feel like I shouldn't further comment on that last paragraph w/o development
Debate Round No. 3


I am not sure if you are playing dumb. I explained why culture is entirely dependent on race. As I said, culture does not fall out of the sky. It is developed and upheld by people of that race. Bring in other races, and the culture inevitably changes. Yet you just ignore this, say its unfounded and keep repeating that culture is "socialised", whatever that means. I even provided a clear example. Also, to be unaware of how environment shapes race, you must be completely unaware of how evolution works. Teaching you the ins and outs of natural selection is beyond the scope of this debate.

Furthermore, if you cannot understand how having a race that is more aggressive; less intelligent, or more selfish can affect day to day life and standard of living then you should interact with more people. As extreme examples, highlighting racial differences in Haiti or Zimbabwe could have prevented those societies from being completely destroyed, and thats no exaggeration.


I'm disappointed with the tone here. It's telling that when asked to evidence and expand your bold claims about idealistic racism that you deflect and get a little personal. Let's not name call please. Socialised here means that culture is learned through interaction with others and the surrounding environment, sorry if this wasn't clear. I couldn't find evidence that supported your example, so I didn't acknowledge it, but would appreciate a source. The environment has shaped the human race, though we are all 99.9% similar our genetic and physical differences do not separate us all that much. Science is really split on just how far the differences go. Perhaps my wording was poor, but contextually you said "environment shapes race which in turn shapes culture" to counter the theory that culture is shaped by the environment and interactions, and not just race.

Please tell me of your experiences dealing with "aggressive, less intelligent or selfish" races.

Supporting evidence please.
Debate Round No. 4

Pro Compared with East Asian participants, British participants report greater empathic concern and show lower empathic accuracy. Mean testosterone levels in blacks were 19% higher than in whites There is evidence that testosterone levels are higher in individuals with aggressive behavior

Lets not even mention IQ.

We share 98.4 percent of our genes with chimpanzees, 95 percent with dogs, and 74 percent with microscopic roundworms. What"s meaningful is which genes differ and how they are patterned, not the percent of genes.

The genetic differences between continentally defined groups are sufficiently large that one can accurately predict ancestral continent of origin using only a minute, randomly selected fraction of the genetic variation present in the human genome." (Allocco, 2007; also see Newsome,M. Wired, Oct. 5, 2007)


I can't dispute that culture shapes empathy as I have argued the importance of studying these cultural (not racial) differences. The study is based on social science and seems to draw very respectable conclusions, though it admits that the reasons for the ethnic-cultural differences are to do with how cultures interact. There is no genetic or racial aspect here.
As I have previously stated, it is natural and desirable to scientifically study racial differences. You have provided a study which compares testosterone levels between black and white men and considers the relationship with prostate cancer risk. This is good work.
It would be interesting to see a study which looks into testosterone levels among various ethnicities in relation to aggression, but to what end would those findings be useful? Eugenics is a gross path to follow.

Cultural critique is fair game. Behavior of others rather than their genetic makeup should be the focus. No good has come of racism, nor will it ever.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by DarkKnight1121 3 weeks ago
I think what's trying to be conveyed is that identifying someone by race is ok (for those weird people that lose their my because you called them African American) but its not ok to judge a person because of that, for example assuming that an Indian will work hard.
Posted by Philipoemen 1 month ago
Yes, normal is a loaded word, but I just wanted to start a discussion. Im not worried about semantics.
Posted by Masterful 1 month ago
Racism is a tribal defense mechanism used to ensure outsiders are treated with caution. It's a very natural trait found through out the animal kingdom.
Posted by murdock619 1 month ago
I think "normal" is a bit of a loaded word. But its an interesting topic none the less. People are ok when we notice differences about races. Ie darker skin, different hair structure, different nose structure, unless that physical characteristic actually makes a tangible difference in performance.
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