The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Losing
22 Points
The Contender
rougeagent21
Con (against)
Winning
95 Points

We are all racists

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/4/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,990 times Debate No: 7673
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (41)
Votes (22)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

Hey you! Yes you - reading this. You are a racist! Oh, yes you are, and if you don't like being called a racist, sue me and I'll take you for every penny you've got (provided I win this debate which will form part of my legal argument, so please vote for me folks otherwise I'll be bankrupted).

You see, it doesn't matter from which ethnic group you originate or how politically correct you like to think you are, the fact is, each and every one of us is a racist.

To illustrate my point, please be kind enough to participate in the following exercise. Below is a list of ethnic groups and a list of character traits. See if you can match them up.

A - Jews
B - Irish
C - Americans
D - Italians
E - Germans
F - Afro-Caribbeans
H - Gypsies
G - French
I - English
J - Arabs

1 - like obeying orders, no sense of humour
2 - thieves, violent by nature
3 - treacherous businessmen, careful with money
4 - lazy, dishonest
5 - excitable, gesticulate wildly
6 - loud, vulgar
7 - religious fanatics, terrorists
8 - old-fashioned, arrogant
9 - romantic, cowardly
10 - heavy drinkers, not very bright

Be honest, you were able to match up at least two or three of those without any trouble at all, weren't you? This means that your brain has made a link between that ethnic group and certain human characteristics, often negative ones. So, whether or not you suppress these prejudices, they nonetheless exist which makes you, like every one of us, a racist.

Thank you.
rougeagent21

Con

Racism-
1 "hatred or intolerance of another race or other races."
2 "Discrimination or prejudice based on race."

Sir by calling me a racist, you are actively accusing me of these acts. I think you fail to understand what racism actually is. There is a large gap between stereotyping and racism. Stereotyping is the act of grouping certain types of people into pre-fabricated "boxes." Racism is the discrimination against them.

The argument you give is asking me to match your examples, and if I am able to do so, then I am racist. I am fairly confident that I can complete all of them. However, I am certainly not racist. I AM stereotyping. Look to John Locke's social contract, where he says that people are social by nature, and tend to form groups. This creates nationality. Therefore, one can refer to a group of people without being racist, even if and though they form ideas in their head about them. Some choose to discriminate against those groups, THAT is racism.

Seeing as you and I have never met, you know almost nothing about my life nor my habits, you cannot possibly accuse me of being racist. Yes, I can match your examples. No, I do not hate the people simply because I know some common characteristics about them. That is the difference between racism and simply referring to a people group.

So, since your resolution says that WE ALL are racist, it simply cannot be true since I am not. I do not know if you discriminate against people simply because of their nationality, but I do not. Since I am part of WE, I need not even prove why anyone else is not racist, since I am enough.

I hope this has opened your eyes a bit to the actual definition of racism, and I hope that you refrain from commiting racist acts. Thank you for your time, have a good day!
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

Firstly I should like to thank my opponent for accepting this challenge, and at the risk of appearing patronising, like to point out that he is very much my junior in terms of age (though not necessarily in debating ability) and would ask the voters to bear this in mind when it comes to the ballot. That said, I'm a bit of a bully and have no intention of cutting him any slack in recognition of his age and will argue my point as forcibly as I would with anyone else!

Next I would like to accept, without any quibbling, my opponent's definitions of the word "racism" but also refer to Merriam-Webster's definition:

"1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2 : racial prejudice or discrimination "

http://www.merriam-webster.com...

What I am about to demonstrate is that "racism" directly equates to "racial stereotyping", but this is not about semantics, it's about the reality of human behaviour.

Now, my opponent wrote:

"Look to John Locke's social contract, where he says that people are social by nature, and tend to form groups."

This is true, humans are social animals and naturally form groups - in other words we identify ourselves with our kith and kin and instinctively believe ourselves to be of superior stock to that of our neighbours, even though we may admire many aspects of their culture.

Sports fans are a good illustration of this:

A soccer fan from North Tyneside in North East England is likely to support Newcastle United F.C. while fans from the South Tyneside are likely to support Sunderland A.F.C.

Now even though they come from the same metropolitan area, they are fierce rivals and will defend their respective teams to the hilt, whether they are right or wrong.

That is until they meet some soccer fans from the North West. Then it is North East clubs versus North West clubs.

That is until they meet some fans from London. Then it is Northerners against Southerners.

That is until some Scottish fans come along. Then it is England versus Scotland.

That is until they meet some Italian fans. Then it is British clubs versus Italian clubs.

That is until they meet some fans from Africa. Then it is European clubs against African clubs.

The point is that, even though a someone from South Tyneside may have friends from near and far, I have never heard one say:

"I wish I was from North Tyneside", or:
"I wish I was from North West England", or:
"I wish I was from Scotland", or:
"I wish I was from Italy", or:
"I wish I was from Africa..."

"...because those people are far superior to me and my kind".

Further on, my opponent also wrote:

"Seeing as you and I have never met, you know almost nothing about my life nor my habits, you cannot possibly accuse me of being racist."

Of course we have never met and I know nothing of his life but I can legitimately accuse him of being a racist because I of two facts that I know are certainly true:

1 - My opponent is a human, and:
2 - Humans are by nature tribal.

That is why prejudices against other tribes go beyond recognising stereotypes and constitute racism, whether it be latent or blatant, admitted or denied.

Further proof of the validity of my argument can be provided by examining the exercise in my first argument a little more closely. I notice that my opponent is American and he wrote that he was able to match the racial groups with their character traits.

However, if he were asked would he describe himself and his fellow countrymen as "loud and vulgar" or would he happy with this description or would he more likely describe these same traits more positively, for example by identify Americans as typically "self-confident and vibrant"?

As an Englishmen I had to think hard to think of negative terms to describe my own race that everyone would recognise, and I finally settled on "old-fashioned and arrogant", though I would prefer "deeply appreciative of their national heritage and assertive" which means, essentially, the same thing.

People don't see their own race in a negative light. Arch con-merchant, Bernard Madoff is a Jew and many Jewish people invested their money with him because they consider fellow Jews to be "sophisticated brokers and financially astute" rather than "treacherous businessmen and careful with money", which is their stereotype.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk...

Between them, his victims lost $50 billion but, even though Madoff was offering far higher than average returns than the rest of the market, many people avoided entrusting him with their money. Why?

They may not have openly declared that it was because they wouldn't trust a Jew with their money but instead have said that "something that seems to good to be true, probably is" proves nothing. Prior to WWII, Hitler openly called for a boycott of Jewish businesses and still today people avoid Jewish businesses on the basis of the exact same racial prejudices. Just because they may not admit their motives to others, or even to themselves, doesn't make it them any less racist than the Fuehrer - the net result is that Jewish businesses lose out as the result of racial stereotyping.

In the final analysis, we may not all be prejudiced against every other group to the same extent, we are all, openly, secretly, or even subconsciously, subject to our own negative perceptions of people from "other tribes" and act accordingly, which makes us all racists.

Thank you.
rougeagent21

Con

Alright, this has been a fun debate! Thank you to my opponent (who is such a bully given that he is older!) and to all viewers. I hope this has been an enjoyable, informative debate. On to the arguments!

First off, my opponent says that he accepts my definition, but also refer to his own. Given that he does agree with mine, please use mine as the definition for the debate.

He agrees with my take on the social contract, and states himself that people are tribal by nature. He then goes on to say that we identify ourselves as better than everyone else. This is not always the case. (Again, please refer to the resolution. My opponent must prove that ALL people are racist.) As an American, I hold national pride. I am proud to live where I do. That does not mean that I hate the English, the Scots, or the Africans, simply because of their race! If a particular Englishboy tries to fight me, and takes agressive actions towards me, I may discriminate against him by refusing to help him with his math homework. I am not discriminating against him because he is English, but because he wronged me. I do not look at people simply by their race, but by their humanity. They are humans. I DO NOT discriminate against ANYONE simply because of their race. The Germans were America's enemy in both world wars. So I must treat every German citizen as an enemy? Radical Muslims kill Americans, do I discriminate against all Muslim people? Absolutely not. (Although being a Manchester United fan, I might not associate with those disgusting Newcastle F.C. folk ;)

Certainly, people often rally around their nationality, sports associations, or other groups. My opponent and I agree that people are soial by nature. Whenever I think of a certain group, it is true that I make certain connections between that person and past experiences with someone of that race. When I think Germans, I think brilliant scientists and Sham Wow. When I think Brazilians, I think amazing soccer (futbol) players. And when I think Arabs, I think of the Twin Towers. That last connection is very unfortunate. However, I still do not hate all Muslim people.

OK, lets go with the soccer analogy.

I am a Man. U. fan. Therefore, I am against Chelsae.

If I see a Chelsae fan, I will not discriminate against them, even though our teams are rivals.

That fan is a human, who has wronged me in no way.

While we have differing tastes, I am not going to kill, hurt, or infringe on this person's rights. (Although you never know over there in England ;)

My opponent goes on to accuse me of being racist based on two facts:
"1 - My opponent is a human, and:
2 - Humans are by nature tribal."

I agree completely, in fact I stated this in my first speech. Yes, I am human. Yes, humans are tribal (social) by nature. The point? As has been stated, I DO NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST OTHERS BASED ON RACE. I am sure that I also speak for many others when I say this, even though just myself would be sufficient to win this debate. Yes, I have pre-determined thoughts about certain races of people. Do I discriminate against them because of their race? Absolutely not. Because of this, I can only negate the resolution. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
41 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by billwelz 8 years ago
billwelz
I find this debate more interesting for what it doesn't include than what it does. First off, like many deliberately loaded, injurious and usually all too vague epithets, it's usually defined according to the whim of the person who uses it. This makes is an ad hominum attack against which there is intended to be little or no defense. I have to guess this is why the original contributor here regards everyone to be racist. Without a single clear and unambiguous definition "racism" or "racist" can be tailor employed to achieve a kind unfair propagandistic advantage. This happens both knowingly and unwittingly.

Given this, let me give you my take on what racism as a concept relevant to this debate, and any other, must always include. It must include the notion of inferiority of one race, be it societally, biologically, ethnically, or culturally defined, when compared to another. There is a fundamental problem with this notion though that most people don't consider.
based on a particular racial (societally, biologically, ethnically, or culturally defined) standard or perspective. None of us are completely devoid of our own "racial" standards and perspective that we grew up with. We might not fully understand what it is that makes us who we are, but that doesn't mean we can help but bring our own group standards and perspectives to the table. Only after we become adults and our fundamental education is complete that we actually have enough of a foundation to start gaining greater understanding and comparative perspective of the world around us usually. Only with that foundation do we even have the tools to start observing and comparing the "races" through our own necessarily rose colored glasses ... and this only happens with a relatively small proportion of the population. Most of us are simply not knowledgeable enough to understand what is critical to the debate. Subsequently true inferiority racism and is more of a function of ignorance than objectivity. cont.
Posted by pewpewpew 8 years ago
pewpewpew
Actually wait a second, never mind what i said.
Posted by rougeagent21 8 years ago
rougeagent21
I don't think I understand...
Posted by pewpewpew 8 years ago
pewpewpew
You know you are right about this...
Makes everyone looks like a hypocrite.
Posted by rougeagent21 8 years ago
rougeagent21
Reasons for decision. It tells the debaters why they lost or won in the voter's eyes. It helps both sides to improve :)
Posted by questionmark 8 years ago
questionmark
post what?
Posted by rougeagent21 8 years ago
rougeagent21
Hey guys, if you would, can you post RFDs please?
Posted by alex117 8 years ago
alex117
everyone is not a racist. but i believe approximately 80% is all racist in this world... therefore, i think people are just concluding and thinking that everyone is racist.
Posted by questionmark 8 years ago
questionmark
pro, i believe you are the most racist here, you came up with that little matching quiz
Posted by rougeagent21 8 years ago
rougeagent21
Sorc, are you sure you would not like to share?
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