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What is Racism?

PeacefulChaos
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7/24/2014 8:36:31 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I've always thought that racism was how it was defined. For example, Google will give you this as your first result:

"the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races"

However, in the recent trailer of "Dear White People," one of the girls in the video mentioned that "black people cannot be racist, because racism is a system of disadvantage based on race." You can see the video to the right.

The second she said that, I immediately disagreed. I knew how racism was defined by the dictionary, but I wanted to know if I was just missing something, so I searched up this different definition on Google. The best I could get was people redefining the word racism or ambiguously referring to sociologists who defined racism in this way. After they redefined it, they'd proceed to prove that people who benefit off the current system (i.e. white people) are racist based on this definition.

So, does anyone know where this new definition came from or why it's used? Or perhaps is it supposed to be the actual definition of racism? Honestly, this is just confusing. It's much easier if there's one definition of the word racism. As far as I was concerned, this definition of racism used by the mysterious sociologists is actually institutionalized racism, not just racism on its own.

Anyone else have thoughts or comments to add?

https://www.youtube.com...
R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,718
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7/24/2014 9:15:12 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/24/2014 8:36:31 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
I've always thought that racism was how it was defined.

Well that's hard to argue with.

For example, Google will give you this as your first result:

"the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races"

Not bad... defining "racism" must make an assumption on the definition of "race" so I will not criticize this definition.

However, in the recent trailer of "Dear White People," one of the girls in the video mentioned that "black people cannot be racist, because racism is a system of disadvantage based on race." You can see the video to the right.

That's horse manure.

I believe race does not exist in the first place. Black people generally have darker skin, curly hair, and wider noses, for example. But making a subcategory of humans based on such superficial traits is ridiculous. It only makes sense for the sole fact that people in a particular geographic region all share common skin-deep traits. But when the rubber hits the road, making categories such as "african," "asian," and "white" are as stupid as making race based solely off of hair color or whether you have an inny or an outy for a belly button.

Unfortunately, anti-racists, for this reason, are just as damaging as racists because they fight racism by insisting on race. Why not just dismiss the idea of race entirely? IMO a white guy living in Africa is more African than a black guy living in America. And what of my race? I'm Portugese, French, English, and Irish. I have absolutely no connection to these places, have never been there, and never will. It's ridiculous to say that I am Portugese at all.
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
PeacefulChaos
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7/24/2014 10:38:10 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/24/2014 9:15:12 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:


Unfortunately, anti-racists, for this reason, are just as damaging as racists because they fight racism by insisting on race. Why not just dismiss the idea of race entirely? IMO a white guy living in Africa is more African than a black guy living in America. And what of my race? I'm Portugese, French, English, and Irish. I have absolutely no connection to these places, have never been there, and never will. It's ridiculous to say that I am Portugese at all.

Race is indeed confusing. I usually think of it as the color of our skins, but it is often defined a variety of different ways, often overlapping with ethnicity or culture and making it hard to see what we mean by these words. For example, I was raised in the U.S., and my father is from the U.S., but my mother is from Iran. More often than not, this classifies me as half-Persian. But I've largely been raised as an American instead of a Persian. Of course, I've had (and still do have) frequent and multiple contacts with Persian culture, often participating myself and understanding the language quite a bit. So in my case I suppose I really am half Persian. But what if I were to go to Japan and entirely immerse myself in their culture (from how I speak to how I eat to how I talk to how I walk)? Should I be considered Japanese or half Persian half American? Are we who make ourselves to be or are we who are parents were?
R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,718
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7/24/2014 10:44:50 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/24/2014 10:38:10 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 7/24/2014 9:15:12 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:


Unfortunately, anti-racists, for this reason, are just as damaging as racists because they fight racism by insisting on race. Why not just dismiss the idea of race entirely? IMO a white guy living in Africa is more African than a black guy living in America. And what of my race? I'm Portugese, French, English, and Irish. I have absolutely no connection to these places, have never been there, and never will. It's ridiculous to say that I am Portugese at all.

Race is indeed confusing. I usually think of it as the color of our skins, but it is often defined a variety of different ways, often overlapping with ethnicity or culture and making it hard to see what we mean by these words. For example, I was raised in the U.S., and my father is from the U.S., but my mother is from Iran. More often than not, this classifies me as half-Persian. But I've largely been raised as an American instead of a Persian. Of course, I've had (and still do have) frequent and multiple contacts with Persian culture, often participating myself and understanding the language quite a bit. So in my case I suppose I really am half Persian. But what if I were to go to Japan and entirely immerse myself in their culture (from how I speak to how I eat to how I talk to how I walk)? Should I be considered Japanese or half Persian half American? Are we who make ourselves to be or are we who are parents were?

You're an American. If you move to Japan you'll be an American-Jap who looks like a Persian. As of now I don't even think it's worth calling you a Persian-American.
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
ChosenWolff
Posts: 3,361
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7/24/2014 10:46:40 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/24/2014 8:36:31 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
I've always thought that racism was how it was defined. For example, Google will give you this as your first result:
Generalizing a social group based on common genetics.
How about NO elections?

#onlyonedeb8
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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7/26/2014 5:25:48 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/24/2014 10:38:10 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 7/24/2014 9:15:12 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:


Unfortunately, anti-racists, for this reason, are just as damaging as racists because they fight racism by insisting on race. Why not just dismiss the idea of race entirely? IMO a white guy living in Africa is more African than a black guy living in America. And what of my race? I'm Portugese, French, English, and Irish. I have absolutely no connection to these places, have never been there, and never will. It's ridiculous to say that I am Portugese at all.

Race is indeed confusing. I usually think of it as the color of our skins, but it is often defined a variety of different ways, often overlapping with ethnicity or culture and making it hard to see what we mean by these words. For example, I was raised in the U.S., and my father is from the U.S., but my mother is from Iran. More often than not, this classifies me as half-Persian. But I've largely been raised as an American instead of a Persian. Of course, I've had (and still do have) frequent and multiple contacts with Persian culture, often participating myself and understanding the language quite a bit. So in my case I suppose I really am half Persian. But what if I were to go to Japan and entirely immerse myself in their culture (from how I speak to how I eat to how I talk to how I walk)? Should I be considered Japanese or half Persian half American? Are we who make ourselves to be or are we who are parents were?

In Japan and most east Asian nations, you'd be considered a "foreigner", and that is enough. Most of those nations discriminate heavily based upon ethnicity to say nothing about race.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
thett3
Posts: 14,334
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7/26/2014 5:30:22 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
You should check out this post, I think you'd appreciate it.

http://slatestarcodex.com...
DDO Vice President

#StandwithBossy

#UnbanTheMadman

#BetOnThett

"Don't quote me, ever." -Max

"My name is max. I'm not a big fan of slacks"- Max rapping

"Walmart should have the opportunity to bribe a politician to it's agenda" -Max

"Thett, you're really good at convincing people you're a decent person"-tulle

"You fit the character of Regina George quite nicely"- Sam

: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
thett3
Posts: 14,334
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7/26/2014 5:37:01 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/26/2014 5:30:22 PM, thett3 wrote:
You should check out this post, I think you'd appreciate it.

http://slatestarcodex.com...

He talks about this exact thing here:

"I can"t argue with this. No, literally, I can"t argue with this. There"s no disputing the definitions of words. If you say that "racism" is a rare species of noctural bird native to New Guinea which feeds upon morning dew and the dreams of young children, then all I can do is point out that the dictionary and common usage both disagree with you. And the sources I cited above have already admitted that "the dictionary is wrong" and "no one uses the word racism correctly".

Source: Somebody who probably doesn"t realize they"ve just committed themselves to linguistic prescriptivism
Actually, I suppose one could escape a hostile dictionary and public by appealing to the original intent of the person who invented the word, but the man who invented the word "racism" was an activist for the forced assimilation of Indians who was known to say things like "Some say that the only good Indian is a dead one. In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the man." My guess is that this guy was not totally on board with dismantling structures of oppression.

So we have a case where original coinage, all major dictionaries, and the overwhelming majority of common usage all define "racism" one way, and social justice bloggers insist with astonishing fervor that way is totally wrong and it must be defined another. One cannot argue definitions, but one can analyze them, so you have to ask " whence the insistence that racism have the structural-oppression definition rather than the original and more commonly used one? Why couldn"t people who want to talk about structural oppression make up their own word, thus solving the confusion? Even if they insisted on the word "racism" for their new concept, why not describe the state of affairs as it is: "The word racism can mean many things to many people, and I suppose a group of black people chasing a white kid down the street waving knives and yelling "KILL WHITEY" qualifies by most people"s definition, but I prefer to idiosyncratically define it my own way, so just remember that when you"re reading stuff I write"? Or why not admit that this entire dispute is pointless and you should try to avoid being mean to people no matter what word you call the meanness by?"
DDO Vice President

#StandwithBossy

#UnbanTheMadman

#BetOnThett

"Don't quote me, ever." -Max

"My name is max. I'm not a big fan of slacks"- Max rapping

"Walmart should have the opportunity to bribe a politician to it's agenda" -Max

"Thett, you're really good at convincing people you're a decent person"-tulle

"You fit the character of Regina George quite nicely"- Sam

: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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7/26/2014 5:46:19 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I define racism as discrimination based on race.
I define discrimination as a decision to act reached by reasoning that results in one entity receiving different treatment than another.

As such, and there are good reasons to discriminate and bad ones, and this is what should be taken issue with.

In relation to race:
Not hiring a black guy because blacks are lazy is bad reasoning, since clearly laziness is not a genetic trait among blacks and this is clearly a generalization.
Not hiring a black guy to portray George W Bush in a movie is acceptable, since it is not believable for a black guy to portray a white president in a biopic.

Then, there are borderline things, like not hiring a salesman who is black, because his sales route is in the rural south in KKK country. Is it racist or good business sense?

If I am delivering pizza to a hotel lobby, and I have the name Pedro Valdez, is it racist of me to assume it does not belong to the black family looking at me? I'd say yes, but it isn't "bad" racism, if that makes sense.
My work here is, finally, done.