We are all racist

Discuss morality and ethics in this message board.
Featured Article: Philosophical Analysis of Abortion, The Right to Life, and Murder
User avatar
Roel
Queue Moderator
Posts: 365
Joined: April 11th, 2013, 10:02 am
Favorite Philosopher: Hegel

We are all racist

Post by Roel » December 21st, 2016, 8:40 am

I made this claim earlier and it was dismissed with the counter-argument that it's ridiculous to say we are all murderers too, murder however is an act, while racism is an inner process.

I will provide historical examples in this post to support my claim that everyone is racist, racism, often exclusively used in relation to people with a white skin color is, as you will see, much older, existed in societies all over the world. I will take a few examples, both from older periods of history and more recent ones.

Racism is discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their race or ethnicity.

The Romans and Germanic people

Let's start with the Roman empire. As we all know they were higher in development than other empires and people and a land desired to go to. Where as we now have refugees from the south, they came from the north in these times, Germanic tribes lived in poverty and Germanic children were abducted by Romans to serve as slaves.

When Germanic tribes asked the Romans to be allowed on their land, the Romans weren't particularly fond of it and they showed a disgust for these savages. In the end they were allowed to inhabit one of the most unfertile grounds of the empire somewhere in modern-day Romania.

The Germans became angry when the Romans passed a law in AD 370 prohibiting marriage between Romans and themselves. The Germans also felt they were not being treated as equals in the army.

Here we see an example of racism by Romans towards Germanic people, there are even more examples of Roman armies consisting of almost only Germanic people used in the battlefield in places where they would definitely be all slaughtered.

The caste system in India

The caste system is part of the Hindu religion and decides what people can do, based on the caste ewhich they belong to. I want to quote a text from The Times of India about racism and the caste system:
So far, India has managed to evade the caste-race equation by arguing that caste distinctions are based on social, occupational and economic considerations and not on genetic racial differences.

This view however might now be challenged by research done by the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG), a Kalyani-based institution headed by biogeneticist Partho Mazumdar.

According to recent findings of the NIBMG, based on the analysis of DNA samples collected from Indians belonging to 20 population groups, including different caste groups and tribals, we are descended primarily from four ancestral origins: North Indian, South Indian, Austro-Asian and Tibeto-Burman. There is a fifth niche grouping of the Andaman and Nicobar islanders who are descendants of Pacific Ocean migrants.

Barring the Andaman and Nicobar tribals, the other four population groups mingled and intermarried till about the 6th century AD. Then, sometime during the Gupta period of about 1600 years ago, laws based on scriptural and social proscriptions created exclusivist divisions which prohibited intermarriage between these different genetic, or ethnic, groups.

Scientists of the NIBMG – whose conclusions have been corroborated and endorsed by Harvard Medical School’s David Reich – claim that the present-day caste distinctions trace their roots back to 70 generations of social differentiation based on genetic lines. Seen in this light, caste has a genetic – rather than just a social or occupational – basis, and as such is fundamentally racist in origin.

If this is so, no amount of social engineering through reservations and quotas in jobs and educational institutions is likely by itself to eliminate casteism and caste conflict, instances of which are daily reported. Indeed, treating caste discrimination as a purely social and economic evil only entrenches such prejudices and provokes inter-caste confrontation, often with tragic results.
Source: blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/juggl ... on-racism/

Apartheid in South-Africa

When South Africa got colonized, this brought welfare to South Africa, but at the expense of natives. In hindsight, the taking of land of people which already lived here was not good and the emergence of the apartheid regime which had created a division between the native blacks and descendants of white colonists, created a lot of disruption and inequality in the society. Fortunately the apartheid regime was abolished later which gives natives the chance of higher positions in society.

Persecution of white people in South-Africa

As horrible as the treatment of native people was, it now goes the opposite direction. There is what we could call a black privilege in South Africa, where black people get a job earlier, have better chances in university etc. White people live in gettos and can get killed for being white. Even if ancestors of white people had a policy of surpression, the killing of people for being white and discrimination when going to university is still not a good thing and can be considered as a form of racism, and where as Mandela tried to reconcile the society and not create division between white and black people, South Africa is currently doing the same thing to descendants of the apartheid as they did to the ancestors of modern South Africans. There was actually willingness of white people to teach the natives how to run farms etc., but out of pure hate their offer was declined.

Ethiopian jews in Israel

If you are a jew from Ethiopia and thought you could live a good jewish life in Israel, think again, you might face racism because you are Ethiopian.

Policemen have beaten up Demas Fekadeh, supposedly because he was Ethiopian and didn't immediately move when the police asked him tk do so, but he was beaten to the ground with severe violence.

Israeli Ethiopians also regularly protest because of what they experience as institutional racism, the gouvernment of Israel doesn't show much empathy to Ethiopian jews.

Apart from Ethiopian jews there is also worse treatment of jewish groups which are regarded lower, like the Sephardim.

Racism against black people by Arabs

Racism against black people isn't limited to the western world. An example is the case of Alem Dechesa, a migrant worker from Ethiopia who suffered mental and physical abuse by the Lebanese employers and committed suicide.

aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/06/2 ... 07286.html



What we can conclude here is that racism is of all time and not exclusive to one society.

We also all have subconscious prejudices, which makes us all racists deep down, this however was necessary to survive, if we don't distinguish others, we can't point out danger. What is important is what we do with our prejudices, we shouldn't judge an individual by concepts of a whole group.
"Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights." - Friedrich Hegel

Burning ghost
Posts: 2625
Joined: February 27th, 2016, 3:10 am

Re: We are all racist

Post by Burning ghost » December 21st, 2016, 9:59 am

We all most certainly have prejudices towards all kinds of topics and peoples and have often blindly developed certain biases.

Are we all "racist"? I would say that we are, and I would also say I mean this with parenthesis using the term "racist" is a broad sense.

We are brought up in cultural surroundings where particular groups of peoples, be they scinetists, religious people, African, lawyers, etc., possess a certain stereotypical weight. For this reason I would make a distinction between "rascism" and general "prejudice", and say we may well exhibit attributes that appeal to outright rascism, but this does not make us an acting racist.

If I work down the street and look at someone, I will inevitibly draw certain assumptions depending on my location, mood, what they are wearing, what I am wearing, social standing, etc.,. I would be lying if I said I didn't notice skin tone or tattoos.

I would define a racist as someone who is simply ignorant and confined by cultural stereotypes and limited negative experiences. Given human nature we do tend to gloss over the positives when socialising and find it more "entertaining" to complain and focus on negatives.

Are we all racist? No, no in th common meaning of the word. Do we all carry around and express certain attitudes that are tinged with the potential to be construed and developed into racism? Yes, most certainly. I would, as stated, say we all hold certain prejudices not that we are all racist.

We are also all potential killers too, this does not make us all killers though.
AKA badgerjelly

User avatar
Roel
Queue Moderator
Posts: 365
Joined: April 11th, 2013, 10:02 am
Favorite Philosopher: Hegel

Re: We are all racist

Post by Roel » December 21st, 2016, 10:02 am

Burning ghost wrote:We all most certainly have prejudices towards all kinds of topics and peoples and have often blindly developed certain biases.

Are we all "racist"? I would say that we are, and I would also say I mean this with parenthesis using the term "racist" is a broad sense.

We are brought up in cultural surroundings where particular groups of peoples, be they scinetists, religious people, African, lawyers, etc., possess a certain stereotypical weight. For this reason I would make a distinction between "rascism" and general "prejudice", and say we may well exhibit attributes that appeal to outright rascism, but this does not make us an acting racist.

If I work down the street and look at someone, I will inevitibly draw certain assumptions depending on my location, mood, what they are wearing, what I am wearing, social standing, etc.,. I would be lying if I said I didn't notice skin tone or tattoos.

I would define a racist as someone who is simply ignorant and confined by cultural stereotypes and limited negative experiences. Given human nature we do tend to gloss over the positives when socialising and find it more "entertaining" to complain and focus on negatives.

Are we all racist? No, no in th common meaning of the word. Do we all carry around and express certain attitudes that are tinged with the potential to be construed and developed into racism? Yes, most certainly. I would, as stated, say we all hold certain prejudices not that we are all racist.

We are also all potential killers too, this does not make us all killers though.
I think I agree with most what you say for a change.
"Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights." - Friedrich Hegel

Dolphin42
Posts: 885
Joined: May 9th, 2012, 8:05 am
Location: The Evening Star

Re: We are all racist

Post by Dolphin42 » December 21st, 2016, 10:12 am

I think this was already done on that other thread about white supremacism. It all seems like pretty obvious common sense to me:

Genes have survived by protecting the vessels in which they're propagated (us) > there is a natural and rational tendency to protect and trust people more who are genetically closer to us > being genetically closer tends to mean having a similar appearance > the most obviously visible aspect of our appearance is our skin, because we're covered in the stuff. Therefore, other things being equal, we trust people with similar skin colour to ourselves more than we trust people with different skin colour.

Whether we refer to that as "racism" is, as far as I'm concerned, just irrelevant semantic icing.

The key phrase is: "other things being equal". In practice, there are many, many other ways that we also use to decide how much we trust people. One of them is talking.

User avatar
Roel
Queue Moderator
Posts: 365
Joined: April 11th, 2013, 10:02 am
Favorite Philosopher: Hegel

Re: We are all racist

Post by Roel » December 21st, 2016, 10:15 am

Dolphin42 wrote:I think this was already done on that other thread about white supremacism. It all seems like pretty obvious common sense to me:

Genes have survived by protecting the vessels in which they're propagated (us) > there is a natural and rational tendency to protect and trust people more who are genetically closer to us > being genetically closer tends to mean having a similar appearance > the most obviously visible aspect of our appearance is our skin, because we're covered in the stuff. Therefore, other things being equal, we trust people with similar skin colour to ourselves more than we trust people with different skin colour.

Whether we refer to that as "racism" is, as far as I'm concerned, just irrelevant semantic icing.

The key phrase is: "other things being equal". In practice, there are many, many other ways that we also use to decide how much we trust people. One of them is talking.
It was more about white nationalism which is different from white suprematism, but I get your point.
"Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights." - Friedrich Hegel

Dolphin42
Posts: 885
Joined: May 9th, 2012, 8:05 am
Location: The Evening Star

Re: We are all racist

Post by Dolphin42 » December 21st, 2016, 12:34 pm

It was more about white nationalism which is different from white suprematism
Yes true. My bad.

User avatar
Roel
Queue Moderator
Posts: 365
Joined: April 11th, 2013, 10:02 am
Favorite Philosopher: Hegel

Re: We are all racist

Post by Roel » December 21st, 2016, 12:36 pm

Dolphin42 wrote:
It was more about white nationalism which is different from white suprematism
Yes true. My bad.
Everyone makes mistakes. It's no problem.
"Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights." - Friedrich Hegel

User avatar
MarcusMalone
New Trial Member
Posts: 11
Joined: July 21st, 2015, 3:11 pm

Re: We are all racist

Post by MarcusMalone » December 22nd, 2016, 1:20 am

The idea of racism being everywhere is really a statement on categorizations. So, the distinguishing between races is a form of categorization, but where I disagree is if its actually racism. I may identify this man as white and this one as black, but that statement doesn't necessary include discrimination. It is a contingent factor, but not a necessary one. The grander statement would be that all forms of categorizations are as well inherently discriminatory, where the process of separating one trait from another is built with the intent for prejudice. The problem is that would be like saying that separating small noses from big noses is prejudice since its a categorization, however is it difficult to identify the attacker and the victim. In order for categorization to be inherently discriminatory, than there must be an application in all instances to which there is a defined discriminator and a discriminated. Easier said than done.

Haicoway
Posts: 46
Joined: December 11th, 2014, 7:29 am

Re: We are all racist

Post by Haicoway » December 26th, 2016, 9:09 am

I am a White predominantly English man. During my younger years, I was positively prejudiced toward Black girls and women. Not sure why, except my mother had schooled me in ways that she felt Black people to be superior to White people. Consequently, I befriended the only Black kid in my lily-White grade school, and was called a N-lover. In early adolescence, I considered Black girls and women to be more sexually attractive than White girls and women. So, it is no wonder that I sought out a Black prostitute for my first “adult” sexual encounter, meaning after pre-puberty sex with girls of my own race. I remember being infatuated with the wonderful musky aroma of the young woman’s body and velvety feel of her skin. Then growing older I had a couple of Black girlfriends amidst White and Asian girlfriends, and came to prefer all races of women just about equally.

In college, I wrote an essay about prejudice regarding Black people. I examined every stereotype I could think of, which most people considered racist, and expressed why I felt many were justified, but not at all bad. I wrote, for example, that Black people do smell characteristically Black and quite different from White people on average; if one’s skin is “black,” then of course it rubs off black; there’s no question that Black people on average can jump higher than White people, because they have more white high-twitch muscles, whereas White people have more pink muscle fiber, which is stronger for slow lifting and such; etcetera, etcetera. I was criticized for writing an inflammatory essay and told that such talk was only suited for the “locker room,” just like talking about grabbing women by their pussies, we all just learned.

Anyway, I agree that some racial prejudice, which in the dictionary is listed as one definition of racism, can be intelligent, whereas what we generally mean by racism, - for example, some White people feeling they are better, simply by virtue of being White, than Black people, and that Blacks don’t have as much right to be considered Americans, etcetera, is totally ignorant. Careful definitions and distinctions are important when discussing racism, and who is a racist and who isn’t.

User avatar
Roel
Queue Moderator
Posts: 365
Joined: April 11th, 2013, 10:02 am
Favorite Philosopher: Hegel

Re: We are all racist

Post by Roel » December 28th, 2016, 9:32 am

Haicoway wrote:I am a White predominantly English man. During my younger years, I was positively prejudiced toward Black girls and women. Not sure why, except my mother had schooled me in ways that she felt Black people to be superior to White people. Consequently, I befriended the only Black kid in my lily-White grade school, and was called a N-lover. In early adolescence, I considered Black girls and women to be more sexually attractive than White girls and women. So, it is no wonder that I sought out a Black prostitute for my first “adult” sexual encounter, meaning after pre-puberty sex with girls of my own race. I remember being infatuated with the wonderful musky aroma of the young woman’s body and velvety feel of her skin. Then growing older I had a couple of Black girlfriends amidst White and Asian girlfriends, and came to prefer all races of women just about equally.

In college, I wrote an essay about prejudice regarding Black people. I examined every stereotype I could think of, which most people considered racist, and expressed why I felt many were justified, but not at all bad. I wrote, for example, that Black people do smell characteristically Black and quite different from White people on average; if one’s skin is “black,” then of course it rubs off black; there’s no question that Black people on average can jump higher than White people, because they have more white high-twitch muscles, whereas White people have more pink muscle fiber, which is stronger for slow lifting and such; etcetera, etcetera. I was criticized for writing an inflammatory essay and told that such talk was only suited for the “locker room,” just like talking about grabbing women by their pussies, we all just learned.

Anyway, I agree that some racial prejudice, which in the dictionary is listed as one definition of racism, can be intelligent, whereas what we generally mean by racism, - for example, some White people feeling they are better, simply by virtue of being White, than Black people, and that Blacks don’t have as much right to be considered Americans, etcetera, is totally ignorant. Careful definitions and distinctions are important when discussing racism, and who is a racist and who isn’t.
I think you pointed out here the problem with political correctness and how everything you say can be considered an attack, even if it isn't ment so.

Physically I believe black people are indeed superior, enough points to that direction, but I wouldn't regard them in every aspect superior... Asians are superior in intelligence, white people are superior in being able to survive in cold areas due to their pigment.
"Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights." - Friedrich Hegel

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 3022
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: We are all racist

Post by LuckyR » December 28th, 2016, 9:11 pm

Roel wrote:
Haicoway wrote:I am a White predominantly English man. During my younger years, I was positively prejudiced toward Black girls and women. Not sure why, except my mother had schooled me in ways that she felt Black people to be superior to White people. Consequently, I befriended the only Black kid in my lily-White grade school, and was called a N-lover. In early adolescence, I considered Black girls and women to be more sexually attractive than White girls and women. So, it is no wonder that I sought out a Black prostitute for my first “adult” sexual encounter, meaning after pre-puberty sex with girls of my own race. I remember being infatuated with the wonderful musky aroma of the young woman’s body and velvety feel of her skin. Then growing older I had a couple of Black girlfriends amidst White and Asian girlfriends, and came to prefer all races of women just about equally.

In college, I wrote an essay about prejudice regarding Black people. I examined every stereotype I could think of, which most people considered racist, and expressed why I felt many were justified, but not at all bad. I wrote, for example, that Black people do smell characteristically Black and quite different from White people on average; if one’s skin is “black,” then of course it rubs off black; there’s no question that Black people on average can jump higher than White people, because they have more white high-twitch muscles, whereas White people have more pink muscle fiber, which is stronger for slow lifting and such; etcetera, etcetera. I was criticized for writing an inflammatory essay and told that such talk was only suited for the “locker room,” just like talking about grabbing women by their pussies, we all just learned.

Anyway, I agree that some racial prejudice, which in the dictionary is listed as one definition of racism, can be intelligent, whereas what we generally mean by racism, - for example, some White people feeling they are better, simply by virtue of being White, than Black people, and that Blacks don’t have as much right to be considered Americans, etcetera, is totally ignorant. Careful definitions and distinctions are important when discussing racism, and who is a racist and who isn’t.
I think you pointed out here the problem with political correctness and how everything you say can be considered an attack, even if it isn't ment so.

Physically I believe black people are indeed superior, enough points to that direction, but I wouldn't regard them in every aspect superior... Asians are superior in intelligence, white people are superior in being able to survive in cold areas due to their pigment.
I would disagree that if two groups separated by one attribute (say skin color) have a difference in another attribute (say 100 yard dash times), that since the curves of the distributions of the times mostly overlap with a small shift in the median time by a second or two equates to a real difference in the groups as pertains to individuals within either group.
"As usual... it depends."

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7225
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: We are all racist

Post by Greta » December 28th, 2016, 10:08 pm

Yes we are all racist to some extent, although not to an equal extent.

User avatar
Roel
Queue Moderator
Posts: 365
Joined: April 11th, 2013, 10:02 am
Favorite Philosopher: Hegel

Re: We are all racist

Post by Roel » December 28th, 2016, 11:19 pm

LuckyR wrote:
Roel wrote: (Nested quote removed.)


I think you pointed out here the problem with political correctness and how everything you say can be considered an attack, even if it isn't ment so.

Physically I believe black people are indeed superior, enough points to that direction, but I wouldn't regard them in every aspect superior... Asians are superior in intelligence, white people are superior in being able to survive in cold areas due to their pigment.
I would disagree that if two groups separated by one attribute (say skin color) have a difference in another attribute (say 100 yard dash times), that since the curves of the distributions of the times mostly overlap with a small shift in the median time by a second or two equates to a real difference in the groups as pertains to individuals within either group.
I believe a black person can easily beat a white person in athletics because their bodies are better equiped for that.

If a white and a black man train just as much, I believe the black person will do better in most cases.
"Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights." - Friedrich Hegel

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 3022
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: We are all racist

Post by LuckyR » December 29th, 2016, 12:30 pm

Roel wrote:
LuckyR wrote: (Nested quote removed.)


I would disagree that if two groups separated by one attribute (say skin color) have a difference in another attribute (say 100 yard dash times), that since the curves of the distributions of the times mostly overlap with a small shift in the median time by a second or two equates to a real difference in the groups as pertains to individuals within either group.
I believe a black person can easily beat a white person in athletics because their bodies are better equiped for that.

If a white and a black man train just as much, I believe the black person will do better in most cases.
Well then your belief is incorrect (because of your use of the word "easily"). One only has to look at the Pro sports world to see that.

Moving on, I get your meaning, but your wording is perhaps an exaggeration (to be generous). While it makes perfect sense that members of the genetic cohort of African decent that have an overabundance of slow twitch muscle fibers can outperform other groups in long distance running, all other variables being equal, that is a long, long way from "a black person".

You are taking (possible, even likely, yet unproven) group data and trying to make commentary about a pair of individuals. As it happens that is the too common error I was originally addressing.

Let me put it to you another way: I am certain that you can think of a black person you actually know, who would be bettered by a white person you actually know in any sport you might mention. Say your 97 year old black neighbor and the white pimply faced 18 year old kid down the street. Not what you were trying to imply, yet due to sloppy description, fits your "argument".
"As usual... it depends."

Leonodas
Posts: 149
Joined: September 12th, 2011, 5:17 pm

Re: We are all racist

Post by Leonodas » December 30th, 2016, 4:54 pm

Racism is rooted in social psychology. As its been some time since I've taken a psychology class, I couldn't cite the exact terminology for you.

However, it comes down to an in-group and out-group dynamic. People tend to be more trusting and sympathetic to those that perceive to be members of the "in-group". If you lived an isolated existence on the plains of ancient Africa and skin color were a universal constant, you would still be wary of people from other tribes because they were members of the "out-group". You would still find easy identifiers marking them as members of the out-group other than skin color: maybe they have different shaped heads, a tendency towards bigger noses -- maybe even the shades of "African" skin color were slightly different and would be barely noticeable in our eyes, but those differences would be obvious if they were all you knew.

As an aside, if some technologically advanced agglomeration of alien races came down to Earth tomorrow and humanity was inducted planet-wide into some Star Wars-like alien society, you'd probably tend to trust Joe Scmho, Mahmoud Abdullah, and Deng Zhou Ling more or less equally (generalizing of course) than your Reptilian, asari, and Borg co-workers. Its just natural.

The point is, even if you don't mean to, you're going to be racist because the primitive in-group, out-group portion of your brain is going to be triggered by default unless your subconscious tendency to associate racial differences with the in-group / out-group is overwritten by constant exposure to said differences. Even if you're members of different races, finding common ground decidedly moves out-group members into your personal in-group.

Post Reply