One humanity, all in the same boat

From: Olga Bourlin (
Date: Mon Dec 24 2001 - 22:06:33 MST

From: "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky"
Subject: Re: Local Groups Wanted!
> cryofan wrote:
> > On Sun, 23 Dec 2001 10:35:54 -0800, you wrote:
> > >Excuse me for interrupting the diversion of this thread into a racist
> > >commentary,
> > Discussing race is not equal to racist
> Yes, it is. Races are figments of the racist imagination. The sole
> purpose of postulating them is to divide humanity into artificial opposing
> factions. Let's all hear it for absolute colorblindness.

Please note I've changed the subject line of Eliezer's original post to our
more recent discussion title.

As for "absolute colorblindedness" - hmmm, I'm not really sure what that
means, and I'm doubly unsure what the consequences of a "colorblind" policy
may be. It doesn't seem to point to the reality in our society and culture.
The preaching of colorblindedness may, however, be useful in absolving the
preacher from any responsibility to come up with solutions for the here and

Certainly "nature knows no color line" (also a title of a J.A. Rogers book
published decades ago), and that the whole business about there being
"races" is scientifically meaningless. But that fact hasn't prevented the
practice of racism in our society. Racism trickles down and all around us
in ways familiar to us and in many ways more subtle (an example of the
latter, with all facts being equal, that "white" women can practically
subsidize their college education by being "egg donors," while the eggs of
black women are not much desired).

I talked to a young [white] woman just the other day (there are millions of
stories like this in the Naked City), who told me her father had disowned
her for taking up with a "Negro." She was young, perplexed and in pain, and
it would have been somewhat cavalier of me to say something to her along the
lines of "[R]aces are figments of the racist imagination."

Colorblind? I don't know. I keep seeing this cartoon in my head of two
people at a party, talking and laughing and maybe even flirting, and then
one of them says to the other, "Oh, you mean you're "white"? (or vice versa,
"black"?) Ha, ha, ha, whyyyyyyyyyy ... I didn't even *NOTICE* ... ha, ha,
ha, I'm colorblind!" It's kind of like that, "Funny, you don't look Jewish
...," remark which can justifiably be considered insulting. Take it to
another level: "Funny, you don't look gay." Or another: "You mean you're
only five feet tall? Whyyyyyyy, that's funny, I didn't even notice! I'm

The point is, there's nothing wrong with being black[skinned] or
white[skinned] or blue eyed or curly haired or a bit bow-legged. These (and
many more) superficial genetic traits don't have to be ignored.

Noticing that someone is white or black is okay. We don't have to be or
need to be colorblind. If the whole concept of "races" is specious (and I
believe it is), then we don't have to be colorblind, do we? And, as well,
we don't have to ignore the real problems that exist in our country (and in
the world) because there are many other people who DO believe in some kind
of racial hierarchy, causing problems for all of us, bringing us all down.

I strongly disagree with the concept that it make us "racist" by noticing
that "racism" exists. That's not being colorblind ... just blind.


I mean, we acknowledge people of various ages, sexes and sexualities.

this sex or that sex, without worrying about not noticing or the fact that
someone is a male or female.

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