RE: Reparations

From: Jerry Mitchell (
Date: Sat Aug 04 2001 - 00:44:43 MDT

> > >> A couple food stamps and a bottle of ripple.
> > >
> > >This latter bit is pretty typical of the racist comments
> that appear so
> > often on this list. Does this kind of statement really
> lend anything to the
> > discussion other than advertise and promote the prejudices
> of the writer?
> >
> > Here's a good example of the mis-use of the word Racism and
> why it gets
> > thrown around at everything possible.
> >
> > Racism is:
> > 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
> >
> > Discrimination on the other hand is:
> > The act of discriminating, distinguishing, or noting and marking
> > differences.
> >
> > Is it racist to say that blacks drink ripple? No. (this
> doesn't say anything
> > about any race being inherently superior) Is it discriminatory? Yes.
> Saying blacks, a race of people, drink ripple as a statement
> about race and about relative value (not to mention taste) is
> very much rascist.
> Conflating discrimination with noting differences is a
> contemptible attempt to avoid facing an ugly remark. It ignores
> the other meaning of the term:
> 3 a : the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating
> categorically rather than individually b : prejudiced or
> prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment.
> - samantha

Here a better definition:

Definition 1. the theory or opinion that a certain race or races of people,
usu. one's own, are superior to others because of certain inborn
Definition 2. any policy or practice based on such a theory or opinion.

This definition you provided (number 3 no less) is a modern invention and
doesn't exist in dictionaries that predate political correctness. Racism
(note the "ism" part) is the belief that one race is inherently superior
because of genetic reasons. Discrimination is NOT racism... If I own a
Hooters restaurant and I don't want big fat blobby men serving as
waitresses, I have discriminated on them, not because of race but other
attributes. So we see its possible to discriminate on things other then
race. This shows that at least definition b is in fact false.

My whole point is to get definitions clear. If you cant tell the difference
between racism, discrimination, bigotry, prejudice... there's no way to
communicate clearly and logically. I'm not advocating anything except being
exact and specific as possible about words, especially when discussing
something so emotional as this issue.

If "your" definition is exactly correct, then all discrimination is racism.
I discriminate who will baby-sit my children, what I eat, where I work and
none of it has anything to do with race. Words denote concepts, so what word
are we to now use to denote prejudice that isn't associated with race? I
could just use the word racism to cover all instances of discrimination, but
we can see how that wouldn't work, anymore then the reverse does. Keep your
concepts focused and tight and its much easier to communicate, when you yell
racism at every little negative association even closely related to race,
you dilute the actual meaning of the word racism.

So, to be exact, his statement about ripple is NOT racist, the statement
doesn't convey the idea that any particular race is genetically superior. It
is an unfair overgeneralization or a patently false mischaracterization.
Would a racist say this? Yes, but its also possible for someone to say this
that doesn't believe that blacks are genetically inferior but instead are
suffering cultural problems that stem from slavery, economic conditions or
because of planetary alignment. Also note he didn't say that "All" blacks
drink ripple. You added that. His problem was not being specific enough. If
he had said that there is a greater chance that older black men have a
higher chance of drinking ripple then any other like demographic, then his
statement could have been factually correct.

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