Re: Vicious Racism

From: Olga Bourlin (
Date: Tue Aug 07 2001 - 08:38:02 MDT

From: "Zero Powers" <>

> >From: "Lee Corbin" <>
> >I would like to address the points that Harvey Newstrom made, but
> >there isn't room in this email. I wish to say that for a huge number
> >of otherwise rational thinkers, I am afraid, the statements that I
> >made above qualify and overqualify me as a racist. Anyone who thinks so
> >please give me a careful analysis---not a one line emotionally driven
> >rejection or put-down.
> The problem, Lee, is that we are *all* racists. It is virtually
> to have been born and raised in the US without being a racist. It is in
> part a social problem and in part an evolved defense mechanism. The less
> like "us" a given person or group of persons is, the more likely we are to
> view them with suspicion and caution. Not necessarily a bad thing in and
> itself. But when that instinct is not tempered by a willingness to
> the possibility that the "different" person is not so bad as our gut
> reactions tell us, then our rationality is being trumped by animal
> A very un-Extropian way to go, if you ask me.

The way some people have chosen to describe "racist" on this list is by
calling "racist" those people tending to be compassionate and trying to
figure out solutions to the problems still plaguing us all as a result of
legally-sanctioned racism of just a generation ago (e.g., the inimitable
Mike Lorrey has written "[But] there are different types of racists as well.
Those who think that someone needs to meet a lower standard just because of
their skin color to get the same job or to be accepted into college, or
someone who thinks that someone who is 7 generations separated from their
enslaved ancestors deserves 'reparations', is themselves a racist"). Ahem,
not 7 generations ago, Mikey - granted, hundreds of years of "enslaved
ancestors" came before 100 years of de jure segregation, but the latter
practice was alive and kicking a tad over a generation ago. Not to mention
that de facto bigotry still exists.

I realize that trying to get through to Mr. Lorrey is like trying to draw
blood from a rock, but it occurred to me that in attempting to pose as
"colorblind," some people want to have it both ways. If a person notices
that our society is not colorblind, well, that's "racist," you see? Even
if our society (made up of individuals, many of whom are bigotted) were
suddenly to become "colorblind" overnight, that still wouldn't take care of
the sad legacy we've all been left with. But the fact remains our society
(again, consisting of many bigotted individuals) is not "colorblind." The
people who have accused some of us on this list for being "PC" - have
designed their own libertarian[?] form of "PC," those clever rascals. Cross
it, and you-yourself are a "racist," you see! If I may make a CL
observation, at this point: " conveeeeeee-nient."

So, certainly, if even so much as noticing that we have a "race" problem
makes us "racist," then we're all "racist." But then that boils the word
down to utter meaninglessness. Dear me, what a conundrum the Mikeys of the
world have left for us poor bleeding-hearted knee-jerking types. Be
concerned about the problem of "racism" in our country - what? you say
you're not colorblind? - then you're a racist! Express a desire to help
the underprivileged - what? you say you're not colorblind? then you must
be a racist!

"Colorblind" would work if our society were truly colorblind. "Racism"
would not need work if our society were not racist. But until we are free
of "racism," we who are concerned about its problems don't have the luxury
of being "colorblind." And I submit that that's not "racist," in the
generally accepted understanding of the word.


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