RE: Vicious Racism

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Tue Aug 07 2001 - 22:58:16 MDT

Zero Powers writes

> The problem, Lee, is that we are *all* racists.

Don't you worry that you are robbing the term of any utility whatsoever?
It is very useful, IMO, to describe those people who pre-judge people
to the extent that they cannot be open-minded, for those people who
believe that a person's race is far and away the most important characteristic
of him or her, and for those who believe in some sort of magical necessity
of people from a certain demographic gene pool to be always inferior along
some measure. As an adjective, "racist" can also be used to characterize
statements or positions that would attempt to maintain one of the aforementioned
beliefs. (Observe that white-separatists need not be racist by this usage.)

> It is virtually impossible to have been born and raised in the US
> without being a racist.

In what large society would it be possible for people to be born and
raised without being a racist? (I am not trying to make a point; I
am interested in your opinion about the existence of such a place.)

> 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.

I believe that this is a part of the genetic heritage of most humans,
and probably most primates, if not some larger biological grouping.

> Not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. But when that
> instinct is not tempered by a willingness to consider the
> possibility that the "different" person is not so bad as our
> gut reactions tell us, then our rationality is being trumped
> by animal instinct.

Exactly so.


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